Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008 by Altimexis.
DISCLAIMER: The following story is a fictional account of two young teenage boys who fall in love. It contains references to gay sex, and anyone who is uncomfortable with this should obviously not be reading this story. All characters are fictional and any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. Although the story takes place in real locations and establishments, the author takes full responsibility for all events described and these are not in any way meant to reflect the activities of real individuals, nor actual corporate policies. The author retains full copyright of this story, and of stories based on these characters.
Please note that this story is the tenth in a series of short stories known collectively as Naptown Tales. The first, Broad Ripple Blues, was originally written for the Gay Authors Summer Anthology. Back to School Jitters was written in response to a back-to-school story challenge hosted at Codey’s World, and it builds on the main characters and events of the first story. The series of stories can be found on my GayAuthors Page and on the Naptown Tales Page at Awesome Dude. Slightly modified versions of these stories that are suitable for younger teens can also be found on the Altimexis Page at Codey’s World.
“Hey David!” I heard Paul Levine call out at lunch. Paul’s the president of the GSA at our school, and a pretty good friend, and David, the love of my life, is my boyfriend. My name’s Jeremy and, as a freshman, I don’t have many friends who are seniors - or really any friends who are seniors other than Paul and his boyfriend, Sam.
I was sitting at our usual table and had just started eating lunch with David. Also at our table were some of our best friends, most of whom are straight. The table was already full, so when Paul walked up carrying a lunch tray, we all scooted closer together and made room for him as he pulled up a chair from an adjacent table. Paul was alone, so I knew something was up. He rarely eats lunch without Sam.
“I’m gonna get right to the point,” Paul began as soon as he sat down. “You know, class elections are coming up sooner than you think, and if you’re interested in running, you need to start making plans.”
I’m sure David hadn’t really thought about it at all. He ran for Freshman Student Council at Paul’s urging, and was flabbergasted when he actually won. Never in our wildest dreams, however, did we expect he’d be nominated for treasurer, let alone to win that election as well. Being the Freshman Class Treasurer bore a lot of responsibility, but for the most part, I know he enjoyed the job. It really made his life hectic, however, balancing school activities with sports and being a class officer. We had both played soccer in the fall, were currently on the swim team, and planned to go out for cross-country.
“Unlike this last year, however,” Paul continued, “the class officers aren’t nominated and elected by the student council. Class officers have to run on their own merits and be elected directly by the class in a general election, that’ll be held this spring, right after the election of student council members. Now David, I assume you still want to run for student council?”
“Well, yeah,” David answered. “I’ve enjoyed being on the council. It makes me feel like I’m really making a difference in the school.”
“More than you know, bud,” Paul said. “Just by being there and being a class officer, you’ve had a dramatic effect in fostering tolerance for gays and in changing the attitudes of teachers and the school administration. The membership in the GSA from the freshman class is more than double what it was last year, and it’s all because of you.”
David blushed furiously when Paul said that. He looked so cute! “No way. I’m just an ordinary freshman who just happens to be a gay teenager.”
“Dude, you’re like the most popular boy in the freshman class! Just by being there on the council and as a class officer, you’re telling other kids that it’s OK to be gay. There have never been so many gay kids who are out in this school in its history. Hell, before you came, we hardly ever had openly gay kids in the freshman class and only a handful of freshmen got involved in the GSA. You and Jeremy have single-handedly changed all that.”
With that, I felt my own face blush. I couldn’t help it.
“So if I want to continue to be the class treasurer,” David asked Paul, “I need to run for the student council and for the office itself?”
“Running for the student council is optional, since class officers automatically attend all student council meetings, but if you don’t run for student council and lose your election for class office, you’ll lose your spot on the council,” Paul explained.
“But if I win the election for treasurer, won’t I be taking away a seat from someone else?”
“Not at all,” Paul reassured David. “When you vacate your seat, the next person in line by vote count will gain the seat, so you have nothing to lose by running for both.” Turning toward me, Paul said, “You ought to run for student council too, Jeremy. You’re very popular in your own way. . . . I think you’d be a shoo-in.”
“You’re kidding me, right?” I asked.
“Not at all. I think you’d make a great student council member, and it’d mean you’d get to spend more time with David,” Paul said as he wiggled his eyebrows.
“Well maybe,” I replied. “I’ll have to think about it.”
“What’s to think about?” David said. “You weaseled out of it last time by saying someone needed to run my campaign. . . .”
“That’s still true,” I pointed out.
“Yeah, but we both have lots of friends now. Tim, you’d help us run, wouldn’t you?” David asked as he turned to one of our friends at the table.”
“Shit yeah, I’d help. It’d be cool,” Tim said.
“So there’s nothing keeping you from running, is there?” Dave asked as he turned back toward me.
“No, I guess, not,” I said. “It’s just that . . .”
“Oh, I get it,” David said. “Babe, you’re popular. I know you’ve spent most of your life alone, but just because you live in a humongous mansion and your parents are never around doesn’t mean other kids don’t like and respect you. And it’s not just because you’re my boyfriend, either. You’ve got lots of friends who like you just cause you’re you. You’re a really sweet, cool dude. Why not run? The worst that can happen is you’ll be in the same boat you are now, so you really have nothing to lose.”
“Yeah, Jeremy, it’d be cool to have you on the student council,” Tim chimed in.
“Sure Jer, we all love you, you know,” added Laura Mathews, a girl who often sat at our table.
“But what about last-year’s gym incident?” I asked. “Do you think my opponents might make it an issue and drag me through the mud over it?”
“What gym incident?” Paul asked.
Then I explained what had happened nearly a year ago, while I was still in middle school.
“So that’s what the infamous ‘gym incident’ was all about,” Lance Cohen, another boy at our table, said with a bit of a laugh. “I guess shit happens.”
“It was huge news at our middle school,” Barry Smith, another good friend, added. “Man, all the kids tormented poor Jeremy over it for the rest of the year.” He then looked down and continued, “Sorry, Jer . . . I was one of the worst.”
“That’s all water under the bridge, Bare,” I reassured him. “Besides, we all know what you were going through at home, and you’ve more than made up for it since your brother came out. You know I count you as one of my best friends, don’t you?”
“I really appreciate that, Jer,” he replied.
“Well, all I can say is, what a way to come out, but I don’t think it will affect your campaign,” Paul said.
“Paul, it honestly was an accident,” I pointed out. “It had nothing to do with my being gay, but no one will believe me.”
“Yeah, but the rumors it generated about you being gay played a big part in our being together now,” David chimed in.
“I know, and because of that, it was all worth while,” I said as I pulled David toward me and gave him a quick peck on the lips.
“You may want to tone it down a bit,” Paul mentioned. I think he could tell I was getting my back up, as he continued, “I’m not saying you and Dave can’t be affectionate with each other, but try not to do it so publicly, especially as we get closer to the election. It’s not as if everyone doesn’t already know you’re gay . . . Hell, you guys are the most ‘out’ couple in the school . . . but we don’t want to rub people’s faces in it, either. You’re being gay will be enough of a campaign issue as it is and we don’t want to give the homophobes anything they can exploit.”
“Then maybe I shouldn’t run,” I suggested.
“Jer, David’s going to run, regardless of whether you run or not. Whatever the homophobes do to him, they’ll be doin’ to you as well.” Paul then turned to David and continued, “I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer from you.” Turning back to me, he said, “I really think you’d make a good student council member. You’re very active in school activities, you’re a top student, and you’re a jock. What’s not to like about you?”
“Now wait a minute. . . . Calling me a ‘jock’ is pushing it.”
“Don’t be so modest, Jer,” my boyfriend said. “I was third string on the soccer team, but you were a starting player. You’re also one of the best swimmers the school has.” I could feel myself blushing. “You may not fit the typical image of a jock, but you’re definitely an athlete.”
“David’s right,” Paul said. “You’re well known and popular. Your running for student council could indirectly help boost David’s chances in his election for class office, so whatdaya say?”
“OK, I’ll run.” I said reluctantly.
“That’s the spirit!” Paul exclaimed.
“But in my case, I guess I need to start planning my election to the council, and my election as class treasurer. Right?” my boyfriend asked.
“Not exactly,” Paul said. “The election for the student council is pretty much a done deal for you. All you have to do is to get your signatures and apply. As popular as you are, there’s no risk of you losing unless you do something really stupid between now and the election. Running for class office, however, is a different matter, and in your case, it could get ugly.”
“What do you mean?” David asked.
“Dave, as far as the school has come, there are still a lot of homophobic kids in this school who would love nothing more than to see you discredited. This is the Midwest, after all. Members of the student council tend to be more liberal than the student body overall, and your being gay was never an issue when you ran for office. This time will be different. If you run for office, you can expect to be challenged and you can expect your sexual orientation to become a campaign issue, no matter how much you try to focus on the real issues in the campaign.”
“But why would anyone care about the class treasurer being gay?” I had to ask.
“Believe me, there are people who will make it an issue,” Paul answered, “but I’d like you to think about running for class president,” Paul said, turning back to my boyfriend.
“Class president! You’re kidding, right?” Dave asked.
“Did you and Jeremy practice your lines together?” Paul responded.
“You seriously want me to run for class president? What about Snyder?” David asked.
“Kevin Snyder’s a good guy,” Paul answered, “but he hasn’t really done anything. You, on the other hand, introduced some truly innovated fundraising strategies. I had no idea that family members were eligible for academic pricing on software. The freshman class software sale was an enormous success. The freshman class already has more money in the bank than the sophomore or junior classes, and it’s all because of you.
“The person who wins this election stands a very good chance of being the senior class president for the class of 2011. Although your skills as treasurer have been invaluable, your natural leadership abilities, your spirit of innovation, your charisma and your drive could be put to much better use with you as class president.”
“Wow!” my boyfriend said in response. “I’m going to have to think about that.”
“I understand,” Paul said, “but don’t take too much time. A lot of planning will have to go into your campaign, particularly if you do run for president. We need to start laying the groundwork as soon as possible if you decide to go ahead with it.”
“Could I have until next week to decide?” David asked.
“Next week would be great,” Paul answered.
It was nearly the end of our lunch break, and we’d all hardly touch our food, so we scarfed down what we could before the bell rang.
As we walked to class, I said, “You really should do it, Dave. I think you’d make a terrific class president.”
“But it would mean less time with you,” he countered.
“Not necessarily. If I win election to the student council and get on the right committees, we could end up spending more time together.”
“But what if my being gay becomes a big issue, as Paul thinks it might? It might actually make it harder for gay kids.”
“Babe,” I said, “If you win, you’ll be an outstanding role model for other gay kids. Hell, you already are . . . and actually, now that I think of it, you’re a great role model for a lot of the straight kids too.” I stopped and turned directly to face David. “You’re gonna win. I can feel it. Think seriously about it, OK?”
“OK, that much I promise,” David agreed, and then we split and went our separate ways to our respective classes.
In spite of his promise, David pretty much put off discussing it the rest of the week. Oh, he did a good job of pretending to consider it whenever we were together, but he always managed to change the subject. However, there was no getting away from me on the weekend.
Our parents insisted we spend our school nights at home in our own beds, but the weekends were ours to spend together, and this weekend was no exception. More often than not, David would spend the weekend with me at my house, just because I had more space and there was more to do, and my parents weren’t around all that much. At his house, not only were his parents usually there, but his brother was often underfoot. Not that his brother wasn’t OK, but he always wanted to do stuff with us, making it hard for us to be alone.
At my house, I had the latest iMac and a whole bunch of video games and a whole game room and a heated pool and, in warmer weather, a boat to take out on the lake, not to mention being a short walk from Broad Ripple. We met in Broad Ripple, which is a funky city neighborhood that has a lot of nice shops and restaurants, and it’s popular with teens . . . and with other gay boys . . . and did I mention that we got to spend a lot of time together alone? Yeah, David spent a lot of weekends ‘studying’ at my place.
That Friday, David headed home from school on the bus with me. He already had his own clothes and toiletries at my house, so there was no need to pack anything. Neither of my parents were home when we arrived - my mom is a prominent physician at the Medical Center and my dad is a prominent businessman, and they both work all hours - so we ordered a pizza to feed our starving teenage stomachs.
It was so funny . . . David’s pretty strict about being a vegetarian. He’ll eat seafood, but meat is strictly off limits as far as he’s concerned. So when I placed the order, I started to order a ‘meat lover’s special. He yanked the phone out of my hand sooo fast . . . I was doubled up on the floor, laughing my head off. The poor guy has no sense of humor.
While waiting for our pizza, we went down to the game room and played a round of DDR. Now David will tell you I’m the real athlete and it’s true that I was first string on freshman soccer, and I made first in the regional swimming championships, but David whips me every time in DDR. I don’t get it - he doesn’t even have a setup at home and he swears he doesn’t practice at the mall and he seems to think he’s a klutz, but he really screams when it comes to this game.
And there’s something else. When we get going, we strip down and put on briefs. It’s a lot more comfortable that way. But it’s so hard - literally hard - to play when David’s cute butt is so close . . . so tantalizingly close . . . when I’m dancing. I just want to reach out and grab it rather than pay attention to the flashing lights. Yeah, it’s pretty distracting playing DDR with my boyfriend.
Anyway, when the pizza arrived, we just threw on some boardies and scarfed it down. After we finished eating, we cleaned up and headed up to my room, where we took a shower together. I love showering with David. It’s so much more fun than showering alone. We paid a lot of attention to getting each other clean in all those special spots.
After drying each other off, I lit some scented candles and we snuggled together under the covers and rented Balls of Fury in high-def, which we watched on my plasma TV using my new Apple TV setup. The movie was so funny, but the best part was snuggling up with my sexy boyfriend and enjoying all the great laughs together.
After the movie was over, David made love to me. He’s such a passionate lover. When we first met, he seemed so timid and shy, but he’s totally over that now. When David is with me, I feel complete - it’s as if this is the way we are meant to be. Oh, how I loved this boy!
“I don’t know how you do it, but it just keeps getting better and better,” my lover said to me and he kissed my lower lip and chin.
“How I do it? You mean how you do it,” I replied with a contented sigh. “David, you are beyond any doubt, the most gentle lover that ever lived. I just love you so much. We were made for each other.”
“On that I couldn’t agree more, Jer,” he said. “It was fate that put us together on that hot July day. It was fate that made the heavens open up overhead and forced us to run for safety back to your house. I’ll never forget that day so long as I live.”
“We’ve come a long way since then,” I interjected, making a seamless transition to the subject David had been avoiding most of the week.
“When I met you, you were so shy and withdrawn,” I continued, “Now, you’re the most popular boy in the freshman class.”
David started to lift his whole body up as if to protest, but I immediately raised my hands to silence him.
“Now wait a minute, Dave. You know it’s true. OK, maybe you’re only one of the most popular boys, but you’re the epitome of what it is to be gay and cool.”
“So are you,” my boyfriend said right back at me. “You’re not just cool, but you’re a much better athlete than I am. I bet you’ll go all the way to the state swimming championships this year. You’re a jock. And you’re way cuter than me.”
“Than I,” I said, unable to resist correcting him.
“Fuck you.” David said as he leaned back over and kissed me.
“You just did,” I replied as I reached up and pulled him back down on top of me, and then kissed him again. Our kissing turned into a full-fledged make-out session and before long, we were making love again.
Once we settled down after our second round, I said, “You don’t play fair. Here I am, trying to be serious, and all you can think about is making love.”
“And you’re complaining?” my boyfriend asked me.
“Never, sweetheart, but for what it’s worth, I think you’d make a fantastic . . .” I said as I planted a kiss on his lips, “. . . class . . .” I said planting another kiss, “. . . president.” I then sealed my statement with an impassioned kiss.
“You’re biased,” he replied with a kiss of his own, “but I’m OK with the sentiment,” he concluded with a final, sensational kiss.”
“So you’ll do it?” I asked with a hopeful, but demanding look in my eyes. “You’ll run for class president?”
“With you, and Paul, and so many others believing in me and urging me to run, and against my better judgment . . .”
“Yes!” I shouted as I heaved my startled my boyfriend straight into the air above me.
After cleaning up, we stayed up late planning his campaign. I was just too stoked about David’s running for president to think about sex after that. Not that we didn’t play around some more over the weekend, but there was just so much that needed to be done, and even though there would be others helping out in getting the necessary signatures to get him on the ballot, and in getting the word out, and raising a little cash and so on, I wasn’t about to sit on the sidelines. It might only be February, but before we knew it, elections would be upon us and if we didn’t get a jump on it now, it’d be too late.
The next two weeks flew by and before long, the preparations for both our campaigns were well underway. I knew that Dave was popular, but I was surprised that so many kids wanted to help get me elected, too. I’d always figured my popularity came from my association with David, but because of the gay issue, Paul felt it best that we keep our campaigns completely separate. I probably wouldn’t have even started if I’d realized I’d be going it alone, but there were plenty of friends who stepped up to the plate and volunteered to help. It made me feel good inside that they wanted to help me because I was me and not because I was David’s boyfriend.
And then one day, Kevin Snyder came up to us while we were eating lunch. In retrospect, it had probably been inevitable and it could have probably been handled better with some advance notice. In any case, Kevin approached us, or more correctly, he approached Dave, and said, “So Reynolds, I hear you’re after my job.”
It was weird, but all conversation at our table stopped. Maybe it was my imagination, but I could have sworn that all conversation in the cafeteria stopped, too, but at minimum, conversation stopped at the adjacent tables.
At first, Dave didn’t say anything, but then, being the politician he is, he said, “It’s not that I’m after your job, Kevin. Honestly, I think you’re doing a great job. Like me, you came into the school from middle school, not knowing how things worked here at all, not knowing two-thirds of the kids, and you took a chance on running for student council. It was a very brave thing to do.
“For what ever reason, you were nominated to be the class president, just like I was nominated to be the class treasurer. It must’ve seemed strange, since again, most of the kids on the student council didn’t even know you, and somehow you had to convince a lot of them that you were the right man for the job . . . and you did!
“Kevin, in the short time you’ve been on the job, you’ve done a lot. No one’s saying you haven’t. I think all of the class officers have done all they can to make this a great year, even as we’ve been figuring out how things work.
“The thing is that a lot of people have approached me and asked me to run for class president for next year. They like what I’ve done as class treasurer . . . the things I’ve done to raise money . . . and they think I could do a lot more as president. I guess they have faith in my abilities . . . not that they don’t in yours . . . and I guess I think I could do a good job, too. This being a democracy, it’s up to the class to decide.
“Kevin, I hope we can be friendly adversaries in this. Whichever of us wins the election, the other will still have to work with him, or with someone else if they win the election. Can we shake on this?” And then David extended his hand, catching the current class president off-guard with his friendly gesture. Snyder could do little else but to shake Dave’s hand and wish him good luck as the whole table and those all around us broke into applause. My boyfriend, the candidate . . .
If only the real campaign could have been this simple. Of course, there were others who decided to run and in the end, a total of five candidates gathered the necessary number of signatures by the March 15 deadline to get their names on the ballot. This being an election year, the election itself would be held the beginning of May in order to coincide with the week of the state’s presidential primary.
We were each allowed to raise $500 toward campaign, but we were not under any circumstances allowed to spend any additional funds, under threat of expulsion, not just from the election, but also from school if done with malicious intent. Overall, that was probably a good idea. I could have easily raised several times that amount for David, but it wouldn’t have been fair. The bottom line is that the students needed to elect someone based on their abilities and ideas - not based on how glitzy their campaign posters were.
The week before the election, the freshman class would hold a convocation, during which the candidates for each office except president would have five minutes to give a short speech. The candidates for president would have ten minutes to explain why they thought they would be the best candidate for the job.
If nothing else, David knew how to speak. Given the chance to state his case, Dave would blow the freshman class away.
By the beginning of April, two of the candidates for president had dropped out, leaving only three in the running - David, Kevin Snyder, and a girl named Karen Henderson. Karen was a Christian with a capital “C”. She was the secretary of the Bible Club and a member of the First Baptist Church - a church that had actively participated with Hope Evangelical in trying to get the GSA disbanded. It was all too clear where her candidacy had come from, and that was what made it particularly scary.
What we feared most in having David run was going to happen. The gay issue was going to be made front and center, and everything else would be lost in the noise. There was probably little danger that Karen would win the election, but with the gay issue out in front, most kids would probably retreat to the safest candidate and stick with Kevin. Poor Dave - he wouldn’t even be the class treasurer any more. He didn’t deserve this.
“Don’t worry about it, Jer,” he said to me one evening after we’d just made love. If they want to make an issue out of who I love, that’s their business. If the Class of ’11 wants to buy into that rhetoric, that’s sad, but it’s their prerogative. They can choose whomever they want. I’m not going to let that bother me.
“In the end, all that matters is this,” he said as he leaned down and kissed me on the lips, “and this,” he said as he kissed my left nipple, “and this,” he said as he ducked his head under the covers and kissed my navel. Surfacing back from under the covers, he continued, “the only thing, that matters, Jeremy, is that we have each other.” And with that, we engaged in a loving, tender, passionate kiss that lasted well beyond when I thought I’d be left gasping for air.
As our posters started going up, the “Christian” influence in Karen’s campaign was particularly evident. Whereas David stuck to the issues, such as student parking, quality of cafeteria food, the proposed cell phone ban and off-campus privileges, Karen’s message was bold and sweeping - a return to “traditional values”. Nothing else need be said.
But then things got interesting. Whether it was deliberately leaked or the press simply got wind of it might never be known, but in early April, the Star called and asked to do an interview with David and me about his campaign for class president. I guess they wanted to interview me, too, because I was his boyfriend. We asked, and they confirmed they were also interviewing Karen Henderson and Kevin Snyder, and that the story was all about David’s being gay and his major opponent being anti-gay. Hey, it was news, after all.
The interview took place on a Thursday evening at David’s house. My place might have been more photogenic, but David was the candidate, after all. This would be our second interview together for the newspaper - the first had been in January for an article on the city’s gay teens. I had to admit - although I didn’t like my typical “California surfer” looks, David and I looked good together - we really did make a cute couple, and the picture of us in the paper was great.
We made page one and, overall, I thought the article was fair and well-balanced. For the most part, it didn’t sensationalize the situation - it simply stated the obvious - that my boyfriend, who was very popular, and gay, and out, was running for sophomore class president, and that his chief rival was a fundamentalist Christian whose platform was essentially that she wasn’t gay. The article even touched on Kevin’s being caught in the middle, trying to just be an ordinary candidate, but who thought Dave was a hell of a nice guy who shouldn’t be disqualified for being gay.
Everything would have been fine if that had been the end of it, but of course, the rest of the media had to pick up on the story, and then things really turned into a media circus and then a media frenzy. Before we knew what was happening, there were picketers in front of our high school demanding that my boyfriend be taken off the ballot, and counter protesters across the street marching on his behalf, and police carefully trying to manage the illegal demonstrations without inciting a riot, and of course the media were there, uploading live reports of the whole thing by satellite. The whole thing even made the national news.
With all the protesters out front and the news media with their reporters standing in front of the cameras, sending back live reports from the scene, David grabbed me and walked right up to one and asked if they would like to interview him. He whipped out his cell phone and arranged for his mom to fax a release right on the spot. Before long, David had several cameras and microphones all lined up and trained on him. It was a freakin’ news conference!
After some casual banter and some questions back and forth, David asked if he could make a statement. Now I knew he hadn’t prepared anything, so this had to be extemporaneous on his part, but that was truly Dave’s strength. No one could speak off the cuff better than David could. I leaned back and prepared to be impressed, but even I was blown away.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, thanks for taking the time to listen to what I have to say. I’m David Reynolds, and I’m a freshman at this high school. These people are here protesting my candidacy for president of next year’s sophomore class president. They are protesting, because I am gay.
“Now a lot of people in the news media have been treating this as if it is a major first . . . the first time a gay teen has run for sophomore class president. That is only partially true. A lot of people may not realize yet that they are gay when they are about to turn fifteen, but I can guarantee you that if my fellow students honor me with the position as their class president, that I will not be the first who has been gay, and I certainly will not be the last.
“I am very fortunate . . . I am indeed blessed . . . to have realized at an early age that Christ intends me to walk a different path from those he has put on this earth to procreate, and I am fortunate to have found someone to love. One of my opponents, and these protestors marching in front of this building today would have you believe that that is what this election is all about, and that that is all that will determine my fitness to serve as class president. It will indeed be very sad if that is the only message that gets across to my fellow students in the election.
“The reality is that whom I love has nothing to do with what I will do as sophomore class president next year. What matters is what I can do to make life better for my fellow students, and to handle those situations that will impact their daily lives.
“Most of us will turn sixteen at some point during the coming year, and many of us will want to drive to school, yet there is insufficient space for sophomores to park on campus. The school board lacks a coherent plan for dealing with student parking and their only answer is to prohibit sophomores from parking. The surrounding neighborhoods have implemented their own parking restrictions to keep us from parking there. Some students have resorted to using mall parking lots and walking, in some cases nearly leading to tragedy. We need a more coherent plan.
“The next issue is a proposed cell phone ban. The school already has an expensive cell phone scrambler system in place to prevent cheating on tests, but some teachers have complained that the scramblers have prevented them from getting emergency calls from their family members, so they want to ban all student cell phones. That would leave us without a means of emergency contact after school. Unless the school can provide a safe and secure way to lock up our cell phones during school hours, we don’t see a cell phone ban as being reasonable. Besides, if our parents can call the school to reach us in an emergency, the same holds true of our teachers.
“Finally, there is the issue of what goes into the collective student stomach, which all too often consists of junk. Well, I hate to admit it, but that’s what we as teenagers generally like to eat. Hey, I’m the first to admit it . . . I love pizza, but as a vegetarian, at least I can lay claim to a higher ground on the issue. Our cafeteria serves what some might call food . . . it probably does meet the basic nutritional needs of a termite and I’m sure the contracts awarded are making someone happy. We have an on-again, off-again love affair with vending machines and a merit-based system of letting students eat off-campus if they do well academically. In other words, excel, so you can rebel. I’m not saying I have a solution, but I think that unless students are made a part of it, there never will be one.
“Now I know this has been long, but if you’ve been listening carefully, for the past ten minutes or so, you haven’t once heard me say one word about me being gay, and that ladies and gentlemen, is the true meaning of this election. I challenge my opponents to speak as long as I have on these issues or any issues of their choosing without bringing up my sexuality. If they can’t, then their campaign is hollow.
After my boyfriend had finished speaking, it was quiet a while before any of the reporters began speaking. I think they were all awed by what he’d said. How could they not be? Obviously, they never in their wildest dreams expected a nearly fifteen-year-old boy to speak with such intelligence and eloquence. Finally, they started to ask him questions. They even asked me a few questions, too, and I ended up having to call my dad to get him to fax a release as well.
We were all over the news that night - both local and national. I couldn’t believe how much time they devoted to the story. Dave really looked good. Seeing him on TV, I couldn’t help but notice just how much he’d matured since we’d become boyfriends last summer. He was approaching six feet now, had filled out nicely and his voice had deepened. It was no wonder he was so popular - he was a stand-out. No doubt about it - he’d go far.
My fifteenth birthday was on April fourteenth, so we celebrated it a day early, on the thirteenth, which was a Sunday. My parents surprised me by being home! They threw a huge party at our house and invited all my friends from school - it was all David’s doing, of course, and I loved him to pieces for it, but the best gift of all was that my parents were there for it. A year ago I’d been exposed by the infamous ‘gym incident’ at school - I was essentially out, I was alone, I had no friends, I lived by myself in a prison of a mansion with parents who were never around, and I faced the prospect of another dreary summer of much of the same. Little did I know that David was about to come into my life.
Here it was just a year later, and I had a boyfriend, and not just any boyfriend, but one who was popular and running for class president, and I had dozens of close friends who were real friends who would give me the shirts off their backs if I needed them to, and my parents were taking time off to celebrate my fifteenth birthday with me. It brought tears to my eyes . . . literally.
When it came time for the traditional gift giving, my friends gave me cards with certificates inside for charities they’d given donations to in my name. The certificates didn’t list the amount given - only the names of the organizations, so that no one would feel obligated to give more than they could afford. I was moved to tears yet again. It was perfect - after all, I already had everything I needed or wanted - this was the perfect birthday present for the boy who already had everything.
Of course the favorite part of my birthday came after all the guests had left and it was just me and David. Oh, yeah, we had our own celebration, and we sure knew how to celebrate, and celebrate we did, well into the night.
Unfortunately, the circus in front of our school didn’t lessen any in the ensuing weeks, and the media frenzy only abated as the Pennsylvania primary approached and the focus shifted to the intense race between Clinton and Obama. Win or lose, David and I were going to be glad to have the whole thing over with and be able to get back to life without having so much attention focused on us. And with summer coming up, we were definitely looking forward to having the whole summer to spend together.
Finally, the day of the Freshman Convocation arrived and David had a chance to make his case directly to the student body. He spoke first, and basically made the same speech he’d made to the news media, but his delivery was much funnier and he had the students practically rolling in the aisles, particularly when he said the cafeteria food met the nutritional needs of a termite.
Karen Henderson spoke next, and her speech made me nauseous. She espoused tradition, bordering on hate, pure and simple. She told the Class of 2011 that it was high time our school got back to the values of our parents, and that as our class president, she would insure that our student council upheld the highest moral and ethical standards. Worse still, she made it clear that each and every school club would be required to have bylaws that upheld these same standards and those that didn’t would be dissolved. It was pretty clear which club she was targeting with that move.
Last to speak was Kevin Snyder, the current president. Poor Kevin - he’s a nice guy and his sole credentials were that he’s a nice guy. He spoke about his accomplishments over the course of the past year and pretty much kept to the moral high ground, as had David, but he just didn’t have any vision for the future, and that was glaringly evident when his speech was compared to my boyfriend’s.
The vote wasn’t even close. It was a landslide, with David picking up 53%, compared to Kevin’s 31% and Karen’s 16%. David had a mandate. The protestors were gone the next day. Apparently they realized the Class of 2011 was a lost cause.
David’s Birthday was May 6, and you can imagine the party we had that weekend. Of course, we had it at my house, and I invited all our friends, but we ended up with practically the whole freshman class, or so it seemed. OK that was an exaggeration, since there are nearly a thousand kids in the freshman class, but there had to be at least a few hundred kids crammed on our property and onto the grassy area on the river side of the street across the way.
It was still a little chilly, but that didn’t stop us from taking the boat out on the lake. It was a little hard keeping track of that many kids and when we spotted some kids with beer, I shut off the music and David, bless his heart, made it clear that this was his party and it was alcohol, tobacco and drug-free. Now that’s leadership by example.
The party wound down around midnight, leaving us with a terrible mess that we’d have to clean up the next morning. But the clean-up could wait until morning. David and I retired to my bedroom. We took a quick shower together, not wanting to waste any time, and then we slipped under the covers and snuggled up against each other. What started as a few pecks on the lips, our noses, necks and ears became more and more passionate making out.
Soon, David and I were tightly embracing as we kissed each other deeply and explored our necks and torsos with our lips and tongues. Here we were, two fifteen-year-old boys who were so much in love. We’d both been through a lot in our young lives. I’d been through the trauma of being outed while only thirteen and suffering the isolation that comes from the cruelty of kids at that age, and from parents too busy to understand.
David had also experienced his own isolation, but of his own making. Once gregarious and popular, he’d also managed to withdraw into himself when he, too, had realized he was gay. It was a wonderful set of happenstance that brought us together, broke down the walls we’d built and isolated us from the world, and then restored our popularity.
Now David was the class president! And even I was on the sophomore student council. In less than a year, we’d come so far, and done so much, and I knew that even beyond these accomplishments, we’d done so much to advance the cause of gay kids at our school. David was the epitome of being gay and cool at our high school. Hell, if I had to admit it, I was, too. If I was going to be honest, it was largely thanks to us that it was easier than ever for other kids to come out.
We fell asleep in each other’s arms, waiting to start our summer together, and wondering what the new school year would bring.