On November 20th, 1968, during a general audience, Pope Paul VI expressed himself so: “One forgets that man in all his spiritual being, that is, in his supreme faculties of knowing and loving, is correlative to God; is made for him; and every conquest of the human spirit increases in him the restlessness, and ignites the desire to go further, to reach the ocean of being and life, the full truth, which alone gives beatitude. Removing God as a term of research, to which man is by nature addressed, means to mortify man himself. The so-called “death of God” turns into death of man. We are not the only ones to affirm such a sad truth. Here is a testimony that has been left by a very cultured avant-garde writer and unhappy type of modern culture (Klaus Mann, son of Thomas). He wrote: “There is no hope. We intellectuals, traitors or victims, we would do well to recognize our situation as absolutely desperate. Why should we make illusions? We are lost! we are won! The voice that pronounced these words – the testimony goes on -, a voice a little veiled, but pure, harmonious and strangely suggestive, was that of a student of philosophy and literature, with whom I met by chance in the ancient university city of Uppsala. What he had to say was interesting, and it was still characteristic: I heard similar statements by intellectuals everywhere in Europe. . . And he said in a voice that was no longer certain: We should abandon ourselves to absolute despair …” Dear sons, for us no, it is not so.”
Who is Klaus Mann, the man Paul VI considers the most unhappy paradigm of modern culture? And what is the meaning of the reference made by Klaus Mann to that student met in the ancient university city of Uppsala? As mentioned by Paul VI himself, Klaus Mann is one of the sons of Thomas Mann, that is the son of one of the men who most influenced European culture in the last hundred years, but it is not about literature that I intend to speak.
The fact that Klaus is son of Thomas has enormous significance, from my point of view, because both the father and the son found themselves having to deal with their homosexuality and in front of it they gave very different answers. In the work of Thomas Mann the atmospheres are very particular and, in general, the gay reader feels immersed in a world that doesn’t seem strange to him at all. The conflict between the “serene” bourgeois world where everything is codified and ordered and the appeal of art that has anyway the charm of the abyss, often emerges. This conflict in “Death in Venice” reveals itself, out of metaphor, as the conflict between heterosexuality and homosexuality.
Thomas Mann, born in 1875 in Lübeck, when he was a high school student, confessed his feelings to a friend who didn’t share them because he simply couldn’t share them. That experience constituted the first falling in love of Thomas Mann. One gets the impression that the image of that high school mate often returns within Mann’s work. But Mann experienced a much more engaging falling in love with Paul Ehrenberg, a young violinist and impressionist painter a year younger than him. Between 1899 and 1903, according to the diaries and letters of Thomas Mann, falling in love became a real infatuation, which led to an intense relationship between the two guys. A painting by Ehrenberg entitled “Die Hetzjagd” (the hunt) hung for some time in the room of Thomas Mann. In those years, from a set of memories of family life written by Thomas for Paul Ehrenberg, who lived in Munich, the drafting of “The Buddenbrooks” began.
Both the character of Hans Hansen of “Tonio Kröger” (1903) and the character of the painter in the novel “The hungry men” (1903) and that of Rudolf ‘Rudi’ Schwerdtfeger, also a violinist and an object of homosexual interest in the “Doctor Faustus” clearly refer to Paul Ehrenberg. In the case of Tonio Kröger the analogies become very strong because in Munich, where he used to meet Ehrenberg, Mann saw by chance for the first time a twenty year old girl who was talking animatedly with the tram ticket collector, he tried to know who she was, he was told that she was Katia Pringsheim, a student of mathematics, physics and chemistry, daughter of the great mathematician Alfred Israel Pringsheim, a university professor very rich and of Jewish family, who lived in a grand palace the most beautiful life that a high bourgeois could dream of. The professor Pringsheim was not an observant Jew, and he let his sons follow Lutheranism but it was not enough to save his family from Nazi persecution. Mann, through friends, managed to get introduced to Pringsheim and “fell in love” (I’ll explain later why I put this word in quotation marks) with Katia but she wished to enjoy her youth and was not willing to marry and nothing followed.
Mann left for Denmark where he wrote the Tonio Kröger, in which Tonio falls deeply in love with both his school friend Hans Hansen and the young girl Ingeborg Holm, both had blue eyes, light hair and a distinctly Nordic appearance. The strength of Tonio Kröger derives from the fact that it is a substantially autobiographical novel in which the true passions of the young Mann are transfused. It should be emphasized that Tonio is identified as “a different one”, in this case for artistic reasons, that is, as someone who cannot enjoy what others enjoy. In Denmark Mann not only wrote the Tonio Kröger but also wrote letters to Katia Pringsheim that convinced the girl to agree to the wedding, celebrated on February 11th, 1905. It was a “happy” wedding, here too I have to put the term happy in quotation marks, six children were born. However, many doubts remain in considering this marriage as the outcome of a love story.
In his essay “On marriage – toast to Katia” Mann argues that marriage and art are both a bourgeois service to life, an ethical pact and a sacrament, because it is precisely through art and marriage that the spirit arrives to dominate on matter, on flesh and blood. It should be noted that shortly before the marriage Mann had lived with Ehrenberg a very strong relationship and it was not a sublimated relationship, such as the one described in Tonio Kröger, but a sexual relationship that decades later Mann himself will consider the fundamental emotional experience of his life with unequivocal words: “I lived and loved, . . . finally, with a new happiness, because I held in my arms someone I was deeply in love with”, but, it must be underlined, these evaluations of the relationship with Ehrenberg have matured in Mann several decades after their relationship.
At the time of their relationship, Mann’s attitude was radically different and was dominated by a kind of self-denial as a homosexual and by the condemnation of “abnormality”. In practice Mann condemned himself to marriage to try to remove from himself the homosexual passion he had lived deeply with Ehrenberg. Thomas’s brother, Heinrich, who also claimed that Thomas’s relationship with Ehrenberg was madness and insisted that his brother get married soon, suspected that the marriage had been accepted by Thomas for reasons of social opportunity, of course it is that the social position of his father-in-law undoubtedly favored Thomas.
Some, given the existences of marriage, have tried to talk about a bisexuality of Thomas Mann but the reality would rather make us think of an escape from homosexuality to a bourgeois paradise much more reassuring. The poor Ehrenberg had no choice but to follow the path of marriage, too, and ended up marrying the painter Lilly Teufel. Mann, after the wedding, wrote “Royal Highness”, the story is set in the Grand Duchy of Grimmburg, a tiny imaginary state, reduced to situations of economic hardship, and the protagonist is the second son of the Grand Duke who is forced to marry a rich heiress to raise the fate of the state. The contrast between “Royal Highness” and “Tonio Kröger” could not be more jarring. Thomas Mann had six children from Katia, the first two were admittedly homosexual, the eldest Erika, born in Munich on November 9th 1905, married on July 25th 1926, not yet twenty-one years old, with Gustaf Gründgens, but in 1929 divorced. Erika, a declared lesbian, had her first relationship in 1932 with Pamela Wedekind, whom she met in Berlin and who was engaged to her brother Klaus, who was also a homosexual.
We known, in successive periods, at least three other important and sexually passionate lesbian relationships of Erika Mann, on whose sexual orientation there was never any doubt. Her father Thomas had a very positive attitude towards women with whom his daughter had a love affair, but he didn’t show the same openness towards his son Klaus. The attitudes of Klaus and his father towards homosexuality were radically antithetical and this didn’t encourage dialogue between them. I don’t elaborate the discourse on Klaus Mann’s homosexuality here, because I will take it analytically again after concluding that on his father.
Even after the marriage Mann didn’t abandon the homosexual topic and in 1912 he published “Death in Venice” which was the basis of the homonymous film by Luchino Visconti of 1971 and of the homonymous 1973 melodrama by Benjamin Britten. Needless to say, both Visconti and Britten were homosexuals. The story is imbued with a tragic spirit. Gustav von Aschenbach, a fifty-year-old man who dedicated his whole life to art, after remaining a widower, went to Venice and in the grand Hotel des Bains in the Lido island, was struck by the beauty of a Polish boy aged more or less 14, Tadzio, sailor suit, stayed in the Hotel with all his family. On the boy Aschenbach builds a thousand arguments apparently related to his conception of art, while he observes the boy trying not to be discovered. But it’s too hot and in Venice cholera breaks out, the authorities minimize but Aschenbach realizes that the danger is real, he should warn the family of that boy but he doesn’t because he doesn’t want to see him leave, in the meantime, from an exchange of looks Aschenbach is led to believe that the boy shares his feelings, the presence of Tadzio becomes obsessive in Aschenbach’s mind who comes to realize that his interest is a sexual interest and that the art plan is just a fictional overlap. Aschenbach weakened and sickly sees Tadzio play with friends and then raise an arm almost to greet him, that will be the last image of Tadzio that will accompany the last breath of the man who had hiddenly loved him. The novel has its undeniable tragic power, but the association between homosexuality and death seems to be a too emphasized theorem.
Mann’s difficulty in accepting his homosexuality was also found in 1925 when Thomas wrote a small essay entitled “On Marriage”. In this little work Mann opposes marriage (obviously heterosexual) to homosexuality as if they were the only two possible options. And his position against homosexuality appears very clear, I would say far too sharp to appear credible. In 1927, when Mann was 52, during a holiday in Silt, he met the then 17-year-old Klaus Heuser and invited him to his villa in Munich. The one for Klaus Heuser was probably the last great passion of Mann, but always very restrained. When Heuser went to see Mann in Zurich in 1935, Mann noted in his diary: “He has not changed at all or just a little: skinny, still a boy at twenty-four, the same eyes. I kept looking at him and saying ‘My God!’ … He expected me to kiss him but I didn’t, but before he left I was able to say a few words of love to him.”
I come now to a critical moment, not only for the life of Thomas Mann and his sons but for the whole of Germany and unfortunately also for the whole of Europe and not only for it. The elections of May 1928 had brought to the Reichstag 12 National Socialist deputies, but already in the 1930 elections the National Socialist party of Hitler had passed to 107 deputies. In the 1932 elections Hitlerian deputies rose to 230 out of 608 seats in total and the National Socialist party became the first party in Germany. Hitler ran for the presidential elections of January 1933. In the elections, Hindenburg, a hero of the First World War, outgoing president, appeared the only candidate able to stop the rise of Hitler and was supported by a coalition that went from the nationalists to the Social Democrats. Hindenburg again won the presidency with 53% of the votes against 37% of Hitler, who was appointed Chancellor on January 30th, leading a coalition of parties (Nazis and German-national popular party), but a few days later, in the elections of March 5th 1933, the climate had radically changed. It was voted in the week when the Reichstag building was burned (February 27th 1933).
Marinus van der Lubbe, a 24-year-old Dutch communist, blamed for the fire, was beheaded for this reason on January 10th 1934. The majority of historians agrees that the fire had been organized for political purposes by Nazi leaders, the evidences in this sense are many and were collected from independent sources. The Reichstag fire became a pretext to banish an anti-Bolshevik crusade against democratic parties. The fact is that Hiltler convinced Hindenburg to issue the so-called “Reichstag decree” on the same day of February 27th 1933, on February 28th the decree became law and most of the rights guaranteed by the Weimar Constitution were suspended for emergency reasons. In this climate, the elections for the renewal of the Reichstag were held on March 5th. The leaders of the Social Democratic Party were forced to flee. Despite an endless series of threats and intimidation, the Nazis didn’t obtain the absolute majority. Hitler was therefore forced to maintain an alliance with the German-national popular party. Hitler aimed not at a coalition majority but at obtaining the so-called “decree of full powers”, i.e. a legislative power independent of the Raichstag, to pass the decree of full powers a majority of 2/3 of the Reischstag was needed. On March 23th the decree was approved with the support of the Catholic Center and with the only Social Democrats voting against, and entered into force on March 27th. Many social democrats were physically prevented from entering Parliament while all the communist deputies, who constituted 17% of Parliament, had been arrested.
Given this historical picture, one wonders what was the position of Thomas Mann and his sons. If one considers that in 1929 Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature it is easy to understand that his position would not have been indifferent to the Nazis. In January 1933 Mann held a public lecture at the University of Munich on the theme “Pain and Greatness of Richard Wagner” in which he effectively denied the links between Nazism and Wagnerian art, the Nazis present in the hall gave signs of nervousness because Mann represented a voice openly out of the chorus, just in the critical moments of Hitler’s assault on power. Mann realized the danger, especially since his wife’s family was of Jewish origin, and he immediately moved to Switzerland and then to the United States, and a group of German anti-Nazi exiles gathered around him.
I limit myself to remembering that from 1940 to the end of the war Thomas Mann recorded a long series of speeches in German that were broadcast by Radio London to be heard in Germany. In these speeches Mann is the first to refer to the extermination of Jews in the gas chambers, the report of crimes perpetrated by the Nazis is documented and there is a very clear attempt to awaken the consciences of the Germans by making them aware of the atrocities that Hitler’s propaganda had systematically hidden. There is no doubt that Mann was one of the very few and tenacious “German” animators of anti-Nazism. Immediately after the surrender of Germany on May 8th 1945, Thomas Mann will read in German on the radio the radio message titled “The lagers” announcing the destruction of the culture and life of Germany and making the Germans understand how the horror of the extermination camps had shamefully destroyed the image of Germany in Europe, Mann argues that this is a sin against the German spirit that cannot be forgiven.
If already in 1945 Europe began to make a difference between German and Nazi, this is due to the few characters who behaved like Thomas Mann. But one thing should be stressed, Thomas Mann did not make choices of convenience but of conscience, and when in 1952, the most ferocious “McCarthyism” spread in the United States, a sort of witch hunt against the Communists or presumed such, wanted by the Republican Senator Mc Carthy assisted by two young men who would have had considerable weight in the history of the USA as Richard Nixon and Robert Kennedy, Thomas Mann became indignant and abandoned the United States as the greatest foreign intellectuals did, for example Charlie Chaplin and his wife Oona O’Neil. Even if the discourse would deserve much further study, let’s leave aside Thomas Mann and take care of his son, whom Paul VI presents as the unhappy paradigm of modern culture.
Klaus Henry Mann, second son of Thomas was born in Munich on November 18th 1906. From the age of 19, in 1925, with the publication of his first novel “The sacred dance”, an autobiographical book of a unique and disarming sincerity in which he portrays the life of the gay Berlin of the 20s, he declared himself homosexual. In the same year “Anja e Ester” also came out, a very delicate love story between two girls. If you think that the pretext for the murderer of Ernst Röhm and the top of the SA by Hitler in 1934 was just homosexuality, it is understood that in 1933, with Hitler’s coming to power, the situation of Klaus became particularly dangerous and Klaus followed without hesitation his father in exile.
He was a sensitive and fragile 26-year-old guy, but he was one of the most tenacious and courageous adversaries of Nazism. His liberalism was guided by great ideals, it was, in essence, a faith that in some respects recalled certain aspects of socialism. Fascinated by the Christian ideal, Klaus had deep friendships in every social and cultural level. He himself tells us with the utmost seriousness of fleeting loves with some sailors from the port of Marseilles. He loved without being returned the surrealist writer René Crevel and later had a history of a few years with an American journalist Thomas Quinn Curtiss. He became a fraternal friend with the lesbian writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach, with André Gide, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947, and Jean Cocteau, a French academic, author of novels, theater and film director. Both Gide and Cocteau were explicitly homosexual. A work by Klaus Mann is particularly well-known to the general public due to its film reworking, which won the Oscar in 1980, and is “Mephisto or the story of a career”, in which Klaus describes the story of his former brother-in-law, the actor Gustaf Gründgens, who had divorced his sister Erika in 1929, and had sold his soul to the devil in order to make a career in the Nazi regime. Obviously Gründgens didn’t like the publication of the work at all. The adoptive son of Gründgens, in the 1960s, turned to the court and after seven years of legal battles he succeeded in obtaining from the German Supreme Court that the book was not reprinted, but after his death the book was printed again.
In 1934 Klaus published an article titled “Homosexuality and Fascism” for a Prague magazine and composed a fictional biography of Piotr Illich Cajcovskij, also a homosexual. In 1937 he published “Window with bars” on the last days of Ludwig of Bavaria, the homosexual king who hated war and loved art. A film will be drawn from the book by Luchino Visconti, “Ludwig”, in 1972.
Just before the war, in America, Klaus lives poor and alone, tries suicide but then reacts and when the United States enter the war he enlists and enters the military department of the Ritchie Boys, a special group made up of Jews and German refugees, particularly trained in psychological warfare who are very motivated and know perfectly the German mentality. In 1942 the American soldier Klaus Henry Mann was added to the Fifth Army that would fight in Africa and in Italy, before departure Klaus Mann asks to have an interview with a Catholic military chaplain because he intends to convert to Catholicism abandoning Lutheranism, as it is clear from the letters (“Briefe und Antworten” Letters and Answers). It seems that the meeting actually took place but that the chaplain refused the conversion, probably because of Klaus’ homosexuality.
In Italy Klaus is employed as a war reporter following the Fifth Army, he works with Rossellini as a screenwriter of “Paisà”, after the war he goes in person to visit the horrors of the Nazi extermination camps. Intoxicated by drugs, in 1949 he goes to Cennes to detoxify himself. On May 20th, after walking for a long time in the rain, waiting for a certain Luois, he swallows a massive dose of barbiturates and on May 21th he dies at the age of 42. He was accused of everything, even of being a spy of Stalin but he remains a character of the highest nobility of mind for anyone with the ability to understand it, but Paul VI, in calling him the model of the desperate intellectual of the ‘900 that in the death of God had condemned to death the man behaved towards him exactly as the Catholic chaplain who had refused his conversion.
If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-thomas-and-klaus-mann-two-homosexuals
The “Geo-Mars” mission, which ended in 2123, found in the subsoil of Mars abundant signs of a highly developed Martian civilization at a technological level. Archaeological evidence showed that it was a small community of a few thousand individuals, the technological findings are numerous but their interpretation divides scientists … some objects seem similar to mobile phones like those used at the beginning of the last century, but scientists don’t understand what kind of energy could make them work and above all they don’t understand their exact function, some discoveries left the scientists amazed: have been found very detailed maps of the planet Earth, as it had to appear between the sixth and the seventh century BC.
For many years no direct traces of the Martians have been found, either in terms of images or writing or something that might appear similar to writing and the mystery of Mars has thickened. What greatly amazed the scientists was the recent discovery of a wooden box or better of a box made of a material that looks like wood (material that doesn’t exist on Mars), containing parchments or things that look like parchments written in a language that looks like an archaic form of Greek (similar to linear B). These documents were brought to Earth to try to decipher it. At the end of the mission of 2123, only one thing seemed certain: the Martians existed, at least up to the VII-VI century BC, even if only archaeological traces remain. The real shocking news came from the Greek paleography school of the University of Athens. The documents reported on the Earth appear to be actually written in an archaic form of Greek. Some texts, a fundamental document and a few others, with some uncertainties, have been translated and published, below you can read some passages.
“In the year 56765 of the fourth body from the shining Sun (probably therefore of Mars) the people of the Fourthians (Martians), having failed the conditions for the preservation of life, left their city of Underfourthian, in the subsoil of Forthian, and transferred to Thirdian (on the Earth). We, Fourthians, have chosen to assume in all the appearance of the inhabitants of Thirdian to live between them and we have also chosen to select our genes to make them compatible with those of the inhabitants of Thirdian, our species are therefore compatible and our genes can recombine with those of the inhabitants of Thirdian. On the basis of probabilistic laws the population of Thirdian, in a few years, will be constituted for 92% of pure Thirdians (pure Terrestrials) and for 8% of pure Fourthians. Our physical appearance will be indistinguishable from that of the Thirdians and we will also assimilate their language and, partially, their culture, but in some things we will not mix with them, only the Fourthians know and will know what these things are.”
A lot of the other documents reproduced treaties of alliance between Greek cities, one of them, Fourthian, seems to have been the first residence of the Fourthians on Earth. The prospects opened up by the new discoveries are shocking … the Martians are among us! All the remaining documents referred to philosophical-scientific and political questions, from them the scientists deduce that Fourthians had a singular instinct of freedom and lived in a society without laws, among them only one behavior was sanctioned: the attempt to limit the freedom of others and it can also be inferred from some documents that Fourthians had a particular tendency to reason avoiding metaphysics, at any level, it seems that all their way of life was based on two fundamental elements: the reason and the affective involvement, elements to which they seemed to give equal dignity. But we cannot deduce more than that from the translation of documents that present gaps, sometimes in essential points, gaps that don’t appear random: everything that describes the relations of the Fourthians with the Thirdians is explicit and understandable, all that seems to allude to relationships of the Fourthians between themselves is instead evanescent and incomprehensible because it is incomplete and, probably, deliberately incomplete.
Once it was thought that Martians were bad, and so much science-fiction literature was produced in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries starting from this idea and, after all, even today, many scientists are led to give it credit. It was also thought that the Martians were green, very strange in shape, that they spoke an incomprehensible language made up of well-modulated whistles and ultrasounds, but today all this makes no sense anymore. Today we have the certainty that Martians are among us.
Io, come peritoso che io sono, mi sbigotti’ tucto; pure, rimasto solo con colei et al buio (perché la vechia si uscì sùbito di casa et serrò l’uscio), per abbreviare, la fotte’ un colpo; et benché io le trovassi le coscie vize et la fica umida et che le putissi un poco el fiato, nondimeno, tanta era la disperata foia che io havevo, che la n’andò. Et facto che io l’hebbi, venendomi pure voglia di vedere questa mercatantia, tolsi un tizone di fuoco d’un focolare che v’era et accesi una lucerna che vi era sopra; né prima el lume fu apreso, che ’l lume fu per cascarmi di mano. Omè! fu’ per cadere in terra morto, tanta era bructa quella femina. E’ se le vedeva prima un ciuffo di capelli fra bianchi et neri, cioè canuticci, et benché l’avessi el cocuzolo del capo calvo, per la cui calvitie ad lo scoperto si vedeva passeggiare qualche pidochio, nondimeno e pochi capelli et rari le aggiugnevono con le barbe loro infino in su le ciglia; et nel mezo della testa piccola et grinzosa haveva una margine di fuoco, che la pareva bollata ad la colonna di Mercato; in ogni puncta delle ciglia di verso li ochi haveva un mazetto di peli pieni di lendini; li ochi haveva uno basso et uno alto, et uno era maggiore che l’altro, piene le lagrimatoie di cispa et e nipitelli dipillicciati; il naso li era conficto sotto la testa arricciato in su, et l’una delle nari tagliata, piene di mocci; la bocca somigliava quella di Lorenzo de’ Medici, ma era torta da uno lato et da quello n’usciva un poco di bava, ché, per non havere denti, non poteva ritenere la sciliva; nel labbro di sopra haveva la barba lunghetta, ma rara; el mento haveva lungo aguzato et torto un poco in su, dal quale pendeva un poco di pelle che le adgiugneva infino ad la facella della gola. Stando adtonito ad mirare questo mostro, tucto smarrito, di che lei accortasi volle dire: — Che havete voi messere? —; ma non lo dixe perché era scilinguata; et come prima aperse la bocca, n’uscì un fiato sì puzolente, che trovandosi offesi da questa peste due porte di dua sdegnosissimi sensi, li ochi et il naso, e’ m’andò tale sdegno ad lo stomaco per non potere sopportare tale offesa, tucto si commosse et commosso operò sì, che io le rece’ addosso. Et così, pagata di quella moneta che la meritava, ne parti’. Et per quel cielo che io darò, io non credo, mentre starò in Lombardia, mi torni la foia; et però voi ringratiate Iddio della speranza havete di rihavere tanto dilecto, et io lo ringratio che ho perduto el timore di havere mai più tanto dispiacere.
 “Notifichasi a voi, signori Otto, chome Nicholò di messer Bernardo Machiavelli fotte la Lucretia vochata la Riccia nel culo.”
 Quelli quattro versi che voi scrivete del Riccio, nel principio della lettera di Donato, noi li dicemmo a mente a Giovanni Machiavelli; e in cambio del Machiavello e del Pera vi annestammo Giovanni Machiavelli. Lui ne ha fatto un capo come una cesta; e dice che non sa dove voi avete trovato che tocchi, e che ve ne vuole scrivere in ogni modo; e per un tratto Filippo e io ne avemmo un piacere grande.
 http://digilander.libero.it/il_machiave … ttere.html Edizione di riferimento: “Tutte le opere storiche e letterarie di Niccolò Machiavelli”, a cura di Guido Mazzoni e Mario Casella, G. Berbera Editore, Firenze, 1929.
“Queste cose mi sbigottirono ieri in modo, che io aveva andare questa mattina a starmi con la Riccia, e non vi andai; ma io non so già, se io avessi auto a starmi con il Riccio, se io avessi guardato a quello. La predica io non la udi’, perché io non uso simili pratiche, ma la ho sentita recitare così da tutto Firenze.”
 Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971.
Niccolò Machiavelli a Francesco Vettori
Firenze, 5 gennaio 1514
 “tocco et attendo a femmine”. To touch is a specific verb that indicates homosexual activities. “Tocco” and “attend” are not synonymous and we have already seen a clear example of this in the letter previously examined.
 Niccolò Machiavelli a Francesco Vettori
 Notoriously homosexual. Of Filippo Casavecchia, in Florence, the relationships he had with Niccolò Machiavelli are better documented, to which he was bound by strong bonds of friendship. The familiarity between the two, which dates back to before 1500, results in particular from a group of five letters sent by Casavecchia between 1507 and 1509, during the stays at Fivizzano and Barga, and by the references that appear in letters by Machiavelli to common friends.
 Francesco Vettori a Niccolò Machiavelli
http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/mac64_let_07.htm Edizione di riferimento: Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971.
“There’s nothing here to decide . There’s everything to accept.”
ONLY SEVEN DAYS
GAY NOVEL 2006
I apologize for my bad English; I’m not a native English speaker.
This is a particular story which comes from a little town somewhere in the U.S. . Everything looks always normal here, nothing out of traditional rules, nothing openly against the common behavior of the average middle class people. I was walking around like I’m used to, just to go somewhere, I have no dog to walk, no children, no one at all, only me and my lonely soul. Well it was early morning, about six o’clock or so, I love to get up when it’s still dark, have a coffee or something and go out when it’s cold, and I like to feel the harsh sensation of the wind blowing over my face, that’s a big contrast with the worm of inside my room… Well … an humid early morning, it was about starting raining, you couldn’t ever notice the little drops falling on you, just extremely little drops, but then you could feel your hair covered with a moist of cold water… I didn’t get any umbrella, I don’t like umbrellas, I’m used to look at myself as an athletic man, I’m no more an athletic man like I was years ago but fortunately I’m still healthy and keep in shape as I can do it better. That time I had only my walking clothes on. I started my peace meter and began to walk fast to warm up. I was breathing and the air out of my mouth condensed in little clouds. I thought I had to walk by the walls in order to get less drenched. Obviously I chose to repeat loops around my house and the block of flats nearby. I made a fist loop, about ten minutes, then a second; I used to turn the corners speedy because at that hour in the morning no one was around. Well it happened when I turned a corner speeding up… Ouch! … What a terrible crash! I was not aware of myself for at list ten seconds. I don’t remember what happened next, the first thing I saw distinctly was a young man moving hands in front of me to check my consciousness state.
“Are you fine?”
“I hope so… sure I’m a little confused… but just a little…”
“If you like I can get you to the hospital for a checkup…”
“No … thanks … I think it’s not necessary… just wait for a while, just a minute and tell me what happened, if you don’t mind… I wouldn’t make you waste your time… but really I don’t remember what happened…”
“Nothing special, you were coming very fast from around this corner and I was coming on the other site and we crashed into each other …”
“And did you hurt?”
“No! Everything goes well … but you went down…”
“I understand… thanks… thanks, if you have to go… please don’t stay here it’s not necessary… thanks…”
“No, I have nothing to do right now, I’d like to give you a lift home if you like… My car is just around the corner”
“No, thanks, my house is no more than five minutes on foot”
“Where is it?”
“23, Russel Street”
“Near the drugstore?”
“Yeah… right, do you know the drugstore?”
“It’s near my bus stop, sometimes I keep waiting over there for ten minutes or more when I go home… can you stand up?”
“Oh… I have to stand up! … thanks … thanks, I can stand up with no help…. thanks”.
“Be quiet! Be quiet! Nothing to worry… be quiet… there’s my car… be quiet!”
“Thanks … that’s kind of you… perhaps it would be better by car… thanks…”
Just three minutes later he came back parking his car in front of me; he eased me in, then started the engine. In no more than two minutes we were 23 Russel street. He parked his car then eased me out and helped me to reach my door. When I was searching for the keys, he asked:
“Is there someone to take care of you?”
“No… but you have to go… perhaps you have to work or something…
“If you don’t mind I’ll stay just a minute… I repeat, just if you don’ mind…”
“Thanks, that’s very kind of you… here you are… that’s my house, nothing too big or too expensive… would you like a cup of tea? … Excuse me I’m not used in receiving people… “
“Yes, I’d like a cup of tea, but I have to do everything for you because you have better to stay quiet… and I have to suggest another thing to do in advance… You’d better to wear something dry… if you like I’d bring you what you need because you aren’t able to fetch it yourself”.
“Hi dude what the hell are you searching for? I do not need anything… I have to thank you but I don’t need anything…”
“Mister… what’s your name? …“
“Well, Mike… perhaps there is something I would ask you for… if you don’t mind… “
“What is it?”
“You have a big house I wandered if I could rent a room…”
“No rooms to rent here, I like my privacy a lot”.
“But I’m not nosy; I only need a room at night. In the morning I get up very early and usually I don’t come back home before nine in the evening… and in the weekend I have to visit my parents riding my car for four hours and sometimes more… till now I was in the hotel but it’s too expensive and I can’t afford such things… “.
“I understand but I can’t help you, I have no rooms to rent…”
“But… only for a wick, just the time to find another accommodation… I promise I’ll go away in seven days or even two or three days if I can find soon a different solution….”
“And if you don’t?”
“I’ll go away just in seven days… I promise…”
“Good… you told seven days… I’ll show you the room later… on the second floor, now you can prepare that cup of tea if you like… but remember … in seven days!”
“I promised… in seven days… can you tell me how much is it?”
“I told you there aren’t rooms to rent here… you can stay for free for seven days, if you like, but then you have to go”.
“That’s very kind of you… Mike, where’s the kitchen? “
“Please, wait… I think I can stand up… follow me… here’s the kitchen, cups are over there, in the cupboard and there’s also the tea and the sugar… and you… what’s your name?”
“David, born near San Francisco 21 years ago… now living… no I’d say it more exactly, working here from two weeks, till now in the hotel and now eventually here… I’m working as a construction worker for J & J Housing Company… not a great job really, but my job… I’d like to know something about you… if you don’t mind… ”
“You told you aren’t nosy… well… you’ll find yourself whatever you’ll like to find… Have you baggage at the hotel? You’ll have better to bring it here… and I’ll go to prepare your room…”
“Just a minute… now let’s have this cup of tea … and you have also to change because your clothes are still wet …”
“Thanks, but I can take care of myself… thanks for the tea, but please, go fetch the baggage… the door is always open when I’m here you don’t need any key for now…”
“I go… I’ll be back as soon as possible… because I have to prepare for work. I start at seven…bye.”
I’m not used in such things, and all this trouble sounded very strange to me. David, 21 years old, in the green room… He seemed to be a clever guy… well used to courtesy formulas like “if you don’t mind”, “I wandered if” and so on… very strange 21 years old guy… for seven days… only for seven days…
I got upstairs… the green room was filled with a lot of garbage, books, old furniture, as I entered the door a dust storm raised towards me, I was going to stumble on an old tennis racket… No! I could never set up everything myself… David was interested in the room and he had to set it up.
When I was still there he got back.
“This is the room… Dust everywhere, garbage everywhere… but I’m not able to set things up for you… too difficult for me…”
“No problem Mike, now I have to go to work… see you at nine… and I’ll do everything at nine, don’t worry! … I have to go… I’m just a little late… bye!”
“What a strange thing… He never could get rid of all this garbage starting at nine in the evening, nor could he clean everything up or make his bed… I had to do it for him. So I started working hard… there was a loft in my house, a loft I never used because in the summer the roof become so hot that it’s impossible to stay over there… I began to carry upstairs every single piece of furniture, starting from the heavy desk, then the cupboards, the stools, the armchairs and so on… then the books and the other stuff. I had worked hard for hours and was very tired but I kept working till lunch time. I’d have stopped my work but there was something that suggested me to go ahead … I had to finish my work before nine o’clock. At three in the afternoon the green room was empty; I swept and washed the floor, cleaned the windows… then made his bed with new sheets. I also installed in the room a little television set… now it was seven o’clock, I had to cook something for him… Italian spaghetti, fried potatoes, roast chicken breast, some salad and some fruit… Everything was perfect… at eight forty five the bell rang… So polite like he was he would never get into without giving me a signal. I was in my armchair in the living room.
“Good evening Mike… if you tell me where I can set aside all the stuff in the room, I’ll start immediately…”
“Be quiet… follow me upstairs… this is your room…”
“Oh… did you do all the work yourself?”
“This morning I was a little stunned but I like to work hard… over there, there’s a little bathroom not a king bathroom but a little one for your privacy”.
“Oh … that’s incredible… al this work for only seven days… “
“Hold your tongue! … this is the key of your room… and now follow me downstairs… seat down and enjoy your meal! Because you worked hard… or if you like better you can take first a shower… ”
“The shower can wait! … Can we come to an agreement… about money? … I could help.”
“You have only to be quiet… nothing else! … no money at all!”
“But I have to make you understand exactly what I think… I wondered if I could help in case I wasn’t able to find another accommodation … because you know, it’s very hard to find a room to rent at a low price… I know, I promised but … Mike… what do you think about?”
“I think you only have to eat something and go straight to bed, you look tired … I put also a little television set in your room and an alarm clock… what time do you get up in the morning?”
“Usually 5.30…and I get out at 6.15… ”
“Do you have coffee or something for breakfast?”
“Usually I don’t but I’d like to…”
“Remember: tomorrow morning at 5.45 breakfast time… ok?”
“Ok! … I… I would…”
“Good night David! Nothing to say… Good Night!”
“Good night Mike… you know… I’m very happy tonight … thanks Mike!”
“Remember! Tomorrow 5.45 … Good night David!”
What was I doing? It was obvious that it wasn’t matter of seven days; there was something in his smile that fascinated me. Well, I use to get up early but my get up would have been somehow different next morning… I had something to do; I had to take care of someone not only of myself like I was used to… It’s very strange to go to bed knowing that there is someone on the other side of the wall. Yes I had to keep rules to preserve my privacy, not to step forward behind the usual limits… and I was aware of all that, but I was also aware that I was going to start a new way in my life… something unexpected but something that I liked, that, perhaps, was exactly what I was searching for until I was aware of myself. I got upstairs and went to bed trying to avoid every noise and tiptoeing in order to let him sleep quietly. The next morning my alarm clock rang at 5.00 I got up but I was aware that something was very different. I took a rapid shower, then sheaved and got downstairs to set the breakfast… I was strangely happy. I was not used to set the table with the tablecloth… but I set it not only with the tablecloth but also with new dishes and new dinner set. Then prepared milk, tea, butter, jam and toasts. At 5.45 o’clock he came down, well shaved and also well clothed… he was not the rude kind of dude… He liked very well to show his elegance and his fairy behavior.
“Hi Mike… how are you?”
“Fine thanks… seat down, please, it’s breakfast time, what do you like better… or first?”
“Perhaps it could sound not so polite but I like everything… but I know it would be better if I could save something to bring at work so I could save lunch money… I know I wouldn’t ask for such things but I think I have to … “
“Right… You can eat now everything you like, I’ll prepare other sandwiches to bring at work, what do you like better, ham, salami, fresh cheese… or whatever?”.
“No problem… but if I can, I’d like better ham and salami… you know: something hearty, something strong… because I have to work hard all day long… “
“Well… four ham sandwiches and four salami sandwiches… ok?”
“Ok! Excuse me if I brushed up everything but to have such a breakfast was a pleasure… thanks…”.
“Now it’s time to go… can I go with you?…”.
“I’d like better not… There could be someone of my work mates at the bus stop… “.
“You’re right … see you at nine in the evening! … bye!”.
“I would never offend you…”
“You are late… go now… see you at nine…”
“Bye… and thanks… I liked everything very well… bye.“
David was right, he had to be careful, work mates are work mates and perhaps are no more than work mates, they aren’t friends… he has to be careful in trusting them… Also this is a strange forethought for a 21 years old guy. That morning I had nothing to set up… I focused on some rules to follow in order to keep fantasy under restraint. First: keep out of the green room. Second: never ask questions … only give answers. Third: never cross the border of the normal conversation. Fourth: never suggest or recommend anything. This rules seemed to me the easiest to follow and also the most useful and logical ones… but I didn’t know David well at that time… He seemed to me only a clever guy who was searching a room to rent, well, a guy who used to be careful with his work mates, and this is strange indeed, but anyway only a clever guy. And we were at the beginning of the story… and as you know, no one can foresee somebody’s moves, and so I was, nevertheless something suggested me to be careful but I wasn’t so inclined to follow such suggestions. I wandered why a 21 years old clever guy made everything he made the day before in order to help me, to follow me into my house, to ask me for the room to rent… there are a lot of rooms to rent in this country, he only had to watch to the for rent advices, yes, it’s true, he got my green room for free, a very large room, with private bathroom … not only the green room but also the breakfast in the morning and eight sandwiches to bring at work… yes, everything for free… and not only for seven days but probably forever… What does it mean? I don’t understand why this guy took all instances to press me to give him a chance… neither I know why I gave that chance to him, Two days ago we didn’t get to know one another, and now I’m here waiting for him, what a strange situation the master of the house waiting for the occupant… I have to cook something different today… roast beef or fish soup? Clearly I think he would like better the roast beef but perhaps he could appreciate something spicier like the fish soup… and what about vegetables? Fish with salad: fennel, oranges, lettuce, olives with slices of baked bread and a little garlic. What else? … Yes, fresh white wine…. And something for breakfast.
I went to the market where I usually go to buy the fish and got little cods, some mullets, two kilos of mussels, some squids and shrimps, then got to the vegetables stand to buy the necessary for the salad, then to the baker for the bread… and then finally at home to set up everything in the fridge, because I had to cook the fish soup not before seven o’ clock in the evening. Before starting I had to wash up and to clean up the kitchen, but such things this time weren’t boring as used to be, strangely I was amazed by how easily I was taking all this work… I usually don’t like changes or things not adequate to my normal behavior… but this time something seemed to be different, something was going to change in such an unusual way. But, you know, things have to go ahead slowly, step by step, and you can’t speed it up. I had to act carefully. I told myself: look before you leap! Waiting for him used to make me happy… his presence on the contrary worried me a lot, could I rise to the occasion? Could I be the normal house master I pretended to be? I was usually in a stew when he was present… I forced myself to be silent or to reply polite but nothing more, to avoid excessive smiling or confidential behavior, to show off only a normal demeanor avoiding whatever could sound strange… And that evening I had to talk with him at supper time with the fish soup, the white wine and so on… He could wander why all this stuff… what am I searching for, cooking such strange things for him? … I was afraid that he might be upset just thinking about our strange situation. I had better to pretend I made the fish soup for some friends of mine… I would pretend my friends had great difficulties that forced them to stay at home… that is why there’s a fish soup… well, this way things sound better… I didn’t cook anything for him, just for my friends … that’s more normal…
Well, at seven o’ clock I started cooking, and the fish soup was cooked in one hour, and I put it in the oven to keep it warm. Then I prepared the salad and set up the table.
At 8.50 David rang the bell.
“Hi Mike, how are you?”
“Fine thanks… are you hungry?”
“Yeah … al the day working, you can understand…”.
“David… I didn’t cook anything… but there is something to eat because I prepared a fish soup for some friends of mine for lunchtime but they didn’t come and you can find the fish soup in the oven, if you like, but I can also prepare something else…”
“What a superb fish soup! Your friends must be very important for you, if you cook such a fish soup for them! It must take a couple of hours to make this masterwork of a soup… and saying so he seemed to smirk at me… I pretended I was deep in different thoughts and had different thinks to focus on. “This fish soup is delicious, the backed bread is still crisp… and the fish broth is still warm… and the oven was cold… Mike, what do you think about? … can I serve your share?”
“What did you do today?”
“I just went to the market and cooked the fish soup…”
“You are a very master cook… this soup is very palatable and just a little spicy like it has to be… and your friends?”
“I don’t like nosy people…”
“Excuse me… I’d ask another question, but I know you are not in the right moment to answer me…”
“What have you to ask?”
“Nothing important … don’t mind … “
“Please, tell me… You can’t suggest something and pretend you didn’t”
“ I think it will better to play dumb…”
“I’m waiting, what is it?”
“Perhaps I can be wrong, but I think the fish soup was too warm in a cold oven, I suppose you cooked it no more than one hour before, and also the crisp bread suggests me you baked it no more than one hour ago… that’s why I suppose you weren’t really expecting for friends at lunchtime, therefore I was wandering if you could have cooked all this for someone else… that means for me… if I’m too rude or intrusive… you can tell me… perhaps I have no right to tell you such things but it’s what I have in mind… I apologize if I crossed the board and broke the rules…”
“Tell me at least, did you enjoy your fish soup?”.
“I enjoyed it very well because it was my fish soup, something made for me… that’s very unusual for me…”
“Do you like a glass of an Italian white wine?”
“Thanks, just a little wine… “
“There is also a big salad… if you like…”
“I love salad… fresh vegetables are the top for me. … Can I ask you another thing?”
“Whatever you like…”
“I’d like to set up for breakfast tomorrow morning… just if you like… because I’m at ease here and fell very comfortable… but I have to help somehow… I don’ like to take advantage of your open heart… “.
“You only have to stay quiet, nothing else, I appreciate your being at ease here but you aren’t taking advantage of anything… it was my pleasure to cook the fish soup… yes I cooked it for you, that’s true, nothing else, you have nothing to pay for… I’d ask you some questions now, can I?”
“Of course… whatever you like”.
“Well, to talk turkey, what are you searching for?”
“To be loyal and spontaneous… I don’t know yet”
“Simply I don’t know yet… nothing else… at the beginning I was only searching for a room to rent, you seemed like a good person, we got in touch in such a strange way and I took my golden opportunity, nothing else, I had to search for a room to rent and so I did… then… well, it’s not so easy to say… you were so crusty at the beginning but also so friendly, so helpful I thought perhaps you wouldn’t turn me down… Was I wrong?”
“No… good, that’s enough… now you have to go to bed… remember, tomorrow 5.45.”
“Thanks, 5.45… and the fish soup was special, tasted good … thanks…”
“Good night David!”
“Good night Mike”
When I entered my room I was upset… no, I could better say I was anxious and distressed for David’s heart-to-heart talk, I didn’t foresee how directly he could get to the core. He was a 21 years old guy and I didn’t even remember what a 21 years old guy can be… I considered his behavior and I was surprised. He was clever, right-minded, hard-working guy, confident, faultless… in a word he was perfect! I tried to fall asleep but a strange wakefulness entered my brain and my soul and till midnight I kept turning over in the bed, I usually have a light sleep and fall asleep easily. This time it was different… I had to fall asleep because I had to get up at 5.00, it was midnight and my brain was perfectly awake. I switched the light-night off then tried another time to fall asleep and this was the right moment. No need to say that when my alarm clock rang at 5.00 in the morning, I felt awful, I couldn’t even stand up, I couldn’t even hold my eyes open, but I had to get up… this time I hated David. How nice would have been to keep on sleeping … but David was here and I had to get up… so I did. With an enormous effort, finally the breakfast was set up just in time. David was cool as a cucumber.
“Hi Mike, how are you? … I could say you can’t even stand… what’s the problem?”
“I was awake till two in the morning, I don’t know why, I’m not used in such things”
“Well, nothing to worry, it happens… have a cup of coffee and you’ll wake up immediately…you bet!”
“Ok but I’m a little stunned today… I hope it will soon subside”
“Can I suggest a little thing?”
“What is it?”
“You have to go to sleep as soon as possible and don’t worry about cooking… you are a master cook, that’s taken for granted, but a steak with potatoes is everything I need…”
“No, stay quiet… sandwiches are in the fridge… I wasn’t able to stand but I did all my job…”
“You have to promise me that when I’ll go to work you’ll go to bed to sleep without even thinking about cooking… I’ll do everything when I’ll go back home at nine… this is not to give you a chance to rest and sleep in the evening… no! That’s in order to let me cook for you just a single time…”
And he smiled and got out.
Now I was alone another time. My brain started to speed up like a full gas engine. What about David? I wandered, what about his smiling and his being always on the border, telling you something and the same time avoiding to explain it clearly. I had been so many times… no, I thought I had been so many times close to understand something else but nothing real came to the surface. David was able to upset me with this sort of behavior. It’s like he would guide you somewhere, like he would let you tell him something else. I usually don’t like such kind of playing cat and mouse. And he really had me to admit I cooked the fish soup for him… Perhaps he had to understand it but he wouldn’t press me to admit such things. It’s not polite, it’s something usually friends avoid with each other. Therefore David isn’t a friend of mine… no! Sometimes friends use to play with each-other, that’s why so he did. Certainly David always seems to be on the verge of something not spoken, throwing stones and pretending he didn’t. Probably he only likes to make a show… And what about me? Do I like to play this way? I could dismiss him, kick him out and so on… but I would never do such things… David is here and he must stay here… no doubt! He had such a pleasant and charming way to do everything, never ostentation or contentiousness, just something vaguely provocative, never wild or angry. He had his own very particular way to resolve and to come to a conclusion, always with a light smile to remark that he was happy. His happiness was really now the most important thing. Why did I cook the fish soup? Naturally to make him smile, or more exactly to make him feel happy. Yes, I think it’s true, David’s happiness like higher aim, and carefulness only like an instrument to achieve that aim. I wondered what he would like to find here. He never acted up to me nor acted neutral. David was probably trying to realize some project of his and I was certainly part of that project… or at least I hoped so. Was I dreaming, or something very unusual was going to start? … David… What do I like better? My privacy, my peacefulness, or his happiness? This was the question! Stay quiet, go ahead with my unremarkable and a little boring life or get involved with David’s life? And what does it mean to be involved with his life? Who is David? What do I know about his life?… David smiles always, I really couldn’t ask for a better tenant. Neither I have to complain about his habits that I don’t know at all. Who’s David? Can I pay heed to him or I’d better to bring the matter to an end as soon as possible? Some days ago when I was thinking about such situations I told to myself: “Remember Mike: never get involved in strange things! Better to stay alone than being involved with some odd fellow”. But was David an odd fellow? I don’t think so, I don’t picture him like a bad guy, rather like a guy who is probably playing hide-and-seek with me. Yeah he’s playing with me, he’s my playmate and it’s a fair game, I have nothing to worry about. If it had been a foul play, I would have noticed something strange, but I didn’t… David foul playing? No… it’s impossible! Can someone smiling the way he smiles deceive you?… I think he can’t. He’s a trustworthy guy… I don’t know why but I know very well, I have a real feel for right-minded guys and he behaves in a fair way that can’t deceive me… David, sleep on it! You have nothing to think about… no… perhaps you have a lot of things to think about, yeah, perhaps you are lost in your thoughts and I can’t even notice it… You were on the other side of this wall, were you sleeping? Were you thinking about your life, or were you thinking about me? I’m out of my mind, I’m going from bad to worse. And now what is going to happen? I feel the strange temptation to enter the green room… No, I have to keep my set purpose, I have to keep away from the green room, it’s his room and I’m not allowed to cross the threshold. Yes I would be just a little nosy… but I know my duty… what a terrible conflict between curiosity and duty… I’m searching for some theoretical justification for going into the green room to poke around his stuff. But what pretext can I invoke? Only my obsessed curiosity! Nothing else… or have I to lie to myself about my reasons behind? Become nosy but why? I’d never thought about being nosy, I was the respect embodied. I never tittle-tattled about someone’s secrets. When someone told me something confidential I always guarded it secret. I never let the cat out of the bag, I don’t like open secrets… That’s why I have to keep away from the green room. I gave him the key but I bet he didn’t lock up… No! I have to stay quiet! whatever he has in his room is not of my business, I told: first his privacy, If he would like to tell me something about himself I’m obliged to listen, otherwise I only have to wait… what for I don’t now but I have to stay quiet… to be an honest man. All my thoughts will probably end up as nothing… Eventually I have to settle with David… I must find as soon as possible a well-balanced rule, a golden rule to follow, because I can’t resist the stress and people under a lot of stress may experience headaches and I don’t like stress-related illness… and this is a very stressful situation. No… I have to get rid of all this thinking aloud… I have to be honest with myself and also with David… No! I’m a well-minded man, what is to come must be… definitely I’m not nosy, at least not so nosy to poke around his room! That’s all!
So, thinking about a lot of such things, I ended up to sleep… finally to a deep sleep. I’d say better I crashed. And I was so stressed that I overslept till 4.00 o’clock.
When I woke up I was still a little stunned… I had to go prepare for David… yes… I thought: I have to prepare for David… It sounded unusual to me, but I was strangely happy to wait for him… I had to prepare… I started up… frying pots, pans, steamer, colander, and whatever. I opened the fridge searching for something suitable for David and had an idea: pizza with artichokes, buffalo mozzarella, and mushrooms and just a little tomatoes, parsley and pepper. In the fridge I found also a cube of yeast. I arranged the flour, melted the yeast in a coup of warm water then mixed up the floor and the warm water with the yeast. Then started to knead everything till it became an easy mass, then covered everything and set it in the oven. My oven is very particular, you can set also the low temperature from 30°C up, well, and I set it at 37°C, the right temperature to reach a perfect yeasting. 45 minutes later the mass was grown up, increasing three times hits volume. I laid it flat into a large cake pan, then added the artichokes and the other ingredients and put everything in the oven well heated, 45 minutes later, just some minutes before switching off the oven, I opened it and spread parsley pepper and olive oil on my masterwork.
I had to conduct an experiment, I’m not a scientist but I would have loved it, I had to experiment on David in order to determine whether or not he worries about me if he doesn’t find me at my usual place. I have to set first the background, I’ll pretend I’m sleeping and then I only have to wait for what he will do. I think he’s about to come home… I have to lay on the bed full clothed and pretend to sleep. Some minutes later I heard the door open and close with a low noise almost undetectable, David would never slam the door… then I heard clearly: “Hello Mike… I’m back home… Mike… Mike… where are you?”, then he knocked on the first floor bathroom, twenty seconds later he knocked on my room’s door. “Mike are you fine?”… I had to answer but what? I thought that let him enter my room would have been too free and easy, that’s why my response was much more formal: “Fine thanks, I was asleep, I’ll be in the living room shortly please only a minute…”. “Be quiet, you aren’t in a hurry…”, then he went downstairs. I combed my hair set my clothes and wearing my best smile, I have to underline: my best spontaneous smile, I got down. “Hallo, David… problems at work?”, “No, not exactly”. “What do you mean?”. “I suggest first we have dinner, then if you like I have something to talk about, but for now, we have better to have dinner… I think it’s pizza because I smell it… be quiet.. I’ll share out into pieces with scissors… you are a master cook… artichokes pizza! Something fabulous … And you? What did you do today?”, “Not a big business only cooking an sleeping”. “No thoughts at all?”, “Clearly when I’m cooking I’m thinking about something….”, “Clearly…”, “Would you like some salad, but something very simple?”. “Yeah… just some lettuce…“. “You have to wait just a minute… the salad is my business … lettuce, olives, walnuts, green tomatoes, a little oregano and just a squirt of olive oil scattered on.” “Wonderful!”. “And what was it that you told me you were going to tell?” “Just a minute… and I’d like some cold white wine… perhaps it could help… but please, if you like, I’d prefer to go to the living room and seat down in two armchairs…”. “Whatever you like…”, “I have to tell you something and to ask you a question. Good… now I’m ready… and now I have to call on all my bravery and get out with it… I think it’s necessary… well… I’m gay”. “You may feel a little discomfort now, but you have a big moral courage, on the contrary I was always a coward, all lifelong… and what’s the question you have to ask me?”. “I don’t need any question… no more”. “You’re right… I’m speechless”. “Another thing… nobody knows I’m gay”. “The same for me…. David now someone would guess that the situation is much more difficult, but I think it’s much more easy… can I ask you a question?” “Of course…”. “Do you have a boyfriend?” “Yeah… I have a boyfriend…“. “If you’d like better to avoid to speak about… it would be all right all the same”. “I told him about you and I have to tell you about him… don’t worry… I only told him you where my house master… a special house master, but only an house master… his name is Jason, 21, born just two days before me, we were kicked out by our parents when they found out we were gay… obviously… he was hired by a delivery service company and I by J and J construction company… his company was a delivery company but he was only a living wage waiter, at the beginning it was terrible, I had no money at all, he had a little room near the railway station, I’d better say a little cubicle on the basement, below stairs, He couldn’t afford to pay for anything better… sometimes we had nothing to eat at all, neither a dime for the day, then I was hired by J.J. here… to leave Jason was terrible, but I had no choice…I can see him in the weekends but only for a little time, because he sometimes has day-shifts, sometimes night-shifts. I get there the Friday about midnight and usually he has two shifts to work, that’s why time flies when I’m there, he’s a lovely guy but we work in different places… now I get some more money but he works hard and has to be half-starved… sometimes I give him a little money, what I can do, he must only obey his boss and stay quiet because he has to hold down his job… And we can’t even talk on the phone because it’s too expensive for us…He got an old mobile but if I want to save money I can’t call him…”.
“David, here is my mobile… go to your room and call him…”.
When David got upstairs… I felt invaded by a terrible melancholy… They are in love and have to stay apart… They are so young and are down and out… perhaps Jason could be hired here… And then, a single gay boy in my house could be a problem, but two would never be… Strange situation? No! The right situation for me… something exactly fitting… and my neighbors? … Because they sometimes worry me… because they are fucking idiot! No! Never worry about fucking neighbors!
David handed me the mobile.
“How are you? Something wrong?…”
“He was sad and depressed because the boss gave him a slap in the face in public…”
“David, call him again… what are you waiting for? Call him again! And then give me the mobile…”.
“Thanks David…. Hallo, are you Jason?”
“Yes, who are you?”.
“I’m Mike, the house master of David… and I have to tell you something… give hear to me… David told me… you have to resign, to leave your home and to get here as soon as possible… without any hesitation… do you understand?”
“But I work without labor contract and have no need to resign explicitly, and for my room
I pay each week… “
“That’s better… jump on a bus and get here!”
“Why, the hell?”
“Because I have no money at all, not even for the bus…”
“Get ready! We’ll come soon to pick you up… “
“Yes, now! David knows how to get over there, how long will it take?”
“In the night about 90 minutes…”.
“Now it’s 11 o’ clock… we will arrive as soon as possible! Bye! David will call you in 30 minutes in case you need something. Bye, Jason”
“Bye… I’m waiting… bye!”
“David! As soon as possible put in a bag whatever you find to eat and to drink … and carry everything onto the car, in my car! The keys are in the pocket of my sport coat… I’ll take money and car documents… David, take also your documents! … we have to go!”
In no more than 5 minutes everything was ready. I switched on the engine and our strange trip started.
David was speechless, he begun to tell something only when we entered the highway.
“Mike… you are great!”
“Hold your tongue! … or, better, tell me something about Jason… if you like, or even better set some sandwiches for him…”
“I brought the artichoke pizza…”
“Yes but it’s a little thing… he needs something special…. And remember… when we’ll go back home you have to set the bed for him… No queen-size beds in my house!”
“We never used a queen-size bed, it’s not necessary…”
“David you didn’t understand, I mean that I never got a queen size-bed. I’ll buy a queen-size bed for you…and for Jason, I think it wouldn’t be so much expensive…”.
“That’s very kind of you but we needn’t it at all.”
Our conversation went on for about an hour.
“Mike… pay attention, we are going to go out of the highway, slow the speed…”
The precinct near the railway station was frightening, no one seemed to live over there, when we approached the house, David told me “Jason is there waiting for us!”. When I stopped the car, David rushed toward Jason and they hugged each other tightly. I never saw such an emotional hag. The guys loved each other.
David thought he had to seat near me… but I told him he had better to set in the back seat with him…so they did. David started to explain how we made our resolution.
“Jason, you don’t know Mike, he is a great person…”
Then I entered the conversation.
“Jason, you’ll stay at home with David, you have your room and you have to sleep on whatever happened today, tomorrow, after breakfast, we’ll look for a job”
“At my company J & J. they were chatting about hiring someone… perhaps it could be possible”.
“It will be, Jason, it will be!”.
Jason and David gobbled the sandwiches then they became silent till we got back home. I think they were hand in hand, I had to let them fee! How it can be wonderful to be finally together! When we got home I introduced Jason in a familiar way. David set a folding bed, I gave Jason the sheets in order to make his bed, asked him if he’d like to eat something else, he said not. “Good night… I’m very tired and I have to go to bed now it’s two o’clock and tomorrow we have to wake up early… remember, 5.45 breakfast time!” and I went to bed.
Not any noise from the green room, but I thought they were making love, they are in love… are so young, so beautiful… they are the picture of whatever I like… at least I can help, help to build their happiness and it’s really well worth it… to help two guys find out their happiness… I can help them, not two simple guys but two gay guys… I think it would be very hard for them to get some help everywhere… kicked out by their families, slapped by the boss… that’s right, but am I aware of what does it mean? I got involved in their lives, with no come-back, I can no more drop the situation, or turn from them, or forget them for any reason, I only have to encourage them to go ahead step by step… and they will afford harsh und unpleasing situations… they came out to me… and I to them… they trust me, and I have to trust them… they don’t hope in something, they hope in me… I think, I’d like it, I hope… I’m very troubled and concerned by what happened today, but I’m also happy, I feel great, my life seems to have changed.
I’m starting a new life… perhaps my life… love, yes, love, something I never experimented before, yes, love without sex, just love… what a strange happiness, not even a little regret, not even a little doubt… only peace, a great interior peace, my soul is now waked up, my journey is going to start and this time I’m not alone, no more, we are three, two young guys and an old man, I got something to do eventually, I got my life…
I woke at 5.00, set up everything for breakfast… this time I set up for three, at 5.45 o’ clock they came down.
“Hallo Mike… “ David said, Jason kept quiet and just smiled. What a sweet smile! Like an angel smile. “David, can you find out something about whether or not Jason could be engaged by J. & J.? Because working together would be the top… go to work together, go back home together… You could stay together all day long…”.
“I’ll see immediately… but I think it would be really possible… we are starting a new building and they hare short-staffed… If I can find out something I’ll call you…”. Jason only smiled… not a single word by his side. Then I asked him a question: toasts or sandwiches? And finally he answered: sandwiches please… hearing his voice I understood how easily David fell madly in love with him, a shy guy, I think very embarrassed by the situation. David vas bold, at least faced everything with bravery… Jason was clumsy, unassertive, and bashful, I had to be very careful with him in order not to scare him.
After breakfast David hugged Jason tightly without kissing him then got out. I was now alone with Jason… what a difficult situation. Clearly I had to do something in order to break the ice and to start at least a little conversation, but I wouldn’t be too much intrusive or inappropriate.
“Jason is there is something you’d like… whatever… do you prefer to stay alone? … to go somewhere? To sleep in your room? You only have to tell me.”
“I don’t know… whatever you like… ”
“Well… I’m embarrassed… I would never press you… you have to feel at home… that’s all”
“You know, it’s not so easy to settle into new situations… I’m worried about my job… now I’m here but I can’t stay without a job… “
“You’re right, but David will think about… he’s a clever guy and I’m sure you’ll find your job immediately, but you’re right, to be down and out is terrible, but you are not alone, David will find a solution.”
We went on with the difficult conversation for about two hours, Jason began to feel more comfortable.
“Jason, I bet David will find the solution today…”
I hadn’t even ended my sentence and the mobile rang… David told me to bring Jason at J. & J. because they’ll hire him immediately. David was on top of the world.
I opened my eyes wide in front of Jason and he understood immediately.
“Jump in my car… I’ll take the documents… be happy Jason, your problem is no more a problem… David is really a wonderful guy… You and David working together!”
By car it would take about 50 minutes to get there, Jason seemed to be unable to think. “Jason… do you understand what is happening?”… “Yeah… but I’m frightened… a new job… and I’m absolutely unskilled in building houses, yes, I could learn something but now I’m not learned in such things and I would never make a poor showing or make David hide his face because of me…”.
“You can learn everything… and you have to remember that people know about you only what you let them to know, therefore, if you look strong, people will consider you stronger, if you look weak people will consider you weaker. You can be yourself with David and if you like with me, but at work you have to look strong and assertive, otherwise you’ll look an hit-and-miss guy”. “Ok, you’re right”. I had thought about waiting there for them to the end of the work-shift, but it was probably not the right time. Jason got down near the J. & J. building and I got back home.
Jason was cute, cuter than David, but David was bolder. The two of them where well-matched. I only had to get home and prepare for them. David’s dream was finally fulfilled… Jason would probably take his time to get used to such a different behavior. And what about me? What was my role? First never be intrusive. I had to remember that they needed me but I needed them much more.
That’s why this time I had to care of them, to be friendly, to respect them, to help, to keep at my place, to let them go where and when they like. Two young guys that can achieve whatever they like, because they are two guys in love with each other. I have to avoid any remark about myself… but I did so today, I told Jason only about how clever David was… and I’ll keep doing so, I have to be only a support if they like it, otherwise I have to withdraw without any waver… I have a lot of things to learn about love… about this kind of love… gay-love? Perhaps their gayness helps … yes I can’t deny it, but nevertheless it’s a very particular kind of gay-love… I had to set everything for dinner… that was my job… And really I started going to the store… now I had to think about two guys, and aged 21… the market was empty like in normal work-days… I had to search for something not too strange and not too common… Then I found a solution: ravioli with ricotta cheese and spinach, dressed with tomatoes, carrots and minced beef sauce Italian style… and second floor roast chine of pork… first find a chine of pork without fat and the butcher stand had some first option chines of pork… then ravioli and vegetables… At home, I spent a lot of time to cook the pork in the oven avoiding the meat to burn. It took about one hour, then I prepared the soup and sat at my desk… and I heard a signal of a message on my mobile and opened it: “It’s our lunch break… Hi Mike, we work apart but at lunch break we can stay together… and talk about you! … You’re great! See you at nine. Bye. David & Jason”… Reading such a message was far-out for me. I had never got such messages… now I can understand why people like to get short messages by mobile…
Well, I was very touched and started to smile while walking around, something I never experienced before. Had I to send back a message? … yes, certainly I had and as soon as possible, something not too personal and not too tender: “Thanks! I enjoyed your message a lot!”. I sent the message. Then got upstairs and laid flat on my bed… what a sweet feeling to lay down thinking about my two guys. I wondered what David could have told Jason about me, we know each other just a little… but nevertheless we can see through each other. To be present, useful, willing, available that was what I had to do in order to help them, and I had to remember that they were in love with each other and I had to relate with them as a couple, and keep out of the scene, never I had to enter the show, it wasn’t my show. Well, all this things seemed to me to be obvious, but in earlier times I had never accepted such things, but it was long time ago, when I was much more younger and liked to be the leading man, but many years went by and eventually I started to think about someone else’s happiness as something not hurting or scaring but as something to help, to support, to encourage, not to destroy or to envy. And now I was laid on my bed thinking about my two guys in the green room, two gay guys… In other times I never had accepted to come out to someone else but eventually I did… and they came out to me… two 21 years old gay guys… what they may wait for? What may expect or desire? How they picture me? Well, I got their message and it’s not a little thing but … perhaps they look at me like a father or a brother, or like an old friend who may help… I was so lost and absorbed in my thoughts that lunch hour elapsed and I kept fantasizing about my two guys… and so went by the afternoon. At 8.30 I started to set the table, for the first time whit three seats. My place here and the two of them across the table, close to one another. The bread must be sliced, the sparkling mineral water must be on the table with a little bottle of fresh red wine. At nine o’ clock David and Jason rang the bell, this time they didn’t get into. I opened the door and got them into. “David, Jason are you tired? … now right away to wash hands, the dinner is waiting for you… in the green room or if you like better over there, the second door on the left…”. They got upstairs and, I waited for them for about ten minutes… I thought they were hugging each other but I was wrong, when they got downstairs I was surprised, they changed clothes and shaved. “Oh! I’m very pleased for your kindness but I think you are tired that’s why you don’t need shaving or changing clothes… otherwise I would have also to change clothes and to shave… isn’t it? Too difficult… if you like you can do everything you like… always… Jason seat down … are you hungry?”… “Yeah … my back hurts, my bones hurt… but I’m hungry like hell… Ravioli with minced meat sauce… something special”. “Mike is special… you don’t know him yet but you’ll know shortly…”. “Hold your tongue David, let Jason take his time…”. “Right… but if I hold my tongue, he’ll be like I thief in the night… you don’t know how he’s shy…”. “David, you aren’t polite, do you remember how shy you were when you got here the first time?”. “But I made you understand everything right then and there… do you remember?”. “Jason… I wander how you can tolerate such a guy…”.
“He has always something to pull out… needless worrying, you just need to pretend to be interested… He’s inclined to preach… Mike, can I address you this way?”.
“Well, Mike, I’m shy… yes, that’s right, but I have something to tell you… no, to ask you… why did you do whatever you did?”.
“Jason… I’m disconcerted… “,
“Excuse me Mike, when I try to act like David, I only put someone to a lot of trouble… I’m sorry.”…
“Boys… can I ask you something?” …
“Are you in love or not?”.
“Why do you ask us this question?”…
“Because there is something you must learn… “.
“What is it?”.
“You have to learn to hold your tongue! You have to respect each other. Chitchatting may be dangerous… Now you are eventually together and living together is much more difficult than stay apart… Here and everywhere you needn’t to change clothes or shave for dinner… but you have to hold your tongue, not for me, but Jason for David and David for Jason. You now can be aware of each other… that’s why before talking nonsense you have to think whether or not it may hurt someone, and notably the one you love… well, what are you waiting for?… Do you like another slice of roast pork? David, some wine? … I’m sorry… perhaps I didn’t hold my tongue…”.
“You’re right Mike… thanks… it was necessary.”…
“If you like to know why I did what I did I can tell you shortly… because you are two gay guys in love with each other… I never did something like that… but now I’m happy just doing what I can do… when you can see someone’s happiness you have to help, non to envy, that’s why you needn’t to point anything out and you only need to love each-other and not only each-other. Nothing else in the world can make you happy. You needn’t get awarded, or similar things… you only have to respect and to love everyone in the world… perhaps I’m also inclined in preaching… I’m sorry… Jason… sorry, sorry”.
“I’m touched… and when I’m touched I start to cry… I know that assertive guys don’t cry at all, but your preach was something that touched me intensely…”.
“Mike… do you understand why I’m in love with him?”. “Yes, I do… but I don’t know what to say… I’m not used to such situations, Jason… please… what can I do? … I don’t know…”,
“Mike… I’d say I feel inappropriate… but I can’t stop… I’m happy… I’m here with David … I started a new job today… and you cooked a dinner for us… No one ever cared about us… our parents kicked us out… and you are here non only cooking but also teaching us something I like well to hear… something about me and David… usually we had to hide from everybody… we hadn’t friends… not at all, only us, me for David and David for me… He told me about you but it seemed incredible… someone who might care about us… might listen to us… someone older…”.
“Jason I have to be honest with you… I’m not a saint, I’m gay and you are two cute guys, you know it’s not only generosity or unselfishness… there’s also something physical… nothing to worry about, I can keep my role, but you don’t have to think I’m what I’m not… “,
“Mike, can I ask you a question?”
“Inside yourself what have you in mind about us?”…
“I don’t know exactly… I know I’m going to start a new style life… but I don’t know where it may end up… I’m very happy that you are here, but I can’t foresee what’s to come… I’m not sure that something else couldn’t be hidden somewhere in a dark corner of my soul… some hidden meaning… I’m not sure, but I don’t like to keep my thoughts hidden… at least not with you… I have to tell you everything, especially whatever might scare you… Perhaps you would have expected another kind of response… but it wouldn’t be honest by the side of me…”
… “I’m speechless… what an uncommon statement! … We are not so used to the truth… we are used only to half-truths… you told us the absolute truth… and we have to respond the whole truth… honestly I’m a little scared about you, perhaps David knows you better and he can stay still and unruffled, but I don’t know what I may expect from you… I have to make my ideas more definite… it would take some days to have a more correct picture… for now I’m impressed by your talking about your feelings so openly… but I have to understand something else.”
“Mike… Jason is always well-advised, prudent and careful, he only has to know he would better lay aside all this carefulness… “.
“Well… boys… it’s bed time… tomorrow you have to wake up early… breakfast time at 5.45… good night boys… “.
“Mike, have I to be scared of you?” Jason said with a smile.
“No… nothing similar… thanks, your smile is the better response I could get… good night Jason… good night David”.
The guys went upstairs and I put the dishes into the water and followed them after two minutes… My brain was speeding up… what to think about them, David was bolder but Jason was such tender and lovable, something very uncommon nowadays… A guy who can be touched listening to my preaches… but the same time he had to wait before pronouncing a judgment… I was happy but the same time was perplexed, we had to know each other talking and living together before getting used to one another… Jason cute, clever and emotional, used to cry… at 21… And David looked at him with such a warm expression… two guys in love… yes, or better two guys who’d like to learn how to love… And… what can I teach them about love? I’m not so skilled in similar things, this is my first love story… love story? Yes, love story, loving two guys at a time, because I never got involved in something real… writing a lot, reading a lot, also love poems, but I was never seriously involved in a love story… perhaps now I’m involved in their love story… I’m the one who might stay apart but got involved in something that belongs to other people… Do the three-guys love stories exist? Or am I involved in something that doesn’t belong to me? What a strange threesome… two young guys and me… what’s my role, if I’m playing a role. Tomorrow breakfast time at 5.45… I have to get up early!
This time I fell asleep easily… and when the clock rang at 5.00 I got up with a strange enthusiasm… got to the kitchen and started to cook… this time not only breakfast but also eight sandwiches to take for dinner-time. At 5.45 the two of them got downstairs. “Hi Mike… how are you?”
“Fine thanks… and you?”
“Fine… we slept all the night long… we were so tired… and get up at 5.00 was terrible… “.
“Well, I set sandwiches to take and also a little coffee thermos, everything is in the green bag over there… I put also something else, if you’d like to have different food… you’ll see later….”.
“Mike, today is Friday… and we were wandering if you’d like to spend the weekend with us… wherever you like… we can stay home or to go somewhere else, no matter… we discussed the thing and decided to ask you…”.
“Of course… I’ll stay with you… do you like better go to the falls or to the lake? I think we don’t have to stay at home. I have a little cabin near the lake… I never go there… if you like, we could stay there…”.
“Ok! This evening we will establish everything… for me the cabin near the lake is wonderful, and for you, David?”.
“Very good…”. “Ok, now you have to go, be careful! See you at nine!”.
They went out. My brain started to work about the weekend… a weekend at the cabin near the lake… it’s a cold place… we have to bring sleeping bags… I have just one sleeping bag, today I have to buy a double sleeping bag for them, it’s too cold at the lake blankets aren’t usually sufficient… the heating plant has been checked in June and will probably work… I have to catch the feed for three persons and for three days… this time only rice and beans, steaks and canned vegetables, milk, sugar, tea, bread… and so on… They have to find everything set up to start, and we have to start Saturday at 5.00, no… better at 6.00… we’ll get there at 8.00… the boys have to enjoy their weekend… well I have to wash up, because I must be at the superstore at 8,30… I have to hurry up!
The morning went by, I bought the sleep bag, the food and whatever we needed to spend a weekend in peace, set the luggage in the carrier, because I have a carrier… Cooked something for dinner, I was very tired and plopped down. The mobile rang for a message. “Hi Mike, we are looking forward to the weekend trip… we have a lot of things to talk about… See you at nine. Jason and David”… I had to respond and so I did immediately: “I just set everything up… and have been thinking about a lot of things… good things! See you at nine”. I decided for a low profile language, but appreciated a lot that the short message was going to become an habit… They used to call me at lunch-hour that means they used to talk also about me at lunch hour. Certainly I couldn’t understand the exact meaning of their talking about me… What can two young guys think about an old man? But certainly I was thinking about them every single hour of my day… Life may change suddenly into very different directions… You can run into someone else when you hardly expect something to change… and your life can be fully upset, so that you can’t control it no more. I only had to spend the afternoon cooking for them… my duty was cooking and not only cooking, my role was more complex and all-involving… I was aware that two 21 years old guys are not two boys to foster or to take care of, they are two adult men with a lot of problems and a lot of preoccupations to worry about. I never had to play the part of the old man… no! Neither the part of the playmate. I only had to avoid playing a role, whatever it was. I’m Mike, just Mike, not dad, foster-father, or big brother… no! Nothing similar! I have to mark this clearly… and they will agree with me: never wear a mask, never overact! At 8,30 everything was set up. Dinner was cooked: rice salad with pickles, wiener schnitzels, lettuce salad with potatoes, carrots, anchovies and olives and backed bread with garlic.
At nine the bell rang. “Hi Mike… how are you?”
“fine, thanks… go wash hands… “
They went back in five minutes, without changing clothes and without shaving… Jason realized that Mike was looking at him.
“Didn’t you say we needn’t change clothes or shave? …” And added a little smile.
“I did… right, I did… but now seat down and enjoy you dinner… you have to go to sleep early today because we will leave at six tomorrow…”.
“Mike, excuse me, can I ask you something?”
“Do you think we are allowed to stay here as long as we like?”…
“Of course, but why such questions? You have nothing to ask here… you can stay as long as you like and always for free…”
“Mike, don’t become angry… but now we have a little money to burn… and we thought we have to help and pay our rent…”.
“No! I told David from the beginning that I hadn’t rooms to rent… and excuse me, I don’t like such an offer… No! I don’t like it at all!…”
“Mike, don’t be angry, but we talked a lot about this… We use a big room, with private bathroom, you cook such superb meal for us every day… you bear the expense, and we only have to take advantage, and you have to recognize that it’s an exploitation…”
“Mike… my God… no! … oh my God tell me something, are you fine?”
“I’m fine don’t worry! Let’s have dinner quietly, then all the three of us have to seat down in the living room… nothing happened… and nothing will happen… “
“Mike, I apologize to you for my stupid remark… I never would have offended you … I and David thought only about giving you some help… I swear that we appreciate everything you did, you are a god person, and you never have to think badly….”
“Don’t worry Jason, I know all that very well, know you got a job… and you have to save money… I have another thing in mind… I’d like to tell you, but I’m not so sure it will be understood… it’s not a difficult thing but perhaps it could sound strange to you…”
“What have you in mind Mike… tell us shortly”
“Well, I’ll tell you, but you’ll give me an answer only Monday at nine… ok?”
“Ok what is it?”
“I think you had better go to College… that’s it…”.
“We graduated at the same high school, David was the best, but I was a guy not so bad… we had been also called by a College for courses about physics… our parents would have agreed but then they found out everything about us… and kicked us out… therefore no college for us… at least we got a job… but at the beginning it was terrible… we were literally starved… Mike, to go to college we need a lot of money, much more than what we can save working hard, even staying here for free…”
“Now be quiet… If you like, it’s possible… I’d afford the cost…be quiet… you don’t have to give me an answer today… take your time… it remains firm that I don’t have rooms to rent… you can go to college and come back home in the summer, and I would come to visit you at your college… well I told you everything I had in mind… you are perplexed… well they admit rather guys just out of school, but you aren’t much older… now good night, see you at 5.45, breakfast time”
“Mike I’m speechless …”
“Good night David! Good night Jason! … remember you never have to think badly… that’s your statement .”
Jason and David looked at each other then stood up without a word, looked a second time at each other, then nodded and got upstairs, they were clearly interested.
Next morning I got up at 5.00 as usually, this time they were awake and came down at 5.10.
“Mike… do you think we are allowed to speak clearly”
“Well this year it would be very difficult… to enroll… “
“No! You are wrong… physics courses start in 10 days and at Y.Y. University… you are still allowed to enroll… I checked the site yesterday and they are searching for physics students… because they are under number… I downloaded the forms, just in case you’d like to enroll. But be quiet, now you have to enjoy your weekend at lake… we can discuss everything there, if you like… there isn’t television over there and the evenings are boring… I’m happy you agreed… thanks… you have to build your future, and physics I think is the better choice… I don’t know anything about physics but I think you can find there everything you need in order to study at high level… you can also stay in a double room in the dorm, with no people nosing around… I checked also this possibility… and you are allowed to… And overall you are major and don’t need any parent’s consent… I think you are about two or three years late… but you have good possibilities to go ahead …”
“How does it cost all this?”
“Yeah, it costs a lot… I can also give you a little pocket money but no more, because I absolutely can’t afford other expenses… that’s all! … Well… Jason, open the fridge end hurry up with sandwiches… You, David… milk and tea! Do you like help? Now you have to. Let’s have a breakfast quickly and leave as soon as possible…”.
The trip was pleasant… we chatted about a lot of things, high school, physics, university, and the future, how to survive in an university dorm … but every argument was discussed with calm and as the most natural thing… They were quiet… I was happy.
We got at the lake… my cabin was icy-cold, we started the heating plant, I showed them their room and we set up everything… then we went out to walk around the lake… I walked between them. The morning was sunny but cold, the air clear and clean, and the lake calm. A peaceful feeling invaded me, they smiled at each other, sometimes laughed openly, playing and kidding in the most familiar way… they seemed to be the cutest boys in the world… we stopped, onshore there was a fisherman who told us something about the lake, about the ice age and so on, he seemed a learned man. There was a boat nearby, David and Jason asked the fisher.
“Mister, would you be so kind to allow us to use your boat… we’ll get back shortly…”.
The fisherman agreed and they boarded. “David, Jason… remember you have to get back shortly, no more than half an hour… good?”
“Yes… don’t worry, not more than half an hour”, then the boat came off the wharf. The fisherman told me: “You are a blessed father with two sons like yours.”, I told nothing and just nodded. No more than twenty minutes later David and Jason went back, fastened the boat to the quay, gave thanks to the fisherman and we got back home, it was about noon. We started cooking.
“Boys… what a beautiful day…. What a beautiful world!”
“Mike do you remember Luis Armstrong’s song Somewhere over the rainbow?”
“Oh yes, I love that song”
“We too… when we were enduring the worst situations, once we heard this song… and I started crying… and it became our song”.
“I’m dazed, sometimes when I feel bad I lay down in my armchair, switch off the light and listen to this song… and it relaxes me, it communicates a wonderful sensation of peace, of quiet, of rest… and all my bad thoughts go away… Armstrong… the top! I saw him in concert many years ago, just singing that song, it was marvelous!”.
We saved something for dinner then they started asking about college… I had brought whatever I had found on the net in order to let them understand exactly what they were going to choose. And talking, we went inevitably to an end: gay life in college. I obviously referred to my college times… no gay people where allowed in College, probably gay people attended classes, but I never met another guy openly gay, everyone was in the closet… I had heard some news about a guy kicked out because he was gay… but asking something about was dangerous and I never did. The private contacts where very different things, tight friendships where frequent… friendships that seamed something else… you know, sex or not sex, when two guys spend a lot of time together and they don’t care dating girls… if they are roommates… and if they never speak about sex when talking with their friends… and especially when they attend lectures together, go to the cinema together, go to the gym together… and so on… clearly they are in love with each other… don’t you think so?”
“Well … yes… are you telling us we have to avoid such behavior?”
“I can’t suggest anything… you have to explore the environment”
“Someone told me that now there are gay fraternities, gay clubs and so on… I think life is very different now…”
“Jason… college wasn’t the gay haven at my times neither is today… Be careful… you have a lot to lose and you really risk to lose it… “
“You’re right! I have to think before speaking… you’re right!”
“David… are you ok?”
“I’m worried about new college life, we have not only to study physics but also environmental sciences, or so to say, gay sciences, in order to survive… it will be not so easy… now at work we can stay together only at lunch time… everything is easy… but over there things will be more complicated.”
“Perhaps well could be not so complicated, we don’t know… you just have to discover… Boys, why physics? Are you sure?”
“Yeah… I got mad about physics, every kind of physics… David was a genius of physics … the teacher always used to put the lesson into his hands… in reality he was the teacher… and the teacher restricted himself to earn the wage. I think we are very enthusiast… To go to college means restart a normal life… Mike… I think I will cry never more…”
“Oh… no! you have to do everything you like… with David… and with me, if you like… only you have to be prudent with someone else… if you don’t trust them…”.
In the afternoon just a little walk to the village to get fresh vegetables. At five o’ clock it was so cold you couldn’t even warm up neither skipping, neither wrapping in a double overcoat, we got on the car and went back to the cabin… David and Jason had red chicks and red noses… we got into the car, started the heating plant and warmed up easily. The cabin itself was well wormed up… Jason ordered me to stay quiet and to seat down in the armchair. He and Jason heated up the rice, cooked three steaks and set up a salad bowl… dressed the table and everything.
“We have to help someway… we can’t help with money but at least doing whatever is necessary… David, do you think it would be easy for us to get used to such a new life style?”
“At the beginning it will be hard… but you’ll muddle through it in few weeks. I have to keep outside… I’d like to come there with you and to come to visit you on a regular basis but I think it’s not so appropriate, you can find me on the mobile or on the net… My soul will be there, needless to say… the college is one hundred kilometers from my house and there is the railway, it takes only 55 minutes to get home… You can come back home every weekend if you like… perhaps the first time you go there I can go with you… obviously, if you like… “
“Mike… I’m scared, David is bolder but I’m very upset… you have to promise that if I need you, you catch a train and go there right away.”
“I promise… but such things will never happen…”.
Then Jason started talking about school memories… that was about David, how clever he was, how skilled, how loveable. I asked him: where you in love already at that time?”
“Yeah… not exactly… I was in love with him or at least needed him but he wasn’t in love with me and probably didn’t even need me … at that time he was a little selfish… I moved heaven and hearth to make him notice me but he seemed offish… I was desperate and he seemed distant and regardless. I started crying at that time, we were about 16 or 17, then his heart melted…but it happened suddenly… one afternoon he got a prize for physics, he was expected to be pleased, but he wasn’t… walked up and down the corridor, someone complimented him but he looked peeved, I wondered what to do, then I went to praise him for his success… and he showed me his best smile… I wasn’t aware of myself then dared and hugged him tightly and he hugged back… our love story started this way.”
“Jason told the story from his point of view… but I had noticed him previously… at a glance he was exactly what I was searching for… but at that time we didn’t know each other yet and I was well aware that to come out to someone else could have been a very risky choice… That’s why I was totally in the closet… in such things Jason was bolder… probably if he wouldn’t have played a risky game, we never would have been aware of each other…”
“And what happened then?”
“Then the life changed, we became best friends, our parents approved, they didn’t know anything about our real life… and we went on being in the closet for everybody… we graduated very well and just in the graduation party the bomb burst, because we were caught by my mother while hugging and kissing… kissing like friends or just something more, nothing sexual or whatever… you know the story from this point on … what do you think about?”
“I think you have been very lucky, because you found the love at 17-18… I found it at 56…”
“Yes at 56 – told David -… but you found it really… there’s a lot in common between us, problems, troubles, preoccupations, wishes, fears… and to stay between us is marvelous…it’s wonderful to talk freely, to tell someone else that I’m gay without any concern… to compare experiences… we are between us… how many guys are still now totally in the closet? … and we stay here… in this cabin the three of us… and what is the link between us? … It’s to be gay, (Jason raised his eyebrows) it’s not to have or to own something but to be something and, we are very similar, I know it instinctively (Jason raised his eyebrows a second time)… I could never fear anything from your part… neither you’ll have to from mine… we needn’t any sex to be in love with each other (Jason raised his eyebrows a third time)”
“From my part I don’t exclude something similar anyway – told Jason. – Yeah, good clarification, but doesn’t matter at all… yes I know that… David knows but doesn’t make any difference… we are in love, well, sex is something similar to the love… “
“Obviously… I must assure I never, and say never, would act something against you or keep something hidden to you…”
“Yes, you needn’t repeat such things, we know yet… “
“Boys… where would you like to go tomorrow?”
“I’d like to stay here… and you, David?”
“Me too… only walking by the lake, and we have a lot to talk about before we leave for college, we can’t waste the time going somewhere else”
“Ok… but now… it’s bed time… Jason… you can set the sleep bag on the carpet… good night boys… don’t be afraid about anything, love is wonderful… and you are in love…”
“No! We are in love, the three of us… good night Mike”,
“Good night Jason, and good night David”.
Somehow I was happy, somehow I was afraid, I wondered how to behave, I had always to remember that we were not three guys in love, they were really in love and I was something like an helping figure. Thy where the same age, I was much more older, life was something that belonged to them, I was just ending up my life, perhaps non exactly ending up but for sure not beginning it. Years can really separate generations. I wasn’t, neither I’ll be any more, an absolute beginner… something similar to the envy started walking around my brain, but I had to stop this walking… they were young guys, something natural, I had to love them like fathers love sons… Probably my offer about college wasn’t so disinterested, perhaps I had to get rid of them as soon as possible, because to look every minute to the image of the happiness is not so easy when that happiness is their happiness not yours. When I locked the door I became aware that my life was in danger, two gay guys are something too difficult to face, and their smiling is something I love but also scares me… My life is different… wishes and dreams don’t belong to men my age. Right they have to go to college and I have to stay here and go straight on my way… It just seems too easy… stay here and get it over, nearly forgetting them and leaving behind wishes and dreams… First I had had to get involved, then I have to forget… But can young guys picture in their mind this sort of consciousness raising? Probably they don’t care at all, they have to live not to think about life… I had to encourage them… to let them rest upon me… this was the heritage of the older age, my own heritage… I was happy to see things go on well, to make them happy about starting university and also to give me my usual peace and quiet, these things have to go together, I never would let them out only to gain my quiet, they gave me their trust and their confidence, something special I had to be grateful for, something I wasn’t used to, and I had to take care of their wishes and their dreams… yes, and also of myself, avoiding too much involving adventures. Keep away in order to prevent any kind of too strong involvement… short, to avoid sex involvement, because such things happen, and you normally can’t avoid it. It would have taken a month, two or more, but it would have happened eventually. It’s better to prevent, this way I have nothing to worry about, nothing difficult to explicate, and nothing to be ashamed of. Am I too complicated? Perhaps they wouldn’t even get upset about such things… but I don’t know. Fathers and sons have different attitudes towards life. Sons love it, fathers fear it, sons feel strong, good, and happy, and fathers fell anxious, worried, and doubtful. Is that true? … I just built such a building but is it well grounded? I don’ know…. “I don’t know” this topic sentence is the normal end of my thoughts. Then I fell asleep.
At 5.00 o’ clock in the morning I got up to set the breakfast, this time nothing enthusiastic, I felt it was my duty to tell them the truth, to love them, to set breakfast for them… a lot of duties… like usually fathers do… was I a father? Somehow yes, I was a father… usually sons move away from fathers … and fathers try to hold them back, but usually fathers don’t risk to fall in love with sons like I do. At 5.45 David and Jason didn’t come to have breakfast. I sat down and waited. At about seven some little noise came from their room. Then they went to the shower. Shower was a magical word at my times, used to mean nudity, something sexual, how many stories I was reading about mates in the shower, this time nothing similar. It wasn’t my time, no more, it was their time. I noticed that they used the shower one at a time entering and getting out fully clothed… it was very cold, that’s right, but I think they were shy with each other, perhaps not always but usually. They never caressed or kissed in front of me… many people do that spontaneously, they don’t.
At 7.20 we were chatting about college and having breakfast in a very relaxed way.
“Mike, are you worried about something?”
“What is it?”
“I’d like better to keep it for myself”,
“No… you have to share…”,
“I have to?”
“Yes you have to”,
“Well I think I’m substantially kicking you out… I’m trying to get rid of you…”,
“Mike… please stop it! You are totally wrong. Mike do you know what where we talking about yesterday before we fell asleep?”
“No, I don’t know”
“We were wondering what to think about you… especially if you would have something sexual in your mind about us… well that wouldn’t upset us at all, perhaps we aren’t a family but we can change into a real family, no matter what the father have in mind about sons, sexual love is real love… Mike… you are what you are but now, you can’t help it, we are three and we’ll change into a real family… you can’t get rid of us any more… I think… no matter what you have in mind, whatever it is… love has something sexual and more than something… you have not to worry about anything, not to be ashamed of anything, if you love us it’s a good thing, no matter if it’s sex or something else, love is always love, we don’t fear you… you’ll never act against us, we know it very well… we think that’s impossible, … that’s taken for granted… what you did for David and for me till now is something we like well, something you’ve never underlined and that you never boasted, just struggling to do something for us… never promises, never pointing out, never asking, never impinging privacy… with respect, with care, with love… and that’s enough”.
“Well, I’m confused… probably you are less worried about me than I’m about you… I’d never make mistakes… your life is important … it’s important to me… letting you go to the college, perhaps, I can love you and the same time you are allowed to be free, to get out, to live for yourself… love is love, yes, but you have to enjoy your being young without me, or also with me but in the distance… we can meet every weekend but no more… I love you, but you have better to go… college can give you a lot of chances to meet young people… to make friends… I’ll stay at home waiting for you, but if you some Sunday would go somewhere else you have to go there… no matter if I’m alone or not, if I know my two boys are happy I’ll be certainly happy… do you understand?”
“Not exactly. You need us… it’s something evident, and you don’t need us because of you… no! You need us because we need you… Mike… you can’t abandon us, you can’t at all because we need you, and you know that very well… Yes, we’ll go to college but not to get rid of you neither to let you get rid of us… no! Only to build a future… Mike, we can’t put down each other, perhaps we’ll make friends over there… but we’ll never find another family over there, our family is here… no… you are our family… do you understand?”
“And now, what about today? I have something in mind… David… can I ask him”
“Certainly, we have been talking about a lot… you have to”
“Well Mike… we would ask you about your life… that’s not curiosity… “
“I’m very upset…”
“Don’t worry… we’ll tell you something after… so you can relax… do you like to know something about us?”
“Whatever you like…”
“Dave… go…tell him everything…”
“Mike… I have to tell you… we aren’t in love with each other… I can understand that it sounds strange to you… we are only friends, like brothers, I’m really gay, perhaps Jason too is gay but he thinks he’s not… or he thinks he’s not exactly aware of what he really is, do you remember when you told me about the queen-size bed and I told you that we needn’t queen-size beds? I’m in love with Jason but he’s not sure he’s in love with me, I think he is, but he likes better to say we are friends in a particular way… but when I was kicked out by my parents because they find out I was gay he told his parents he was in love with me and they kicked out him too… he probably couldn’t stand being alone… and he has broken up with his family to stay with me… facing very bad difficulties… but he did… he always tells me he did it for me like a friend… I’m not sure…but I have to let him search and find his own way toward happiness. It’s a very hard exercise of abstinence but I love Jason… and his life is much more important than whatever else… we can stay in the same room but we don’t sleep together… neither yesterday night… there was only a sleeping bag and we got into fully clothed… that’s our little secret… we don’t are lovers, I don’t know what we are, but we aren’t lovers, or, if you like, we are, but without sex, at least form his part… Strange? What do you think about? I think I’d like to know and Jason too would like to know… now you know everything…”.
“Oh… I’m speechless… I supposed you were in love… I’m very perplexed … but if Jason thinks otherwise, we have to respect his point of view, perhaps love can be love also without sex… I think at least somehow you are in love, yes perhaps without sex but you are in love… if someone leys aside whatever else in order to follow you he’s in love with you… “.
“Or he’s so much alone and desperate that he likes better whatever else…”
“Jason… yes, I’m an old gay guy… perhaps my point of view is a gay point of view and I’m inclined to this kind of interpretations… but can I ask you something more personal?”
“I’d like better not…”
“Well… you are right… you can choose or think whatever you like and no one is allowed to get in… no matter why… you are right… David…. No! Love is love… and we can’t force him… right?”
“Jason, you have to take for granted that gay or not we’ll be a family, we three… right?”
“Boys, there’s a thing to talk about… the college… tomorrow morning we’ll have to fill forms, seat down and take a pen… “.
We kept chatting and planning about the college settlements, we agreed I would never come there, Jason agreed only after long discussions on the opportunity of me getting there, but at the end accepted this resolution as the lower dangerous… He wasn’t so interested in college like David. David looked forward to starting the new life, Jason was searching for something else and I had difficulties in make him accept to go. “Jason, remember, you have to go… it’s not the much important thing in the world but this way you can realize your future…” He answered that he didn’t know anything about his future… and he hoped to stay with me and David here, to work in order to have a little money and no more… yes, studying physics was a good thing but he thought he would never come to an end with physics… yes, he had to go to college… but he probably would never be a scientist… He liked better to be a simple man living his simple life which he didn’t know at all… with David, probably, but perhaps without him and perhaps without me… He was going to go to college with this thought in mind, only starting for now, waiting for seasons to cam, without wishes and without dreams. This guy had something uncommon, he was different… perhaps he wasn’t gay, but certainly he was something different. He liked being accepted, loved without questions about his most private life. David was openly gay, Jason liked better to avoid any definition, he was only Jason… you had to love Jason not the gay person that Jason could be, you had to love him, the single person without any specification… He was tender, and needed incredibly to be loved. Probably he was searching for love when he came to David to greet him for his physics prize… David was searching for something specifically gay, Jason wished only to be hugged tightly… David was tentative and doubtful but somehow he had a choice, he was not so desperate like Jason, who had no choice. For Jason there was nothing to think about… he had to go, no matter if David was gay, what Jason knew very well, in fact it was exactly because David was gay that David could have loved him. A young guy, substantially a boy, who surmounts any psychological and also relational difficulty in front of his friends to be hugged by a gay guy, just because the gay guy could love him. Perhaps David too vas searching for love and not only for sex… and Jason undertook the risk and went on… The life of these guys was something like a novel, nothing simple, nothing like play script, everything absolutely original… and their feelings weren’t so simple as I assumed. And at that time they were only 16 or 17! … Yes they experienced a lot of things I can’t even imagine… the matter isn’t about dealing with two gay guys following the play script… no! I have to deal with two young men with their personalities, their feelings, their weaknesses, I had to deal with two young men that could teach me something about life… they hadn’t be in the closet all lifelong like me, somehow they loved each other… and David accepted Jason with no doubt, with no hesitation… because he felt how strong was the love that moved Jason toward him… yes, without sex… but love is always love, you can live without sex, but you can’t live without love.
In the evening we packed everything end went away. When in the car I told them what I had had in mind and the conversation became something incredible, something very sweet, they seemed totally free, speaking without any restraint in front of me like they probably used in front of each other…
“Boys… can I tell you something”
“Today I learned about love a lot of things I have never taught about… I now understand that I experienced nothing at all in my life… I taught a lot of stupid things about love… and also about you I pretended to myself to be experienced in such things but I wasn’t at all… Love for me was something sex-related, no… I have to explicate it better… I never fell in love… yes sometimes I presumed to myself to be in love, but to be in love must be two and I was always alone… I never got in touch with another person, no matter if male or female, I lived only for myself… till now… and now I’m upset looking at you, you know what feelings are, not what is literature about feelings … Jason… I love you… David I love you… I don’t know what does it mean but I know that I love you… no matter if gay or whatever, I love you, you Jason and you David, like single persons… What you are is great for me, you are not like standard models of my fantasy, no! You are different and you are a lot better, you aren’t pictures or literary characters… no! You are two real men… like me… very like me. I love what you are, because my life changed into something really new, into a love life… Boys… I love you with all my heart! Thanks for giving me something so marvelous.”
“David… I can’t help crying… but for happiness… What do you think, David, are we a family?”
“I’m, very blessed with all my love life, and I can’t find out why… At that time I was upset by my coming out, yes, I was worried about my coming out, so worried that probably I never would have come out… but Jason somehow came out to me and hugged me… I was helped and saved by Jason at that time… but we had to separate… then I literally crashed into Mike… perhaps at the beginning I had something in mind but he went beyond my better wishes he made me and Jason join eventually… I have to tell I’m very lucky… perhaps I’m looking forward to college but I’m sad that we have to go to college because with you, Mike, we felt very good… perhaps you didn’t fall in love before but you know very well what love is, I think that you know it better than everyone else, perhaps instinctively, but you know it at the higher level.”
“Boys, when we get home… we have to feel forms so that I’ll send the forms by net tomorrow morning… I’ll send you a message with the responses of the college… but after filling forms you have to go to bed as soon as possible, because you have to wake up at 5.00 tomorrow morning…”
At home, we filled the forms, that wasn’t too difficult work then we said goodnight and went to bed. Next morning I had something to do, something real and necessary. I was so tired that crashed in no more than five minutes. At 5.00 the alarm clock rang, I got up and set the breakfast, and the sandwiches to take away. When David and Jason got downstairs they were tired like me and even worst, they were sleeping standing up… ate coffee, milk, some toasts and went to work, we agreed they will not resign till the official response of the college… Now I was alone with a lot of things to do… I started typing forms into the related section of the college website, then I got the enlisting numbers, the room number in the dorm, the lectures hours, the number of health insurance and so on. I took note of everything in my computer and made also a short table to give them, then I send a message: “Ok! College gave a response, everything is ok! Now you can resign, perhaps you could have to go in a couple of days … and you have to. See you at nine. Now you are enlisted.” I got no response, they had told me they had to leave the mobile in the locker room because they weren’t allowed to use it during the work shift. I had to wait till 13.00, the time they usually called me. My life was changing they were going to go in two days… in two days… I got used to them and I had to let them go… After last weekend our relationship had changed, and let them go was very hard for me, I loved them, I knew they had to go, I knew that this was the only right thing to do… let them go… but how difficult was to let them go… but I only had to encourage them, with love, with respect, with tender feelings but I only had to encourage them to go… this time I thought I had to make all this against my own feelings… no! I was wrong because my real feelings pushed me to let them go, not for me but for them. I loved them… but I loved them because they loved me, between us had started something special, we all where trustful with each other, something I never experimented before. I had only a few days to show them that I loved them… I had at least to make them feel better when going to my home… they had to feel like they were my sons and I was their father… I remembered the rule I had established in order not to get involved… I’m only Mike, not a father or something… but now every thought about prudence was over, they had to remember this latest days with me… my boys… I had a dream a lot of years ago: meet a guy to make love with… I met two lovely guys and I’m in love with them… and what a different love… You never can foresee what love may be… you spend all your life dreaming about something you think is love and finally, and absolutely by chance, you get involved in something you never could even imagine … not what you were hoping or dreaming about but something real, human, strong, something, you know it’s really love… the real love, very different from dreams… love without established rules, without defined borders… love, only love… upsetting every prevision, not something distressing, but something relaxing and nevertheless involving, something that helps you, that makes you feel alive another time… You can recognize that waiting time is over, that the time of hopes and dreams over and you are starting a love time… I had to do something to make them feel happy… yes, something to eat, something special… and also… also something to bring to college… clothes? … no… it’s too private… a camera? Suitcases? … Money? … Yes, that’s the problem, have I to tell them about money? Now they own money they earned at work… but in just a few weeks it will finish… how have I to introduce the speech about money without harming their pride? There’s a lot of problems to settle and a lot of questions to decide… Then I remembered a quote from “Another country” by James Baldwin: “there’s nothing here to decide there’s everything to accept!”. Wonderful! I loved that astonishing book, a masterwork, I think the most moving book I read, the most important book in my life… a sort of love school, something tender and touching… And now I was going to experiment what I learned there, and actually my way to love was very similar to that of the Baldwin’s novel. Nothing to worry… I have just to let them perceive my feelings, but can two 21 years old guys understand what an old man may feel… Yes the do… I think they do…
In the afternoon I cooked in the oven a big lasagna with mozzarella, meat balls, tomatoes sauce, and white sauce, and a lot of parmesan on top… they had to sniff something different… then a big salad with a lot of ingredients, from the walnuts to the oranges, from sun dried tomatoes to little mushrooms… everything was set for 8.30. This time I was waiting a little more… at 9.30 they didn’t yet come back… I was becoming a little worried, then the mobile rang… “Mike, don’t worry… we missed the bus, we’d tried to ask for a passage but everybody was gone… we don’t like hitchhiking and we caught the bus at nine… we’ll be there at 10.15… problems?”
“Not at all… but you did right calling me… I was just a little worried… I’m waiting for you at 10,15… see you”.
At 10.15 the bell rang… “Hi Mike… what a smell! Something special… another masterwork of yours! I think when in the college we have to forger such things… Mike… I don’t know what Jason thinks about … but I’ll stay here… Naturally I’m kidding but … I’m not at ease with going away… not for the college but for leaving this house… and you… Mike… I don’t know what I have to say… I’m a little sad today… I’m starting to realize what college may mean… we have to go away… and that’s not easy to accept”.
“Mike, David is right… college could be too hard for us… we had a lot of time to stay together but in college it would be very different… and we feel better here… “.
“Whatever have you in mind?”
“Nothing at all, we know we have to go, for us and also for you… we’ll certainly go but with an anger in the soul… when we missed the bus we were afraid because you had to wait for us… and now… sniffing and looking around we can see that you are here and you are here just for us… to wait for us, I was not used to someone waiting for me… someone older than me, someone who takes care of me, who waits for me, someone to talk to, to tell everything I have in mind because he will never reproach me… we’ll never find such things in college… yes we are not alone because we are two, but stay with David is something different, sometimes we have our problems, our misunderstandings and sometimes we may also feel depressed because of ithet… and no one is there to minimize all that… we have to surpass all this with only our strength… and this way it’s much more hard to do.”
“Jason… don’t overestimate me… I’m a poor man… yes, I feel better because of you… I feel I’m starting something new and important but I’m nothing more than a poor man… “
“Well… right, but that’s exactly what we need, someone real to help us to face the reality… we have a lot of wishes and a lot of dreams in mind… and you can help us to deal with real life…”.
“That’s very strange… you can’t even imagine how many wishes and dreams I have in mind… I’m not able to help anyone, I’m searching for someone who could help me… and just found out two guys who did it… because you are helping me… you are helping a lot… right, when you’ll go to college I’ll be sad, I know that very well, but you aren’t going away in order to get out from my life… no, you are going to get away just to get back… it’s very different, we’ll see probably every weekend if you like… and there is the mobile…”
“Mike… can I ask you about money, I’m sorry but it would be important.”
“Do you prefer to open a little bank account?”
“No… we prefer get here every week and get a little money for the week… this way at least we have to get back every week… we thought 300 $ a week will be enough all inclusive, also the train ticket to get back… is it possible?”
“Yeah… I thought 400$ a week… but I have to stop here”.
“Good… but 2400$ a month for the college and 1600$ a month for us are 4000$ a month can you afford such expenses? … it’s about 50.000$ a year and physics course lasts for five years…”
“I know but drying all my savings I can afford it… but you have to calculate that depending on your results, college expenses can come less than 1000$ … and I suppose you can reach this goal… one student out of three reaches this goal… and it would be about 15000$ saved… you can help studying hard in order to get out of the college as soon as possible…”
“We’ll do everything in order to save money and to study hard… I promise …. What is this? … Lasagna! Wonderful… “
“Seat down and have your dinner… and what about your resignation?”
“They accepted it right away… from now on we don’t have to go to work anymore… and about college?”
“I think we have to go there and check everything out… We can go tomorrow morning, leaving about at 6.00 we’ll be there in 60-70 minutes… we can have a breakfast and then go to the college office to set everything up.”
“Perfect… tomorrow morning…”
“That’s why you have to go to bed as soon as possible… now it’s quarter past eleven… we can discuss everything while going there… Boys… you are starting a new life… you have to be strong and clever… achieving a good physics graduation you could find also a little job within the college… and that could be in three years… and now let me tell you something else… I know very well that I have to let you build your life, yes, I know that, but you have to take for sure that I will be always with you whenever you need something, no matter what. I’m not getting rid of you, only you have to build a better future… and with a college degree you could find a better job… I don’t know what you are going to make with your life, neither I know what you, Jason, would make with your friendship with David… you are two guys… I think you’ll stay together all lifelong but if things will go otherwise nothing will change for me… each one of you means something special to me… I hope you’ll be a couple, but if things will turn otherwise you have to remember that my respect and my love will be always the same, I love you individually, not like a couple, you aren’t something similar to a symbol of something I never got… no! You are two guys I love because of what each one of you is… “
“Mike… I’m worried about college life… no one will cook for us over there… no one will show his love to us… and… oh… tomorrow we’ll go there together all the three of us… but eventually we’ll stay alone over there… that sounds bad… “.
“You have to stay with each other, you have to help each other, you have to love each other… Jason no matter if sexually or not… love is something that can exist also without sex… perhaps you could separate, your lives could take different ways… nevertheless you have to love each other, love is respect, care, affection… something that will never die… Love isn’t for now… when you’ll become older you’ll need each other much more, if it’s possible… love means no loneliness, no depression, no bad feelings, means to love and to be loved, to let the other love you… Now I understand I’m preaching far beyond the edge… Boys… come upstairs! It’s bed time! You have to wake up at five tomorrow.”
“Mike can I hug you?”…
“Certainly… you can do everything you like… Thanks, Jason, David… the three of us hugging tightly… that’s something I’ll never forget… And now straight to bed… go!”
Clearly I was deeply involved in this new adventure… will it go to an end or will it last forever, all life long? Now the college adventure… then I don’t know what, and this starting college adventure was even something hard to deal with… I wondered if it was adequate to their real situation to live together in the same college, to study together the same subjects… perhaps love needs distance. When you are alone you can be aware of your sadness, of your need of someone else, what hardly happens when you live with another person… Is love something that grows up with loneliness and decreases when you really live with the person you love? Probably I’m building such thoughts castle on my own loneliness based culture… but they are young… perhaps they need the physical presence… they hugged tightly when they met… when you hag tightly the person you love there’s something special, something physical that flows through all your body and trough all your brain, you can feel physically the presence of the other, not sexually, but physically, you can hug the body of another person, it is like you were hugging the soul of that person… they hugged me tightly… it was wonderful. But now I have to go back to more concrete problems… how to start college… and how to catch that enormous amount of money… I can’t tell them I’m afraid of all this situation I’m going to afford… Money is only a problem of mine… yes money… and I hope they will make everything at higher level to get graduated as soon as possible and also to save a lot of money… are they aware of money problem? I think not, but I have to keep it for me… Money is always an old people problem… we have to catch money and they have to spend… that’s natural, at least it seems so natural… Perhaps I could contact my former editor to agree for another book… and now I have a lot of things to write about… clearly changing nouns and situations… but I have a lot of new stuff… I’ll try tomorrow… now I only have to stay quiet and go to sleep…”
Next Morning I woke up at four and couldn’t get asleep any more. I started thinking about the day that was going to start… about the trip to the university town, about the college, but much more about what I was going to tell Jason and David… the evening before I had been satisfied of myself but I was not sure about what I was going to do or to tell next morning, I would never have broken what we had built the evening before… I was happy for the image I gave them of myself but I was afraid about what I was expected to do.
What choice could be appropriate not to destroy what the three of us just built? “It’s better to speak or to stay quiet? To show them my affection or to make an effort and keep away from too much intimacy, especially in public. To talk or not to talk, this is the problem! To talk to show them something they know very well or to keep silence, or at least a relative silence, to let them speak about whatever they like… I don’t like to give someone a bad image of myself… a wrong image of myself… no… it isn’t matter of an image… I want them to love me… I want them to be happy, with no worries and no fears at least about me… perhaps I have to let them lead the situation… I will never plan anything about my two guys, no more, they aren’t kids so that I have to play a role for them… no! They are real men… like me… they are much more younger nevertheless they are like me… perhaps not facing the oldness and such things… but facing the future they are certainly much more motivated to than me… their time is the future, my is the past… no… my time is even the future, perhaps a near future, certainly I don’t have to worry about what is going to be in 30 years… but ten years and better, to make a wish, twenty could be a future possible even for an old man like me… my two guys… are sleeping together, they aren’t making love… no they aren’t, … or somehow they are… yes probably somehow they are… and somehow I’m too… my two guys… one is gay, the other doesn’t even know himself whatever he is… but does that make any difference? … I don’t think so… Can I love them in two different ways because of their sexuality? All this sounds very absurd… love is love… and is always something reciprocal something you can’t control at all. Love… as old as I am I’m, thinking about love… what a strange situation… but what a real situation. Well, it’s time to get up!”
I set the breakfast, David and Jason got downstairs.
“Hi, Mike… how are you?
“Thanks, Jason, I’m fine and you…”.
“I’m very upset… we have to settle the college matter… and then we have to really start it and it will not be matter of a week… we have to get used to a new kind of life…
“He’s easy to get scared of everything… but when he’s in situation he gets away with everything… Well, it’s a subject on which we have to deal at some point, no matter how unpleasant it could be…”.
“Don’t worry… thousands of young people go to college every year and you are older than them … I think you have better to worry about different things you probably don’t consider at all…”
“I’m thinking about your new mates… and about some aspects of college life… you’ll meet young people, nice people, people who can take you in a different environment… your mates are young guys, they know nothing about you and they probably will be attracted to you, because you are older and because you are a couple, I think somehow they will realize it…”.
“Well, clearly we have to keep away from trouble… and think about our stuff… “.
“Yes, but I think there is another aspect you have to consider…”
“And what’s it?”
“I think your mates or at least someone of them could be attracted to you not only because they are nosy… someone of them could be very interested in your behave… and you have to pay attention not only in order to keep your privacy and to avoid trouble… but also not to harm them… You are a couple, or at least you somehow are a couple, you aren’t in closet to each other, but you could meet some guys that didn’t came out to anyone at all… that’s why you have to let your mates take their time. If you only mind your own you can scare them, set them out, and I think you have to be careful… do you understand?”
“Yeah!… that’s a very uncommon advice… you think someone of them… ”.
“Well I not only think but I’m sure there are a lot of gay guys over there… you have to consider that you’ll find guys and girls attending lectures but the dorm is a guys-only dorm… with about two thousand students… you have to calculate about 10% are gay… that makes about two hundred gay guys, ninety percent of them are in the closet and I think much more, they have to study hard… right, but you can take for sure they are searching something different at College…”.
“Do you mean sex?”
“Perhaps it could be… but I think a lot of other thinks, first friendship, then respect, maybe love… but they are weak like I was when I went to college many years ago. When you can see some fear signals, like hesitation, nervousness, aggressive responses, some insistence you would like to avoid, something strange whatever it could be… be careful… never react roughly, no hard words at all… give time to time… let things cool down, become less intense… it’s never too late to make mistakes… You have already passed your coming out… they could be now in the middle of the wading…”.
“What do you think would be better… I mean in order not to harm them…”
“No rules about arguments such this one… it’s your choice… you can also get wrong, yes, you can also scare or harm someone… you have only to follow your feelings and your brain… when you’ll find something you don’t understand you have to respect it… you are going to be in the midst of a lot of young people… a single smile can help, can avail, can make easier a lot of things… and when someone will flash you a smile, you have to give back a smile or better to tell something friendly or nice. Remember, when people smile at you they probably are searching for love… not for sex but for love, and people that need love, at least must be respected… ”.
“Well, Mike, and how to distinguish nosy people smiling from people who really need love? … Perhaps I’m rude but I think no one could distinguish them just at the beginning, don’t you agree?”
“Certainly… you have to be mindful that you can find nosy people spread everywhere, even without recognizing them… yes… first take care of yourselves… you’re right …”.
Breakfast was over, we jumped on the car, David was the driver and Jason sat near him on the front seat… I was in the back seat, and conversation went on while we were going on the highway, but somehow not so easily as I hoped. My arguments where too theoretical and abstract, but they were rather thinking about something concrete… and finally I was going to get back in some hours they instead had to face the real college life, their perspective was very different… I felt just at that moment how far reality could be from my dreams and also from what I used to think as my duty or my perspective on life… I was an old man, they were young guys, between us years dug an abyss, something nobody could event think to overstep, no matter whether or not you like that… the distance can’t really be reduced… starting something and come to the end are very different things… that’s why, probably, David and Jason seemed to be, or I have to say better where really in a different world. Something frightened me… was I really able to understand the two guys? If I had asked them this question they would have answered certainly… probably… yes… but I would never ask them such questions that belong only to me… old people questions… And I? What could I answer myself? Yesterday probably I’d have answered yes… but today my answer is very different… I clearly can’t understand them… I think I can play a role… not pretending to play but really playing my role, but was that for coherence or for love? They are to me what I pretend they are… no one can ever get into the soul of another human being… neither can I… My life, until some days ago, was only mine, only internal… but now I’m very perplexed… I got a flash of something new, I thought it was love, but it was only a flash of something… was it love? Can I at my age experiment something that is really love? Or I’ll only pretend to see somewhere love flashes in order to feel alive? Was I only pretending to play a role that involved something similar to love, just to keep away from loneliness and desperation? … Probably the guys needed really me to tell them something encouraging, to afford expenses they couldn’t afford… or, yes I can tell also… to love them, or just to find someone who pretends to love them… because is there any difference, on the side of the beloved person, between loving and pretending to love? Love isn’t something emotional, love is a duty, something that consists in acting like you were in love… is there any difference between loving and acting like you where loving someone? And really I think there isn’t any difference at all… if loving consists in doing everything in order to let someone feel beloved with enthusiasm and participation… and acting like you where loving someone consists in doing exactly the same things because of duty… I love them… I have to love them… I must love them…perhaps there is a difference but only from my point of view, I certainly don’t have to worry about such differences that involve only myself… I have to hide this thoughts and to keep them to myself… loving my boys or at least avoiding to hate them, because sometimes when love can’t grow up it becomes hate… hate that is confused with love, that is hidden under a coat of love… but hate really exists, not hate because of the guys… no… hate because of the concrete situation… I’d liked it to happen many years ago when this dudes hadn’t even been born… at that time everything could have happened, today is no more my time … gay or not I’m going to my end, I have nothing to start just something to complete…
Suddenly I asked them: “Do you think we can really get in touch with each other? Because I think we can’t… somehow we can’t”. Jason looked at me right in my eyes… “Somehow we can’t… but somehow we can… we somehow need you… we have really something to share… perhaps we can’t understand everything now but we need you, we need exchanging ideas, getting your experiences, knowing how an older man can afford his problems … don’t mind if I speak about you as an older man, we need you just like an older man… we too are somehow worried about how to get in touch with you… it’s something we aren’t already used to, … no… never think you aren’t able to get in touch with us… you are much older than our parents… but we prefer to stay with you… we feel much more free and also much more the object of your thoughts… you know how to take care of us, respecting us…”
“Jason… things are probably much more complicated … I think my good feelings dried years ago… I’m not really involved in your story… I told a lot of things… I promised a lot of things like I was really involved but I’m not… I’ll certainly do everything I told … but I take it for duty, for gay duty, if you like, but for duty… I’m not really involved… I think I pretend to be involved but I’m not… do you understand what the problem is?”
“Mike… do you remember James Baldwin’s novel “Another country”?
“Of course… yes… I know that book by heart…”
“Do you remember the quote: There is nothing here to decide but everything to accept?”
“Of course… I remember…”
“Well there is nothing here to understand or to think about but everything to accept… “
“Yeah… perhaps it’s true… I’m confused, I don’t know what to say… an old man in a strange situation… “
“No… nothing strange… love isn’t strange… or love is always strange…”
“… nothing to decide … everything to accept… right… when I read that sentence it seemed to me like I could accept it as something that belonged deeply to me… but between reading a book and deal with real life there’s an enormous difference… that sentence sounds today very different to me… probably you take it now just as I took it many years ago… you are something like myself when I was your age… If you had met me like I was many years ago, probably we had had the same feelings, the same thoughts… but between me and you there is an entire life you don’t know at all… something that I could share with you but you probably couldn’t understand at all because it’s matter of too many years ago… I think I envy your youth … I think old people envy young people… It could seam something bad… but probably it’s the truth… I would have met you when I too was young… but I’m no more… “
“Mike… how were you, when you where our age?
“I can’t even remember… probably… I wasn’t like you are now… no… when I was young everything was different… probably because I was different… but, yes, I think a lot of things where really different… At that time talking about being gay was impossible… you couldn’t even think about… I had friends… yes I had also a thing for someone of them… but they had their own life… girls, dating… and so on… at that time everybody was straight acting no matter if gay or not… was a general rule and you couldn’t even think to brake the rule… I used to keep out of my friends… yes, sometimes we went to the parties, sometimes to the cinema, but I didn’t like to stay with them too much… the less we used to know each other the less I was frightened about being detected… and being detected at that time was a very unpleasant affair…”
“Did you ever fall in love with someone?“
“Yeah… it happened… but he wasn’t a gay guy…”
“No! … I think if he had been a gay guy it couldn’t have been better… I think he loved me… his way, clearly… we spent a lot of time together… chatting about nothing on the phone… or in the car… I was happy… I think we were happy… something tender, honest, clear… something absolutely particular…”
“Did he know?”
“Certainly and there was no need to tell him anything… he told me that this way he was aware I had a better reason to love him really…”
“And now where is this guy? … I think he’s very extraordinary…”
“Yes, really he is… where? He went to Europe many years ago… he married, had children… I think now he’s happy…”
“But are you still in touch?”
“Yes, we are… I never call him but he calls me one or two times a week… and I think he’s happy to hear me…”
“How many years it lasted?
“It never came to an and, I think it will last all lifelong… when he married he didn’t stop to call me at least one or two times a week.. and so on for years… for his children I was something like an uncle… his wife was, I think, a clever woman…”
“Do you think he told his wife about you?”
“No… certainly he didn’t… not in order to hide something from his wife… no… only to avoid me to feel out of place…”
“Mike… is this story true?”
“I thought you could have created it for me… there’s something similar to my story with David…”
“Yes… while I was speaking I taught the same… but no… the story is really true… and I can assure you that some way we were in love and we are even now… we were friends… but very best friends… you know when you feel the love of another person? …. Sometimes when he calls me we speak like lovers… as old as we are… he told me: I need you… I really need you… I was looking forward to these minutes of conversation… I really love you Mike… you know very well… Just next year he’s been seek for months and I flied to Europe because I thought he was going to die… he was affording a very bad time, in the hospital with the oxygen mask, he wasn’t always conscious… when he was aware of himself he opened his eyes and looked straight at me and started crying … I was there holding his hand and repeating: you’ll get out of all this trouble, I’m sure you’ll get out… and I was terribly afraid about my own words because they seemed too much inappropriate to a similar situation… I pried Lord not to get him away… it would have been terrible if he would have gone… but month after month he become more and more healthy and finally doctors told us he was ready to go home… Jason I think that day was the better day for me… three weeks later I was newly at home… I think that someway my life was happy because of him… like now I’m happy because of you… You know? When someone loves you… then you become very different… you are happy, no matter sex or whatever…. Love is love… “
“How are you Mike?”
“Did black clouds go away?”
“I think yes… Thanks… Jason… you have something really similar to my friend… he used to deal with me the same way… and you, David, are now experimenting something I knew many years ago… boys… I think you are really in love… like I was at that time… because if you are in love you are happy and I think you are really happy… Nothing is better than loving and being loved… “
“But when we’ll feel depressed with no one around to let us be happy… I think it would be hard to deal with our feelings… and I think you too will feel at least just a little depressed without us… Mike… I noticed that you avoid every physical contact with us… isn’t it?”
“Yeah… it is…”
“I think you are worried not to scare us about something that could sound like something sexual… but… perhaps we might need also holding hands… “
“Jason… I don’t know what to say… perhaps you are right but I’m really not used to such things… there is something risky… I have to set rules and to follow what I stated… I’m not so sure about myself that I can feel free to hold hour hands… I’d like it very well… but I must keep the distance… avoid whatever could be too much involving… I have to keep my feelings under control… you have to trust me and I must respect my rules… you are for me something religious, something I have to warship… you are two guys that trust me… is there something more important? … If I have to love you I have also to respect the rules…”
“Well… if that’s true why did you let us hag you?”
“That’s a different thing… I will never stop you… that’s very different… “
“And if I would hag you right here and now?”
“You have not to… it wouldn’t be something spontaneous… no I wouldn’t accept it… it could sound strange to me… it sounds strange to me…“
“Jason… tell Mike about what we were discussing last night…”
“What is it?”
“Nothing important… just about the remote possibility you could ask for something more physical…”
“I don’t understand…”
“David told me if you had asked him something sexual he perhaps could have done it… and perhaps I would have done the same… it would be like a love exchange… something possible…“
“Jason… please hold your tongue… now… fortunately you are going to land to the university… far from me… and I think that this is the best thing in order not to get out of rules… This things are totally out… remember it’s not because you are much or less complying that I keep away from such things… it’s only by my choice… The fantasy is something very different from real life… I would never waste our friendship, or whatever it is, just to fulfill what is no more than a simple fantasy that I have better to keep for myself or even better to delete at all… and I think perhaps I’ll delete it at all, honestly I’m not yet at this point but I’m not so far from it… it’s a very difficult problem to deal with but our family, so to tell, it’s too much important and I’m really aware of it.”
“Mike… I apologize for my stupid thoughts…”
“ No! You don’t have to apologize for nothing at all… the problem is that this thoughts aren’t really so stupid… I think they are very important… but I have to tell you whatever I think about… remember, Jason… I think I can feel free to tell you whatever I have in mind only if you feel free to tell me whatever you have in mind… never avoid anything just because you think it could sound strange to me… And if you find out there is something I could hide from you because I think… I think you aren’t able to understand it… How could you react? No! Nothing to hide… no more… we… you and me have a lot of experience about hiding something from people… we never have to hide something form each other… it’s not a question of kindness or urbanity… no! Nothing similar between us… we have to feel with each other just as we feel with ourselves… I don’ know what you think about but now, I’m experimenting a freeing sensation… nothing to hide… speak clearly about everything… and then, I’m an older man end you are young guys but I have to consider you exactly as I consider myself, you aren’t too much young to understand me… no! You are able to understand everything… good or bad… I was going to add “at least I think you are able”… but not! Such expression would mean that perhaps you are not… and now I’m aware you really are… and I think you have to think that I’m able to understand whatever you could tell me… otherwise there could be no love at all, no friendship, nothing at all… We have to trust each other otherwise we have better take each his own way… isn’t it?”
“Mike… now you can get angry, if you like, but I have to tell you that I feel a little… I don’t know how to say… too strange, too inappropriate… shortly too stupid… David pretends he’s asleep … and I feel so stupid because I told you what we told each other last night… I had better to keep everything for me… because he’s pretending to sleep… this way he lets me explore the ground… and you, Mike, are just too much assertive… I can appreciate what you told me, but I think something sensual is too much necessary to love someone, but it seems you don’t care about it at all… David and I aren’t lovers… yes, but we have some physical contact… isn’t it David? David… wake up! … sometimes he hugs me or holds my hand or caress my hair… not too much… never too much… but he knows I need it and he does it for me… I know very well that such things are hard to take under control for him but nevertheless he knows I need it and he complies… Mike, don’t you understand me?
“Jason… oh my God… you are terrible… I can imagine how you can stress the poor David… and you are now making the same with me… No! … You are wrong… there isn’t any theoretical problem… David is David and I’m Mike… you can obviously get in touch with him the way you like better, you are two young guys… you can build your life together… sex or whatever, you are searching for love and you’ll find it… but I’m and older man… boys… you can’t understand…”
“You told us just five minutes ego that there was nothing we weren’t able to understand… didn’t you?”
“Right… I did… Jason you are a little fox!… but why are we keeping on talking about sex or whatever… there are a lot of things to talk about…”.
“Are you afraid to talk about sex? … yes… you are… that sounds strange to me, I’m not scared at all… probably I would never make love with a male but absolutely I’m not worried about sex discussions… but you are scared, Mike… I think you are…”.
“Jason… you are terrible and I’m looking forward to starting academic year… this way I could be safe and not worried at all… you are very terrible… but don’t you know that for an aged man such things are out of touch… don’t you understand what’s the difference? … yes… right, you are young… David is young… but I’m not… we, David and I, are gay nevertheless our life is very different, my sun is going to set down… and he’s going to start… do you know the difference? … became and old man… dealing everyday with the idea of getting ill… of being able to face the death… that’s what you don’t understand at all… you only think about sex or not sex… sorry, about love… oh… yes… it’s much more high level matter… but you never think that time flows and you can’t stop it… I was young years ago but I’m no more… what’s my future? the future I’m going to really face? … do you understand what I’m trying to tell you? …”
“Somehow… perhaps… but… perhaps I don’t really understand… really… I think I don’t understand at all… probably it’s impossible… well… I feel stupid pretending I can understand… but neither you are able to understand us… perhaps you remember something that happened to you years ago… but sex isn’t eventually your real fife now… that means it’s not your real life… because what was real in the past is no more real now… perhaps neither love is your real life now… I think I’m too rough but it’s what I have in mind just now… sorry Mike… I wasn’t allowed… sorry…”
“… Jason… I don’t know what to say… I’m really perplexed… probably you are right and I can’t even feel something similar to love… because I’m too much deep in my thoughts… too much selfish… I’m pretending that I love you but perhaps I’m very far from all this… I thought it by myself… you entered an open door… you probably are right… well… and then? What to do next… so are things… good… I only have to accept… I can’t change anything.”
“I think you can… something at least… certainly you can… “
“I don’t understand… is there something I missed?”
“No… but I have to ask a question…”
“Not now… if I need it… could I touch you? Hag you? Take you hand? … This way you can’t even think whether I could like it or not… it would be my choice, only my choice…”
“Obviously you can make everything you like… but I’d like better not… you have nothing to experiment… I love you… at least I try…”
“Yes, right, but you take it as a must… and this sounds strange to me… you aren’t really free, you don’t even feel free… and I have to say I’m not totally at ease with you… I feel like you were keeping me away… I don’t like the idea of scaring you… But you could make something better for us not keeping us away … because you do… you really do… with love… with care at least, but you really do… Did you ever think about taking my hand or David’s, to hag us tightly, to make us feel you really exist? … yes… it would be more difficult to deal with all that stuff but we don’t mind at all…”
“Jason… no… perhaps you can understand, perhaps you can’t even tolerate my behavior that probably seams to you something that comes from fear or whatever… but I have to go on this why… I must to go on this way… you are a couple… really you are… I’m a friend… a gay friend… a gay old friend… and if I have to preserve this strange kind of love I must keep on this way… no matter what your feelings could be now… no… we must work for the future, for your future, probably also for mine… but it’s different… it’s very different… Jason, if I had found guys like you when I was young, things would have been different… but I didn’t … if it had happened probably my life would have been completely different… but nothing similar happened… that time was time of fear… of loneliness … do you understand how your freedom, that you consider so little, is different from the absolute closeting of that times? But that years where my years… and now my time could never restart… “.
“Why are you holding our youth against us? What did we against you? We too will come to face oldness if God wants, if now we are young you can’t blame upon us… can’t you discover what’s common between us? … I think there’s a lot in common, why are you trying to emphasize your oldness… to hold you oldness against us?”.
“Jason… you probably can’t even understand how difficult it could d be for Mike to deal with all the situation… no… we have to understand… and now we aren’t able to… it will take time… I think college is really a good idea… just in order to accept ourselves… we have to experiment what it could be to need Mike … and he has to do the same with us… we have to get used to each other… step by step… we too have to learn how to love him… and to use to much words isn’t useful, to build a lot of thoughts, of theories of abstract reasoning could only distress us … understanding has nothing to do with thoughts, understanding is a matter of love, not of brain… Mike… why are you still? Did we hurt you?”
“I have nothing to hold against you… nothing at all… neither my oldness… and, right, chatting a lot about such questions may only unnerve you… you are right… I’m speaking only about myself something that really has nothing to do with love… I’m not used to love tings… but I have to learn… really it will take its time… but… I don’t think that going to the college will help… no… we need to get used to each other we need to stay together… to feel free… to make mistakes… just as like I did two minutes ago… I’m not perfect, I’m a real man, with a lot of… how I could tell you… with a lot of doubts, of ambiguities, I’m selfish… I’m really selfish like people used to be to bear loneliness, I never had children, or relatives at all…, only myself… and you, right and you, … you know, It’s very boring to deal with an older man like I’m… I’m what I’m… yes, selfish, why not… and you have to take me like I’m… You can reproach me, if you have to, but never be angry with me… I can make a lot of mistakes… but I can’t help it…”
“Jason… how are you?”
“I feel really strange… I had in mind that it could have been easier than that… I feel like a stupid who presumes to understand everything and isn’t even able to really let you tell what you have in mind… I feel like a stupid boy… Mike I would never…”
“Stop! … No! you have nothing to add? Did you hear what David told just now? … Never too much words… I love you Jason… you have to take it for granted… and now you have to think only about college… you have to get rid of all the thoughts that aren’t about college… you can take everything else for granted… I’m just waiting for you to come back home graduates … right Jason?”
“Right… but I’m afraid I couldn’t achieve the goal… I think it could be too much difficult for me…”
“Nothing is too much for you… David and I will support you anyway…”
“But I’m scared all the same…”
“No matter scared or not you have to face all the problems college will imply… and let me tell you clearly: all the students face the same problems and all of them are scared starting college… you aren’t going to start nothing such strange or difficult… it’s a normal thing for guys you age… isn’t it?
“Right… it is… “.
Our journey was going to the end, we went out of the highway and ten minutes later we entered the campus…
… it was 7.00 o’clock and we had two hours to spend waiting for the admission office to open… we went to the campus cafeteria… something decent, not really exceptional… then we did a tour of the campus… there was a list of student organizations recognized by the student government association: Geography, Architecture, Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity, Theatre, Pool Sharks, Sigma Nu fraternity, Volley Club… whatever you like… but a gay community… about 2.300 students and no gay club… but it’s a coeducational University… about 1.200 male students… at least one hundred gay students… and no gay club…
“Guys… noting about gay life here… you can find everything but gay association… it sounds a little strange… you must be careful… isn’t it?”
“Yeah… You’re right… Mike… I don’t feel at ease here… “
“Yeah… I understand but you have no choice… It will be hard to deal with but you must learn as soon as possible how to behave in this campus… let’s go to the dorm …”, while we were going there, the conversation went about gay organizations…
“Mike, what do you think about gay organizations?”
“Gay rights associations?”
“Gay organizations, in my opinion… right, made something good letting people understand that gay people exist… showing gay people in the streets… but I think some of them are much interested in something else… in politics, in making money with parties and public happenings… somehow in using gay people for different purposes… I don’t like such associations… they perhaps make the gay situation even worst… because people commonly associates their shows in the streets with being gay… but sometimes they go much more ahead… naked happenings in the streets… using scandal like an instrument against something… and this way there are a lot of people that could never understand that gay isn’t something abnormal… like walking naked in the streets… gay is something normal … but this way people will never associate the gay name wit normality… and I think that would be something wrong… completely wrong…”
“But there are gay associations that aren’t this way… I got one in Canada… yes about an adult site… but everything was public except writing in the discussion board … on this board a lot of people posted regularly… and something very interesting… nothing to do with pornography… One of them got sick and needed money for surgery… and they paid for him… immediately and went there to support him and his family… they prayed Lord for him a lot… hoping for him to recover immediately… he was going to die just before the surgery… and his friends where really destroyed… then… after five days… his brother posted a message that surgery was over and he was recovering quickly… They made a party… and put pictures on the board and they were really happy… such things are real… it really happens…”
“Certainly… and it happens when there isn’t any other purposes in gay associations… but when politics or money are mixed to gay world… the mix risks to be explosive… I think”
“You’re right… you’re right…”
We went there… it was quite a good room with a private bathroom with a shower… two beds, two desks, two little closet with drawers… they were quite pleased… no people around… just something for them… only for them… we unpacked and set everything to the right place… it was easy… each of them got a key… a security key… I was doing everything as it was for me… but I was aware I had to go in the evening… and never go back there… or at least only exceptionally… their new life was going to star and my old life was going to restart… what was going on was the beginning for them and was the end for me… the end? … no, not exactly… my life really changed into something new… I had firs of all to earn money… a lot of money… and for a retired man like me it was very difficult to get newly in touch with my old editors to propose a new book… and what a book? … One of my usual love books … or something new, something absolutely new? It was a problem? How would my old editor accept a new line? Was such a choice according to the marketing? And also… had I better to keep my feelings for myself, for David and Jason… or had I to write thinking also to the people, the gay people? The young gay people and also the older gay people… I newer proposed to my editor a gay novel… I wrote five or six… yes but for me… only for me… and published nine novels about being two… in the straight meaning… even those novels were really gay novels… but no one read them in the right way… this time I had to get out myself… as a gay writer… because I’m… I’ll choose to write not for the public but for gay people… at least I can understand them a little better… and perhaps they could also read something real about gay life… my story… my real story that was damned to finish with my life… but I have something to tell gay people… I have to tell them that our world is a good one and no one has to be worried about being gay… in the world people make a lot of horrible things to gay people… but we never will be defeated… Well, that’s my way to keep in touch with David and Jason… that’s how I have to put in practice what I learned from them… All this thoughts were already well defined in my mind… and perhaps I would face also gay-organizations… because I’m non at ease with some of them…
Eleven o’clock… everything was set up… forms had been signed… university documents had been delivered to David and Jason… nothing else lasted to do… we had to go for lunch at 13.00… out of the campus… we could have booked also to the campus self-service… but I had to keep out… Campus wasn’t really crowded… we went to see the Physics building… an enormous building that smelt strange… like paraffin or oil… courses hadn’t started yet and David and Jason had four days to learn everything about campus life… My God… they were scared… too big buildings, too formal service, everything out of their usual range… The dorm like a hotel… the laboratories like something strange… the library like an enormous hall where an unreal silence reigned… and a few people moved without a word… My God… they were scared… we got out of the library…
“Mike… I never would have imagined such things… it’s terrifying… “
“Jason… no… it’s all normal… this is an university… a lot of smoke… a little roast… you have to remember that students that come here come from high school… therefore you have nothing to be worried about…”.
“But it seems the culture temple…”
“ No… culture has nothing to do with awards, or grades or colleges…”
“I don’t think so…”.
“Culture has only to do with how you can deal with the world… culture is respect and love… sometimes respect and love that are very hard to accept … when experiences are different, social conditions are different… feelings are different… it’s very hard to respect and love someone else… it’s not a spontaneous thing… you must be training yourself, you must force yourself … if you don’t you have nothing to do with culture no matter if you got a PHD or whatever… clearly… here you can study physics at an higher lever… yes it’s also the temple of culture somehow… but of a specific culture not of the Culture with capital letter… I’m very rhetoric today… sorry, this is a strange day for me… Jason, David… tell me a word… perhaps you aren’t at ease… well… I’m sorry… My God, we are spending this way the last day together… no… I’m not at ease now… perhaps I have to go straight now… “
“We are not used to such things … David and I … yeah… I’m not at ease… it seems that everything we did till now is going to vanish… also our feelings with each other seam vanish… word after word… it’s terrible… its’ physically terrible… it’s strange… I don’t like such feelings… when we were at the lake everything seemed to go well… now… the atmosphere is very different… “
“Well I think I’m going now… “
“Mike… no! … “
“You’re right… no…”
“Thanks… I don’t know why but I can’t help crying… it’s terrible… it’s terrible…”
“You told we were a family… but we are not… we are only strangers to each other… it was too much difficult for you to deal with us… that’s why you send us here… to get reed of us… yes clearly a quite fairly way to get read of us… but what have you in common with us… you are an older man… you hate young people because young people remind you of your totally wasted life… yeah we are young today… and you’ll be never more… that’s true… David … I will never stay in this campus spending his money… his money not our money… He’s buying us… is not a friend of us… I don’t stand him any more… we are going to became his slaves… don’t you understand? David! … I hate him … what are you waiting for… you have to choose or with me or with him… perhaps we can catch some job… but our job… David! You have to choose… now! or nevermore!”
I started walking away… sadly, slowly… Jason cried and yelled out against David. David wasn’t even able to answer… I was terrified… but kept walking away… nothing happened… I turned the corner… I was destroyed… What had I to do? … Never get involved in someone else’s live… I repeated to myself … I wasn’t even sad about myself … a lot of money wasted … for nothing… and even worst I had destroyed the love story of David and Jason… two gay guys … yes… but how far from me… just another country, another world… a world I wasn’t even allowed to approach… their world not mine… I waited for a few minutes but nothing happened… I would have got back… but there was a total silence now… everything had ended up in a minute… then I got back really but no one was there, the guys had vanished, the silence was total… I felt devastated… got back to my car and went home. My God… I was upset… I told them how difficult it could be to respect and to love someone very far from you… two gay guys that hated me… how was it possible? … then I remembered that I had their mobile numbers… had I to call Jason… perhaps in order to scare him even more… had I to try to recover the situation or to let them go their way? … I entered the highway… my brain was upset… I was searching for something wrong clearly from their own point of view because from my own I had nothing to hide from myself… what could have let the bomb burst? It was a money problem? Or a dignity problem? Or both of them? And was there something to do? When at home I went upstairs to the green room, that one of Jason and David… everything was empty. Steps echoed in the late afternoon… everything was in perfect order… the bed… the single bed… it seemed like David and Jason never entered the room… only an unusual amount of food in the fridge reminded me that it wasn’t a dream… only the food in the fridge and two numbers in my mobile… nothing else… I was hoping to receive a call from them… but I was hoping also just the contrary… life has its rules and I had broken that rules… everything is mechanical, no matter what you want or what you like, as usually there is nothing here to decide, there’s everything to accept…
The night came, my soul was empty, an absolute quiet invaded me, physically and emotionally… my old life restarted with all its emptiness and its usual nothingness… I only had to come back to myself… my guys were out not at college as I, not they, planned… where were they now? I wasn’t even allowed to ask… they had gone their way… and all my getting afraid of their future was worth nothing… they had gone… perhaps not David… but he had to go to follow his friend and he did exactly so… not a word to add… he had to go… and Jason that shy boy… what was he hiding in his soul? … Fear, I think just fear… fear of everybody… I probably scared him… He perhaps couldn’t even imagine everything was real… yes probably I was getting reed of them sending them to the college… but… had I really thought about buying their souls? … No… I think I never did… but he was scared all the same… no matter my thoughts… only his thoughts where worth not mine… and I never asked really them about their future… the telephone rang… my heart skipped a beat but it was only a friend of mine to ask for a wedding party… I told him I was sick and I had to go to the hospital to take care of my high blood pressure… but…, I had to ad this “but”, but my doctor told me I could get back home in two or three days… When I hung up I was perplexed… I never lied to a friend… I wasn’t a liar… I only had to stop that conversation, I wasn’t able to stand it… I had to go back to Jason… was he really hating me? For fear or whatever else but was he really hating me? … And David that poor David who was desperate… the mobile rang… David!!! … Oh my God!
– Hallo Mike… we are in our room at college… Jason has been crying desperately all the day long… I’m very concerned and worried… it was impossible to calm him down… he cried desperately, shivered… Mike… I think he’s not able to control himself … I never saw him this way… Mike, I fear for his mental health, he seems panic-stricken… I’m worried he could commit suicide… Mike… come here… come here Mike… now… immediately… perhaps it could help… perhaps it could help… now Mike… now… I’ll call you … I have to go now…
– I’ll get there as soon as possible…
I jumped off the bed and three minutes later I was newly riding my car… I had to go there as soon as possible… I had to go there… and I was frightened… how to help… was Jason really aware of himself? … He was probably stressed… he had a lot of problems to deal with… He wasn’t a boy… he was a real man with all his problems… a man who was never a boy… a desperate man… my brain started melting… but I had to control myself… I got finally out of the highway and turned to the campus … David called back …
– Where are you?
– Just parking the car…
– I can see you from my window… stop in the hall… you are not allowed to come to our room till seven o clock… nevertheless I could ask the receptionist to let you go… you only have to show him your documents… ok?
A second later the receptionist’s telephone rang… he nodded me to approach the desk and give him documents… then he put my license into a mail box with the number 891 and gave me a form to sign with all the rules visitors had to follow… then showed me the lift and told only “eighth floor”. I nodded him back and entered the lift… while rising mi heart skipped another beat… David was waiting for me on the door… he let me in and closed the door. Jason was on his bed fully clothed… but his clothes seamed dirty and moody… his eyes where closed… I took hold of his hand… he instinctively withdrew the hand but the opened his eyes and started crying and gripped my hand tightly… I think heaven can’t be so much different from that moment… then I caressed his forehead and his hair… he was going to tell something but I nodded to be quiet because it was a quarter past five… he nodded back… David sat down nearby… Jason started newly crying, I took hold of the tip of his nose and he flashed me his sweetest childish smile. Not a single word was spoken till seven o’clock then the bell rang in the corridor and some noise started being heard…
“I’ll wait for you down the hall and we’ll go for breakfast… take your time…”.
Ten minutes later they were in the all … shaved and smiling… the receptionist gave me back my license and we went for breakfast… Jason in the middle, David on his right and I on his left. The night, an horrible night was over and I was tired as hell… the coffee helped, I would have had another coffee but I didn’t… my hearth beat was regular as if nothing had happened at all… Jason was silent… I had to break that silence…
– Jason… I’m happy now…
– I’m happy too… happy, really…
– I don’t know what to tell…
– Can you stay here a couple of days?
– Certainly… no problem…
– Good… Mike… am I mad… something pathological? Tell me the truth…
– You need love… all of us need love… and am I something pathological when I can’t even live without Jason and David? … Certainly… somehow I’m something pathological… right… but I need love… nothing else… I need love… just like you Jason… just like you…
– Sometimes I feel like I were upset by your presence… I need love… yes but I don’t even understand what love could be… it’s hard to me to accept you can love us… love not lust after… just love…
– Jason… I don’t know if…
– No, Mike, no! Just love… nothing else… loving David or at least be friends with David is something usual… I can understand or I think I can understand why he loves me… he can at least pursue his own purpose… but you Mike… what are you searching for? Why are you here now? … I had to put you down yesterday… I had to… but then I felt terrible… Why? Do you know why? … Just stay here a couple of days… and I’ll find out why… I think I’ll find out…
If you like it, you can take part in the discussion about this novel on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-only-seven-days-gay-novel-2006
You can also download the pdf version without any formality on the page: http://gayproject.altervista.org/only_7_days.pdf
I’m, so to say, a new boy, no more school, college is different, no loneliness, no sadness, only new goals to achieve, new chances to get and perhaps new friends to get in touch. I would have rent a flat but I haven’t any money, my parents only allowed me to stay in a dorm near the university, but it wasn’t for greed, truly they don’t have money. Therefore, I’m not disappointed of that, it’s obvious, not against me but, if you like, to give me a possibility, the only possibility, to get out of my family in order to try a better chance. Now I’m alone, that’s right, but for the first time in my life I’m a free boy, I’ll have to deal with so many new things, but I would also feel the eager sensation of freedom, no control, no get back at that time, no being called for this and that, no obligations, no rules, only a new world to experiment, full of hope, of happiness, I think, perhaps also of dangers and so many other things I still don’t know at all.
I only have to go to the dorm, get some information, put down my luggage, check my room, my new room, my only room, because I didn’t have any room before, then would put my clothes on the shelves, take a shower, go walking here and there, and wait, wait for tomorrow for lessons to start, for my new life to start.
I just got to the dorm office, a secretary gives me a form to fill, name, phone number and so on, I fill it with care then give it to the secretary, she prints a second form with the rules of the dorm then gives me it and a rigid plastic ticket with my name printed on and also the keys of the room, she didn’t tell me anything about roommates or no roommates and I didn‘t ask her. I’d liked better a single room? I don’t think so, I’d liked better to have a roommate in order to chat with, to have a fun time, to speak about so many things. I’d liked better catch the lift but the lift is out of service and I have time and stress to spend to get to my room on the ninth floor. I’m sweaty, my heart is pounding fast, but now I’m finally on the ninth floor. Room 987… where is it? No, not over here, perhaps over there, no, neither… what a big building! Terrible! Nobody in the corridor never in the hall, never in the services, nobody at all… it’s Sunday… well… yes… it’s Sunday, perhaps I would stay alone all day long… that’s not a good thing… Oh! Finally! 987… my room… the key, the key, the key… where is it? In the pocket… in the bag… no… goddamn where are you shit of a key! Finally! … That’s not so bad… two beds, no luggage, good! Good panorama… I can see ten miles long… just a little windy, too much sunny, perhaps too much light… but better so… and… no bathroom? No… no bathroom… that’s not so good… no, no… but as usually I have to stay quiet, as usually there’s nothing to do. No flat, only a room, a two-bed room in the dorm… that’s perfect… no money… much more stress. It would have been good to stay in a big flat with a king bed, with a kitchen, with a … with a bathroom… no, other things are not necessary but the bathroom… take a shower with no worry about too much warm water to be wasted… use a big bath tube like the ancient Romans, stay in the bathroom for hours, in the warmth, in the steam… but stop dreaming! I’m here with no lift, no roommate, no bathroom… that’s the beginning of my new life… very awful beginning… I hope it would be better tomorrow… now cloths in the closet, right, shoes near the bed… witch bed? This or that? This would be better, from here I could dominate everything in the room, my roommate would be in full light, I could se him and he couldn’t see me… no, he could see me also… no, better the other bed… from there… no… better the first one… yes, yes, better the first one… and witch closet? There is a key on this one, no key over there, but this one is near the other bed… I have to change them, yes, I have to set this one over there and that one over here… It will not be a big weight… no, it’s easy, not so difficult… well now it’s better, and I have to put everything in my, very my, closet, and use a key… and he has to use the other closet with no key and perhaps I can inspect everything, his clothes, his books, letters, no privacy for him, everything in sight… good, good, good! What have I to do with a key? I’ll keep it? I’ll hide it? And where? Out of the window? No, very strange site… under the mattress? Very obvious… Perhaps it could stay over there… or not? Better keep, yes… better keep! And now? … goddamn! Nothing to do… get downstairs, go for a walk… or stay waiting for my roommate? Big problem to deal with… Downstairs, that’s right… no lift but I can’t stay here waiting for someone who could exist or not… downstairs!
Got out of the room pushed the button for the elevator… and the lift was working. Good, good, good! … Things are going to turn well!
I just arrived on the ground floor and I saw someone in the big hall, two guys in particular, talking about lessons, professors, they seamed very polite, gentle, not like many college boys. I’m astonished students are like that? No… at list usually not… strange, very strange… with boys like that it’s impossible to fooling around… they are so perfect and also so out of touch… it would be very difficult to get in touch with them… Mark, Mark, … you could have chosen a better place, too much pride here, no friendship… keep patient… perhaps it’s only the surface, the academic year didn’t start yet… tomorrow, tomorrow… better get out of here better the fresh air, better … and now, where will I go for dinner? … From Monday till Saturday it’s possible to have a dinner in the dorm cafeteria, a fast dinner with all the students, but Sunday no cafeteria service, Sunday you have to go to the restaurant or simply have a sandwich… people who have money go to the restaurant… other people like me… obviously… have only a sandwich… in order to save money, you know, that’s very difficult for a poor family guy to study, college was and is still now only upper class school… I have to stop thinking… here in America no money no future! That’s the simplest equation; there is no way to escape… that’s regular… like I was born like I have to die. Sunday morning, a shining morning, good! Very good!… Go to a sneak bar, to Mc’ Donald’s? I don’t know, it’s only 9.10 I’ll have to wait till lunch time… or better go to the supermarket just buy something to eat, save money and then go back to the dorm, I would bring there something to eat… perhaps I could find my roommate if there is one… Probably he will arrive in the evening, in late evening in order to save vacation time, but he could also arrive tomorrow morning, it would be even better… clearly for him… but I could also go back to the dorm straight now and take a shower, a shower with nobody around, it would not be like what I was dreaming about but at list it would be a shower… and after… newly to wait, to do nothing till tomorrow morning… no, the shower can wait… better go downtown… but this is not a big city, just schools, hospitals, but not for sick people, only hospitals for students, … There are also good trees over here, trimmed like my head… we are going to the cold season… o my God! … I’m very silly, no… very stupid… worst, I’m only a peace of shit … boys, be careful not to tread on me! … Boys like the two I just saw at the dorm, sure, don’t love to be in the shit! They are polite, the are gentlemen… I’d better to keep out, better nothing than being kicked out by boys like that… I’m complaining that I have no money … I’m pathetic! They have money! Just this! I’ve not… that’s all… simple, very simple… I’m a shit, they are shoes… they go to the restaurant, they arrive late, just in time for bed… and they are those who live in the dorm, I can imagine how are those who live in rented flats or better in big houses, with gardens, big cars, much money, a lot of chicken… and so on… For them I’d be less than shit or rubbish… Upper class boys… Horrible! … And also neither a water fountain, I’m thirsty… and I can’t find any fountain to drink… I would have to buy the water… not a mineral water, simply the natural one… everything to bay, if you have money, no problem, if you have not you mast die thirsty… simply, regular, nothing strange! I could drink the rain water but it’s sunny and I have no time to wait for the rain … I could drink the toilet water, not that from the sink but exactly that from the john… I’m a shit… isn’t it? No worry! I’ll go to the supermarket straight now… if it’s open, if not, I’ll go back to the dorm… and if there is someone like the two boys I just saw… I could kill them… the shoes that crushes the shit! I’m perverted, mentally perverted… no… I’m just a lower class boy that has to wait till tomorrow morning with just a little money… little money little respect, little … just everything is little for me… a little peace of shit… gals like money, gals don’t like guys, they like money, restaurants and so on… and guys don’t like gals, they like good food, to be served like a boss, they don’t like parents or grandparents they only like inheritances, houses, cars, power, money… they, they, they… yes, and what do I like? … No… better to stay quiet… I like something and like it very well, but it’s better to stay quiet… And my roommate? Fat, noisy, worst nosy, and also smelling bad, sure he’ll be like that, another peace of shit, at list we’ll be just two… upper class society “Shit & Shit Company”… better nobody than a roommate like that, or worst like the two I just saw. Goddamn! Closed! … I’m very lucky, no water, no food, nothing at all… restaurants, yes too many restaurants and very crowded too… but no money no restaurant! Everything is for upper class guys, noting for me, just fresh air, just go walking up and down, down and up with no food no water, no money! Always the same… nothing to do… better go and take a shower, it’s already paid, I already paid money for the dorm, for the shower, for the… My roommate, if there is one, could also not have much money… that sounds better, lower class society “Deprived & Wretch Company”… it’s 11.00 I go to take my shower… Nobody, like last time… good! The lift works! 180 stairs saved! Nobody neither in the ninth floor… nobody till the room 987… and now the most important question… did he arrive yet my roommate? … one, two, three… open! No! Nobody neither here… well… better get a shower… what will I do? Get over there clothed and disrobe in the locker room or go in my bath suit? … No! I have to change in the changing room, if there is one… the soap… the necessary to brush the teeth , to comb, to shave… that’s all, better I go… everything is quite… good facilities, big, well cleaned, but over all very big, big shower space with twelve heads… twelve! Strange! But how many guys live here? There are one hundred rooms in each floor… one hundred! Twelve heads for about one hundred guys, it will be impossible to take a shower in the morning… perhaps they would be less than one hundred, perhaps fifty o forty or even less… I don’t know… now I have to take my shower… Good locker room too! Very good lockers! Big… but a key? I don’t have my key, probably I had to get it at the secretary office… I’d better go right now and get back as soon as possible, I’ll leave everything this way, I think nobody will pick up my shirt or my soap… The lift runs, good… the secretary… no! She isn’t in the office… “closed for dinner till 14.00”… Also secretaries have to eat, there is only one who don’t have to eat, he as to get a shower but till 14.00 not locker keys… another time to the lift, another time to the showers… good, clothes on the bench and hope nobody would steal it, it would be awful get out of the shower and find that clothes have been stolen… no! No problem… no one in sight… to change is very easy now but tomorrow, in the morning, in the crowd… let get to the showers… well, warm water, a lot of worm water, not like at home… shower at home was a trouble, my father firs, then Jason, then Betty, then my mother, then Ben, I was the last one, cool water, dirty stall, five minute shower and that was all, here it’s different, a lot of worm water, I wouldn’t stop showering no more, it feels good, very good… but I have to get out, I have to shave, to comb, to dress, and then to go back at my room, the 987 room… and wait till the late evening… but if in the Sunday, every Sunday, things will go on like that I’d like better get back home… but it’s impossible because of the money, but I have to be used in such a thing, I have to buy something to eat, something to drink, because I think it’s not so hygienic to drink the water of the showers… Perhaps today things go like that because the academic year didn’t start yet, perhaps usually it would be possible to survive also in the Sundays, some student would stay to study without noise and keeping concentration… now the shave, at the sink, looking at the mirror… warm water, a lot of worm water like in the shower… and now to comb… now I’m ready… but ready what for? For nothing at all, for waiting, for resting, for annoying, for getting mad… I can’t stand this absolute silence, when I got the train to get here I couldn’t stand the noise, now I can’t stand the silence, this absurd silence in a dorm for one thousand guys, I’m the only one so stupid to get here when everybody is still home… I’m very stupid, dad was right when he used to say so, perhaps he was joking but he was right … Enough! Enough! What I’ll do till tomorrow morning? Well it’s better to go to bed… but I don’t wont to go to sleep in such a sunny afternoon, no, I’ll go back in the park, I’d like to find a dog, just a dog to stroke, to look at, right in the eyes… but dogs don’t like guys, dogs like hotdogs, ham, foods… , so to say, dogs are human…
Dogs like humans… what does it mean? That the dogs love humans or that they are very similar to humans… English is a strange language… I’m bored… in order to go to the cinema you need money, so much time to waste, what time? 3.15 p.m. … It’s better I go to seat on a park bench… lower class guy’s meditation! Perhaps I need a psychoanalyst … no… it’s too expensive upper class staff… I need only money… that’s all… yes, I need money so I would have to do some work somewhere, bars, stores, even restaurants… so I could say I go to the restaurant everyday, it would sound good… and I could catch also some food with no money… good deal!
Very good! Or I could became a personal trainer in a gym or in a fitness center… perhaps also a chicken trainer… I’d like better guys trainer… but I could accept also to become a chicken trainer … yes, not so bad… but perhaps it could be old chicken trainer that sound’s worst, I could earn a little money and also use the gym to work out… I like very well to keep in shape… the gym would be the better solution… personal trainer in a gym… but I’m not a six pack, I’m not an hunk, I’m not well tanned … physically too I’m just a peace of shit… I’d go to a gym, introduce myself and they would remain to listen to me, perhaps they think I’m a customer ready to pay in order to be trained… but when they understand I’m non a customer but a poor guy searching for a job… yes, obviously they would kick me out, no matter hunk or nor, if you aren’t a customer you have to be kicked out. Other jobs? Which ones? Lifeguard… impossible, no sea nearby, pizza delivery boy… no Italian food here, I’d better steal… but I never tried, I’d ask someone: – Please have you something to steal? – And he would respond: – Are you rich? Because I can’t absolutely stand to be stolen by a poor one…rich people are allowed to steal, you know, they are so pleasant, so polite… are you a rich? – I would respond no and he would kick me out… A big house is much than a big intelligence and much more than the reputation of being an honest man that perhaps could be really a big obstacle. I’m an honest person …that means a stupid, never steal, never swindle people, never cheat… therefore no flat, non car… no chicken… that’s not a big problem for me… but also no boyfriends… or just a little, stupid boys like me, Lisa was going to fall in love, we walked hand in hand and we kissed so many times… something very strange for me but I did just as I was interested… but she never went where I lived, I didn’t want her to know where I lived… but really happened what never wouldn’t have happened, she got downtown and forced me to let her give me a lift where I lived. She was very delightful, that day she told me something sweet and went away pretending to go to her crank aunt but then she abruptly disappeared and I nevermore saw her. She wasn’t so stupid ad the end… My love story end: I love you, without you I’m lost, money is nothing for me, you have to trust me… but now I have something better to do, bye-bye! This is the love! Love of what? … And upper class friends where not so different, they liked me just till discovered what I really was… Lower class friends where different but they liked better to get in touch with people of more high social level, I was their second choice… they always pretended not to be what they really where, without pretending to be rich it was impossible to be accepted by upper class guys… in my town there was only one school that’s why everybody had to go to that school, in another town nearby the schools where two: upper and lower class school… that’s a regular education: boys have to know if they are clever or lazy, if they have to go to college or to stay unemployed all life long and it depends on whether or not they are rich. … What time is it now? I have to walk till 17.00 but at 17.00 I’ll go back to the dorm. Now 16.30, thirty minutes to spend in something better than thinking about such stupid things… there is much more people around than before, students with bags, taxis, a little traffic, I’d better get back to the dorm right now, stand up and go… the parking in front of the dorm is crowded, singles, couples, threesomes, chatting, carrying luggage, well dressed, no t-shirt and jeans, only blue suit, ties, well pressed trousers and jackets, shining shoes… shoes to tread on a peace of shit… upper class
students, they sure have someone that polishes their shoes that’s why they don’t care to soil their shoes of shit… Mark, stay quiet, now you are going to a big deal, now you must demonstrate all your courage and must accustom yourself to tolerate everything pretending of being like them… but in a place like this, where there is much people, must you greet everybody? How many guys! I would have to wait for the lift but there are too many boys over there, it’s better I go upstairs on foot… goddamn! Keep quiet! The worst is just coming! Guys like that often play the usual cat and mouse game in order to catch some lower class guy to have fun with, to pants in front of some gals. Guys have never to relax, they have to pay attention, stay wide awake not to be pantsed… but only if they are lower class, on the contrary if they are upper class the hunting is mandatory, they have to remark who is up and who is down, who can and who can’t do this or that: class has its duties! Reach people are open minded, they have no limits, whatever they like is possible, but they are always nice guys, crew cut, they wear ties even in the shower, their shit has scent of flowers, they always smile even when they are going to kill you, they aren’t sincere neither with themselves, but they are polite, urban, they will never tell you that you are rubbish or shit, they only think so, but never would say. … Goddamn there is a strip of light under the door! My roommate just arrived… well… go ahead!
– Good evening… I’ Mark, I think we’ll be roommates…
– Good… I’m Robert but friends call me Rob…
– Hello Rob…
– I come from Cleveland, where do you come from?
– Just from a little town that’s no more in the road maps, because its too little… only farms, scattered in the land.
– But this little town has a name?
– They call it four oaks and that’s all…
– And you… what do you study?
– English literature… and you?
– Economics… my father forced me to study economics, otherwise the tap would have been turned out… no economics no money… that’s why I’m here, I’m a sophomore, and you?
– I’m just a freshman…
– Very very interesting… be careful, freshmen are not allowed everywhere and you must hold more ancient students like me in high regard, that’s mandatory for a freshman… and where are you going for supper? I’ll go with some friends to have a pizza… if you like…
– Sorry, I have already reserved with a group of friends it will be for another time and I’m late….
– Ok, what time do you get back?
– About 11.00 any you?
– Never before two in the morning… that’s my last night of freedom…
– You’re right… I’m going, bye!
– Bye Mark and be careful… freshmen must undergo something awful… bye bye!
Goddamn… and now to get back I must wait for him to get out… he has to go to have a pizza with his friends… I told him I have reserved to the restaurant… reserved? I’m starved… but no money no restaurant! … I would have killed him… keep careful about pantsing… you are a freshman but I’m a sophomore… I come from Cleveland… my father forced me to economics… no economics no money… Wow now I have only to wait… but … strange… before getting out I cast a glance at my closet but there wasn’t any key…neither in the other closet, keys have disappeared, I must go back for another glance… that’s strange, very strange, he didn’t even mention keys… but there wasn’t any key in my closet… I’m Robert, but friends call me Rob, like saying I’m William, but friends call me will, in the baby meaning, or like willy-nilly… but no, he’s only Robert, Robert the strong, lion-hearted Robert… and I’m Mark the rabbit, shit-Mark… but I have to inspect everything not to decide abruptly… we have to play cards, yes, but I have to shuffle them before dealing them out… Mark the rabbit will not be so stupid… be careful boy! … something strange is going to happen… well, time to go back to the dorm, not so much crowd at this moment… good! No light strip under the door… good… no key… but my closet is closed! … closed… no doubt… and the other closet… this one is opened and all my clothes are within it … what a disorder! … he has taken everything out and has thrown it on the shelves without respect, t-shirts, briefs, socks, soap… everything… I cannot tolerate such things…he must learn to respect people…but I’ve to be careful… what to do? Put a chewing gum in the lock of the closet? To carry his closet to another room and to put to its place an empty closet? I have to choose something not so strange so that I can pretend to be completely innocent… better I have to go back to dorm after he went back, so it will turn out obviously that I’m not at all interested in the matter. But there’s a thing I can’t understand… how was he able to open my closet that was locked? Because he effectively opened it otherwise he couldn’t have pulled outside all my clothes… the closet was locked and he opened it with a false key or something similar… nothing stolen… it is true, my lovely buddy does not have stolen anything but there was nothing to steal, but he forced effectively the closet without even mention it… very good buddy!… very upper class guy! I’d better to kill him… no! Too much work! I’ll kill him later, now I’d like to do something better, but I have first to open his closet, to force his closet, but I have to revenge because revenge is sweet! With one of these bag clasps it would be possible, I’ve just to fold it just a little… good! Opened!… And now it’s time to have a look… well… perfume, after shave, shampoo, some book… socks, boxers very high class style… condoms, trousers, t-shirts, bath suit and what’s this? Pills? Medicine? No box, just a small bottle, no label but the shape is strange, I already saw pills like that, now I remember, are Viagra tablets! … Viagra at nineteen? Poor guy! He needs no punishment… the upper class guy! How can he be so stupid… Certainly he comes from another world… and I was searching for a boyfriend… We met one hour ago and I can’t stand him… very good starting… College is really very different from gay stories… very different… I must replace every thing to its place and go to bed, I must pull aggressiveness apart, just reset everything, like that, and now bed time, I must go to sleep without eating… I’m not an upper glass guy! … this evening ended, now I must only think about tomorrow morning, tomorrow the academic year begins, tomorrow no more personal problems, enough with upper class and low class, from tomorrow on I must only study, I’m here just for this reason… not so romantic! Really not so romantic!