A NORMAL GAY

Hello Project.
 
I was intrigued by your forum that seems to play a different music from the usual music that I find in the chats and on the dating sites. I’m over 45 and I have had my experiences. Fortunately I didn’t compromise my health, but it is not a coincidence because I have been always very careful. I cannot even say whether I’m declared or not, I know a lot of people but not all of them know about me, for example at work I think that nobody knows and the same in my family, because I live on my own.
 
At my age I got tired of the gay world. A little it is for the fact that when you’re not young you realize that things are changing but not so much because the younger guys steal you the scene but because you reaches saturation. The gay world as I knew him is made of chats, clubs, evenings and you can imagine of what else. At the beginning a lot of curiosity, you meet a gay guy, get to have sex with a guy, then you realize that the guy sooner or later will go his way and that there is nothing stable, that you are alone one of a long series and you’re not the one that matters to anyone’s life.
 
Then another guy arrives and more or less the script repeats, then another and so on, these are stories that last a few months, when it’s all right, and then end and you realize that in these things at the end there is very little spontaneous behavior and that everything is in some way preordained. A friend with whom I complained about these things told me: “but it is normal that it is so”, that word “normal” applied to the life of a gay man, sounds to me very strange. I don’t want a normal life in which a routine is repeated for which it is normal to know a guy and have sex with him the same evening but it is just as normal that it ends up in a few weeks.
 
I thought that basically it is considered normal even that someone takes HIV and unfortunately I have seen them. I was really shocked but I realized that my friends assumed that these things should happen, for them it was normal. So many times I felt stupid when I wanted to try to understand something more without taking everything for granted. For me, being gay had to be transgressive, even risky, but it certainly didn’t have to involve classification into other boxes of normality. If I’m looking for a guy and I hope it’s for more than for a few weeks, I feel not normal, because it’s normal that things should not last long and it’s stupid to expect the opposite. It’s terrible to think how much gays get caught up in the usual routine, gay life becomes a play in which the roles are already written.
 
One day, I remember it well, in a club where I used to go often I was introduced to a guy who was considered there as the best the most handsome, we talked a bit then finally he made me the usual proposal and I said no, he looked at me as if I were a moron who was throwing away a rare pearl. Project, do you imagine the stories they did when I required that they always used condoms? Well, they took me for stupid without any remedy and when someone insisted and I said no, they grimaced as to say that I was completely out of my brain. I have often felt very heavily influenced by so many rituals and clichés that I did not understand, as if the manual of young gay marmots existed. I will not tell you about the question of sexual preferences for this or that practice, all ritualized as if sexuality were that, all divided by categories: bear, sado, etc. etc. … There was some guys, we can say normal, but they didn’t last long there, in a short time they turned into standard gays of this or that category, or disappeared at all and didn’t show anymore.
 
Personally I think I have attended the most stereotypical gay environments, there were certainly different environments and, let’s say, more free, but I have seen above all conformism, or rather homologation and then fatalistic abandonment to life as it comes.
 
On your forum I see different things, I suspected that there were, but reading I could understand that they are in places where I have never gone and that I naively considered less free than those I attended. I think that today I wouldn’t be able to live a non-stereotyped life or maybe yes but I think I would limit myself to a few friendships to talk a bit. I realize that I am too old to change the road and frankly I wouldn’t even try, but I’m pleased to know that what I have tried to consider as normal gay is, in practice, a very niche reality.
 
I would like a gay life on the model of the person not on the model of the stereotype. Project, what was it for to have had so many guys if they all left? It’s not their fault, they did exactly what I did, they integrated into what they thought was the gay world and they assimilated a way of being, because being what you are it’s bloody hard.
 
Project, in the environments I attended I didn’t find bad people but only people, so many people, who desperately tried to fill the solitude with a little sex. In many of the guys I’ve had, I’ve really mirrored myself, when one doesn’t find love, when one doesn’t find respect, feels no loved by anyone, he looks for something that fills the void and begins an endless race to chase a dream of love embracing a guy he will lose after a few days.
 
I felt so many times the despair of the guys with whom I have been and sometimes I even tried to go further but I ended up not being understood anymore, they looked at me as if I wanted to invade their lives while they were there just for a moment. I felt very often the lack of communication and the desperation of many guys, who in the end were experiencing what I was experiencing. How much better would be even a simple friendship that lasts, that accompanies us for a longer stretch of road. I don’t want to be a normal gay anymore, I just want to be myself.
____________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-normal-gay

GAYS AND ANXIETY

Reactive anxiety

Anxiety, that is, the feeling that something dangerous and uncontrollable but at the same time indefinable is looming, presents itself in the most varied ways in the life of all people, in practice no one can say he is immune from it at 100%. Often the perception of anxiety is marked by feelings of emptiness, irritability, widespread impatience, by the feeling of the useless passing of time as a progressive loss of possibilities. Anxiety is often accompanied by somatization at cardiac level, or by insomnia or inconclusive agitation. Anxiety often compromises the normal activities of life or makes them more stressing and difficult to deal with, takes you away from an objective and rational assessment of things and emphasizes the difficulties and risks, up to almost completely block the activities of a person and force him to seek support at the psychotherapeutic and pharmacological level.

In the following I will stop to speak only of reactive anxiety, that is of those anxious syndromes in which a triggering and often determining factor can be identified at the environmental level, leaving aside the primary anxiety for which it doesn’t seem easy to identify determinant or triggering causes at an environmental level. To clarify, here you have some examples of reactive anxiety:

1) A student, inserted in a school class, shows frequent signs of anxiety: insomnia, episodic tachycardia, unmotivated fear, easy irritability, difficulty in concentration, environmental maladjustment. That same student, after changing class, no longer shows the same anxious syndrome, appears calm and well inserted into the new class.

2) A married man who has difficult relationships with his wife’s family shows signs of anxiety, when he moves to another city, away from his wife’s family, he no longer shows signs of anxiety.

3) An elderly man who finds problems at work has tachycardia, feels overwhelmed by work and expects to be in trouble at any moment for some reason that he cannot even identify clearly. That man, after retiring, regains his serenity and no longer has anxious manifestations.

Anxiety and homophobia

As we can see, the causes of reactive anxiety are not related only or essentially to the subject who experiences it but basically to his difficult interaction with the environment in particular situations called precisely anxiogenous. It is quite evident that homosexuality must also be included among anxiogenous situations, but not homosexuality itself but homosexuality in a homophobic environment. I would like to emphasize that I don’t mean here as homophobia the activities of more or less violent repression of homosexuality but precisely the phobia of homosexuality, that is the tendency to exclude it and to marginalize it. Homophobia is a subtle reality that often hides itself even under the appearance of tolerance and respect.

The root of homophobia consists in perceiving the homosexual as different and as something else from yourself, well beyond the sexual orientation, as if the sexual orientation constituted a barrier between human groups. Homophobia can’t be assessed in the abstract, can’t it be rationally surpassed and homophobic people often don’t even perceive their homophobic attitudes. Naturally, the perception of environmental homophobia by those who suffer it and live it daily as a limitation of one’s own freedom is very different.
Homosexuals are very sensitive to the homophobic implications of the behavior of their family members, their friends and the social environment in which they live. For a gay guy, it is a question of having the attention always focused on ”reactively” determining one’s behavior in such a way as to reduce the risk that environmental homophobia will unleash against him.

Anxiogenous situations for a gay

Some particular situations may be particularly anxiogenous for gays:

1) Being submitted to the questions of parents and relatives like ”Do you have a girlfriend?”

2) Discovering that at school you are became object of the attention of a serious girl, who is lived as a danger in relation to the group.

3) Finding yourself in very narrow and very gossipy work environments where you cannot stay by yourself and maintain your privacy.

4) Also finding themselves temporarily in situations of close cohabitation with other people with whom one inevitably comes to talk about emotional relationships and sexuality.

I would add to these situations a fifth and a sixth situation that for gays can be really strongly anxiogenous:

5) Falling in love with a guy whose sexual orientation is unknown and enter an endless path of indecisions, fears and postponements.

6) Having to hide your sexual orientation, a situation that can occur on many levels, from the anxiety of coming out with a trusted friend to the embarrassment of lying to your wife if you are a married gay man.

So far we have only talked about anxiety in general terms, but for gays, anxiety often manifests itself in dimensions closely related to sexuality.

Internalized homophobia and gay discomfort

The internalization of environmental homophobia leads gays to non-acceptance of self and often leads them unconsciously to attempt the path of hetero sexuality. These are real self-impositions that are embodied in so-called ”sexual experiments”: I try to stay with a girl, if I can, it means that I am straight. It is actually a neurotic mechanism in which anxiety dominates. The sexual experiment is deeply desired but not as a form of sexuality but as a test that can confirm a presumed heterosexual identity. I will never get tired of pointing out the absolute absurdity of the advice that even some psychologists give to their patients when they see them not too convinced of their heterosexual sexuality, pushing them to ”try gay sex”.

It makes no sense to ”try” gay sex to evaluate one’s own reactions, it makes no sense to go with a girl to verify one’s being straight. Sexual orientation is not related to behavior but to sexual desires. There are gays who get married, their married life is 100% heterosexual but their sexual fantasies are not straight and their masturbation is gay. To understand one’s orientation, therefore, it makes no sense to ”try a particular sexual behavior” gay or straight, which, among other things, can be risky for health, but you have to put aside ”gradually” your conditioning to conquer, first of all, a true freedom in terms of sexual fantasies and masturbation.

Among other things, anxiety deriving from sexual orientation issues conceived as a problem, very often, causes consequences, even heavy ones, in matters that have nothing to do with sexuality and in particular in studies. When the mind concentrates on the research at all costs of an answer to a problem connected to sexuality, it ends up neglecting and minimizing other fundamental aspects of social and relational life. In some cases the abandonment of the study, as a consequence of an anxious way of experiencing sexuality, provokes further insecurities and anxious sensations that slowly extend even far beyond sexuality.

In these situations it does not make any sense to look for certain and definitive answers to the bitter end by following a neurotic push, but we must remember that certain and definitive answers don’t even exist for a lot of questions and that anxiety can be overcome only by realizing it. definitely putting aside the idea of being framed in this or that category, but I add one thing, resuming studies, if the studies have been neglected or put aside, it does not just mean avoid to create further problems for the future in terms of work and of economic prospects but also move away from the idea of having a problem that must be resolved soon and definitively.

In practice, the return to normal study or work is the most significant symptom of overcoming anxiety and the most useful therapy in that sense. I would add that the anxiety that is often perceived as arising from uncertainties of sexual orientation actually has other origins because gay sexual orientation in itself, in a serene environment, does not give rise to anxious reactions.

We must start by realizing that the problem we don’t bring it inside us, we don’t create it, but it is a reaction to a difficult environmental situation. An external problem mustn’t become an internal one and the negative mythology of homosexuality spread in a homophobic climate mustn’t be internalized.

The feeling of loneliness must be considered a momentary consequence of a difficult environmental situation because it really is so and these situations can radically change. What has just been said is useful as an indication for the overcoming of anxiety by those who experience firsthand that anxiety, but we must bear in mind that the main way to overcome anxiety is emotional socialization, that is, having around a network of true emotional relationships that convey feelings of security and stability.

Interacting with an anxious subject

But how can people who are next to a person who is strongly anxious contribute to relieving the burden of anxious syndrome? Often when one realizes that one has anxious friends, there are scruples about talking to them in a clear way about everything because they might feel uncomfortable and it is easy to assume in face of an anxious friends reticent or blatantly false attitudes ”for goodness”.

As in all relationships between people, the most wrong thing is playing a part, taking on a role ”for the sake of another person”. One thing to avoid with regard to very anxious people it is the attempt to convince them by reasoning and examples that anxiety must and can be overcome.

With regard to anxiety, it is very helpful to feel involved in a true emotional climate, while every form of abstract reasoning is even counterproductive.

It often happens that issues that are not in themselves problems at all are instead experienced anxiously as problems. In these situations the comparison and dialogue with people who have a similar experience is essential to realize how others react to situations similar to those that we live and to play down. Feeling as the only person in the world who has to face an urgent and difficult problem is stressful and anxiogenous, while realizing that the alleged problem is actually a problem only to the extent that it is considered so and that many other people have been facing or they are facing now very similar situations is much more reassuring and above all much more true.

Gay sexuality and anxiety

We come now specifically to the relationship between gay sexuality and anxiety, limiting the field to the sexual dimension in the strict sense. It happens to me several times in the chat to talk with guys anxious for issues related to gay sexuality. The causes of these anxiety states can be various, by way of example only, I quote the most recurrent:

1) Anxiety resulting from moments of uncertainty about sexual orientation

2) Anxiety from presumed inadequacy

3) Anxiety from problematisation of sexuality

These is three conceptually different realities that can however present a lot of connections.
Before proceeding in detail it should be remembered that anxiety is identified as a perceived situation of danger, uncertainty or inability to manage a situation. Anxiety sometimes presents psychosomatic manifestations, sometimes very evident such as tachycardia, tremor and high blood pressure, sometimes less evident, such as insomnia, sleep disorders, nightmares. Anxiety can also have typically sexual manifestations such as impotence, premature ejaculation and various disorders of masturbation. However, rather than dealing with the sexual manifestations of anxiety, we will talk about anxiety-related situations in the field of sexuality through the examination of some typical situations.

Anxiety arising from moments of uncertainty about sexual orientation

I have spoken several times about the discovery of one’s homosexuality by a guy who was previously considered hetero (also by himself) and about how much this discovery generates anxiety derived mainly from a wrong representation of being gay.

Here I intend to consider a different situation. A guy who thinks he’s gay, who has exclusively gay erotic fantasies, who masturbates exclusively thinking about guys, finds himself experimenting a sexual contact with a girl. Against his hypothesis, according to which, for a gay, in similar situations, any form of involvement should be impossible, that guy experiences a physiological reaction that he doesn’t know how to interpret: when he was with the girl not only he wasn’t uncomfortable but had an erection and considered it quite exciting. That guy, while continuing in almost all the cases to masturbate thinking about the guys, sometimes masturbate also recalling the sexual contact with the girl. As long as these behaviors are not the object of reflection they are rewarding, but when the guy becomes fully aware of them and of their possible meaning, a state of anxiety comes up that disturbs the previous structure and creates uncertainty and insecurity.

Generally, when heterosexual contact is the first sexual contact of a gay guy, it significantly affects the balance of masturbatory sexuality achieved earlier, but in this case the new hetero experience has not supplanted the gay sexuality of the guy. That guy continues to masturbate thinking about the guys in almost all cases and will almost certainly end up returning to sexual fantasies exclusively gay in more or less long times.

Anxiety derives from an incorrect perception of the whole experience as a change in one’s sexual orientation, this mistaken perception is dramatized and produces a sense of insecurity. We must realize that these things happen and that, in the vast majority of cases, they have only temporally circumscribed influences and, even if in a very unlikely situation the story was a spy of the emergence of a heterosexual identity or a form of bisexuality, it would not be a problem anyway because nobody must be necessarily gay, but people must be free to be gay if and only if they really are.

As deserves the utmost respect the guy who after having considered himself hetero for years recognizes himself gay, so deserves the utmost respect the guy who after having considered himself gay for years, discovers his own heterosexuality. This is a very rare event, however, because social pressure pushes gay guys very much to believe themselves hetero but certainly it doesn’t push the straight guys to believe that they are gay.

Only in a couple of cases (events, I repeat, very rare) I happened to talk to guys who thought they were gay because they had sex with guys but they had very deep affective relationships with a girls. I noticed how for these guys, the acceptance of their heterosexuality, after considering themselves gay for years, was much more difficult than the acceptance of homosexuality for a guy who had believed to be hetero for years.

Essentially for those guys, who had made a considerable effort to accept themselves as gay, the gay prospects collapse and it is a question of rebuilding everything from the beginning in a straight key. The phenomenon is similar to the traumatic one that presents itself for the bisexuals in the periods when their sexual orientation changes.

Anxiety from presumed inadequacy

The anxiety coming from presumed inadequacy can arise in reference to concrete situations and above all in the immediacy of them, and also at general and preventive level. These are rather different situations. The anxiety that manifests itself in the immediacy of encounters that can also involve sexual contact intervenes when a serious, already structured emotional relationship can also lead to sexual involvement. Often this type of anxiety is linked to the fact that sexuality is seen as something further and different from the emotional contact to which one is accustomed, a kind of second stage that can compromise the former.

Anxiety manifests itself in a very significant way on the occasion of the first gay sexual contact and consists in the fear connected to the inexperience (”I don’t know how to behave”), to the fear of making mistakes and to upsetting the partner to the point of losing his affection due to inexperience in managing sexual intercourse. Classic, in these cases, are the expressions like this: ”I don’t know how I will react but I wouldn’t want to disappoint him, he is so sweet but I feel so clumsy”.

In fact, the anxiety coming from presumed inadequacy is a component constantly present in the first sexual intercourses and especially in the first. Rather than real anxiety, it is inability to foresee the reactions of one’s partner in a sexually involving situation when there aren’t at all previous experiences.

In general, the anxiety of the first gay sexual contact is practically nonexistent when the sexual contact arrives unexpectedly while it tends to be more strong if the expectation connected to that contact is deeply felt and the wait before it becomes concrete becomes long.

The worst way to deal with anxiety coming from inadequacy in a concrete situation is to resort to external behavioral patterns. A couple must be able to find their own harmony in its autonomy. The anxiety coming from presumed inadequacy, which manifests itself at a general level without reference to actual and concrete situations, is, in general, the result of a weak self-esteem and sometimes the manifestation of moments of depression, very often not originated by issues related to sexuality, like seeing themselves ugly or having previously found only refusals as affective responses, on this substratum of weak self-esteem can insert specific fears, often unfounded or amplified precisely by the anxious component, such as the erective weakness, the perception of the small penis and the premature ejaculation. In such situations, a gay guy tends to avoid any dialogue with other guys, he is uncomfortable when he hears that other guys talk about sex and tends to socialize very little.

Friendship and sexual confidence

I would like to underline that the word friendship, especially among heterosexual guys, besides the generic contents of pleasantness, respect and mutual attention, has another very important component which is sexual confidence. When two straight guys become friends in the serious sense of the term, it is not at all strange, but it is quite obvious that they compare their sexual experiences. This fact greatly decreases the anxious tension concentrated on specifically sexual content and contributes to giving sexuality a less mythical dimension, in other words, one can speak about his own sexuality among peers without fear of censorship, in a free climate, in which the mutual attention is the rule.

A straight guy who tells another straight guy that he masturbates while thinking about a girlfriend doesn’t do it for a stupid exhibitionism but because talking to another straight guy of these things melts the anxiety and helps to find a comparison on issues in which the direct comparison is rarely achievable.

Among gay guys, even if there is always in the background the idea that any friendship between two gay guys can turn into a loving friendship, the mechanism is exactly the same and for this reason not having gay friends with whom to compare sexual experiences and the limitating the dialogue with other gay guys only to non-specifically sexual content, deprives a gay guy of a fundamental mechanism for the reduction of anxiety related to sexuality. I cite just one example.

A straight boy, educated a century ago with a strongly repressive education, generally felt strong anxieties and strong feelings of guilt about masturbation. Today, in a free environment, where a guy can talk quietly about these things with friends and can understand how his friends live it, the anxiety-producing charge connected to masturbation has clearly decreased. Of course, for a gay guy, the thing is more complicated but the mechanism of anxiety reduction is basically the same.

Anxiety and problematisation of sexuality

For some guys sexuality is not a spontaneous activity, the rational dimension, particularly strong, often compresses or represses sexuality. This is the typical case of young people who want to understand everything about sexuality, who, rather than experiencing it immediately, try to analyze it, to vivisect it to understand it rationally through a strictly linked and logical explanation in terms of of causes and effects.

It often happens to me that some guys ask me in relation to a specific fact that they observed in their sexuality: ”But what does it mean?” As if it were possible to give a serious answer to all the questions of this kind. These guys generally stay away from sexuality, because sexuality is not rationally controllable, and they want to program affective life, they are extremely selective in the search for partners but based on abstract categories. It is difficult for them to understand that sexuality means abandoning themselves to a level of deep emotional life linked to fundamental physiological needs and that reasoning too much on sexuality means losing the essential.

How to overcome the anxieties connected to sexuality

A preliminary observation: everyone, more or less, live or have lived anxieties related to sexuality. If a guy didn’t feel anxieties related to sexuality there would be serious reasons for concern. Anxiety, to a certain extent, very variable, accompanies sex life in an ordinary way. Problems arise when this anxiety is paralyzing, when it leads to isolation and to sexophobia. To overcome anxiety you have to:

1) Realize to live in an anxiety-provoking situation

2) Try to see things in a more serene perspective and evaluate the so-called problems for what they are in reality and then resize them

3) Always keep the dialogue and the comparison open with people who live in similar situations

4) Get used to considering sexuality as an ordinary theme of serious conversation and to talk about it effectively in a free way with people who have similar experiences.

If I had to summarize in a single word the basic elements to overcome the anxieties connected to sexuality, I would use the word socialization: having friends, talking and discussing is the basis for being able to resize problems and to restore sexuality to the quality it deserves as an ordinary component of everyone’s life.

__________

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gays-and-anxiety

THOMAS AND KLAUS MANN TWO HOMOSEXUALS

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

JULIEN GREEN CATHOLIC HOMOSEXUAL

Scrolling through the catalog of “La Pléiade” it’s easy to realize that from 1972 to 1998 eight full-bodied volumes were published, for a total of more than 14,000 pages, containing the complete work of Julien Green. Those who have even a minimal acquaintance with French Literature know that the honors of “La Pléiade” are due only to the recognized great masters of French literature: Julien Green is one of them. Elected, first of the non-French, among the “immortals” of the Academy of France in 1971, in place of François Mauriac, he resigned in ’96 claiming to feel “exclusively American” and “not at all interested in honors, whatever they are.” 

 He was not actually of French descent, his real name was Julian Hartridge Green. He was born in Paris on September 6, 1900, the last of eight children, from parents of Scottish and Irish ancestry, who emigrated to France from Georgia in 1893. Julien’s grandfather was a rich cotton merchant, owner of plantations, which made in France a good fortune, the mother came from Georgia, the father, originally from Virginia, was a businessman and was Secretary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris. 
 
Julien Green is generally qualified as a Catholic writer, an expression that has, in his case, a very particular meaning: Catholic yes, certainly, but also homosexual. The lacerating attempt to reconcile homosexuality and Catholicism was a constant in his life and it must be said that this attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable, at least giving the word Catholicism the traditional sense that the Catholic hierarchy attributes to it, emerges very clearly throughout the his work.
 
Julien Green has offered an extremely honest and realistic picture of himself and his inner conflicts. The self-censorship concerning sexual contents has become increasingly less binding over the years and it has happened that subsequent editions of his works have been enriched with many pages, originally omitted; a large part of these pages deals with homosexuality. This is the case of the first volume of the “Diary”, Les années faciles, the first edition of 1938, is heavily censored, while the second, of 1970, which presents almost 200 pages more, gives much more space to the theme of homosexuality. The censorship, on the other hand, remained rigid in relation to the homosexuality of other people, sometimes referred to as pseudonyms.
 
However, a laic homosexual, in the most radical sense of the term, who approaches the work of Julien Green cannot but recognize a considerable intellectual and moral rigor, of course, in the secular sense of the term, and a basic honesty in dealing with theme of homosexuality and trying to analyze it in front of his own conscience. Julien Green has undoubtedly an emblematic value because he embodies the ideal aspirations and anguish typical of true Catholics who want to be honest with themselves in the face of homosexuality, not considered as a theoretical question or as a problem of others, but as a profound element of their own personality, irreconcilable with faith.
 
On May 15, 2013, “L’Osservatore Romano”, the newspaper of the Holy See, published an article by Joseph Ratzinger entitled “And Julien Green became himself again”. So Ratzinger expresses himself on the religious education of Green:
 
“He tells how, from his childhood, his mother, Anglican, had literally immersed him in the Holy Scriptures. It was obvious for him to know by heart all the one hundred and fifty Psalms. Scripture was the atmosphere of his life. And he says: “My mother taught me to understand it as a book of love and deeply permeated me with the idea that, from the beginning to the end of Scripture, it was only love to speak. And all my being wanted nothing but love.” In the end a man who has received such bases cannot be lost.”
 
These statements by Ratzinger, from a secular point of view and in reference to the homosexuality of Green, instead, think of the violence of a religious education based on Scripture, which was accompanied, among other things, by the radical repression of sexuality, systematically operated, from an early age. As we will see later, this repressive education left deep traces in the soul of adult Julien. To memorize the one hundred and fifty Psalms is not at all obvious to an adolescent who, exposed to such a radically and strictly religious education, risks becoming dependent on many prejudices of religious origin, from which it is often difficult to get free. Julien’s mother was by no means the “ideal religious mother” described by Ratzinger, or perhaps she was fully, the assessment depends on the idea of religion of the one who judges. The fact remains that Julien’s mother heavily conditioned her son in the development of his sexuality. Julien remembers at least twice the rigid behavior of the mother when he was in the bathtub and the attitude of almost rejection that she showed for everything related to sex in relation to her 10 or 11-year-old son.
 
Julien remembers that when he drew naked bodies they were always completely without sex.[1] The only sexual curiosities came to Julien’s mind by reading the Bible and were systematically resolved with a “You will understand when you grow up. For the moment there is no need for you to know.”
 
Green does not omit to describe his perplexity at the attempts of other boys to explain something about sex or even to seduce him, in fact he was not able to recognize the normal awakening of sexuality or to have an authentic awareness of pleasure like his peers. He was about 15 years old when some of his high school friends of the Lyceum Janson of Sailly started him with the pleasures of masturbation. At that time the sense of sin was linked to the concept of pure and impure, not through a personal assessment but in terms of permitted or prohibited. Referring to masturbation he says: “As for the gesture in question, I didn’t reconnect it to any known offense.” Weeks passed before it occurred to him that he should regret it.
 
Julien himself speaks to us of his silent love for his classmate Frédéric: “No carnal desire tormented me. If the heart burned, the senses were sound asleep and I was exceptionally cold. The idea of getting my hands on Frédéric would have seemed to me simply monstrous, because nothing seemed beautiful to me that it was not pure, finding that word in my mind all the power that it had almost lost.”[2] 
 
Of his love for Frédéric Julien had spoken to the his friend Philippe but not to Father Crété who was in charge of his religious education. Not having the courage to confess to Father Crété what he did with his friend Philippe or alone, he went to confession elsewhere in complete anonymity. Teen Julien is now fascinated by the human body, especially the male one. Julien rarely talks about girls, when he shows a slight interest in a girl, every approach is cut short by the intervention of his sister Mary and his mother, terrified by the idea that Julien could follow a destiny similar to that of his uncle Willie, who died of syphilis inflicted on him by a servant.
At 15, Julien read Baudelaire but was unable to grasp his sensuality.
 
Only the following year the awakening of the senses occurred, at least partially, during a trip to Italy. In Italy he read Boccaccio and was shocked.
 
In 1916, after the death of his mother, he converted to Catholicism and let the hypothesis of a vocation  to religious life in the order of the Benedictines emerge. Sister Mary was the first converted to Catholicism, then her father and mother followed her. From a secular point of view it is hard to believe that the conversion of Julian sixteen years old and his momentum towards monastic life were free and well thought out choices.
 
A year after the conversion we find Julien seventeen years old involved in the war, to volunteer in the red cross of the United States on the Italian front. After the war, now eighteen, oscillates between the idea of religious vocation and artistic tendencies (painting and music). He then went to the United States and studied from 1919 until 1922 Languages and Literature at the University of Virginia, three years of studies offered to him by Savannah’s uncle. It is precisely at the University of Virginia that Green begins to understand that he is “a man with a great secret”, that is, a man who must bring with him the secret of his homosexuality. He is however enchanted by his fellow students, who considers the best humanity imaginable. At the University of Virginia he falls in love with Benton Owen, whom he will call under the pseudonym of Mark. It is through the Virginia guys and through the unconfessable love of Owen that Green realizes the emotional strength of homosexuality. Love towards Owen is platonic but not for this reason it is less violent. Green abandons Mark in 1922 without confessing his love, but then has an unforeseen opportunity to meet him again in July 1923, when Mark is traveling and is in Paris. Julien promises to finally speak clearly to Mark on the Pont-Royal, Mark is ready to listen, but in the end Julien gives up:[3] “One or two minutes later, on the other side of the bridge, I said to Mark:” I’m sorry but I cannot”. He squeezed my arm a little and told me: “I understand you very well” Once again I found myself faced with the risk of permanently losing his affection and I had considered that risk too great. There is no need to stress that in my work Mark reappears continuously, under one form or another. He is always the mysterious handsome guy to whim you does not dare to declare your love. Eric Mac Clure, in “South”, Praileau in “Moïra”, Angus and Wilfred, both of them alternatively, in “Chaque homme dans sa nuit”, Paul in “Le Voyageur”, and especially the handsome guy of “L’Autre Sommeil” “
 
Perhaps it is no coincidence that after a long time Green has considered the years of Virginia as some of the saddest of his life, were certainly those that troubled him more and put him in front of the reality of his homosexuality.
 
Leaving the University of Virginia without graduating and returning to France in 1924, Green publishes under the pseudonym Théophile Delaporte the “Pamphlet against the Catholics of France”[4] dedicated “to the six French cardinals.”
 
Let it be clear, this is not a pamphlet against the Catholic Church but rather a pamphlet against Catholics accused of being too lukewarm with regard to their faith. Some quotes of the text can give an idea of its content. The Catholics of this country have ended up making their religion a habit, to the point that they no longer worry about whether it is true or false, or whether they believe it or not; and this kind of mechanical faith accompanies them to death.[5]
 
“It is not possible to believe without fighting, but they don’t fight at all with themselves, and accept Catholicism as something simple and natural; and they would end up killing it, if this was possible.”[6]
 
“However they are Catholics, because they have received the mark of the Church, and they are forever, because the Church does nothing that is not eternal, but these submissive children bring the germs of a powerful corruption. Don’t look elsewhere for the true enemies of this Christian Church of which they believe themselves be the defenders.”[7]
 
“They were raised in Catholicism; they live and die there, but they don’t understand what they themselves represent or what is happening around them, and they don’t perceive anything of the mystery that surrounds them and separates them from the world.”[8]
 
“They live in the world as if they were of the world; however, they have been chosen by virtue of certain signs and certain words and if they understand that they have received a mark and are rebelling, they are not less Catholic for this, and if they degrade, they remain Catholics even in their fall and in their damnation.”[9]
 
“They read the prayers, every word of which is of great importance, and read them as if the prayers were for someone else, for someone else’s life, for someone else’s salvation. One would say that they don’t know that prayers speak only of their condemnation to death and their grace; one would say that they believe that Catholicism was founded for others and if they themselves are part of it, it is only by chance or by game.”[10]
 
But if 1924 is the year of the apology of Catholicism contained in the Pamphlet It is also the year in which, after having reached the peak of his religious exaltation, Green moved away from Catholicism. Here I quote Ratzinger’s quoted article:
 
“[Julien Green] He writes that in the interwar period he lived just like a man of today lives: he allowed himself all he wanted, was chained to pleasures contrary to God so that, from one side, he needed it to make his life bearable, but, on the other, he found that life itself unbearable. He looks for ways out, connects relationships, goes to the great theologian Henri Bremond, but the conversation remains on the academic level, theoretical subtleties that don’t help it. He establishes a relationship with the two great philosophers, the spouses Jacques and Raissa Maritain. Raissa Maritain indicates to him a Polish Dominican. He meets him and still describes to him his lacerate life. The priest tells him: “And do you agree to live like this?” “No, of course not!”, He replies. “So do you wants to live differently? Are you repented?” “Yes!” says Green. And then something unexpected happens. The priest tells him: “Kneel! Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis – I absolve you.” Julien Green writes: “Then I realized that after all I had always awaited this moment, I had always waited for someone to tell me: kneel, I absolve you. I went home: I was not another, no, I had finally become myself.” “
 
So Julien Green wrote to Jacques to Raissa Maritain on April 25, 1939:
 
“I am writing a few words to you before leaving, to tell you that this morning I had communion after a conversation I had with Father Rzewuski.”[11]
 
It’s easy to understand how much the young Ratzinger found in the account of the conversion of Green a confirmation of Saint Cyprian’s famous statement that “there is no salvation outside the Church”.[12]
 
 Yet Green was Catholic, he had converted at age 16, because people speak of a second “conversion” in 1939? Ratzinger does not explicitly tell us what was there in Green’s life, before April 25, 1939, which then led to the need for a new conversion to Catholicism, and prefers to remain vague on the subject  for the fear of dirtying a character who seemed fully embody the ideal Catholic model. To understand that what happened in the life of Julien before 1939 we can be read a short novel published by Green in ’31, “The other sleep” (L’Autre Sommeil), all centered on the theme of the discovery of homosexuality (awakening) made by Denis, the protagonist.
 
The novel portrays Denis, first child and then teenager, who lives a life neither better nor worse than that typical of the children of thousands of bourgeois families. The death of his father, who is a liberation for him, marks the true beginning of his youth. Chaste up to 15 years for natural coldness, Denis experiences a little later, the revelation of the pleasure of senses. “With oscillations between coldness and the will to resist, I was weak and sensual” He then knows the strange ways of passion, he believes he loves Andreina but it is Remy, her lover, who fascinates him. “Nothing is as mysterious as the path of passion in a heart without experience.” Claude, Denis’s cousin and childhood friend, who was an orphan after his mother’s death, is welcomed into the house by Denis’s parents and the two guys are living together. For Denis it is as if a dam had collapsed revealing the violence of all that it held, now Denis is aware of being in love with his cousin. He would like to reveal his feelings to Claude, but during the few occasions he has to see him, after a period of absence, before he leaves again, this time definitively, he cannot confess to him those feelings. The protagonist realizes that he will regret this failed declaration for life. This portrait of a young man with a heavy heart, whose dreams, whose desires and fears nourish a rich and terrible inner life, highlights the eternal emotion of a silent love, of a passion that doesn’t dare to declare itself and of which he preserves the sad and useless weight throughout life. This book reveals “the obsession of cold and the fear of fire”, a rather surprising tale of psychological darkness. It is obvious, and Green himself admits it without difficulty, that “L’autre sommeil” reflects his falling in love for “Mark”, the Benton Owen that Julien had met at the University of Virginia, so it is a substantially autobiographical novel. But homosexuality as a fundamental element of Green’s life between the two conversions also emerges from other elements. It is Green himself, in “Jeunesse”, the fourth volume of autobiography, who talks about the period after his return to France from Virginia and presents us with a Julien who attends the meeting places of the Parisian homosexuals of the Lungosenna. It should be added that in that period Green knows and frequents literary man who had publicly declared themselves homosexual like André Gide and Jean Cocteau and also others who were homosexual but much more secretly than Gide and Cocteau, like François Mauriac, on whose homosexuality I refer to the excellent study of Jean-Luc Barré.[13]
 
The fourth volume of autobiography concludes with a reference to a “person” with whom Julien falls in love and who will make him live the best years of his life. Despite the extreme reticence of Green himself on this point, we know that Green was bound by strong friendship with Robert de Saint-Jean, Green rarely talks about the relationship with his friend and defines it as Platonic. Anyway Green’s Diary and Autobiography leave no doubt that the two have lived together for years. That the link was really important is also apparent from the fact that Green did much to do, after the Germans entered Paris, to allow Saint-Jean to leave and take refuge in the United States.
 
Saint-Jean was a very important person and very exposed at the time of the German occupation, he was not only one of Green’s dearest friends, most probably the most loved, he was also the deputy chief of staff of the French minister of information.
 
Saint-Jean had written several times in the French press about Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German foreign minister, who harbored a personal grudge against him, and if he could, he would not have let him escape.
 
Saint Jean called Green from Bordeaux when the French government was disintegrating, and Green, who had taken refuge near the Spanish border and could have crossed it because for him, an American citizen, the ban on entry into Spain ordered against fleeing French citizens, could not be applied, had no doubt about what to do, he would in no case leave his friend Saint-Jean to his fate and to the revenge of Ribbentrop. In “The end of the world”, which dates back to June 1940, Green tells how he managed to get his friend to Portugal, and then get him a visa for entry to the United States.[14] In essence “The end of the world “of Green is a true love story, even if it doesn’t have such appearance. The relationship between Green and Saint-Jean had begun well before the war. 

In “Fin de Jeunesse” Green talks about a trip to Germany together with Saint-Jean, in the summer of ’29, and doesn’t hide that the purpose was the search for sexual adventures. It was the twilight years of the Weimar Republic and the city of Berlin appeared to the homosexuals as a kind of ideal homeland, where tolerance was highest and the guys were available and not biased against homosexuality. Christopher Isherwood’s “Farewell to Berlin” represents very well the particularly welcoming cultural and human climate typical of Weimar Berlin. However, if we wanted to try to reconstruct the relationship between Green and Saint-Jean, on the basis of Green’s works, we would not come to anything because self-censorship and the defense of privacy are essentially impenetrable. It should be emphasized that Saint-Jean was also a homosexual, in his novel “Passé pas mort” – The undead past[15] male loves are often quoted, without masks or modesty, even if with all the moderation and elegance of writing. The struggle of the soul with the body is also felt in Saint-Jean but less exasperated than it appears in Green: We would have gone through storms and this need for mutual presence would not have failed, this hunger that time cannot satisfy. Why he? Why me? Why this happiness that is nothing more than feeling silent in the same room?[16] 

To try to understand the evolution of Green’s positions towards homosexuality after the second conversion, I would like to focus on two closely related works of Green even if far in time, the novel “Moïra” published in 1950 and the theatrical text “L’étudiant roux” completed by the author in 1993. The play is an adaptation of the novel for the theater but with substantial changes. Who reads the novel tends not to interpret it as a homosexual novel because the protagonist, a nineteen-year-old student of the University of Virginia, red hair, violent and fanatical, yet another literary reincarnation of Benton Owen Green had fallen in love with, is openly heterosexual. Joseph shares with his fellow students that season of life in which the drives explode uncontrolled and in which every value is questioned. Joseph imposes himself both for his physical presence and for his very particular moral disposition as a radical “puritan”, a staunch defender of an uncompromising faith. In the novel there is also a homosexual character, Simon, who, in love with Joseph and, not returned, decides to commit suicide, but it is a marginal episode in the novel, admitted and not granted that such an episode can be considered marginal by who really remains involved. It’s also possible to perceive by intuition something similar to a secret relationship between Joseph and his friend Praileau, but the thing remains too vague to assume a real weight in the development of the story. Moira, which is the Irish form of the name Mary, adopted daughter of Joseph’s landlord, is used to seducing and does not expect herself to be seduced by a beautiful virgin guy who seeks holiness and considers chastity the supreme value. At the end of their only night of love, Joseph will realize that his myth of chastity and holiness is now destroyed and will kill Moira. “I hate sexual instinct,” Joseph said in a dull voice. He stood straight at the table, his fists clenched, his forehead illuminated by the lamp. Something was broken in his features like a wave. With a contained violence, he resumed: “Did you hear what I said? I hate the sexual instinct. Do we yield to that instinct? That blind force is evil [. . . ]. We are conceived in a crisis of dementia.” After mentioning this passage.
 
Ferdinando Castelli, Jesuit and professor of literature at the pontifical Gregorian university, in his essay “The taste of hell in the novels of Julien Green”[17] continues: Perched in this hatred, Joseph becomes an isolated man: he lives in the company of mistrust, fear, contempt for the sex sphere. They call him “the Angel exterminator”. He has no friends [. . . ], has no interests except that of eternal salvation, he does not grant himself entertainments. Above all it has no love. Can one live without love in proud solitude? When the demon of lust, crouched deep inside, awakes and bites, Joseph strangles the girl with whom he has sinned: Moira.
 
The reading of the novel by Green given by Castelli, as a conflict between the flesh and the spirit, which on the other hand reproduces a motif dear to Green, seems logical and satisfying, even if it leaves the reader, and especially the homosexual reader, rather perplexed. A beautiful heterosexual guy, paladin of chastity, who strangles the only girl with whom he has had a sexual intercourse inevitably pushes the reader to wonder what is behind the crime and above all what lies behind the hatred declared towards sexuality.
 
The answer to the doubts comes from Green himself, who in 1993 adapted the story for the theater reveals the arcane: a relationship of homosexual love exists between Joseph and his classmate Praileau. It is Green himself who states that this is the fulcrum of the whole affair. Among other things, in the play, the episode of Simon is greatly reduced and Simon, rejected by Joseph, will simply abandon the university and will not commit suicide as happened in the novel.
 
Let us now try to give a reading of a non-Catholic but homosexual matrix of the whole affair, of course it is only one of the possible interpretations and it’s up to the reader to judge of its plausibility. Joseph, as already said, a nineteen-year-old student at the University of Virginia, a southern United States region that didn’t shine at the time for openness, has a homosexual love affair with a classmate, Praileau, obviously Joseph and Praileau’s story is lived in a completely hidden way.
 
Joseph is not afraid of homosexuality itself but of being identified as a homosexual. The love story is lived with such discretion that another homosexual guy, Simon, finding in Joseph something that attracts him and not seeing him at all interested in girls, thinks he can move forward. Joseph is already engaged on an affective level, but the real reason why he leaves Simon is another: Simon tends to express his feelings too openly and Joseph risks being identified as a homosexual. Then there is another fundamental point, for a very nice 19-year-old guy it is obvious to have adventures with girls, Joseph must therefore find something that allows him to keep girls at a distance without fueling gossip, the best trick is chastity for religious convictions. That’s why Joseph becomes the sworn enemy of sexuality, but attention, we talk about heterosexual sexuality. It is in essence a very exasperated attitude but at the same time all exterior. The secret life of Joseph in fact isn’t involved at all, rather it is almost defended and secured by these attitudes. So far we could say that it is a classic homosexual story in a homophobic environment, but apparently at least, one would not understand how Joseph can get to spend a night of sex with a girl and how he can get to strangle her soon after. Let us now try to deepen the discussion. Joseph, is living, it is true, a homosexual love story, but in reality he is not willing to renounce, in the name of that love, to a rewarding life made up of frequent and “normal” social relationships, a little like the Clive of the “Maurice” of Forster.
 
The appearance of Moira is lacerating for Joseph not because Moira unleashes in him the fire of lust but because she brings to mind a reality alternative to his homosexual love, socially accepted and much less complicated to manage. Moira represents for Joseph the temptation to betray his true love and to live like a hetero guy. Moira is very seductive and Joseph thinks that you can also try to be straight and the thing at a technical level works, this is the great temptation of a repressed gay, but then comes the idea that you cannot betray yourself and live a life that is not your own. Moira is murdered because she destroyed the “true” dream of love of Joseph that is the relationship with Praileau. This reading of the story of “Moira” and “L’étudiant roux”, which is much more credible than that based on a figure of Joseph considered a true heterosexual, torn apart by the struggle between flesh and spirit, is yet another proof of how much, even many years after Green’s second conversion, homosexuality is alive and present in his works.
 
An example perhaps even more significant is found in another novel “Le malfaiteur”. Green had stopped working on this novel in 1938, when the time for his second conversion to Catholicism was maturing, but in 1955 the intimately felt desire to contribute to a deeper understanding of the homosexual condition led Green to resume and complete the novel “To bring to the attention of serious readers one of the most tragic aspects of the sexual (carnal) life of our modern world, tragic because it involves in a sometimes violent way all affective life and seriously affects spiritual life.”[18] As we see quite clearly, Green, over the years, while remaining Catholic, recovers at least in part his homosexual conscience. The novel has a rather simple plot: Hedwige, a young orphan, lives in the same house as Jean and only partially realizes Jean’s homosexuality, he would not be afraid to explain things to her even if in writing. Gaston Dolange, the object of love both of Hedwige and Jean, is unashamedly homosexual and knows how to monetize his graces.
 
Gaston, who is not interested in either Hedwige or Jean, appears only briefly at the beginning and end of the novel, but his sexual orientation is absolutely clear both to the other characters and to the reader. The evildoer is Jean, because he loves too much the handsome guys. The bourgeois society is still willing to turn a blind eye avoiding at least sending the police to give scandal knocking on Jean’s door. For years Jean lives hidden then, before disappearing committing suicide, he confesses himself (the so-called confession of Jean), in a letter to Hedwige, the girl, in the text of 1955, is not able to really understand the meaning of what he reads because Jean’s confession is vague and cryptic. She only knows she is a girl in love with a man who will never be able to desire her physically and she will also end up following the path of suicide. If it is true that Green in 1955 considered it his duty to shed light on the unknown world (then as today) of homosexuality, he left his work deliberately in half because, in practice, the text of 1936-38 was published in the ’55 without the fundamental chapter containing “the confession of Jean”. In the ’55 edition, the reasons that push Jean to flee to Italy, where he then committed suicide, remain smoky and incomprehensible, and it should be emphasized that the vision that Green offers of homosexuality is radically negative because Gaston is a nice maintained gay and Jean is a guy deluded and depressed who ends up committing suicide, and as if this were not enough, no explanation is offered either for the behavior of the former or for the latter. Only in 1973, with the second edition of “Le malfaiteur”, there is a substantial resipiscence of Green: the “confession of Jean” is reintroduced in the original integral form of 1938, without censorship, and so, reading the text, we understand that homosexuals, both in Paris and in the province, are forced to attend the typical places of clandestine meetings, disreputable and seedy places, because they are forced to live in falsehood and in constant fear of scandal, are filed and monitored by the police and even denied by their families. The reintroduction of the full text of “Jean’s confession” gives the text another depth and makes serious understandings of the dramatic situations in which homosexuals were forced to live in France in the 1930s.
 
But let’s close the references to the works and return to the biography of Green. There is a part of his life on which Green is totally reticent, if possible more than about Saint-Jean, I refer to his relationship with his adopted son Eric Jourdan. If Saint-Jean was a year younger than Julien, Eric was 40 years younger than him. Jourdan is a novelist and a playwright, his debut novel “Les Mauvais Anges”, published in 1955, when he was not yet 16, is still one of the most popular homosexual novels, in which sensuality emerges to the highest degree. Pierre and Gérard, two seventeen year old guys are overwhelmed by passion, their sexual desire is violent: “We had wanted to know all the secrets of love in a single night and a real fury guided this discovery, to the point that dawn enlightened in these bodies satiated but not satisfied two young lovers doubly male for their way of taking and giving to each other.”

Such a union could not but arouse jealousy around them. Some young neighbors of whom the two guys had slaughtered the falcons, for play or revenge, kidnap Gérard and rape him. From here begins the sliding of Pierre and Gérard towards death. Their love is both joy and torture. They are both slaves and masters in satisfying their pleasure, they don’t tolerate any compromise and prefer to choose the death that suffer the wear and tear of the feelings and bodies caused by time. As we can see, it is not only a homosexual novel in the most explicit way, but a novel that is immensely distant from the vision of homosexuality typical of Green.
 
After the publication of “Les Mauvais Anges” Juordan lived in a very free way before being adopted by Green. After his adoption he settled in Paris and remained close to Green until his death. But we don’t know more than this. Francesco Gnerre interviewed Eric Joudan in 2007.[19] Jourdan had made the condition that there were no questions about Green, However, to the explicit question of Gnerre: “Why don’t you want to be asked questions about Julien Green?” Jourdan replies: “The fact is that very often we tend to make allusions to the story of my adoption to belittle my work, and I don’t like this. Of course I adored my foster father, but we never practiced the same kind of writing and our vision of life has always been poles apart. Juliern Green was a fervent Catholic, I am a pagan, an iconoclast. I am convinced that all the churches and religions, in the first place the monotheistic ones, are kept standing by people who exert their influence on individuals and on the community under the exclusive pressure of material interests. They blame the people for “making them pay”, both in terms of cash offerings and the removal of their drives.” Frankly, I don’t think that the relationship between Jourdan and Green can be seen as the relationship between the devil and holy water, things are certainly much more complex. Green and Jourdan met when Jourdan was 15 years old and all kinds of gossip were made about their relationship, but the two did not get destroyed by gossip and after a few years Jourdan’s parents died and Grenn adopted him and even on this the gossip spread. In “La Civiltà Cattolica”,[20] after the death of Green, Ferdinando Castelli published the article “Julien Green witness of the invisible – in memoriam”. Castelli’s article aims to emphasize the figure of Green from the point of view of faith, but in the article there is a direct reference to the problem of homosexuality in the work of Green. “What does Green think about sexuality and homosexuality, themes repeatedly taken up in his work? – “There was in me, in different periods, an element of terror before sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular [. . . ]. In 1958 I won (supprimée) sexuality. I heard a voice saying to me: “Or now or never.” I replied: “If You don’t help me, I cannot do it.” The help has arrived, but the experience has been excruciating. It lasted about two years, but now peace is back “. Homosexuality is a very large theme, it is a mystery that concerns the wider sphere of sexuality. Both homosexuality and heterosexuality fall into the struggle between the flesh and the spirit: the problem is this,”[21] 
 
I point out that Green doesn’t see a specific problem in homosexuality but tends to frame all the sexual morality in the dimension of the struggle between the flesh and the spirit. Radical dualism seems inevitable to Green, but a secular spirit, faced with these things, wonders what is the reason why sexuality should be suppressed and finds no other motivation than the blind obedience to a precept that is attributed to God. I can understand that in tracing the obituary of a homosexual and Catholic writer, “La Cività Cattolica” is concerned with giving God what belongs to God, but for a secular homosexual, like me, it is essential to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and highlight the elements of the life and work of Julien Green that make stand out the homosexuality, won or repressed as you like, but essential to understand the true torment of a soul torn by faith. The prohibition of homosexuality, I return to the point, as in general the prohibition of non-procreative sexuality even within marriage, has no other reason than the will to conform anyway to the alleged will of God, even at the cost of suppressing sexuality violently. God gives us sexuality and then forbids us to use it according to our freedom and without harm to anyone. The prohibition has no other reason than to measure the level of obedience and self-denial before the God’s request, a little like the request made to Abraham to sacrifice his son, but, to take back a bit of evangelical language, whoever of us, if he saw his son in a garden full of fruit, would forbid him to eat the fruits of a particular tree to test his obedience? If therefore we, as bad as we are, don’t forbid our children to eat any fruit of the garden, because should God, who is infinite goodness, show Adam the tree of knowledge to say: you will not eat the fruit of this tree? It will be possible to answer that this is a mystery of faith, but it is precisely because faith, through these mechanisms, creates suffering, that I cannot conceive how blind obedience can be made a principle on which to found life.
__________
[1] Julien Green: Religion and Sensuality – By Anthony H. Newbury – p. 12-14.
[2] “Aucun désir charnel ne me tourmentait. Si le cœur brûlait, les sens étaient profondément endormis et j’étais d’une froideur exceptionnelle. L’idée de porter la main sur Frédéric m’eût paru tout bonnement monstrueuse, parce que rien ne me semblait beau qui ne fût pas pur, ce mot retrouvant dans mon esprit tout le pouvoir qu’il avait failli perdre.” – Partir avant le jour.
[3] “Une ou deux minutes plus tard, de l’autre côté du pont, je dis à Mark : «Je regrette, je ne peux pas.» Il me serra légèrement le bras et dit : «Je comprends très bien.» Une fois de plus, j’avais mesuré le risque de perdre à jamais son affection et l’avais jugé trop grand. Ai-je besoin d’indiquer que dans mon œuvre, Mark revient sans cesse, sous une forme ou sous une autre ? II est toujours le mystérieux beau garçon à qui l’on n’ose pas déclarer son amour. Eric Mac Clure, dans Sud, Praileau dans Moïra, Angus et Wilfred, les deux alternativement, dans Chaque homme dans sa nuit, Paul dans Le Voyageur, surtout le beau garçon de L’Autre Sommeil”. (Terre Lointaine, V, pp. 1257-1258)
[4] “Pamphlet contre les catholiques de France”
[5] «Les catholiques de ce pays sont tombés dans l’habitude de leur religion, au point qu’ils ne s’inquiètent plus de savoir si elle est vraie ou fausse, s’ils y croient ou non ; et cette espèce de foi machinale les accompagne jusqu’à la mort.»
[6] «On ne croit pas sans se livrer bataille, mais ils ne luttent pas avec eux-mêmes, et ils acceptent le catholicisme comme quelque chose de simple et de naturel ; ils finiraient par le tuer, si c’était possible.»
[7] «Cependant ils sont catholiques, puisqu’ils ont reçu la marque de l’Eglise, et ils le sont pour toujours, car l’Eglise ne fait rien que d’éternel, mais ces enfants soumis portent les germes d’une corruption puissante. Ne cherchez pas autre part les vrais ennemis de cette Eglise chrétienne dont ils se croient les défenseurs.»
[8] «On les a élevés dans le catholicisme ; ils y vivent et ils meurent, mais ils ne comprennent ni ce qu’ils représentent ni ce qui se passe autour d’eux, et ils ne pressentent rien du mystère qui les enveloppe et qui les sépare du monde.»
[9] «Ils vivent dans le monde comme s’ils étaient du monde ; cependant ils ont été mis à part en vertu de certains signes et de certaines paroles, et s’ils comprennent qu’ils sont marqués, et qu’ils se révoltent, ils n’en sont pas moins catholiques, et s’ils s’avilissent, ils demeurent catholiques dans leur chute et leur damnation.»
[10] «Ils lisent des prières dont chaque mot est d’une grande importance et ils les lisent comme s’il s’agissait, dans ces prières, de quelqu’un d’autre, de la vie de quelqu’un d’autre, du salut de quelqu’un d’autre. On dirait qu’ils ne savent pas qu’on y parle uniquement de leur condamnation à mort et de leur grâce ; on dirait qu’ils croient que le catholicisme a été fondé pour les autres et qu’eux-mêmes, s’ils en font partie, c’est par hasard ou par jeu.»
[11] L’Osservatore Romano, 27/28 August 2008 – “Storie di conversione: il duplice ritorno di Julien Green – by Claudio Toscani”
[12] “Salus extra ecclesiam non est”, Cyprian, epistle 72 to Pope Stephen
[13] François Mauriac, biographie intime, by Jean-Luc Barré – Fayard editor, Paris, 2009.
[14] Julien Green: The End of a World – As Germany occupied France, Green brought Paris to life in his superlative diaries.
[15] Passé pas mort, Grasset, 1983, re-edited in 2012.
[16] «Nous aurons traversé des orages sans que cesse ce besoin réciproque de la présence, faim que le temps ne rassasie pas. Pourquoi lui? Pourquoi moi? Pourquoi ce bonheur rien qu’à se sentir silencieux dans la même pièce?»
[17] Civiltà Cattolica 2971-2976, p. 353.
[18] … de porter à l’attention des lecteurs sérieux un des aspects les plus tragiques de la via charnelle dans notre monde moderne, tragique parce qu’il engage d’une façon parfois violente toute la vie affective et qu’il touche gravement à la vie spirituelle] [Introduction to Le malfaiteur in the Complete Works of 1955.]
[20] La Civiltà Cattolica, 1998 IV, 365-375.
[21] Taken from the interview reproduced in Le Monde on 19 August 1998, 17
__________
If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-julien-green-catholic-homosexual

MACHIAVELLI HOMOSEXUAL

Investigating the sexuality of great personalities of the past is not always easy, for some the documentation deriving from private correspondence is very limited but explicit, as in the case of Torquato Tasso, for others, who have left a considerable amount of private correspondence, the documentation is sometimes really encrypted and difficult to interpret, as in the case of Niccolò Machiavelli.
Reading the private correspondence between Machiavelli and Francesco Vettori, ambassador of the Florentine Republic to the Papal Court, we are often perplexed, because we reach the end of a letter with the clear impression of not having understood exactly the meaning that is hidden behind the words.
Machiavelli was a person of considerable political importance and the letters he sent, even the private ones, were subject to some form of encryption in order to make them difficult to interpret for anyone who did not possess the right keys to read. The discourses contained in particular in the private correspondence with Vettori, sometimes apparently vague and incomprehensible, are actually full of implications and metaphors that can be deciphered correctly only if one is very familiar with that form of correspondence.
So let’s get into the subject.
Machiavelli was born in Florence on May 3th, 1469.
On May 23th, 1498, when Machiavelli had just turned 29, Fra Girolamo Savonarola was hanged and burned in Piazza della Signoria. Between mid-June and mid-July Machiavelli was elected secretary of the Second Chancellery and also became secretary of the Council of Ten that was responsible for the policy of territorial expansion of Florence and for the affairs of war. In 1501, at age 32, a decidedly mature age for the time, Machiavelli married Marietta Corsini, with whom he had 7 children. It could be argued that there is no more convincing proof of Niccolò’s exclusive heterosexuality, however, many years later, Francesco Vettori, writing to an almost 54-year-old Machiavelli, on April 17th, 1523, will say: “we sometimes accuse the nature itself as a stepmother when, instead, we should accuse our parents and ourselves: if you had truly known yourself, you would never have taken a wife; and my father, if he had known my desires and habits, would never have joined me to a wife, as one who nature had generated for play and for fun, not eager to make money and in the least worried about his wealth. But a wife would have forced me to change, which, however, cannot be accomplished happily for anyone.”[1]
Vettori’s speech seems to allude more to heterosexual adventures, both of Machiavelli and Vettori, both very free in sexual behavior, rather than to homosexuality, but, as we will see, Machiavelli certainly did not disdain even homosexual adventures and probably a similar discourse could also be done for Vettori.
That Machiavelli was not only a married heterosexual, who limited himself only to sexual intercourses with his wife but that he went to look for sex for “foia”, that is for lust, even with very low-level female prostitutes is evidenced by his letter of December 8th 1509, when Machiavelli was 40, to Luigi Giucciardini (brother of the historian Francesco Guicciardini). In fact, Machiavelli tells Guicciardini that he had gone through an irrepressible craving of sex (affogaggine) with a very ugly woman, an authentic monster, only because there was just a bit of light that didn’t allow to see her clearly, but then, taken an ember from the fire he lit up the lamp, he saw how ugly she was and felt a very strong sense of rejection. [2]
On May 27th, 1510, an anonymous connoisseur put in a hole of anonymous denunciations this denunciation: “I notify to you, Eight gentlemen (police authority), that Niccolò of Messer Bernardo Machiavelli fucks Lucretia colled “la Riccia” (“The woman with curly hair”) in the ass”. [3]
Machiavelli was therefore accused of sodomy with that prostitute named Lucrezia called la Riccia (“The woman with curly hair”). The accusation is about sodomy but with a woman, the vox populi (popular rumor) who tries to discredit Machiavelli, a politically important man, married and with several children, does not therefore contain any reference to homosexuality, which would have been, on the other hand, not very credible.
The political fortunes of Machiavelli are linked to the Florentine Republic and to the pro-popular conceptions of Pier Soderini, perpetual gonfalonier. On September 16th, 1512, after the escape of Soderini, the Medici resumed control of Florence and the fate of Machiavelli precipitated. On November 7th he was deposed from his offices, on November 10th he sentenced to a year of confinement within the Florentine territory. Suspected of having favored the conspiracy of Agostino Capponi and Pietropaolo Boscoli to restore the Republic, on February 12th, 1513, he was arrested and put to the rope torture.
Machiavelli quickly tries to mobilize his powerful friends and gets results. While Capponi and Boscoli are put to death, Machiavelli is condemned to pay a large deposit, which he is not able to pay, but still comes out of prison in a short time because on March 11th, 1513, Giovanni de’ Medici, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, already created cardinal at the age of 13, becomes Pope Leo X. Leo X’s election is followed in Florence by the general amnesty and Machiavelli, released from prison, takes the prudent decision to disappear from Florence and retire to the farm of the Albergaccio, in Sant’Andrea in Percussina. Machavelli was then 44 years old.
On December 19th, 1513, Machiavelli wrote to Vettori a letter, cryptic in the first part but very interesting in the second, from our point of view. Let us limit ourselves to the analysis of the second part, which also suggests a reason for the so encrypted first part.
Machiavelli remembers that Vettori had written four verses about a certain Riccio (“a guy with curly hair”), a guy available to homosexual contacts, also indicating the names of those who had been put “in berta” (had been ridiculed) because they had gone with Riccio. Machiavelli recited those verses from memory to Giovanni Machiavelli, thus accusing him of homosexual activities. Giovanni Machiavelli took it badly and tried to insist, saying “that he does not know where you have found that he touches (touching means having homosexual relationships in the cryptic jargon of Florentine homosexuals)”. Vettori had not accused Giovanni Machiavelli of homosexuality, but it was Niccolò who, by changing the names, had given the impression that instead he had done so. Giovanni Machiavelli wants to give and ask for explanations and Niccolò laughs at the insult he has made. It should be noted that the verb “to touch” is fundamental because, as we shall see, it is necessary to correctly interpret a discourse that Machiavelli makes about himself. [4]
In the same letter Machiavelli mentions a Franciscan friar who makes politics preaching and throws words of fire from the pulpit. Machiavelli writes, not without pungent irony: “These things shocked me yesterday so that I had to go this morning to be with the Riccia, and I did not go there; but I do not know, if I had had to be with the Riccio, if the effect of the words of the friar would have been the same. I didn’t hear the preaching because I’m not used to such things, but I heard it repeated like this from all Florence. [5]
On January 5th, 1514 Machiavelli wrote a very interesting letter to Vettori.[6] He begins by observing that men are blind in the things in which they sin as they are bitter persecutors of the vices they do not have.
So, then, Machiavelli wrote to Vettori that had shown him that he was worried about the fact that having hosted in his house ser Sano, a well-known homosexual, could discredit him through the gossip of Filippo Casavecchia, and explains to Vettori that Filippo Casavecchia, another well-known homosexual and friend of Machiavelli, would never have criticized Vettori even if ser Sano had remained at his house from one jubilee to another, and indeed he would have congratulated Vettori for the choice. And the Brancaccio then, another well-known homosexual friend of Machiavelli, wouldn’t have dared to comment even if Vettori had taken home the whole brothel of Valencia, indeed he would have considered him a great man more for this than if he had seen him talk better than Demosthenes before the Pope.
Filippo Casavecchia would have thought it unseemly that Vettori would bring easy guys home, but not someone like Ser Sano who was prudent and Brancaccio would not like to see Vettori in the company of cheap whores. However, if Vettori had followed their advice, removing Ser Sano and the easy women, Casavecchia would have wondered where Ser Sano had gone and would have done everything to get him back. Machiavelli adds, to make things even clearer, a discourse that sounds more or less like this: if I had happened in Vettori’s house when he had chased away Sano and the easy women from his house, “I, who am running next to both guys and girls [7] would have said “Dear Ambassador, you will get sick because it does not seem that you take any fun, here there are no guys and there are no women, what the “cock”-house is this?”
On February 25th 1514, Machiavelli wrote to Vettori a very interesting letter [8], I quote the full text in a note and transcribe some parts here, simplifying the descriptions of the places, very detailed in the text, and trying to report the real meaning in a language more understandable at first reading. “I received your letter the other week and I waited until now to answer you because I wanted to have clearer information about a fact that I will tell you below and then I can respond appropriately to your letter. A kind thing happened, or to call it by its real name a ridiculous metamorphosis, which would be worthy of being noted in the books of the ancients. And since I do not want anyone to complain about me, I’ll tell you it hidden under allegorical forms.”
Machiavelli, in the introduction, then tries to tickle the curiosity of Vettori and is preparing to tell the story in the manner of Boccaccio’s novels.
Giuliano Brancacci, eager, so to speak, to go to the bush [which means to go in search of homosexual contacts], one evening a few days ago, after the Ave Maria, seeing that the weather was overcast and windy and that it was beginning to drizzle (all things that you can well believe that every bird [obscene allusion to homosexuals] waits), back home, put on a pair of big shoes [like those used to hunt], tied the game bag to the belt, took with him a lantern and the tools to hunt the birds, and went away for a while snaking through the alleys that lead to the center of the city, and not finding birds waiting for him, he went to the parts of the goldsmith that you know, he went a little further and, looking very carefully at the places where the birds used to hide, he found a beautiful young thrush and caught him using his tools to capture birds and took him to the bottom of the ravine, under the cave where Panzano used to stay.
He then stayed with the young thrush and, finding that he had the “vein” wide (obscene allusion to the ass), after having kissed it several times, he re-stuck two feathers of his tail and put it in his back bag.” [The Italian text is very ambiguous and clearly allusive to an anal intercourse: “Si intrattenne quindi col giovane tordo e, trovando che aveva la “vena” larga, dopo avergliela baciata più volte, gli riacconciò due penne della coda e lo mise nel carniere di dietro.”]
So far the metaphor, then Machiavelli continues more or less like this [even here I render the text more comprehensible]:
“Since I cannot lengthen the subject too much, I will proceed in clear and go bevenayond the metaphors. Brancaccio, who had found the thrush, wanted to know who he was and asked him and the boy replied that he was Michele, nephew of Consiglio Costi. Then Brancaccio said to him: “You are the son of a good man, and if you can do it, you have found your way.” So the Brancaccio [feeling that he could ran the risk of being involved in dangerous affairs] told the boy [lying] that he was Filippo Casavecchia [9] and he also told him where he had his shop [that of Casavecchia, of course]. Since I have no money with me now, come or send someone directly to the shop tomorrow morning and I will pay you.
The next morning, the boy, who was more lascivious than stupid, sent another to Filippo Casavecchia with a slip of paper, asking him to pay his debt and reminded him of what he had promised. Filippo read the note and made a sad face and replied: Who is he and what does he want from me? I have nothing to do with him, tell him to come to me. The boy who had brought the note came back to Michele, who had sent him and told him about Filippo Casavecchia’s answer. The boy did not even get a little scared and went to Casavecchia, reminded him of the benefits he enjoyed and concluded that if the man thought he could deceive him that way, he would have no problem to publicly blame him.
After that answer Filippo felt himself squeezed, let the boy in the shop and said: – Michele, you have been cheated, [but not by me!] I am a very moderate man and I don’t care such squalid things, so you have to think rather to find who deceived you, so that who has received pleasure from you pay the due to you, rather than to insult me in this way without you get any advantage. Now go back home and come tomorrow to me and I’ll tell you what I’ve come up with. –
The boy went away all confused and accepted the idea of returning the next day to Casavecchia. Casavecchia, left alone, was very worried about the fact and did not seem to be able to get out easily and felt as agitated as the sea in front of Pisa when the Libeccio  [a warm southwest wind] blows strongly. He said to himself: – If I’m good and quiet and I keep Michele good with a florin, I end up being blackmailed by him, I recognize myself his debtor, I confess the sin and from innocent I became guilty, but if I deny without finding the true guilty I could be compared with the boy, I should justify myself with him and also with others and the wrong would be all on my side. If I try to understand how things really went, however, I should still blame someone, I might not be able to blame anyone, I would make enemies and with all this I would not come out clean anyway of all this. –
While he was so anguished, he chose the last hypothesis as less unpleasant and was so fortunate that he addressed the first idea that came to his mind to the right target! And he thought that it was Brancaccio who had made him that bad joke, because Brancaccio was one who hunted for boys (“macchiaiuolo”, he gave himself to the bush, in the double sense of the word) and other times he had deceived him.
He then went to see Alberto Lotti, told him the fact, told him also what he had in mind and asked him to speak reservedly with Michele, who was one of his relatives, to see if other matches could be found. Lotti, who was used to those things and knew them very well, immediately thought that Casavecchia had seen right and promised that he would do everything possible, then sent to call Michele and after talking to him for a long time, he came to this conclusion. He said to the boy: If you heard the one who pretended to be Filippo Casavecchia, would you have the courage to recognize him by his voice? – The boy answered yes and Lotti took him to sant’Ilario where he knew that Brancaccio often entertained, saw the Brancaccio who sat among so many people telling stories, and shrewdly had the boy approached behind Brancaccio in such a way that he heard him speak, then they appeared before him and Brancaccio saw them, changed his attitude quickly and went away and everything was clear to everyone. Filippo Casavecchia came out completely clean and Brancaccio was covered with insults. And in Florence in this last carnival nothing else has been talked about, except: – Are you the Brancaccio or the Casa{vecchia}? – And this story was very well known to anyone. I think you already had news of it but I wanted to tell you the same in detail, because it seemed my duty.
As for you, I can only tell you to follow the love at loose bridles because the pleasure you can take today you cannot take it tomorrow, and if the things are as you have described them, I envy you more than the king of England! I beg you to follow your own inclination and do not let anything escape for any reason, because I believe, believed and always will believe really true what Boccaccio says: that is better to do and repent, than not to do and repent! “
So far, as we have seen, Machiavelli makes homosexuality a theme for spicy stories in the manner of Boccaccio, also hints at his “touching” that is at the fact that he does not disdain homosexual activities, but so far lacks the emotional dimension of homosexuality. Machiavelli is now 45 years old, has a wife and seven grown-up children and still behaves like a young man who goes into a cheerful brigade hunting for adventures.
However, a letter to the Vettori of August 3th, 1514 [10] shows that Machiavelli also felt the affective side of homosexuality. He congratulates Vettori for his romantic adventures in Rome and tells him that he (Machiavelli) has found correspondence “in a creature so kind, so delicate, so noble, both by nature and by accident, that I could neither praise nor love her so much that she could not deserve more.” The pronouns are used to the feminine because they agree with the term creature that is of female gender, this does not however have to deceive on the sex of that creature. 
Machiavelli adds: “And do not believe that Love to take me used ordinary ways, but knowing that they would not have been enough, he followed extraordinary ways, from which I didn’t know, and didn’t want to beware. It is enough that, already close to fifty years, neither these suns offend me, nor the harsh streets crush me, nor the obscurities of the nights amaze me. Everything seems easy to me, and I adapt myself to every appetite, also different and contrary to what should be mine. And although I seem to have entered great labor, nevertheless I feel so much sweetness in it, for what his so rare and suave appearance produces in me, and also because it puts aside the memory of all my troubles, so that if I was able to free me, I would not.”
We do not know who the “creature” is so kind, so delicate, so noble, but certainly it is the first time that Machiavelli does not use the tones of the Boccaccio satire but those of love.
If there is still any doubt that it is a homosexual love, it will be easily dispelled by a letter from Vettori to Machiavelli dated January 16th, 1515 [11]. Vettori writes to Machiavelli:
“Dear main man. I have no letters from anyone that I read more willingly than yours, and I would like to be able to write many things, which I know cannot be entrust to the letters. It’s been several months since I understood very well how you loved, and I was to say, “Ah, Coridon, Coridon, quae te dementia cepit?” [Coridon, Coridon, what madness took you?] Then, thinking within myself that this world is nothing but love, or, to tell it more clearly, lust, I held back; and I have been considering how much in such things men have their hearts far from what they say with their mouths.”
The Latin quote is taken from the second Eclogue by Virgil (Bucolics II, 69). “Ahi, Corydon Corydon, What madness took you?” Corydon’s Madness was the love of the beautiful Alexis. Corydon was already in the times of Virgil one of the most known myths related to homosexuality and certainly Vettori was well aware of that when he quoted Corydon and the second Bucolic in relation to Machiavelli. Corydon assumed such a symbolic value that André Gide (a character to whom I will soon dedicate an article) called “Corydon” a dialogue published in 1924 which contains a first attempt to demolish the respectability that condemned homosexuality. Gide writes in Corydon: “The important thing is to understand that, where you say against nature, it would be enough to say: against costume”. After the publication of Gide’s Corydon, Paul Claudel, a Catholic intellectual, stopped speaking to Gide. Current Catholic homophobia has distant roots.
________________________
[1] nos aliquando naturam ipsam tamquam novercam incusamus, cum potius parentes aut nos ipsos incusare debemus: tu, si te ipsum bene novisses, numquam uxorem duxisses; pater meus, si ingenium, si mores meos scisset, me numquam uxori alligasset, quippe quem ad ludos, ad iocos natura genuerat, lucris non inhiantem, rei familiari minime intentum. Sed uxor filie me mutare coegerit, quod nemimi feliciter succedere potest.– Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971 
 
[2] Niccolò Machiavelli a Luigi Guicciardini
Verona, 8 dicembre 1509
Spectabili viro Luigi Guicciardini in Mantova tanquam fratri carissimo.
Affogaggine, Luigi; et guarda quanto la Fortuna in una medesima faccienda dà ad li huomini diversi fini. Voi, fottuto che voi havesti colei, vi è venuta voglia di rifotterla et ne volete un’altra presa; ma io, stato fui qua parechi dì, accecando per carestia di matrimonio, trovai una vechia che m’imbucatava le camicie, che sta in una casa che è più di meza sotterra, né vi si vede lume se non per l’uscio. Et, passando io un dì di quivi, la mi riconobbe et, fattomi una gran festa, mi disse che io fussi contento andare un poco in casa, che mi voleva mostrare certe camicie belle, se io le volevo comperare. Onde io, nuovo cazo, me lo credetti, et, giunto là, vidi al barlume una donna con uno sciugatoio tra in sul capo et in sul viso, che faceva el vergognoso, et stava rimessa in uno canto. Questa vechia ribalda mi prese per mano et, menatomi ad colei, dixe: Questa è la camicia che io vi voglio vendere, ma voglio la proviate prima et poi la pagherete.
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.
Io credo che mi avanzerà di questa gita qualche danaio, et vorre’ pure, giunto ad Firenze, fare qualche trafficuzo. Ho disegnato fare un pollaiolo; bisognami trovare uno maruffino che me lo governi. Intendo che Piero di Martino è così sufficiente; vorrei intendessi da lui se ci ha el capo, et rispondetemi; perché, quando e’ non voglia, io mi procaccierò d’uno altro.
De le nuove di qua ve ne satisfarà Giovanni. Salutate Jacopo et raccomandatemi ad lui, et non sdimenticate Marco.
In Verona, die viii Decembris 1509.
Aspecto la risposta di Gualtieri ad la mia cantafavola.
Niccolò Machiavegli
http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/p … s.html#170 Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere, a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni editore, Firenze 1971.
 

[3] “Notifichasi a voi, signori Otto, chome Nicholò di messer Bernardo Machiavelli fotte la Lucretia vochata la Riccia nel culo.”

[4] 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.

[5] 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.”

[6] Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971.
Niccolò Machiavelli a Francesco Vettori
Firenze, 5 gennaio 1514

Magnifico oratori florentino Francisco Victorio benefattori suo observandissimo.
Magnifico oratore. Egli è per certo gran cosa a considerare quanto gli huomini sieno ciechi nelle cose dove e’ peccono, et quanto e’ sieno acerrimi persecutori de’ vizii che non hanno. Io vi potrei addurre in exemplis cose greche, latine, hebraiche, caldee, et andarmene sino ne’ paesi del Sophi et dei Prete Janni, et addurreve’li, se li exempli domestichi et freschi non bastassino. Io credo che ser Sano sarebbe possuto venirvi in casa dall’un giubbileo all’altro, et che mai Filippo harebbe pensato che vi desse carico alcuno; anzi gli sarebbe parso che voi dipigneste ad usar seco, et che la fosse proprio pratica conforme ad uno ambasciadore, il quale, essendo obbligato ad infinite contenenze, è necessario habbia de’ diporti et delli spassi; et questo di ser Sano gli sarebbe parso che quadrasse appunto, et con ciascuno harebbe laudato la prudenza vostra, et commendatovi insino al cielo di tale electione. Dall’altro canto, io credo che se tutto il bordello di Valenza vi fosse corso per casa, non sarebbe stato mai possibile che il Brancaccio ve ne havesse ripreso, anzi vi harebbe di questo più commendato che se vi havesse sentito innanzi al papa orare meglio che Demosthene.
Et se voi havessi voluto vedere la ripruova di questa ragione, vi bisognava, senza che loro havessino saputo delli ammonimenti l’uno dell’altro, che voi havessi fatto vista di credere loro, et volere observare i loro precepti. Et serrato l’uscio alle puttane, et cacciato via ser Sano, et ritiratovi al grave, et stato sopra di voi cogitativo, e’ non sarebbono a verun modo passati quattro dì, che Filippo harebbe cominciato a dire: Che è di ser Sano? Che vuol dire che non ci capita più? Egli è male che non ci venga; a me pare egli uno huomo dabbene: io non so quel che queste brigate si cicalano, et parmi che egli habbia molto bene i termini di questa corte, et che sia una utile bazzicatura. Voi doverreste, ambasciadore, mandare per lui. Il Brancaccio non vi dico se si sarebbe doluto et maravigliato della absenzia delle dame, et se non ve lo havessi detto, mentre che egli havessi tenuto vòlto il culo al fuoco, come harebbe fatto Filippo, e’ ve lo harebbe detto in camera da voi a lui. Et per chiarirvi meglio, bisognava che in tal vostra disposizione austera io fussi capitato costì, che tocco et attendo a femmine: subito avvedutomi della cosa, io harei detto: Ambasciadore, voi ammalerete; e’ non mi pare che voi pigliate spasso alcuno; qui non ci è garzoni, qui non sono femmine; che casa di cazzo è questa?
Magnifico oratore, e’ non ci è se non pazzi; et pochi ci sono che conoschino questo mondo, et che sappino che chi vuol fare a modo d’altri non fa mai nulla, perché non si truova huomo che sia di un medeximo parere. Cotestoro non sanno che chi è tenuto savio il dì, non sarà mai tenuto pazzo la notte; et che chi è stimato huomo da bene, et che vaglia, ciò che e’ fa per allargare l’animo et vivere lieto, gli arreca honore et non carico, et in cambio di essere chiamato buggerone o puttaniere, si dice che è universale, alla mano et buon compagno. Non sanno anche che dà del suo, et non piglia di quel d’altri, et che fa come il mosto mentre bolle, che dà del sapore suo a’ vasi che sanno di muffa, et non piglia della muffa de’ vasi.
Pertanto, signore oratore, non habbiate paura della muffa di ser Sano, né de’ fracidumi di mona Smeria, et seguite gli instituti vostri, et lasciate dire il Brancaccio, che non si avvede che egli è come un di quelli forasiepi, che è il primo a schiamazzare et gridare, et poi, come giugno la civetta, è il primo preso. Et Filippo nostro è come uno avvoltoio, che quando non è carogne in paese, vola cento miglia per trovarne una; et come egli ha piena la gorga, si sta su un pino et ridesi delle aquile, astori, falconi et simili, che per pascersi di cibi delicati si muoiono la metà dell’anno di fame. Sì che, magnifico oratore, lasciate schiamazzare l’uno, et l’altro empiersi il gozzo, et voi attendete alle faccende vostre a vostro modo.
In Firenze, addì 5 di gennaio 1513.
Niccolò Machiavelli

[7] “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.

[8] Niccolò Machiavelli a Francesco Vettori
Firenze, 25 febbraio 1514
Magnifico oratori florentino Francisco Vettorio apud S. Pontificem suo observandissimo. Rome.
Magnifico oratore. Io hebbi una vostra lettera dell’altra settimana, et sono indugiatomi ad hora a farvi risposta, perché io desideravo intendere meglio il vero di una novella che io vi scriverrò qui dappiè: poi risponderò alle parti della vostra convenientemente. Egli è accaduto una cosa gentile, o vero, a chiamarla per il suo diritto nome, una metamorfosi ridicola, et degna di esser notata nelle antiche carte. Et perché io non voglio che persona si possa dolere di me, ve la narrerò sotto parabole ascose.
Giuliano Brancacci, verbigrazia, vago di andare alla macchia, una sera in fra l’altre ne’ passati giorni, sonata l’Ave Maria della sera, veggendo il tempo tinto, trarre vento, et piovegginare un poco (tutti segni da credere che ogni uccello aspetti), tornato a casa, si cacciò in piedi un paio di scarpette grosse, cinsesi un carnaiuolo [cerniere], tolse un frugnuolo [lanterna da caccia], una campanella al braccio, et una buona ramata [strumento per la caccia agli uccelli]. Passò il ponte alla Carraia, et per la via del Canto de’ Mozzi ne venne a Santa Trinita, et entrato in Borgo Santo Appostolo, andò un pezzo serpeggiando per quei chiasci che lo mettono in mezzo; et non trovando uccelli che lo aspettassino, si volse dal vostro battiloro, et sotto la Parte Guelfa attraversò Mercato, et per Calimala Francesca si ridusse sotto il Tetto de’ Pisani; dove guardando tritamente tutti quei ripostigli, trovò un tordellino, il quale con la ramata, con il lume, et con la campanella fu fermo da lui, et con arte fu condotto da lui nel fondo del burrone sotto la spelonca, dove alloggiava il Panzano, et quello intrattenendo et trovatogli la vena larga et più volte baciatogliene, gli risquittì [riacconciare le penne agli uccelli] dua penne della coda et infine, secondo che gli più dicono, se lo messe nel carnaiuolo di drieto.
Ma perché il temporale mi sforza a sbucare di sotto coverta, et le parabole non bastano, et questa metaphora più non mi serve, volle intendere il Brancaccio chi costui fosse, il quale gli disse, verbigrazia, essere Michele, nipote di Consiglio Costi. Disse allhora il Brancaccio: — Sia col buono anno, tu sei figliuolo di uno huomo dabbene, et se tu sarai savio, tu hai trovata la ventura tua. Sappi che io sono Filippo da Casavecchia, et fo bottega nel tal lato; et perché io non ho danari meco, o tu vieni, o tu mandi domattina a bottega, et io ti satisfarò. — Venuta la mattina, Michele, che era più presto cattivo che dappoco, mandò un zana a Filippo con una poliza richiedendoli il debito, et ricordandoli l’obbligo; al quale Filippo fece un tristo viso, dicendo: — Chi è costui, o che vuole? io non ho che fare seco; digli che venga a me. — Donde che, ritornato il zana a Michele, et narratogli la cosa, non si sbigottì di niente il fanciullo, ma animosamente andato a trovare Filippo, gli rimproverò i benefici ricevuti, et li concluse che se lui non haveva rispetto ad ingannarlo, egli non harebbe rispetto a vituperarlo; tale che parendo a Filippo essere impacciato, lo tirò drento in bottega, et li disse: — Michele, tu sei stato ingannato; io sono un huomo molto costumato, et non attendo a queste tristizie; sì che egli è meglio pensare come e’ si habbi a ritrovare questo inganno, et che chi ha ricevuto piacere da te, ti ristori, che entrare per questa via, et senza tuo utile vituperare me. Però farai a mio modo; andra’tene a casa, et torna domani a me, et io ti dirò quello a che harò pensato. — Partissi il fanciullo tutto confuso; pure, havendo a ritornare, restò paziente. Et rimasto Filippo solo, era angustiato dalla novità della cosa, et scarso di partiti, fluctuava come il mare di Pisa quando una libecciata gli soffia nel forame. Perché e’ diceva: Se io mi sto cheto, et contento Michele con un fiorino, io divento una sua vignuola, fummi suo debitore, confesso il peccato, et di innocente divento reo: se io niego senza trovare il vero della cosa, io ho a stare al paragone di un fanciullo, hommi a giustificare seco, ho a giustificare gli altri; tutti i torti fieno i mia. Se io cerco di trovarne il vero, io ne ho a dare carico a qualcuno, potrei non ivi apporre, farò questa inimicizia, et con tutto questo non sarò giustificato.
Et stando in questa ansietà, per manco tristo partito prese l’ultimo; et fugli in tanto favorevole la fortuna, che la prima mira che pose, la pose al vero brocco, et pensò che il Brancaccio gli havesse fatto questa villania, pensando che egli era macchiaiuolo, et che altre volte gli haveva fatto delle natte quando lo botò a’ Servi. Et andò in su questo a trovare Alberto Lotti, verbigrazia, et narratoli il caso, et dectoli l’oppenione sua, et pregatolo havesse a sé Michele, che era suo parente, vedesse se poteva riscontrare questa cosa. Giudicò Alberto, come pratico et intendente, che Filippo havesse buono occhio, et promessoli la sua opera francamente, mandò per Michele, et abburattatolo un pezzo, li venne a questa conclusione: — Darebbet’egli il cuore, se tu sentissi favellare costui che ha detto di essere Filippo, di riconoscerlo alla boce? — A che il fanciullo replicato di sì, lo menò seco in Santo Hilario, dove e’ sapeva il Brancaccio si riparava, et facendogli spalle, havendo veduto il Brancaccio che si sedeva fra un monte di brigate a dir novelle, fece che il fanciullo se gli accostò tanto, che l’udì parlare; et girandosegli intorno, veggendolo il Brancaccio, tutto cambiato se li levò dinanzi; donde a ciascuno la cosa parse chiara, di modo che Filippo è rimaso tutto scarico, et il Brancaccio vituperato. Et in Firenze in questo carnasciale non si è detto altro, se non: — Se’ tu il Brancaccio, o se’ il Casa? —; « et fuit in toto notissima fabula coelo ». Io credo che habbiate hauto per altre mani questo avviso, pure io ve l’ho voluto dire più particulare, perché mi pare così mio obbligo.
Alla vostra io non ho che dirvi, se non che seguitiate l’amore totis habenis, et quel piacere che voi piglierete hoggi, voi non lo harete a pigliare domani; et se la cosa sta come voi me l’havete scritta, io ho più invidia a voi che al re di Inghilterra. Priegovi seguitiate la vostra stella, et non ne lasciate andare un iota per cosa del mondo, perché io credo, credetti, et crederrò sempre che sia vero quello che dice il Boccaccio: che gli è meglio fare et pentirsi, che non fare et pentirsi.
Addì 25 di Febbraio 1514.
Niccolò Machiavelli in Firenze
http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/mac64_let_06.htm Edizione di riferimento Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971.

[9] 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.
 
[10] Niccolò Machiavelli a Francesco Vettori
Firenze, 3 agosto 1514
A Francesco Vettori in Roma.
Voi, compare, mi havete con più avvisi dello amor vostro di Roma tenuto tutto festivo, et mi havete levato dallo animo infinite molestie, con leggere et pensare a’ piaceri et alli sdegni vostri, perché l’uno non sta bene senza l’altro. Et veramente la Fortuna mi ha condotto in luogo, che io ve ne potrei rendere iusto ricompenso; perché, standomi in villa, io ho riscontro in una creatura tanto gentile, tanto delicata, tanto nobile, et per natura et per accidente, che io non potrei né tanto laudarla, né tanto amarla, che la non meritasse più. Harei, come voi a me, a dire i principii di questo amore, con che reti mi prese, dove le tese, di che qualità furno; et vedresti che le furono reti d’oro, tese tra fiori, tessute da Venere, tanto soavi et gentili, che benché un cuor villano le havesse potute rompere, nondimeno io non volli, et un pezzo mi vi godei dentro, tanto che le fila tenere sono diventate dure, et incavicchiate con nodi irresolubili. Et non crediate che Amore a pigliarmi habbia usato modi ordinarii, perché, conoscendo non li sarebbono bastati, tenne vie extraordinarie, dalle quali io non seppi, et non volsi guardarmi. Bastivi che, già vicino a cinquanta anni né questi soli mi offendono, né le vie aspre mi straccano, né le obscurità delle notti mi sbigottiscano. Ogni cosa mi pare piano, et a ogni appetito, etiam diverso et contrario a quello che doverrebbe essere il mio, mi accomodo. Et benché mi paia essere entrato in gran travaglio, tamen io ci sento dentro tanta dolcezza, sì per quello che quello aspetto raro et suave mi arreca, sì eziam per havere posto da parte la memoria di tutti e mia affanni, che per cosa del mondo, possendomi liberare, non vorrei. Ho lasciato dunque i pensieri delle cose grandi et gravi; non mi diletta più leggere le cose antiche, né ragionare delle moderne; tutte si sono converse in ragionamenti dolci; di che ringrazio Venere et tutta Cipri. Pertanto se vi occorre da scrivere cosa alcuna della dama, scrivetelo, et dell’altre cose ragionerete con quelli che le stimono più, et le intendono meglio, perché io non ci ho mai trovato se non danno, et in queste sempre bene et piacere. Valete.
Ex Florentia, die III Augusti 1514.
Vostro Niccolò Machiavelli
http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/mac64_let_06.htm Edizione di riferimento Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971.

[11] Francesco Vettori a Niccolò Machiavelli
Roma, 16 gennaio 1515
Spectabili viro Nicholò Machiavelli in Firenze.
† A’ dì 16 di Gennaio 1515.
Caro compare. Io non ho lettere da nessuno che io legha più volentieri, che le vostre, e vorrei potere scrivere molte choxe, le quale conosco non potersi commettere alle lettere. E’ sono più mesi che io intexi benissimo in che modo amavi, e fui per dirvi: « Ah, Coridon, Coridon, quae te dementia cepit? ». Poi, pensando intra me medesimo che questo mondo non è altro che amore, o, per dir più chiaro, foia, mi ritenni; e sono ito considerando quanto li huomini in questo chaxo son dischosto chol chuore a quello dicono cholla bocha. Ha un padre il figluolo e dice volerlo nutrire honesto: non di meno gli chomincia a dare un maestro che tutto dì stia con lui et che habbi commodità farne a suo modo, e gli lascia leggere qualchoxa da fare risentire un morto. La madre lo pulisce, lo veste bene, acciò che piaccia più: quando chomincia crescere, gli dà una camera terrena, dove sia cammino e tutte le altre commodità, perché possa sguazare a modo suo, e menarvi e condurvi chi gli pare. E tutti facciamo choxì, et errano in questo, più quelli a’ quali pare essere ordinati: e però non è da maraviglarsi ch’e nostri giovani sieno tanti lascivi quanto sono, perché questo procede dalla pessima educatione. Et voi et io, anchor che siamo vechi, riteniamo in qualche parte e chostumi presi da giovani, et non c’è rimedio. Duolmi non essere chostì, perché potessimo parlare insieme di queste choxe et di molte altre.
Ma voi mi dite choxa che mi fa stare admirato: d’havere trovato tanta fede e tanta chompassione nella Riccia che, vi prometto, li ero per amor vostro partigiano, ma hora li son diventato stiavo, perché il più delle volte le femmine soglono amare la fortuna et non li huomini, et quando essa si muta mutarsi anchor loro. Di Donato non mi maraviglo perché è huomo di fede, e oltre a questo pruova del continuo il medesimo che voi.
Io vi scripsi che l’otio mi faceva innamorato et choxì vi raffermo, perché ho quasi faccenda nessuna. Non posso molto leggere, rispetto alla vista per l’età diminuita: non posso ire a solazo se non achompagnato, e questo non si può far sempre: non ò tanta auctorità né tante facultà che habbi a essere intratenuto; se mi ochupo in pensieri, li più mi arrechono melanchonia, la quale io fuggo assai; e di necessità bixogna ridursi a pensare a choxe piacevole, né so chosa che dilecti più a pensarvi e a farlo, che il fottere. E filosofi ogni huomo quanto e’ vuole, che questa è la pura verità, la quale molti intendono choxì ma pochi la dichano. Fo pensiero a primavera ridurmi a voi, se mi fia lecito, e parleremo insieme di questo et molte altre choxe. Racomandatemi a Filippo, Giovanni e Lorenzo Machiavelli e a Donato. Christo vi guardi.
Francesco Victori oratore in Roma

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.

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-machiavelli-homosexual

TORQUATO TASSO HOMOSEXUAL

The History of Italian Literature has for centuries presented Torquato Tasso as the incarnation of the scruples and obsessions of the Counter-Reformation, Giacomo Leopardi, who knew very well the work and the soul of Tasso, found in him a poetic affinity and I would say a very deep moral affinity. If you look for substantive affinities between Tasso and Leopardi and do not stop at the surface, you come to the conclusion that one of the stronger contact points, if not the strongest is represented by homosexuality. The “Liberated Jerusalem” is the poem of the impossible love; the final duel between Tancredi and Clorinda makes you think to the famous phrase: “everyone kills the one he loves” in Querelle de Brest of Fassbinder on Jean Genet’s novel.

Tasso’s official story is already complicated in itself, few characters have such a frantic life full of anxieties and upheavals. Tasso was a man of court, of course, the typical jar vase between iron vases, a man who suffered the violence of court life in all its forms, until the forcible hospitalization in St. Anna’s madhouse. Mind illness? Segregation for political reasons? Or something else? We will never know.

But besides the official story of Tasso there is a secret story that is good to know and in this secret story homosexuality has a fundamental role, but be careful not to assimilate the homosexuality of Tasso to the modern concept of homosexuality.

In order to understand Tasso’s homosexuality you have to enter the spirit of his time, in a counter-reformist environment where heterosexuality was already a taboo and homosexuality was violently repressed at least in public. At that time the expression “internalized homophobia” would have had a pregnancy that is now largely vanished. There was no talk about homosexuality except in a lesser tone with regard to classical literature. Understanding to be homosexual could be really traumatic and the idea of coming out in public was sometimes equivalent to suicide.

I intend to dwell here on a short period of Tasso’s life from May 1576 to January 1577. I remember that Tasso in 1576, to the usual feelings of frustration for his poor life to which he had been forced, although he was already a famous poet, had added another cause of concern: the idea of being spied.

Caused by the courtier Ercole Fucci, he had slapped him and Fucci had replied giving Tasso some stick shots. A servant had revealed to Tasso that in his absence Ascanio Giraldini, another courtier, had tried to force the door of his room to try to seize some Tasso’s manuscripts.

So Tasso wrote to Scipio Gonzaga:

“Now, Monsignor Luca, may even tell me that I’m too suspicious! I cannot help but tell you one of Brunello’s works. Each time I went out of the Ducal Palace, he asked me for the key of my rooms, telling me that he wanted to use it for love affairs, and I gave it to him, but locking the room where I kept the books and the writings. In that room there was a box in which, beyond my compositions, I kept most of the letters from your Lordship and from Monsignor Luca, and especially those containing some poetic advice [omissis] As I suspected something, I started hunting news, and in the end I came to know from a servant of my neighbor Luigi Montesucoli, that, while I was in Modena during Lent, he saw, when it was already night, that with Brunello also came into my rooms a smith. Then I went looking for that smith and found him, and he confessed that he had been to the Ducal Palace to open a room of which, who brought him there, said he lost the key. Your Lordship can infer the rest. This is one of Brunello’s frauds, but there are others, no less beautiful, and I think there are some more important, but I cannot prove it. It is my consolation that I destroyed all the letters from your Lordship and from Monsignor Luca, in which something was said freely, except those in which the details of the Sperone affair are concerned. For now I close here my letter and kiss with every affection hands to your most illustrious Lordship. Letter sent by Ferrara.”(1)

Monsignor (a term at that time also used for lay people) Luca, of whom Tasso speaks is Luca Scalabrino, a high-ranking cultural character of whom I was unable to find the exact date of birth but more or less coetaneous of Tasso. Scalabrino had fallen in love with Tasso and was kind enough to mention such a thing to the 21-year-old Horace Ariosto (descendant of the author of the “Orlando furioso”) who, in turn, had reported the news to Tasso himself, who at first reacted badly.

On May 9, 1576, Tasso writes to Scalabrino:

Luca Scalabrino. – Rome. 1576

“You are absolutely wrong and you cannot be disturbed by this. Writing to me is wrong in substance and form, but I only blame myself.

This is Just enough to answer a part of your letter, to which I will answer in more detail after having read not the Greek alphabet one time, but all the Psalms ten or twenty times [after careful evaluation]. Be sure, however, that I have always loved you and sincerely love you. I am not so crazy, that loving you as I love you, I cause your shame with my great ardor. I’m completely master of my secrets and I can, without offending anyone, reveal what I want and to whom I want. Of the secrets of others I speak only so much as it is pleasing to those who entrust them to my discretion. And if I have talked to your father about your disease, against your will, I have done it only because I’m worried about your health, of which I am determined not to worry more than you like; but, for the love I have for you, so that I am satisfied with you, never hiding any of my thoughts, please do not use with me any particular secrecy on some of your affections or projects that are well known to others, do not be angry with me, if anything, by accident, is reported to me, or at least, please, show your disdain jut to me without manifesting it to others, because you cannot do such a thing without showing that you love me just a little and consider me of little value. I said more than I wanted to say: forgive me, because the hand, driven by just pain, has gone beyond will.
But now let’s move on to another topic.
From Ferrara on the 9th of May.
Loving brother and servant the Tasso.”(2)

Scalabrino was afraid of the language of Tasso and sent to Ariosto a letter in which he accused him of having gossip with everyone, and in particular with Tasso well known for not being able to keep the tongue in place. Scalabrino already considered himself in very difficult situations but, shortly after, the fears were set aside and the dialogue between Tasso and Scalabrino became explicit.

To Luca Scalabrino, – Rome. 1576
“Your Lordship, with his last letter, asks me for forgiveness for not making me aware of his concupiscible love, and with the letters he has written before, has always shown me to believe that I was angry with him for the fact that he did not reveal to me his carnal desire, and gave me a very honest explanation of his secrecy and silence kept with me. I, who wanted to confirm the decision I made many years ago, that is, to consider Your Lordship not only as a dear and cordial friend, but as the dearest and closest of all friends, that is, as part of my soul, I no longer want to leave you in this mistake and in this deception: and if you don’t deceive yourself, but only want to show so, I don’t want to leave this possibility, nor can I endure that at least in my things and in what belongs to me, you don’t match my naivety, whether silly or philosophical. Know therefore that I did not despise you because Your Lordship had not shown me is love (because you had no obligation), but because you were driven to such an injury as to let Ariosto notify me the question. Not only did you get angry, but you wrote to Ariosto in a way that manifested that you had felt seriously offended by him. Then you wrote to me a letter full of contempt on which I add nothing. You had a good reason to think that Ariosto had revealed this secret to me, who don’t keep my secrets; but you certainly did not have any reason to say so openly with so bad words to him and me, against my reputation. The friend must hide the defects of his friend, and I, who consider myself the most polite man in the world, have never said anything that could displease you, either in this or any other occasion, except that I said of your infirmity to your father and to Monsignor Antenore, for the great concern of your health. And God testifies to me that I did not say anything about you, except for what I knew and believed it was according to your desires. But here I quit my complaint. I will remember only the many kindnesses and loving-kindness I have received from you, and of this banality I will not keep memory, but I will forgive the impetus of those letters and your nature, as I pray to forgive my nature the bitterness of some letters, in which, exhorting you to correct yourself, I used tones too harsh and vehement.

We are equal, as it is said, I begin now, and since the love and confidence I have for you have not diminished at all, I will carefully avoid to provoke your anger. I ask you forgiveness for my previous letters. You do not need to ask forgiveness to me as to a superior, because in nothing I’m superior and in many things I am after you. But if you want to do so, do it without hurting me in the act of giving me satisfaction, because the reason that you are asking me for forgiveness is not for the superiority of my person but for that of the cause; and I grant you my pardon, and you give it to me and let it over! … and stop talking about these things … I mean, I’m all yours.” (3)

These are probably the letters the courtiers were looking for in the rooms of Tasso!

In mid-December of 1576 the confidence between Tasso and Scalabrino is such that Tasso confesses to Scalabrino that he has fallen in love with the 21-year-old Horace Ariosto, whom Tasso simply calls the Lord omitting the name.

To Luca Scalabrino – Rome, Date December 14, 1576

“I saw the Lord’s letter, it’s very good, but what? I never doubted his wit, and now I am sure of this and wish him every success. But you admire in him the aptitude to eloquence, and I the disposition to be courtier, for he has learned more about this art within a few months in the schools, than I did in many years in the court.

In the end, I do not deceive myself, and speak for the sake of science, not by suspicion or by conjecture; you can believe what you like; but if you were here or were present at one or two of our reasonings, you would clarify in part your ideas; because he treats me so that he doesn’t care to leave me satisfied; for him it’s enough that I cannot be able to make the others understand that he offends me. I love him, and I love him for a few months, because love impressed in my soul an emotion too much strong, that cannot be removed in a few days, by an offense of any gravity; and I hope that time will medicate my soul for this loving infirmity, and will make it perfectly healthy.

Certainly I would not love him, because the more his wisdom is loving, and his way of doing towards everybody, the more his particular way of doing towards me seems hateful to me, this particular behavior has just begun, coming from I don’t know what affection, if not from emulation, or from the desire to satisfy others, what I believe most. I call this my love, and not benevolence because, in sum, it is love: I had not noticed it before, because I did not feel waking up within me any of those appetites that love uses to bring, even in bed where we were together. But now I clearly realize that I have been and I am not a friend, but a very honest lover, because I feel great pain, not only because he matches me little in love, but also because I cannot talk to him with the freedom, I was used to, and his absence is squeezing me gravely. In the night I never wake up that her image is not the first to come to my mind, and rethinking in my soul how much I have loved and honored him, and how much he has mocked and offended me, and what is most important to me (since it seems to me very resolute in his decision not to love me), I’m so afraid that two or three times I have cried bitterly, and if I’m saying the fake, God will not remember me. I would hope that if he was certain of my soul, he would have to love me, but how can he be certain of it, being certain of his thought, and judging ex aliorum ingenio (according to the reasoning of others)? And if you, to whom no affection of my soul was ever concealed, and that should have known so long how I can pretend, you doubt it, it is right that he who has less knowledge, doubts it. That’s enough about him.”(4)

Tasso and Scalabrino exchange letters on Horatio Ariosto even if the language is not always understandable because we don’t possess Scalabrino’s letters.

A Luca Scalabrino. – Rome.

“But keep your beliefs (if you believe what you write), that it is good for me to keep my certainty; in fact, I don’t like it, but it hurts me, that I would, if it were possible, don’t know so much inside as I know about this particular.

You, however judicious you are, will never be praised for that. That magnanimous courtesy, and that suffering of my overwhelming suspicion, real voices, sonorous and witty concepts, where are they born, and where do they come from? In response, I will just say that, in the future, I will be very careful to give myself in prey to a friend, so that it is not only difficult, but boring, to escape him. Now I approve what I said in other times inhuman, that you should love in such a way that it is easy to stop loving. The counsel you give me, I accept it as dictated by love, although it was first given to me by those who didn’t love me very much; when my bosses, who love me well, sought to create in me that confidence, of which my soul, at the beginning of this affliction, was completely full. I don’t know whether I will use it or not, but because men are not faithful, and I am poor in wealth and value, may God guard my innocence, and here is the end of these speeches. Be healthy.
Of Modena on January 6 [1577]”.(5)

This last letter is of January 1577. Tasso, disappointed with Ariosto, begins a turbulent relationship with the young courtier: Horace Orlando. Tasso fears that the thing may become of public domain and tries to appear heterosexual as far as it is possible. On June 17, being spied on by a servant, launches a knife against him.

Of course, many other elements of a personal nature such as stress for Jerusalem’s composition, the frustrations for the misunderstandings he faced, and the obsessive fear of being spied, besides possible reasons of religious, political and diplomatic nature, have influenced in a very complex way Tasso’s biography, but, of course, there is also homosexuality among the elements which have determined his life.
__________

(1) “Ora dica M. Luca ch’io son troppo sospettoso. Non posso tacer una delle prodezze di Brunello. Egli sempre, ch’io andava fuori mi dimandava la chiave delle mie stanze, mostrando di volersene servir in fatti d’amore, e io gliela concedeva, serrando però la camera dov’io tenea i libri e le scritture. Nella quale era una cassetta, in cui oltre le mie composizioni, io riserbava gran parte delle lettere di V.s. e di M. Luca, e quelle particolarmente, che contenevano alcuno avvertimento poetico [omissis] Con questo sospetto cominciai ad andar pescando, e intesi finalmente da un servitor del Conte Luigi Montesucoli mio vicino, che quando io era in questa Quaresima in Modana , vide entrare col Brunello, essendo già notte, un magnano [fabbro] nelle mie stanze. Tanto andai poi cercando. che trovai il magnano, il qual mi confessò d’essere stato in corte ad aprir una camera, della quale diceva il conduttor d’aver perduta la chiave. V.s. argomenti il resto, quella è una delle sue frodi, ma ce ne son molte altre, non men belle: e credo che ve ne siano alcune di molta maggiore importanza; ma io non me ne posso accertare. Mi consola che io stracciava tutte le lettere di V.s. e di M. Luca nelle quali era detta liberamente alcuna cosa, trattone quelle de i particolari dello Sperone. Altro non mi occorre per ora, se non che a V.s. Illustr. bacio con ogni affetto le mani. Di Ferrara.”

(2) A Luca Scalabrino. – Roma. 1576
“Avete il torto in mille modi; e sia detto con vostra pace. Scrivendo a me, peccate in materia ed in forma; ma io non ne incolpo se non me stesso. Tanto mi basta di rispondere ad una parte de la vostra lettera, a la quale risponderò più a lungo come avrò letto non una volta l’Alfabeto greco, ma dieci o venti volte i Salmi: frattanto siate sicuro che io v’ho sempre amato, e vi amo svisceratamente; non sono ancora tanto pazzo che, amandovi com’io fo , debba con tanto ardore procurare la vostra vergogna. De’ miei secreti sono signore, e posso senza offesa altrui, rivelarne quella parte che mi piace a chi voglio. De gli altrui, tanto ne dico quanto piace a chi li commette a la mia fede; e se io altre volte ho discoperto, contro vostra voglia, a vostro padre il vostro male, l’ho fatto per soverchio zelo de la vostra salute, de la quale son risoluto di non volere aver maggior cura di quella che voi vogliate che s’abbia: ma ben vuo’ pregarvi, per l’amore che vi porto, che se io rimango sodisfatto di voi, a cui nulla ascosi mai de i miei pensieri, che non usiate meco estraordinaria secretezza di alcuni vostri o affetti o disegni che a molti son palesi, né dobbiate poi sdegnarvi contra me se alcuna particella a caso, non la cercando io, me n’è riferita; o almeno sfogate meco tutto questo sdegno senza dimostrarlo altrui; che ciò non potete fare, che non diate insieme a divedere che poco m’amiate e nulla mi prezziate. Ho detto più di quello ch’io voleva: perdonatemi; che la mano, spronata da un giusto dolore, è trascorsa mal grado de la volontà.
Ora passiamo ad altra materia.
Di Ferrara, il IX di Maggio Amorevol Fratello e S. (servitore) Il Tasso”

(3) A Luca Scalabrino, – Roma. 1576
“Vostra Signoria per l’ultima sua mi dimanda perdono di non m’aver palesato il suo amor concupiscibile; e per l’altre sue, che prima m’ha scritto, ha sempre mostrato di credere ch’io sia sdegnato con esso lei, pereh’ella non m’abbia rivelato questo suo desiderio carnale, e rende assai onesta cagione de la sua segretezza e del silenzio usato meco. Io, che ho deliberato di confermar quella deliberazione ch’io feci molt’anni sono; cioè d’aver Vostra Signoria non solo per caro e cordiale amico, ma per lo più caro e per lo più intrinseco di tutti gli altri, ed in somma per parte de l’anima mia; non voglio più lungamente lasciarla in questo errore e in questo inganno: e se pur non s’inganna, ma vuol mostrar d’ingannarsi, non le voglio lasciar questo pretesto, né posso soffrire c’almeno ne le cose mie, e in quel c’appartiene a me, ella non corrisponda a la mia ingenuità, o sciocca o filosofica che sia. Sappia dunque, ch’io non mi sdegnai perché Vostra Signoria non mi scoprisse il suo amore (c’a a questo per nessuna ragione voi eravate obbligato); ma mi sdegnai perché voi vi recaste a cosi grande ingiuria che l’Ariosto me n’accennasse un non so che. Non solo vi sdegnaste, ma a lui scriveste in modo che ben si poteva comprendere che vi riputavate offeso da lui gravemente. A me poi scriveste una lettera piena di tanto disprezzo, che nulla più. Confesso c’avevate occasione di dolervi fra voi stesso, che l’Ariosto avesse palesato questo secreto a me, il quale so mal tacere i miei propri secreti; ma certo nissuna ragione voleva che, per cosa di si poca importanza, cosi apertamente fosser da voi dette parole cosi acerbe e a lui e a me medesmo contra la mia riputazione. L’amico deve ricoprire i difetti de l’amico; ed io, che sono il più loquace uomo del mondo, non ho mai detto cosa alcuna c’a voi possa spiacere, né in questa né in altra occasione; se non solo che palesai a vostro padre ed a m. Antenore la vostra infermità per soverchia gelosia de la vostra salute. E Dio mi sia testimonio, che di nissun altro vostro particolare ho io ragionato, se non in quel modo ch’io ho saputo, non che creduto c’a voi fosse caro. Ma sia qui il fine de le mie querele. Io mi ricorderò solamente le tante cortesie ed amorevolezze ch’io ho ricevuto da voi; e di questa baia non terrò memoria, ma perdonerò l’impeto di quelle lettere a la vostra natura; si come prego voi a perdonare a la mia l’acerbità d’alcune lettere, ne le quali, esortandovi al purgarvi, usava luoghi troppo aspri e veementi. Siam patti e pagati, come si dice: da ora inanzi io, non iscemando punto né de l’amore né de la confidenza che ho in voi, mi guarderò di provocar la vostra collera. Io vi dimando perdono de le lettere passate: a voi non occorre dimandarlo a me com’a superiore, peroché io in nessuna cosa vi sono superiore, e in molte vi cedo. E se pur volete usare questa creanza, usatela senza offendermi, mentre volete sodisfarmi: che non la superiorità de la persona, ma la superiorità de la causa mi fa meritevole che da voi mi sia chiesto perdono; ed io vel concedo, e voi concedetelo a me, e brindisi!… e più non si parli di queste co… In somma, io son tutto vostro.”

(4) A Luca Scalabrino – Roma Datata 14 dicembre 1576
“Ho veduta la lettera del Signore, bella certo, ma che? De l’ingegno suo io non dubitai mai, ed ora ne son certissimo e spero di lui ogni gran riuscita. Ma voi ammirate in lui l’attitudine a l’eloquenza, ed io la disposizione a l’esser cortigiano, perché ha più appreso di quest’arte in pochi mesi ne le scole, ch’io non ho fatto in molti anni ne la corte.
In somma io non m’inganno, e parlo per iscienza, non per sospetto, per congettura; voi credete quel che vi pare; ma se qui foste o vi trovaste presente ad uno o due de’ nostri ragionamenti, vi chiarireste in parte; perciocché egli tratta meco in modo, che non si cura di lasciarmi soddisfatto; gli basta solo ch’io non possa far constar ad altri ch’egli m’offenda. Io l’amo, e son per amarlo anco qualche mese, perché troppo gagliarda impressione fu quella, che l’amor fece ne l’animo mio, né si può in pochi dì rimovere, per offesa quanto si voglia grave; pure spero che il tempo medicherà l’animo mio di questa infermità amorosa, e ’l renderà intieramente sano.
Che certo io vorrei non amarlo, perché quanto è amabile l’ingegno suo, e la maniera in universale, tanto dee a me parer odioso un suo particolar procedere verso me, cominciato da poco in qua, e nato non so da qual affetto, se non forse da emulazione, da desiderio di soddisfare altrui, il che più credo. Chiamo questo mio amore, e non benevolenza perché, in somma, è amore: ne prima me n’era accorto e non me n’accorgeva, perché non sentiva destare in me nessuno di quegli appetiti che suol portare l’amore, anche nel letto, ove siamo stati insieme. Ma ora chiaramente mi avveggio ch’io sono stato e sono non amico, ma onestissimo amante, perché sento dolore grandissimo, non solo ch’egli poco mi corrisponde ne l’amore, ma anche di non poter parlar con esso lui con quella libertà, ch’io soleva, e la sua assenza m’affligge gravissimamente. La notte non mi sveglio mai che la sua immagine non sia la prima ad appresentarmisi, e rivolgendo per l’animo mio quanto io l’abbia amato ed onorato, e quanto egli abbia schernito ed offeso me, e, quel che più mi preme (parendomi troppo indurato ne la risoluzione di non amarmi), me n’afliggo tanto, che due o tre volte ho pianto amarissimamente, e s’io in ciò mento, Iddio non si ricordi di me. Spererei che se egli fosse certo de l’animo mio, sarebbe costretto ad amarmi, ma come ne può essere egli certo essendo consapevole del suo, e giudicando ex aliorum ingenio. E se voi, al qual nessuno affetto de l’animo mio fu mai celato, e che ’n tanti anni dovreste aver conosciuto quanto io sappia fingere, ne dubitate, ben è ragione ch’egli, che n’ha minor conoscenza, ne dubiti. Tanto basti intorno a lui.”

(5) A Luca Scalabrino. — Roma.
“Tenetevi pur voi la vostra credenza (se pur credete quel che scrivete) ch’a me giova d’attenermi a la mia certezza; anzi, non mi giova, ma mi noce, che vorrei, se fosse possibile, non saper tanto a dentro quanto io so di questo particolare.
Voi per giudizioso, non sarete giammai per questa ragione laudato. Quella magnanima cortesia, e quella pena del mio soverchio sospettare, voci in vero e concetti sonori ed arguti, ove nascono, ed onde vengono? Per risposta altro non dico, se non che per l’avvenire, mi guarderò molto di darmi così in preda ad alcuno amico, che mi sia poi non solo difficile, ma noioso, il ritormigli. Ora approvo quel detto che altre volte riputai inumano, ch’in guisa si debba amare, che sia facile il disamare. Il consiglio che mi date, accetto da voi come amorevole, se ben m’è stato prima dato da coloro che non molto m’amavano ; ove i padroni, che ben mi vogliono, cercavano di generar in me quella confidenza, de la quale l’animo mio, nel principio di questa briga, era in tutto pieno. Non so però s’io l’userò o no, ma perché ne gli uomini non è fede, ed io son povero di fortuna, e di valore, custodisca Iddio la mia innocenza, e qui sia fine a questi discorsi. State sano.
Di Modena il 6 di Gennaio [1577]”.

___________

If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post, open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/showthread.php?tid=125

ONLY SEVEN DAYS – gay novel

“There’s nothing here to decide . There’s everything to accept.”
James Baldwin

ONLY SEVEN DAYS
GAY NOVEL 2006
by gayproject

Dear friends, I ended today publishing my first short gay novel in English. It’s about an older man who meets by chance two young gay guys. It’s a love story; a story about how difficult could be for every one of them to accept what’s happening because everyone needs to get used to love.
I apologize for my bad English; I’m not a native English speaker.

CHAPTER 1

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? …“
“Mike…”
“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!”
“Good Night!”

CHAPTER 2

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?”
“Thanks…”
“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”
“That means?”
“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…”.
“Thanks”.
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!

CHAPTER 3

David handed me the mobile.
“Thanks… “.
“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!”
“That’s impossible…”
“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… “
“Now?”
“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!”
“Oh… great!”
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?”.
“Of course…”,
“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?” …
“What?”.
“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?”
“Of course…”,
“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!”.

CHAPTER 4

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?”
“Of course”
“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”
“Of course!”
“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.

CHAPTER 5

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?”
“Not exactly”
“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?”
“Yeah… “
“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?”
“Yes, right!”.
“Jason, you have to take for granted that gay or not we’ll be a family, we three… right?”
“Right Mike…”
“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”
“Of course”
“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”.

CHAPTER 6

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…”
“That is?”
“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…”
“Too bad…”
“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?”
“Certainly…”
“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?”
“Fine thanks…”
“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…”
“Oh… “
“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…”
“Go ahead…”
“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…

CHAPTER 7

… 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?”
“Yeah…”
“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…”
“What’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?
– 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…
– Mike…
– Yes…
– 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…

The end

____________

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