The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
- Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, 14 February 2011

Countdown: 4 - Flesh of Lost Summers (Part III)

When we changed from primary to secondary school, again my mates and I were split up into different classes. In my new class I met Jonas. Jonas had wavy brown hair that I always wanted to run my hands through, and a snub nose, and a beautiful, expressive mouth that made me think of lions, and of that scene in “God’s Army” where the Archangel Gabriel says: “Do you know how you got that dent, in your top lip? Way back, before you were born, I told you a secret. Then I put my finger there and said ‘Shush!’”
During the braks I still hung out with Hector, Orcun, and Leo, and Jonas sometimes joined us for football. Like us he was also part of the run-about table tennis crowd at the concrete table tennis tables in the school yard. When I had to be with my own class, I spent most of my time in his company.
Jonas could tell great jokes, and had a keen eye for the weaknesses of our teachs. No one could imitate them like he, cruel and true. And he was always ready to join in any mischief. But at the same time there was something very fragile about him, some sort of puppy dog quality, the way he would follow orders, and his quick, darting looks, checking out the eyes and faces of those around him, if we were still laughing, if we were all still with him.
That winter I had graduated, via Grant Morrison, from superheroes to the wonderful worlds of Garth Ennis, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Warren Ellis. I had tried to convert Jonas, and had first given him Morrison’s Invisibles and then The Filth. One afternoon in late May we were at my place. Jonas was deeply immersed in the sexual misadventures of Greg Feely, and somehow we got talking about pron. It was all red faces, and machismo, and giggles. I kept taxing his face for signs of rejection and was always ready to jump back into joking, but Jonas proved reluctantly interested.
“Want to?” I asked finally.
I nodded. “Yeah.”
Jonas hesitated, but he didn’t say no. So I sat up against the wall, and began to unbuckle my belt. After a second he followed suit. We were both very hard but also tense and uncertain. When we both had cum, grunting and panting, we fell back and got a major case of the giggles.
After a while we recuperated, but neither of us made a move to clean up or even pull up his trousers again. Jonas liked at me, a bit concerned, and asked: “Isn’t that gay?”
For a second I was tempted to say: ‘Nah, we’re just messing around,’ or something like that, but I steeled myself, and said. “I am gay.”
He gave me a long look and I couldn’t read his face. Then we heard ‘Nessa come home, and got cleaned up. A short while later Jonas said he had to get going, and left. And the next two days he was oddly reserved in school. He didn’t cut me or anything, but there never seemed to be a moment when we were alone together, and no mention of that afternoon was made.
The following weekend our class made a three-day excursion to an old monastery in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, a couple of kilometres north of Berlin. The weather was very hot, but still with the humid green heat of late spring. On the bus ride Jonas had sat with someone else, and I was fully decided to ignore him and forget about him. But that evening, after supper, when we had some time to do as we pleased, he came up to me in the hall and told me to follow him. He lead me to the herb garden, where we were alone but for the last of the evening sun. And behind a dogberry bush in full bloom he pulled me to him, awkwardly, not knowing were to put his elbows and knees, and kissed me with those wonderful, leonine lips, long, and wet, and without any skill.
“I am, too,” he said, when he finally let go of me.
Together with the sun our shadows faded from the gothic, red brick wall of the ancient building, but I will forever remember the smell of those dogberry roses, and the wind in those gnarled, old oak trees, and the taste of the hostel cantina supper on his tongue, and the sense that maybe, just maybe, there could be an ordinary life to be had on this here planet, for me.
For one month we were an item. A secret, covert, closeted item, to be sure, but a real couple. We went to the cinema, we held hands, we snogged behind the school, and we made out on my mum’s couch. Then came the summer holidays. He went to Italy with his rents. I waited, eager for his return. When he came back, he had fallen in love with a girl and wasn’t gay any more.


  1. Beautiful imagery, a nice experience, all was good up until the last sentence. I guess it's a good example of how some people do go through phases.

  2. On the one hand, not the storybook ending. On the other, at least a few short weeks of something delightful, precious and, dare I say, pure. First love? You certainly speak of him fondly.

  3. Such a different, lighter tone in these parts. February has some heart after all! But the pattern of bitter endings is carrying strong. :-)

    A friend of mine and Shannon's is openly lesbian, and we have seen her go through at least 6 relationships with curious-but-hetero girls (maybe they were going through 'phases' as Brian puts it). It's the same story, again and again. Fun, exploration, but in the end our friend gets heartbroken and the heteros go back to boys. A couple militant experiences with the local gay crowd has made her not want to hang with them, and the heteros just keep jerking her around...

  4. "“God’s Army” where the Archangel Gabriel says: “Do you know how you got that dent, in your top lip? Way back, before you were born, I told you a secret, then I put my finger there and I said ‘Shush!’”"

    I think that movie's called The Prophecy in the US. Christopher Walken as Gabriel and Viggo Mortenson as the sexiest Satan ever? :D

  5. @Hyperion: Thank you. ^_^

    @Brian/Ben/Andrew: Maybe it was just a natural phase of experimenting with Jonas, but I don't think so. I think Jonas was very weak inside. He always wanted to be able to hide behind someone, lean on someone. He would snipe from safe covers, his cruel, well-observed jokes, the way he would gleefully spread rumors and gossip - his eyes would light up and he'd get flushed cheeks when he could find bonding and closeness with someone over speaking ill of a third person. I think he wasn't going through a queer phase with me, but that he - okay, this probably sounds terribly conceited now - but that he latched onto someone who was stronger than him. And that once he got to see my soft underbelly, the uke in me, the giggling, cuddly, infatuated side of me, he began to withdraw. And decide that being queer was weak and unimpressive after all. Also, I think he felt before that girls wouldn't notice him, that he was too socially weak. A hanger-on. But when this girl was interested in him, well, that simply was better - was a better social status, something to boast of - than I could offer.

    @Jes: Brilliant movie, innit? ^_^ "Never trust a fucking angel!"

  6. If I sound bitter about Jonas, that's just because for a long time I was. First love? I no longer have any iea what the word love means, but the way he went, it hurt badly, in a way I couldn't forgive myself and him for ages. But now, yeah, I remember him fondly. So what if he's weak. Aren't we all? I sure got nothing to show for in that regard. In a way it was his insecurity... there it is again... his attempt at bravery in the face of fear, that moment when he pushed himself to kiss me, to try for it, to dare to hope that good could come of it that made him so special in my heart. Wherever he is now, I do wish him well in his life.