The Observer

by Rafael Henry

Chapter 4

We're both quiet for a few minutes. I keep my eyes on James, and from time to time he lifts his eyes up to meet mine. When this happens, I smile at him, and get a nice one back. I'm not quite sure what to do. I think he's been here long enough now. They have been beautiful minutes spent in his company…….an unexpected meeting, at least as far as I'm concerned, but a potentially dangerous one. I don't want or need a scandal.

'I really think you should go now James.'

'Why?'

'Think about it, just for a moment. Anyway, your Mr Sendall will be expecting you. If you're not there, he'll wonder where you've been won't he.'

'Oh , him. Can I come back tomorrow morning?'

'No. I can't entertain boys in my bedroom in the early hours, who want to use my shower and then lie in my bed with me. It's not good for you or me…….but…..do you mind if I listen this afternoon? I'll sit somewhere out of sight, I promise.'

I watch as James gets out of bed. He's been thinking about this and that, or having a gentle play unseen, or both. He doesn't look at me as he pulls up his pants. Everything fits in nicely, and then he pulls his shorts up over the top. He turns towards me as he reaches for his tee shirt. He smiles……..

'You can listen if you want….but don't put me off.'

'I won't. You won't even see me.'

'I want to see you.'

'Ok then, I'll go in the stalls……..a bit to one side. Which side are you?'

'Decani…..the north side.'

'Right. I'll be on the other side, but do not try to catch my eye please. You'll put me off.'

'Right. I'll try to remember. By the way, you need some new shorts.'

'Why?'

'You know.'

'No I don't. Is there something wrong with them?'

'Yes. Go and look in the mirror.'

He does. He looks at himself for a few seconds, and then back at me.

'I found them in lost property. I couldn't find mine.'

'It looks like it. There's some ten year old boy wandering around trying to find his shorts.'

There's an issue with this Mr Sendall character…….the Housemaster. It was just one or two things James said, en passent. Ninety nine point nine percent of teachers in that position are fine…..no problem. But as everybody knows, that's not always the case. I can remember mine. A perfectly decent man, quite young, who enjoyed being around boys. Fair enough. I know he liked looking at us. We just got used to it. I wasn't one of his favourites. I know who was, and I used to look at him too…..a nice quiet boy who was possessed of a tiny penis, which I didn't consider a fault but rather charming, and the rest of him was devastatingly beautiful. My waking dreams were full of him for quite a while, but sadly my temporary love for this jewel of the human race was never reciprocated.

James lets himself out, the same way he came in, looking quite respectable. I don't suppose he even thought about it. Mr Sendall will notice if he's late, and the other boys too, no doubt. Mr Sendall…….a new young member of staff finds himself obliged to act as a boarding Housemaster's Assistant because he needs the accommodation. That's how it works. The school gets more for its money. Mr Sendall, as nice as he probably is, is tempted to have a peek at the boys in certain situations because that is one of the things he's interested in, and one of the reasons why he applied for the job if he was perfectly honest. I'm talking shower and/or bath time and boys getting dressed and undressed. Our Mr Sendall, if my own experience as a boy is anything to go by, will have seen all manner of young boys' bodies, sans clothing. Thin ones, fat ones, pretty and not so pretty ones, all of which have no alternative but be unavoidably naked on a daily basis, and in a very short time, think nothing of it. Mr Sendall is there because boys James' age need supervision at those times. It very rarely goes further than 'looking', but when it does go further, as we all know, it usually doesn't end well. Just as well then, that I've never found myself in that situation. If I had, you could call me Mr Sendall. I'm sure I would be looking too. I'm not at all surprised that James is a candidate for this young man's attention. I've now had the privilege and pleasure it has to be said, of seeing James not only nude, but also aroused. I don't know why he was. There was nothing in our conversation, let alone actions, that could cause it. I know it can just happen for no particular reason. Slightly odd, though, that it happened when it did, and where it did. I made every effort not to notice. I'm reminded of that old Turkish proverb that my old English teacher, who was as gay as a horse, quoted one bright morning…….'A woman is for duty, but a boy is for pleasure.' The whole class roared with laughter. I'm sure that man saw some of us as sex objects, in a nice way, but we weren't about to worry about that. He was a brilliant teacher for whom we had the greatest respect and admiration. Thank goodness the Governors had the intelligence to appoint him. I would not be doing what I am now if it was not for his wit, wisdom and enthusiasm for the written word. Amy, my erstwhile wife, was for me, much more than a duty of course. I don't blame Mr Sendall one bit, but he will ignore or underestimate the guile of an intelligent twelve year old at his peril.


Sunday night. My theatre ticket if for seven thirty. It's going to be a gutty experience by all accounts. I'm seeing 'Cleansed', a play by Sarah Kane. The theatre is the main reason why I come to this place. I like the plays they put on, and I like the place. Staying where I do suits me very well too. I usually stay for three nights, and if I want to travel around, I can hire a car. Normally I don't. One thing I almost always do is take a stroll around the cathedral. I'm drawn to the tomb of the knight holding, in death, the hand of his wife and lover. It inspired Philip Larkin to write that poem. I always find it a moving experience, but having said that, I'm easily moved. James has moved me. In the short time I have known him, he has affected me perhaps imperceptibly, but the fact remains. I have decided that I am not going to let him disappear……to go out of sight forever. He must remain in some way or other. I don't know how yet.

Today's reason for visiting that place was to hear James's voice, albeit mixed in with the voices of eleven other boys of varying ages, some quite tiny, and six men. Music isn't the biggest thing in my life really, but I can react positively to what I hear. In the end I funked sitting in the carved oak stalls to the side and behind the singers. Instead I opted for a seat behind a pillar not far away. Near and yet so far.

I came back from the production of 'Cleansed' thinking that I might never go to the theatre again. I'll get over it. If you read the synopsis of the play, you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about. My unfinished Patrick Gale novel seemed light relief in comparison. I have now finished it. I told James not to visit tomorrow morning, but he may ignore my request. He strikes me as a determined little cuss, and he will no doubt, and I hope, want to know where I was yesterday?


It's Monday morning. My train is at ten thirty five, and I'll be home two and a half hours later. Last night I managed to get my head cleansed of 'Cleansed' finally, and thoughts of the beautiful James drifted into my semi-consciousness. I don't remember anything else. I'm awake now, and my travel clock tells me it's ten minutes before six. Since Amy left, I've had no sex with another person. I would never go out and pay for it. However I would have considered sex with any decent woman, or any decent man at a push. There's only one other alternative, as recommended by a doctor friend. He said that in such circumstances I should 'exercise my prostate', which means of course, ejaculating all my accumulated semen on a regular basis. He suggested twice a week 'Do you think you could manage that?' He said it was a 'use it or lose it' situation. Ok, that's fine with me. I am taking his advice. It's been five days since the last time. I know that because I keep a note, or try to, in my diary, which I realise might be a little over the top. Release this morning might be sensible. If James comes to call, I might be in an awkward situation. I think he's curious, and frankly, I'm not sure what to make of him. I think that our Mr Sendall might have raised his awareness, somehow, of matters of a sexual nature, and besides, there's not much that twelve year old boys don't know about these days, or haven't seen. I'm thirty five years old, but a young thirty five I like to think. I like the outdoors, and I swim some distance very regularly. I'm not off-puttingly hairy and certainly not over weight. It is just possible that James is not entirely disgusted by me. A friend of mine at school wouldn't consider a dalliance with another boy his age, but if a man gave him the 'eye' in the street or the public library or anywhere, he would be his for the afternoon. Once he bit off more than he could chew, so to speak, but he survived to adulthood thank goodness. He'd tell me in great detail about his various skirmishes.

I've no doubt that James is lacking something in his life, but he probably can't rationalize his feelings about it. He knows that there's something out there he wants, or needs even. I may have the responsibility of being that something. That may sound a little arrogant, but it might just be true.

Usually, I have no trouble reaching orgasm. Leaving five or so days in between makes it a certainty. The thought processes involved vaguely circulate around the chosen subject. I have to admit that this morning's subject was James. I have seen him as he is…….a naked boy, hiding nothing. As he turned to find my wallet, I've seen the shadow between his buttocks. As he leaves my bed he's shockingly aroused, as indeed I am….the foreskin stretched over the broad glistening head of his penis.

It's five thirty in the morning. I can't reach orgasm because of the guilt. It wasn't for the lack of effort, but I gave up, feeling a little sore and breathless, and disappointed.

Now it's six thirty five. I watch the second hand of the clock move slowly around the clock face….once round, then again, and then a third time. There's a gentle tapping on the glass of the French doors. I look up. I recognize the shadow against the curtain. James has ignored me. He's come when I expressly told him not to. The door opens and he's standing there against the light. He's dressed just as he was yesterday. I cannot turn him away. There may be a problem. I watch him approach the bed. He stops by the corner of it, adopting a rather classic pose…half apologetic, half pleading.

'Is there a problem James? I thought I told you…….'

He knows I may be cross with him. He nods his head.

'Well you had better tell me then.' I say, quite calmly.

He moves nearer. I look at him. His shorts are stained orange, probably from that sand they fill long jump pits with.

'Can I come in please?'

I nod.

'No, not with those shorts. These are clean sheets.'

I thought he would sit on the edge of the bed. Instead, he pulls off his white tee shirt, puts his fingers in the waistband of his shorts, and pulls them of his feet, along with his gym shoes. The tops of his thighs show white skin, in contrast to his tanned legs. I look a little higher. Beautiful.

'You had better leave those on James.'

James takes my instruction as an invitation to join me. I haven't the heart to say no. I move a couple of feet further away to accommodate the new arrival.

'So what is the problem James? Is it to do with Mr Sendall?'

'No.'

'Then what is it?'

'I can't tell you.'

'You came to tell me. That's what you said.'

'Not really.'

I have been manipulated by a manipulative boy of twelve.

'You are one naughty boy James. Do you know that?'

He nods his head. There is a trace of a smile. James covers the lower part of his face with the bedclothes. His brown eyes are round, unblinking, and a little glazed. I study the long dark eyelashes. He blinks in appreciation of my close attention. I can't see it, but I'm sure he's smiling. Now I am too.

'You're a bad boy, James.'

He nods in agreement. In silence now, I'm melting away.

'Can I see the photo of Mathew again please?'

'Of course you can. Can you reach my wallet? It's on the bedside table.'

James turns on his side and stretches behind him to reach the leather wallet. He's naked but for his underpants, and the sight of him is all the more erotic for it……the white fabric made taught around the raised forms, and deeply and cuttingly recessed between them. Curiously, he had turned the waistband over a couple of times which has made them briefer. I don't comment. I remember doing the same thing myself. I know exactly why he's done it. James, not consciously perhaps, is sexualizing himself. That's why I did it. It sometimes worked.

I could count my sexual partners as a schoolboy on the fingers of one hand….or maybe two if I'm honest. I only kissed one of them on the mouth, a much older boy who very kindly showed me what I was so curious about……what semen looked and felt like between one's fingers. He told me what I had to do to him to satisfy my curiosity, which I did with some enthusiasm in his study sitting on a wicker chair with me kneeling beside him. I remember his penis perfectly……short, thick, and extremely hard. When the sixteen year old boy's moment arrived, his semen literally shot all over the place. I remember us both laughing at the result. Wonderful! I was eleven at the time. Happy days.

James was studying the picture of Mathew.

'So? Do you still like him?'

'Do you think he'd like me?'

'I don't know. He might. I'm going to talk to your mother this week. I've decided that she should know who you've been talking to on trains.'

'Will you let me know what happens?'

'Yes of course I will. When I have been home for a while, would you like to get a letter from me?'

'Oh yes…….yes please.'

'Right. You shall have one.'

James thought that his mother was at home this week….at least until Thursday. Her name is Jane Langton. Jane and James Langton. Yes, that's got a nice ring to it.

James tells me about his friends, and the daily routine at school. Nothing much changes. I want to hear about his friends. Maybe there is a little romance lurking there. It's very likely that a boy like him has had opportunities in that regard. He doesn't say much, apart from what sounds like a regular indulgence with this boy Sammy. They sleep next to each other. Unless the boy next door is singularly unattractive, or uninterested, that's what usually happens.

We both know time is short. It's now seven fifteen, and James has ten minutes left with me at the most. I know I am in the danger zone, deeper than at any time thus far. James is edging closer, and trying to make contact, but not daring to go that last little bit. With five minutes to go……

'I'm cold.'

'Oh dear.' was the best I could come up with.

'Can I have a cuddle with you please?'

I had a feeling that might come, one way or another.

As he raised his head, I put my arm under him. He pulls himself into me, but I'm careful to avoid contact elsewhere. I know his penis is hard. I checked on that, but he doesn't know I am too. He is not going to know that. He wants to show me. Looser now, the white cotton gives nicely under pressure. Mighty oaks from little acorns eh? I'm amazed how a skinny little pecker can expand the way it does. In a last ditch effort, James holds his erect penis, almost a demand, but I'm unmoved. I cannot be moved. I must not be moved. I will not be.

'That's very nice James. You need to go now. Go on.'

'Why?'

'If you're late, you might get your bottom smacked.'

I immediately regretted that remark.

'Who by?'

'Mr Sendall?'

'I don't think so. Did you ever smack Mathew's bottom…….when he was naughty?'

'No, I never did. He made me angry……very angry a few times, but we never resorted to violence thank goodness.'

'Were you ever hit?'

'Yes, as a schoolboy. For skipping Games and going to the cinema usually….four strokes of the cane on my bare bottom. It hurt. The other boys always wanted to see the red stripes on your bottom. It was a tradition. You had to show everybody. My other offence was to get caught talking after lights out by a patrolling prefect. That was another four strokes.'

'That's horrible. Did you cry?'

'I tried not to.'

James puts out his hand. I let him take mine. He brings it to his mouth and plants the gentlest kiss on it. So sweet.

I watch as he carefully forces himself back into his shorts. Inspired by my stories of barbarism, he bends over to tie the laces of his gym shoes. He puts his tee shirt on whilst making his way to the door. Moments later, after a backward look and a waggle of fingers, the door shuts behind him…….and he's gone, but not forgotten.

And now my guilt has passed, and is overcome by lust. What has happened in reality, becomes a fantasy now. I argue with my conscience, but the shameful desire for a very specific pleasure overcomes me……

My touching is intimate, gentle and loving. How beautifully he responds, with little movements of fingers, sweet breaths of air that caress my face, small noises from deep within him. He is my temple….such delicate architecture so finely made. He fills my void…..occupies my space…..satisfies my spirit. He rests deeply within me, as I rest in him. We will be one.

The feelings subside, and the guilt returns.

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