Somewhere during the late ‘80’s.
I flopped down on my back sickly ill from too many Boone’s Farm wine coolers. A ghastly feeling. Like you want to vomit but you can’t. The couch was one of those big, neutral colored, over-stuffed affairs, u-shaped, and took up most of the cavernous living room. In the darkened house, the party was ebbing away and most of the teenaged guests had departed. The house itself being a cookie-cutter two-story stucco monstrosity which infest every neighborhood in predominantly white suburbs of Los Angeles. It rested in a cul-de-sac, an exact copy of every other house on the block, except this one was somewhat more a bit unkempt.
On the couch, I complained about how my stomach felt woozy. The only other person with me was Roland Gerodias, a friend from my high school. We didn’t attend any classes together, barely associated through mutual friends. The casual association primarily through Janet Tarrish, a fellow classmate and whose house we were currently sleeping over in. As I said, I was lying on this couch with Roland, the tops of our heads almost touching with our bodies sprawled in opposite directions. The couch was that big.
Roland was a third generation Filipino who lived with his parents in a one-story stucco house on the low end of the neighborhood. Soft-spoken, we met each other while playing Dungeons and Dragons after school at a friend’s house. We hit it off immediately and rapidly became friends.
Out of the half dark, he mentioned something about getting one’s fingers sucked took your mind off the ill feeling. Snickering with naiveté, I agreed and offered up my hand, in which he performed the remedy with slow, precise movements. That, of course, led to us making out, both fearing either Janet or the old grandpa who lived in the den and spent his waning years watching the Playboy Channel in soiled, blue stripped pajamas would walk in and catch us in this uncouth homosexual experimentation.
Up to that point, I had never kissed a boy, nor made out like two lovers on the lips as Roland and I did in the still of the night. Nonetheless, I liked it. I liked it a lot. It stimulated dormant passions in me I never dreamed existed. After an hour or so of fumbling and whispered giggling, we both fell asleep.
The following morning, at the crack of dawn, I rose and went to the restroom to relieve myself. Glancing in the mirror, my neck was a constellation of hickies. I examined them in my reflection, gliding a finger over the brown and purple splotches. In guilt and mortification, I left the house without a word and returned home, quickly darting over puddles of incandescent water created by automatic lawn sprinklers.
Later that afternoon as I was in the kitchen preparing a sandwich, my mother caught sight of the marks and hissed, “What are those on your neck?”
“I…uh…” I faltered in confused guilt. She, at this point, was completely oblivious of my homosexual tendencies.
My mother stated in hushed tones, her face disdainfully puckered as if she just sucked a lemon, “Only Mexicans give each other those.”
The way she said Mexicans was laced in contempt.
Several days passed and I never saw Roland on campus. Though during each boring class, I sat brooding with the images and emotions of what we had done burned into my mind. It was my first contact with another of the same sex in that way (apart from a fumbling quick blow job or mutual masturbation sessions of very, very few in the past) My mind reeled in teenage obsession yet with the unrefuted fact the act could never be repeated or spoken of in lieu of classmates catching on. And then again, why would occur again? A spontaneous thing ensued, nothing more. So, I kept quiet, tolerating the smirking jabs of humor by schoolmates of having a girlfriend or quips of “finally getting some pussy” over the prior weekend.
One afternoon, as I was in my room at my desk drawing horridly melancholy and surreal comics, my mother said I had a phone call. It was Roland. When I heard his voice it was like the air was snatched from my lungs. He asked if I wanted to hang out. I said sure.
At that time, my mother allowed me drive her ’74 powder-blue Maverick around. I came up some excuse to use the car and off I went. It was a horrible junker. The engine chugged so loud and low, you could hear it blocks away announcing your arrival. I had nick-named it “Das Boot”. I picked up Roland at his house and we drove around Los Angeles joking, talking, and having a casual time as friends often do; eventually making our way up to Griffith Observatory. The sun had already set and grey shadows stretched across an empty parking lot. Not too empty, there was a darkened car on the other side of the lot, windows steamed and slowly rocking. I noticed a pudgy, balding man in a track suit hunched in the bushes watching, his round face gleamed in a film of sweat.
Before we parked, Roland and I stopped and scored a bottle of wine from some hobo who we talked into purchasing for us at a liquor store. We sat in the car and talked about nothing until the event at Janet’s house was brought up. Roland asked if I liked guys. I stated timidly I did, never had an experience with a girl, I added and held no desire to acquire one. Roland stated he loved girls and looked forward to having a wife and children one day. My heart sank. While he confessed this to me, he viewed in interest the muddled shadows in the adjacent car and its rhythmic movements. He unbuttoned his pants, pulling them down to his knees; brandished his erection. Looking at me, he took my head in his hands and we again began kissing passionately. He took out my erection and began masturbating both of us. His copper-colored body was lithe and hairless. I truly believe it was this initial encounter which paved the way for my preference of the darkly exotic sort. I had never been driven to seek the embrace of men with fair skin or abundance of body hair. I truly believe it was Roland’s influence. We slid into the backseat and did what most deemed unnatural. Four times.
When I dropped him off at his house at 2am, I watched as he said “Check ya later…” and disappeared into the quiet darkness of his home. I was overbearingly smitten. Throughout the rest of the year and onward into first term of community college, Roland and I remained close friends. During that period, he was my solitary sexual outlet, much to my dismay. I was madly in love with him and he knew it and patiently tolerated it, I suppose. I would become insanely jealous, not when he chased after girls, but when other guys hit on him. Out right dramatically infuriated. It was during the final year of our friendship the entire ordeal crashed and burned. I became overtly possessive and went out of my way to take up all his free time. Free time spent either in the back seat of my car or some cheaply rented hotel room humping like rabbits. Over a period of a few months in lieu of attending different colleges and work schedules we stopped associating with one another. When I finally sought him out, he’d since moved out of his parents’ house and shacked up knee deep in a torrid love affair with a dumpy, fat girl with large, thick glasses and bad acne. I attempted to speak with him (alone, but the girl wouldn’t have it) eventually I was asked to leave and never come around again. I never saw Roland again after that.
A block away I sat in my car ugly sobbing, my heart crushed. Unaware future events would allocate far more insidiously emotional heart aches and disappointments. Ah, the ignorance of youth!