Jeremy's Swimming Lessons
By the time we got home, I wasn't sure what to think. I felt confused and scared.
I'd kissed two boys. Older boys. High school boys. Not only kissed, they'd touched my privates! And given me an orgasm! The best orgasm of my life!
Mom noticed. Or noticed something. As soon as we got in the house, she started asking questions.
"Are you okay?"
"Is there something wrong?"
"Did something happen during the swimming lessons?"
"Are you sure you're okay?"
"Yes, Mom. Leave me alone!"
I stormed to my room and slammed the door. Not really hard, I didn't want her coming in to yell at me for damaging the house or something. I'd slammed that door a lot recently. This time, I slammed it hard enough to knock a model rocket ship off the shelf.
I sat down on my bed, shaking, and feeling scared and guilty.
I'm not supposed to like boys! Especially not supposed to like kissing boys! And for sure not supposed to like being given an orgasm by boys! Boys aren't even supposed to touch boys, let alone enjoy being touched by them!
What was wrong with me?
It was bad enough I had started to notice how I thought about the other boys that lived in my neighborhood. I knew that was wrong. But I could ignore it. I could take those stupid thoughts and put them away and pretend they were just normal, stupid, dumb thoughts. Random bits of idiocy.
I'd like girls soon, I always thought. I just wasn't ready to. I was a late bloomer that way. Physically, I was an early bloomer, but mentally, I was developing slower into that stage of finding girls attractive instead of rather yucky. That was all.
But no longer.
I'd been kissed by two boys, and enjoyed it! I'd been felt up by two boys, and enjoyed it! I'd been ejaculated by two boys, and I'd enjoyed it!
I'd really enjoyed it!
What was wrong with me? What was wrong with those two boys? Didn't anyone know that there were two homosexuals at the high school? And on the swimming team? And teaching swimming lessons? How could two homosexuals even be in my little town? Let alone at my high school? How? And how was I going to be able to go to that school?
I remembered that little movie they had shown us last year in eighth grade. Boys Beware.
Will I be one of those? Am I going to become a homosexual? I'm going to abduct and hurt boys when I grow up? Go to jail?
Would Chet Hawkins and Howard Skinner abduct me? Do terrible things to me? Would I disappear?
It was horrible enough that I started crying. I hadn't cried since my uncle died two years ago. I was fourteen now, and fourteen-year-old boys don't cry!
Maybe homosexual ones do! I figured.
I curled up and cried. I didn't want to be a homosexual. I wanted to have friends and play with them and grow up and have a family and be normal.
I saw my whole life falling down around me. Until I thought of how I could stop it.
I won't take those damnable lessons! I'll not be a homosexual! I'll be normal! I am normal! I'm going to like girls! I'm going to get married, and have kids, and grow up and be happy and good! I won't be an evil old man that hurts boys! I won't be!
I sat up and made myself stop crying. That was the first step. I would be a man, not a cry-baby, and not a monster.
I took off my swimming trunks and my underwear, and threw them into my wastepaper basket with pure disgust. I would take them outside and burn them later, I decided. I took a shower to wash off the chlorine smell and the feeling of their hands on me. And any traces of my own semen. I got dressed and sat down on my bed, and decided that I would go play, like everything was normal, and it would be.
I went to the park and got into a game of ball. I played hard, like a man should. When Billy Ditmier called me a sissy because my throw came up short, I popped him a good one in the mouth, like a man should. He swung back, and we got into it. We ended up wrestling around and punching each other in the dirt.
Then I accidentally felt him where I shouldn't, and I knew what I felt, and I started getting hard.
I got up and kicked him, and kept kicking him. Stevie Watkins pulled me away and told me to cool it. Billy was bleeding badly from his nose and his lips. And crying.
"Sissy!" I screamed at him. "Cry-baby!"
He got up and ran away. I was so mad I didn't want to play anymore, so I went home. I was dirty, and Mom was angry at me.
"Why did you get so dirty? And why is there blood on your shirt? Did you get hurt?"
"No! Leave me alone!"
I slammed my bedroom door again, harder this time. The model rocket fell off the shelf again, breaking this time. I didn't care. At least I wasn't a sissy, and a cry-baby, or a homosexual. I was a man. And men don't cry.
I got into clean clothes, then sat down to fix the model rocket. When the phone rang, I hoped it wasn't about the fight. When Mom didn't come in to talk to me I stopped worrying that it was. Pretty soon I heard Dad came home from golf. I knew he was going to be coming to my room real soon. And he did.
"Son? Do you care to explain yourself? Billy Ditmeir's mother called a while ago, your mother says. Why did you and he have a fight today?"
"He called me a sissy, and I showed him I'm not."
"Son, that's no reason to start a fight."
"Then what is? When a guy calls you a sissy, you have to prove you're not!"
"Son, you prove you're not a sissy by standing up for yourself, not by picking a fight. Bullies pick fights."
"How do I stand up for myself if I don't fight back?"
"You didn't fight back. You started the fight. Didn't you? Or are you going to tell me that he did?"
I wasn't a liar.
"No. I punched him first. For calling me a sissy. And I'm glad I did."
Dad looked angry now, and I didn't understand why. I'd done what a man would do, hadn't I?
He looked at me for a long time, and that made me really uncomfortable. It was like he could read my mind or something.
"Son, your mother says you've been acting oddly since the swimming lesson this morning. She says that you seemed fine, even happy, when she dropped you off. When she picked you up, she says you seemed happy, too. And that two friends you made there talked to her about further lessons. But by the time you got home, you were moody and upset, that you yelled and went to your room and slammed the door. Then you took off without even telling her that you were leaving."
He stared at me for a few more seconds, and I felt like he had opened the top of my head and was poking around in there, reading all my thoughts.
"Now, what happened on the way home?"
I realized what I had let happen. I had let two boys do something bad to me. I'd turned homosexual!
It was so hard to not cry. Men don't cry, and even if I wasn't a man yet, I was fourteen, and fourteen-year-olds don't cry, especially not in front of their fathers. It was so hard not to!
"Son, I can see something happened. Sometime. Somewhere. Now tell me what."
I sucked in a deep breath, and forced my mouth not to turn into a little child's pout. I would not cry! I was going to be a man!
"Fine. You're not going out to play with your friends tomorrow."
"Don't 'dad' me. You're going to apologize to Billy tomorrow. He's on county the ball team, right? They play tomorrow, so we're going to go to the games, and when you get the chance, you're going to be a man, and apologize to him. You understand me?"
I nodded. If it was what a man would do, then I would do it.
"Yeah, sure. Okay."
We hadn't gone to a ball game for a while. I was sort of looking forward to it. It was something that men did, and something I liked to do. I knew I was normal! I used to play on the county team with Billy and our friends, until I had hurt my ankle a few months ago. I was only now getting back into shape, and I hoped to get back on the team soon.
"Good. Now come out and watch the regular programs with us."
I watched some television with my parents, then said I was going to take out the trash, then read and go to sleep. We burned our trash back then, and we had a metal barrel we burned it in. I took out the trash and burned it, and then took my wastebasket outside and threw my trunks and underwear on top of the trash after the fire got going.
It was hard to fall asleep that night. I was so worried about how I had liked what had happened at the swimming lessons. I didn't even do it to myself. I was so afraid of what I would think about during it.
The next morning I stayed in bed until Mom came to get me out of it. I never stayed in bed that late. But since I wasn't allowed to go outside, or play ball with my friends, what reason was there to get out of bed?
After breakfast I was put to work. I usually had things to do around the house on weekends, but today I was given a lot of extra chores. Sometimes I was helping Dad, sometimes I was doing something on my own. I was dirty and sweaty by noon, and had to have a shower.
Then it was time to go to the game. Baseball was something men did. Boys played it too, but they turned into men. And grown men played it, and got famous playing it. It was a man's game.
I loved playing it. I was a good outfielder, and could hit the ball almost better than all my friends. Even Carl's fastball. Carl was going to be on the high school team, we were all sure. I wanted to be. I planned on trying out when school started next month, along with Carl, Stevie, and Brian.
We had a picnic during the break between games. It was okay. I wasn't looking forward to apologizing to Billy, so that sort of kept me from having a really good time. Mom left to spend time with the women, whatever they did.
Just before the second game started, the one that Billy was playing in, while the players were getting together in the dugouts, Dad and I walked down there. Billy was easy to find, as he and his dad were waiting for us. I knew they had planned this. I manned up and apologized. We shook hands. Our dads seemed pleased with us. I didn't hate Billy or anything, we usually got along pretty good.
With that over, I got to enjoy the game. Dad and I had sodas and dogs as Billy's team played. Billy did well. He even got a double and an RBI on two hits at four at-bats. But his team lost.
We stayed and watched the high-school aged game. That was a first. Usually we went home, Dad went to play poker with his buddies, and I went and played ball with my friends. Tonight was going to be a big game, though. The Builder's Mart team was taking on the Farmer's Co-op team. The teams were made up of kids from our high school as well as adults. The Farmer's Co-op team was the best team in the county. They were undefeated. Builder's Mart wasn't bad at all, in second place with two losses.
Farmer's Co-op just had the best players. Their pitcher could curve a ball like a major leaguer. Everyone knew Walter Brendan's name.
The game was really close. In the last inning, it was 6-5, Builder's Mart ahead, and Farmer's at bat first. A couple guys got hits, but the third out came before anyone got home.
All that Builder's Mart had to do to win was keep Farmer's from scoring a run. I knew they would. They were number one by two games, and this would make it four. There were no doubts. It was all but over.
The first batter got a single on the second pitch. The second batter struck out. Walter Brendan's curve ball was a monster! Next, a single, and now men were on first and second. The next guy hit a grounder up the middle. The shortstop gloved it and tagged the runner, then threw it to third, but the guy was safe. Now there were guys on first and third with one out. The next batter knocked it almost straight to the shortstop, who dove and caught it and threw it home before he came to his feet. The runner headed back to third, and now there were two outs.
"That shortstop is something," Dad said.
He was. He was fast, and threw well. He had hit a homer earlier, and then had turned a single into a double with his speed. And he'd caught four hits and had dove for one earlier, coming up rolling and throwing out the runner at second. He was something.
Now he'd been responsible for two outs in the last inning, keeping the team's lead.
Then, like it was fate, the next batter knocked it straight to him on a single bounce. He had to run and dive for it again, and he did, and he came up rolling, and threw out the guy trying to get home.
That shortstop had not only scored an RBI and a homer, and gotten five outs, he'd just saved the game with another awesome running, diving catch and a rolling throw home.
Number 24 was a hell of a player! I wished the field had a P.A. system. I would like to have known who he was. I decided I would ask the guys if they knew when we got together to play in a few minutes down at the park.
Dad and I had to wait for Mom to come back, so we had another round of sodas and dogs while we waited. That last play was about all anyone was talking about. And I finally heard someone mention that player's name.
At first, I figured there had to be two guys with the same name. Certainly no homosexual was any good at sports. And Chet Hawkins was certainly a homosexual. How could it be the same person? It couldn't be.
I had to know.
"Excuse me, Mister?"
The man I had heard use his name, as he passed by with his boy and girl in tow, turned around and said, "Yes, young man?" Then he saw my dad and smiled at him, then said, "Hello, Michael. How are you?"
He held his hand out to my dad, who shook it, smiling, and replied, "'I'm fine, David. How are you?"
"Doing just fine. I guess this is your son?"
"Yes, it is. This is Jeremy."
Dad put his hand on my shoulder.
"These are my little monsters. Frankie and Darlene. Kids, this is Michael, whom I work with."
"Hello," they said almost together.
"Hello, Frankie, Darlene."
"What can I do for you, Jeremy?"
"You said number 24 on Farmer's Co-op is Chet Hawkins?"
"Are you sure?"
"Certainly. I know his father. He lives almost next door to me. We play cards together with our wives, and I've known Chet since he was a baby."
"He goes to the high school?"
"Yes, of course."
"Blond hair? Green eyes? On the swimming team, too?"
"Yes. And the baseball team, of course. One of the best swimmers, too, I hear. All the time." He laughed at that. "He'll be a senior this year. Bright young man. His mother loves to brag about his school marks, too. I expect big things for his future."
It couldn't be! He had everyone fooled! He was a horrible homosexual! How could he be good at sports? And school? And have his father proud of him? It couldn't be!
"Is there anything else?" he asked me.
"No, sir. I... I just wanted to make sure it was the same guy."
"Well, I'd say so. You'd do good to follow in his footsteps."
I was stunned.
"Jeremy here isn't bad himself. He didn't get to play yet this year, hurt his foot badly. But he's very good. I hope he'll follow through on his plan to join the team in high school this fall."
"He'd have a good bunch of guys to participate with, certainly. Good luck, Jeremy."
"Uh, yeah, thanks."
"I'll see you at work, Michael."
"Sure thing," Dad said.
As they walked away, Dad asked me, "You know this Chad?"
I didn't know what to say. I sure did, but did I want to admit to knowing a homosexual? Dad certainly didn't know about him. No one seemed to. I assumed it would be okay to admit that I did, so I nodded.
"Good. You get to know him even better when you go to school with him. I think you could learn a thing or two from him."
What could I say? I just nodded. Mom pulled up just a couple of minutes later.
"Game ended early?" she asked as we got into the car.
"Sure did. The Farmer's Co-op team won, thanks to Chad, their shortstop. He's something. He's on the baseball and the swimming team at the high school. And it seems our Jeremy knows him."
"Chet," I corrected before I thought.
"Oh? Well, that's nice. There was a Chet at the swimming lessons yesterday. He seemed quite nice. Was that him?"
Like I said, I'm no liar, especially not to my parents.
"Oh, well, that's fine! So will he be doing these more advanced lessons your mother said you wanted to take?"
I'd forgotten about that. I nodded when Dad turned to look my way.
"Wonderful. You take those lessons, then. Get to know him. You pay attention to him and follow his lead, son."
I felt like I had just been condemned to a firing squad. I was so doomed.
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