Dancing on a Star
“Jack!” my mother hollered up the stairs. “Karen! Dinner is ready.” I waited until I heard my sister leave her room before I went downstairs. I arrived at the table just as my father was sitting down.
He looked over at me and Karen and asked, “How was school today?” Dinnertime is usually the Spanish Inquisition at our house. It’s the only time when my family gets together quietly, so my parents take advantage of the situation to question us about school, homework and anything else they want to discuss. Lately, they have been spending a lot of time discussing Karen’s behavior. Since she turned eight, she thinks she’s eighteen. I never went through a rebellious stage, but I still think that eight is a little too young to be starting.
Mom had prepared fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner. For some reason, the large breast on my plate sickened me. I just couldn’t eat it. I ate a little of the mashed potatoes, and I pushed the green beans around on my plate.
My mother asked, “Why aren’t you eating, Jack?”
“I don’t know,” I replied. “I just don’t feel very hungry.”
My father laughed and said, “You’re a growing boy. You should be on your second plate by now.” I nodded my head and pushed a few more beans around.
My mother reached over and felt my forehead. “You’re not sick, are you?” she asked as she felt to see if I was running a temperature.
“No, Mom,” I responded as I pulled away. “I feel fine.”
“Then why aren’t you eating?” she asked again.
“I’m just not hungry,” I replied. I pushed myself away from the table and asked, “May I be excused?” I got up and left before she said anything.
I went back to my room and tried to do some homework, but it was futile. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I attempted to do some geometry problems, but I know I worked them all wrong. Then, I tried to read a story that was assigned to us in Literature, but Edgar Allan Poe just didn’t seem interesting. Finally, I went over to my computer and sat down.
I googled, “gay,” but I got like a gazillion responses. I needed to narrow down what I wanted to find out. I then typed “gay teen,” and again there were thousands of sites that appeared. A lot were sites that featured gay teen porn. My parents trust me, and I don’t have a block for such sites, but I was still afraid to open one. I was afraid that Karen might come in my room someday to play a video game with one of her girlfriends, and by accident find the sites I visited. It would only take her a few minutes to run downstairs and tell Mom what she found. I sure wouldn’t want to explain to my parents why I had visited a site called ‘Sexy Teen Boys.’
I know that you can delete your search history, and I usually do at the end of the night if I’ve used my computer. However, Robert Dow at school once told us that administrators have a way of finding deleted history if we download something on a computer at school that we shouldn’t be looking at. Sonny Jeffers got really scared because he said he had looked at some women’s breasts once at a site he found in the library. For weeks, he was afraid he was going to get expelled. He didn’t, but it still made us aware that just because we delete something doesn’t mean it disappears forever.
After scrolling several pages, I finally found an article that caught my eye, ‘Teens Coming Out.’ It appeared to be an article that was featured in a gay magazine. I began reading it, but the more I read, the more worried I became. The article tried to sound positive about being gay, but some of the stories about coming out scared me. All my fears seemed to be justified by reading the article. It warned about some of the problems that might occur. It discussed how my parents might react to finding out I am gay. One thing was certain, they wouldn’t do cartwheels in the street when they find out. I don’t think they would abandon me like in some of the examples they gave. One guy’s parents put him out, and he had to live on the streets. He eventually turned to prostitution and drugs. However, that was the most extreme reaction. The article explained how there might be a period of adjustment until parents finally accept the fact that they have a gay or lesbian child.
Another thing the article discussed was how friends might accept it. There were many examples how a gay teen experienced rejection and loss of friendship when he or she came out. Reading that really frightened me. It confirmed what I was most worried about. The article stressed how if a friend is really your friend, they will accept it. But what about someone like me who can count their real friends on one hand? When I held up my hand and imagined three of my fingers being Jimmy, Tyler and Brian, I pushed them down when I considered if they would be my friend if they discovered I was gay. All I was left holding up was a fist.
The more I read, the more worried I became. Finally, I closed the site and deleted my history. I didn’t want to read anymore. I had decided that I couldn’t come out. I went to the bathroom across the hall, took a quick shower and then crawled into bed. But sleep didn’t come easily.
I woke up in the middle of the night with a nightmare. I sat up quickly in bed, and I was wet with sweat. My heart was pounding so rapidly, I thought it would explode. I started out dreaming about Tracy dancing onstage. He was alone, and I was enjoying watching him as he floated across the stage. Suddenly, Jimmy, Tyler and Brian danced onstage beside him. At first, they were wearing pink tutus. They circled Tracy and mocked him for the way he danced. They then began to taunt him and ordered him to dance. Jimmy grabbed his body and tossed him to Tyler. He screamed, “Dance you Poof!” Tyler spun him around and threw him into Brian. Suddenly, the audience began to chant, “Take the poof to the roof!” Jimmy and Brian grabbed Tracy by the arms and forced him offstage. The audience trailed behind as they continued to chant. A big door appeared, and it led to the top of a building. It must have been thirty stories high. They dragged Tracy to the edge, and the crowd shouted, “Take the poof and throw him off the roof!” I woke up just as they lifted Tracy, tossed him and his body disappeared from sight.
“No!” I screamed as I sat up in bed. I looked around quickly as I realized I had just had a nightmare. There was a tap on the door, and my mother peeked her head in.
“Are you alright, Jack?” she asked as she tiptoed across the floor.
“Yeah,” I assured her. “I had a bad nightmare.”
She sat on the edge of the bed and asked, “Do you need to talk about it?”
“No,” I responded. “It was just a bad dream. I’ll be okay.” She patted my arm, rose from the bed and went back to her bedroom.
I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. It was only a quarter after three, but each time I rested my head on the pillow, I kept seeing Tracy being thrown from the building. I was afraid to go back to sleep because, if I did, I might see him hit the ground below.
When I went down for breakfast, my mother was frying bacon on the stove. She turned and asked if I had anymore nightmares. “No, Mom,” I replied. I didn’t tell her that I lay awake the rest of the night. Karen entered so she started talking to her, and she didn’t ask me anything more.
As we were eating, Mom informed us that my sister Stephanie was coming home for the weekend. It was the first time she had been home in several weeks. “She’s bringing a friend,” she informed us. She then turned to me and said, “She said he’s a guy.”
I asked, “Is it her boyfriend?” As far as I knew, she didn’t say she had a boyfriend. However, she might have since the last time she was home.
“I’m not sure,” responded my mother. “She said his name is Darren, but she didn’t mention if he is a boyfriend.” She turned, started washing dishes in the sink and said, “He’ll be sleeping in your room, Jack.”
“What?” I shouted. “I have to give up my room for some college guy?”
“Well,” huffed my mother. “I can’t have him sleeping on the couch, and he’s definitely not going to sleep in Stephanie’s room.”
“Why not, Mommy?” asked Karen. “If he’s her boyfriend.”
My mother looked at me aghast. I started giggling. “Yeah, Mom. Why not?”
She quickly composed herself because I think she was afraid Karen would continue to question her. “It’s just not the proper thing to do,” she replied as she turned and continued washing dishes.
“I still don’t know why I have to give up my room,” I huffed. I looked over at my sister. “Why can’t he sleep in Karen’s room.”
“Forget it,” replied Karen. “I’m not giving up my room. Besides, you’re a boy.”
“What’s that got to do with anything?” I asked.
“That’s enough,” my mother interrupted. “Jack, he’s sleeping in your room. If you don’t want to sleep on the couch, then you can bring a sleeping bag from the basement and sleep on it in your room.”
I asked, “Why can’t Darren sleep in the sleeping bag?”
I stuck my tongue out at my sister when she mimicked my mother saying, “It’s not the proper thing to do.”
I waited a few minutes longer before heading out to school. Jimmy hadn’t stopped by, so he was probably still mad at me for defending Tracy in front of Brian and Tyler. I watched out the window as Tracy made his way down the sidewalk. When he was a block away, I pulled my bookbag over my shoulder and headed out the door. All the way to school I grumbled about giving up my bed to my sister’s friend. I laughed to myself when I thought about peeing in the bed Thursday night and making him sleep in it over the weekend.
I passed Jimmy in the hallway on the way to first period. He was with two guys on the basketball team. He looked over, but he turned his head and appeared to ignore me. ‘Fine,” I thought. ‘If he wants to play this game, I can play it too.’ After third period, I saw him and Tyler approaching. I turned and started talking to Jill, a girl in my class. She seemed surprised that I talked to her, but we chatted all the way to fourth period. I know she likes Jimmy, and I think she wanted to know if he ever said anything about her to me. He has mentioned that he likes her, but I didn’t want to tell her. I wasn’t about to play matchmaker to someone who wasn’t talking to me.
At lunch, I wasn’t sure what I should do. I considered heading to the library to work on a homework assignment, but the librarian is strict, and she won’t let anyone enter without a pass. I really wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t go through the line when I entered the cafeteria. I headed to an empty table toward the back where I hoped no one would notice me.
I took out a handout that had been assigned in geometry and began to work a problem. I looked over when someone sat across from me. It was Jeff Munson!
He smiled, waved his hand and said timidly, “Hi, Jack.”
“Um,” I hesitated. “Hi, Jeff.” I looked around to see if anyone noticed that we were sitting together. I asked, “What are you doing here?”
A hurt look appeared on Jeff’s face. He pushed himself away from the table and stood. “I’m sorry,” he apologized.
As he turned to leave, I said, “No, Jeff. Wait.” He gave me a puzzled look. I told him, “If you want to sit down, go ahead.”
“You sure?” he asked. When I nodded my head, he smiled and sat down.
I continued to work on my geometry problem. I didn’t want to be rude, but I was hoping he would take the hint that I really didn’t want to talk and leave. He unwrapped a hamburger and started nibbling on it. “Aren’t you eating?” he asked.
I shook my head. “I’m not hungry,” I replied. I looked into his face. I had seen Jeff for several years from a distance, but I never dared to stare at him. I was surprised how cute he was. His eyes are amazingly blue, and they seemed to sparkle like glitter. His face was free of blemishes, unlike most boys are age. It was also hairless, not even a wisp of a mustache. His hair is blonde and unkempt which I find really sexy. It flows over his forehead and covers his left eye. His lips are a pale pink. He bit the right side as he stared back at me.
“Why aren’t you hungry?” he asked nervously as he looked away. I glanced around as more students began to sit nearby. Two girls looked over, whispered to each other and giggled.
My voice cracked as I replied, “I got too much homework.”
He giggled and said, “You can eat and do homework at the same time.” When I looked up at him, he brushed some stray hair that had fallen across his eye. As soon as he did, it fell back again.
I glanced quickly around again, leaned forward and asked softly, “What do you want, Jeff?”
He shrugged his shoulders and answered, “I don’t know. I just thought we could talk. Tracy said…”
“Look, Jeff,” I said hurriedly as I shoved my homework inside my bookbag. I stood, looked down and said, “I gotta go. Okay?” I didn’t look back as I rushed from the cafeteria. When I passed the table where Jimmy, Tyler and Brian were sitting, they let out a loud laugh.
Now I’m mad as hell at Tracy. He must have told Jeff what we did in the back of the van. Why else would he just unexpectedly sit down with me at lunch and start talking. We’ve gone to school since the first grade, and at one time we were friends. That is, until he came out. Since seventh grade all of us have avoided him. Tracy must have told him I’m gay. Worst yet, Jimmy, Tyler and Brian saw him sitting with me. Now they are probably wondering if I’m gay. Why else would Jeff sit beside me?
As I did this morning, I waited around after school. Jimmy and the others had basketball practice, so I wasn’t afraid of running into them. I didn’t want to see Tracy. I was afraid what I might say to him if I did.
I had to be careful, however. I never came out to him, and he never asked me if I was gay. He simply told me he was, and that is why we couldn’t be friends. So, if I approached him and asked him about Jeff, then he might wonder why I was upset. Tracy seems really smart, so he could figure it out quickly. If I tell him I don’t want to associate with Jeff because he’s gay, then I would sound like a hypocrite. I’m gay, yet I can’t talk to another gay boy because he’s gay? Tracy is gay, too. However, that is easier since he won’t talk to me.
This whole thing is getting confusing. It’s more than I can handle. Why do I have to be gay? It’s not something that I can change. But it is also something I don’t want to be. I know my world is going to change when I do come out. And right now, the odds of not coming out are getting slimmer every day. Tracy suspects I’m gay. Hell, he knows I’m gay. Why else would I have stroked his dick in the back of the van? If I had been able to, I probably would have put it in my mouth. I wanted to put it in my mouth, and I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve thought about it- a lot. When I look at guys on the internet, I’m always imagining what it would be like to have sex with them. But it scares me to think about that. I can’t even imagine doing it.
I don’t know what to do. I would say I’m on a roller coaster ride, but I’m not. At least on a roller coaster you have highs where you feel good. Right now, all I feel are lows, and they seem to get lower each day.
Things were okay until Tracy moved in and had to do ballet in his room and let Jimmy see him. He started out jokingly calling him a poof. But now, he seems to really resent him. I don’t think it’s because he’s gay. Before Tracy, Jimmy never talked about a gay person. He would occasionally call someone a fag or a cocksucker, but it wasn’t in a mean kind of way. But poof sounds mean. It’s insulting to me. He never called Jeff that. Thinking back, he really never called Jeff anything. Like all of us, he just stopped talking to him when he came out. He’s pretty much left him alone.
But for some reason, he instantly didn’t like Tracy. Maybe it’s because Jimmy is an athlete, although he’s not a very good one. He plays basketball, and in the summer, he enjoys playing baseball. We’ve gone bowling on the weekend, and we have tried to play tennis. Jimmy enjoys competitive sports. I don’t think he considers what Tracy does as athletic. If he could just watch him like I did the other night, he would realize that ballet takes more skill than any sport he competes in.
Jimmy is like my mom and dad. He thinks ballet is for sissies, or poofs, as he calls them. Any guy who dances is weak and effeminate. And Tracy is a lot like Jeff. If someone watches him long enough, they will certainly suspect that he is gay. He is very graceful when he walks. And when he talks, it is somewhat girlish. The few times we’ve talked, he seems to talk with his hands. I’ve noticed Jeff doing the same thing when he’s with a group of girls at school. They make a lot of gestures when they talk. I never thought much of it until I watched them eating together in the cafeteria. I then watched Jimmy, Brian and Terry talk. Not once did they make any movements with their hands, except when Brian talked about Emily Spencer. She has huge breasts, and he cupped his hands over his chest to show how big they are.
Now, I’m watching how I talk, and I wonder if I use gestures. I’m becoming so conscious of it that I’m beginning to look like a zombie with my hands to my side. I’m afraid if I make too many movements then I’m afraid people with think I’m gay.
As I approached my house, I noticed Tracy sitting on his steps. When I came nearer, he rose, walked across the street and waited for me.
“Hey,” he said as I stopped before him.
“Hi,” I replied. I was puzzled why he was talking to me.
He asked nervously, “Can we go somewhere and talk?”
“Please, Jack,” he pleaded. “We need to talk.”
I looked at my house, and I considered inviting him to my room. However, I was afraid Karen would be in her room. She would wonder why Tracy was with me. I’m sure she had picked up what Mom and Dad had said about Tracy. She is only eight, but even at eight she knows what gay means.
Tracy asked, “How about my room?”
“I don’t know,” I responded skeptically. The last time I was in his room was uncomfortable. He had caught me watching him dance.
He grabbed my arm and started to pull me across the street. “I’m not going to molest you,” he laughed as he tugged at my arm.
Reluctantly, I followed him across the street. Once inside, he toed off his shoes in the foyer. Unsure if it was something I was expected to do, I toed off my shoes. Fortunately, my socks were clean.
As we walked into the living room to his bedroom, his mother was sitting on the sofa reading a book. She stopped and looked up at us. “Hello, Jack,” she said with a smile. “I haven’t seen you around lately.”
“I’ve been kind of busy,” I responded. Tracy grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the room. We walked into his bedroom, and he closed the door behind him.
I watched as he began to undress in front of me. He pulled his shirt over his head, and let his pants drop to the floor. He had his back turned to me, so he didn’t see me staring at his nicely rounded ass.
“What are you doing?” My voice was raspy from nervousness. I thought he was going to get naked and seduce me.
He turned and replied, “I’m getting out of my school clothes.” My eyes immediately noticed the bulge in his underwear. I could feel myself start to harden. It was just a week ago that I had my hand wrapped around it. He walked over to the closet, removed a tee shirt and athletic shorts hanging inside and got dressed. When he finished, he walked over to the bed and sat down.
He motioned for me to sit beside him. “Sit down, Jack.” Reluctantly, I walked over and sat beside him.
I looked over and asked, “Why am I here? You’ve acted all week like you don’t want to talk to me.”
He smiled and answered, “I’ve changed my mind.”
I gave him a puzzled look and asked, “What’s that mean?”
“Okay,” he stated. “We didn’t exactly get off on the right foot.” I nodded my head. He laughed and said, “Well, it did start off kind of nice in the back of the van.”
My face reddened and I started to apologize, “About that, I’m really…”
“No,” he interrupted me. “It didn’t bother me.” He looked down at my crotch. “In fact, it was kind of fun.”
I giggled and said, “Yeah, it was.” We both looked down at my crotch as it was beginning to strain from the material.
He turned toward me and sat Indian style on the bed. “I want to try and start over again.”
“Why?” I asked.
“You have to understand something about me,” he started to explain. I nodded my head and waited for him to continue. “I’m a fighter. I’ve had to be. When I was little, I knew I was different than most boys. I think I began to realize when I was probably about seven that I was gay.” He stopped and waited to see if I would say anything. When I didn’t, he continued, “It was around that time that my mom took me to see The Nutcracker at Christmas. It was the most interesting thing I had ever seen. I came home and told my parents I wanted to dance like the Prince. They tried to talk me out of it, but I kept insisting. After that, they enrolled me in a dance class, and I’ve been dancing ever since.”
All I could think of to say was, “Wow.”
He giggled and asked, “Just wow?”
“No,” I replied. “I think it’s cool you wanted to be a dancer.”
“I’ve been practicing almost every day since I was seven,” he said.
My face reddened when I told him, “You’re really good. I enjoyed watching you.”
He smiled and asked, “You did?”
“Yeah,” I giggled. “I don’t know what you do, but I like it.”
It surprised me when he grabbed my hand and held it. My first instinct was to pull away, but I didn’t. “I really want us to be friends. Jeff says you’re a really nice guy.”
“Yeah,” he frowned. “He kind of got upset when you left the table at lunch.”
“No,” he said as he gripped my hand tighter. “It’s okay. He understands. He told me how you guys avoid him. It hurts him, but he knows why you do it.”
I started to pull my hand away, but he held it tighter. I didn’t want to try and explain that we avoided Jeff because he was gay.
He looked into my eyes and asked, “Are you gay, Jack?” I stared into his green eyes and considered whether I wanted to tell Tracy the truth; although, I was sure I really didn’t have to say anything. He squeezed my hand tighter and pleaded, “Please Jack, say it.”
Before I knew what happened, I heard, “Yes,” slip from my lips.
“Thank you.” He leaned over and kissed my cheek.