There were times I thought I would die from the pain of it and times I often hated myself because of the pain it caused for those I loved.
But if I had the chance to go back, to do it over again, would I still have done the same? Yes. Hell, yes.
San Antonio, Texas, 2001
I STARED through the slats of the tree house roof at the porch light shimmering on the leaves. The weathered boards were warm and rough on the soles of my bare feet, and the musty smell of the worn wood soothed me, turned me on.
The little wood sanctuary had hosted some of the best memories of my life. In this secret clubhouse, my buddies and I stashed comic books and Playboy magazines. We sneaked cigarettes, turning our little haven into a sort of juvenile male-only nightclub.
It was here I discovered I didn’t go for the chicas in the nudie magazines but instead lusted for the cocks and tight asses of chulos. One hot summer night a million years ago, on the floor of this little dilapidated tree house—crickets going wild in the dark and lightning bugs glittering in the shadows of the trees—I made out with a boy for the first time.
That boy was Jorge Villagomez.
Thin, pale Jorge, who always seemed to be in frail health. Constantly missing school, in and out of the hospital, never having to participate in gym. The boy who carried a little plastic container filled with his medications in his backpack. Although he never spoke of it, not even to me, the undisputed word—from a kid named Julie something-or-other who knew everything—was that Jorge had a heart condition.
Beautiful, ungodly beautiful Jorge. Somehow his fragility made him all the more divine. Unbearably delicate skin complemented with the shiniest, blackest hair I’d ever seen. But it was his eyes that riveted me. Clear, mystical, startling silvery gray. And in the middle of all those ravishing features was the cutest gap-toothed smile. That tiny flaw lent Jorge a smidgen of ordinariness. It almost made him approachable.
Rich, spoiled Jorge. Hell, even his name dripped with privilege. Jorge Villagomez. His parents—of noble Spanish heritage—were San Antonio society, steeped in culture and money.
Fiery, icy, bossy, bitchy, girly, sweet, adorable Jorge. Sickly as he was, feminine as he was, nobody but nobody ever made fun of him. He never endured the bullying most of the weaker kids did. Something in Jorge defied the teasing. His very spirit double-dog dared anyone to make fun of him.
What that exquisite creature saw in me, I hadn’t a clue. I figured he got some rich boy’s thrill hanging out in my not-so-affluent neighborhood.
But then I figured if a guy like me was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of Jorge’s libido, I shouldn’t ask questions. I’d just smile and roll around in the sexual glow.
If I lived a hundred years, I’d never forget the day he sashayed into my life.
1989—Mercario R. Fuentes Middle School
TODAY he’d planted his scrawny body just a few feet away from me on one of the wooden benches in the playground.
Afraid to try more than a covert sideways gaze, I studied him as best I could.
This Jorge kid. A sissy, I thought. Not because of his too-dressy-for-this-school yellow polo shirt tucked into the painfully skinny waist of his neatly pressed khaki pants. Because of his prim, tea-party posture—knees clenched tight and the toes of his shiny loafers pressed together. The way he picked off bits of his food and put them daintily to his lips and shifted his hips all fussy-like while he chewed.
Pretty jet-black hair, all slicked back from his thin face. And that face. A girl’s softness, such white skin.
In spite of his prissiness, or maybe because of it, I felt a weird stirring in my belly at the sight of Jorge Villagomez. I hadn’t a clue at the time what that sensation was. But it bothered me, confused me.
On those closely clamped knees rested his lunch, neatly compartmentalized in little plastic containers. A sandwich—cheese with lettuce, it looked like—apple wedges, and carrot sticks. White milk from the cafeteria.
I glanced at my own lunch and felt awfully… fat… next to Jorge. There was my burrito staring back at me. Embarrassed at my huge, kind of ugly lunch for the first time in my kid life, I mimicked Jorge and primly plucked a piece of the tortilla shell and nibbled it.
“El Gordo!” From a bench opposite us, Shirley Setzer hollered.
I was used to her taunts about my weight. Usually I let it roll off my back, pretended not to hear her and her little gaggle of girlfriends’ jabs. Today, though, with the delicate, perfect Jorge beside me, I was humiliated by my bigness. To be made fun of in front of him seemed different, somehow more painful. Maybe even then I’d felt some lovely attraction to him, some powerful, unrealized desire for him to like me.
At Shirley’s jeer, Jorge glanced up from his lunch, first to her and then to me.
For the first time, I saw—close up—his eyes. His stunning eyes. Calm, quiet as though nothing could surprise him.
He returned his attention to his lunch.
Shirley called out once more, “Cerdo! Gordo! That’s right! Stuff your face!”
I figured everyone was supposed to be impressed that she’d learned those choice Spanish words just to torment me. Still, I acted as though I hadn’t heard her, but her chanting did drive me to stuff the burrito into my brown paper bag and roll it into a ball.
Just as I stood to dump my lunch in the trash, and in the middle of another string of Shirley’s Spanish insults, Jorge shoved himself up from the bench, sending his fancy lunch tumbling to the concrete at his feet. For a moment, he stood with his hands on both puny hips and then—without saying a word—the little kid charged across the space between the benches and lunged for her.
The force of his thrust at her shoulders sent my frizzy-haired antagonist sprawling to the grass, her legs in the air and her flowered panties bared for all the world to see.
While the other kids—even Shirley’s own little troupe—laughed their heads off, Jorge repeated his hands-on-the-hips stance and glared fiery arrows at her.
“He’s not fat!” He bent over the bench and jabbed a finger at her. “You hear me? He’s not fat.”
Shaking his head and rolling his eyes, he strutted back to our bench and knelt to calmly pick up his spilled lunch from the ground.
Once he’d snapped his red lunch box shut, he stood and—never once looking at me or speaking—commenced to march toward the building.
He said nothing to me that day, passed me without a glance in the halls as though I was invisible.
Only later—much later, when we’d become inseparable pals—did he tell me that, on that day, he’d noticed me for the first time. And he thought I was the cutest boy he’d ever seen.
Me. Gordo. Cerdo. Chubby Honor Castillo. The cutest kid Jorge had ever seen.
The first time we’d touched, kissed, in the tree house. Dios mío! Our warm dicks straining and touching through jeans and our lips searching each other’s sweaty skin in some sort of inexperienced desperation. Soft, warm, gritty.
JORGE stirred beside me, dragging me from my reverie of schoolyards, lunches, and bullies and back to the present.
Tonight was our last chance to make love. I had no words, I just wanted to look at him, memorize him. I reached to paint the line of his full bottom lip with my thumb and shivered at the sigh it evoked from him, the tiny whimper as he wriggled to face me.
He twirled a finger in the curls at my nape. “Remember Shirley Setzer?”
I turned on my side to take in the sight of Jorge’s nude body—skinny, girly, driving-me-out-of-my-mind sexy—stretched out beside me.
The limited light transformed his thin form into smooth, elegant planes with a tantalizing thatch of shadow between his legs.
“How weird. I was just thinking about her.” I lifted onto my elbow.
His hand dropped to his chest. “The day we met.”
I snorted. “We didn’t meet that day. You never even spoke to me.”
“Ah, no. You pranced your stuck-up little ass back to the building, never said two words to me.”
Lifting his hand, he pretended to slap me. “I was not stuck up.”
I said nothing, just lifted an eyebrow that I was sure he couldn’t really see in the dark.
“I didn’t mean to be, Honor. I guess I was afraid to talk to you. None of the other kids had anything to do with me. Figured you wouldn’t either.”
“But you charged into Shirley. You sure weren’t shy then.”
“I just reacted.”
“I’ll never forget. You knocked the shit out of ol’ Shirley and never even said anything to me. You just strutted away, all prissy-assed. Do you know what I thought?”
“I thought you were irritated at me, that you thought I should have defended myself. That you thought I was weak.”
“Oh, querido,” he murmured and cupped his warm palm to my cheek. “I was the weak one, to give in to her taunts. You were the strong one. And I think I loved you that day. Even that young, I think I loved you.”
“Me? Gordo? Cerdo Castillo?”
With a grunt, Jorge flopped onto his back. “Stop it, damn you.”
“Sorry,” I chuckled. It riled him so for me to put myself down about my size.
He shifted toward me once more, wormed nearer. “Fuck, fuck, fuck. I’d see you smile at somebody in the halls and I’d nearly cry like a baby, wanting so bad to get one of your killer smiles aimed at me. Holy shit, I had the biggest girly crush on you.”
“Could have fooled me.”
“Your smile, Honor.” He pressed a trembling finger to my lips. “Your smile.”
“Once you did speak to me, I don’t think my smile showed itself for anybody but you again.”
“Bullshit.” This time he did slap me. Lightly, but still a slap to my cheek. “She sure as hell sees it.”
“Ay-ay.” I coaxed the head of my cock against his crotch. “We agreed not to bring that up tonight.”
“Please don’t do this.” He whispered the words onto my shoulder. His voice, so husky, a sultry purr—all Lauren Bacall, just put your lips together and blow—hadn’t lost its power to make me grovel at his feet in lust.
“Want me to stop?” I teased and turned him in my arms.
“Make jokes.” Burrowing deeper into my embrace, he growled and circled his palm over the hair on my chest. “Becky,” he spat. “I can’t even say her name without choking on it.”
I held him tighter but said nothing. What more was there to say? We’d been arguing all night, ever since I’d broken the news to him that I’d gotten serious with Rebecca Sanchez, the dazzling woman I’d met a few months back.
We can still fuck, can’t we? Jorge had contended. Why does she have to change anything?
Because once my relationship with Becky seemed to be heading on a serious route, I couldn’t cheat on her. I just couldn’t. The decision hadn’t come easily, but I’d made it, and I knew it was good.
Jorge believed, really believed, I would never go through with it. I just know, he’d said, you’ll come screaming out of your closet before you go through with marriage to a woman. You’ll panic, he’d assured me, when it comes right down to the wire.
He was wrong. I wouldn’t panic, freak out. I wouldn’t break through the tight closet door, ever, not even now while being faced with my last night of intimacy with him. Because there was no closet to come out of. I believed, with all my heart, I wasn’t gay.
Besides, I wanted Becky. It was as it should be. Men and women. Fucking Jorge had been a wonderful experience. I’d convinced myself that being attracted to him didn’t mean I was queer. It was just a secret adventure that now I had to leave behind.
Jorge admonished me so many times I lost count. You’ve fooled yourself into thinking you can fuck a man and that it means nothing. I’m here to tell you, my friend, you’re so fucking wrong. So fucking wrong. You are so goddamn gay. And you’re only using Becky to ensure a life of smooth sailing. Women, kids, picket fences, the whole Roy Rogers and Dale Evans trail of happiness.
Wrong again, he was. Sure, I wanted a family. Very much I wanted to be a husband, a father. But I truly adored my girlfriend. She was attractive, sexy, spirited. Why couldn’t my best friend accept that I could want a woman as much as I could want him?
“Besides, Jorge,” I finally allowed myself to speak. “You’re moving to Houston anyway. What’s it to you? Eh?”
He was leaving San Antonio the next month. He claimed it had nothing to do with our relationship. Don’t flatter yourself, he’d snapped.
“Right. You’re right,” he snarled, “I won’t be here to see it when you decide to get married to her. To see you make the biggest mistake of your life.”
Easing him onto his back, I breathed onto his parted lips, “Please, bebé, let’s don’t waste this night. Please.”
“Honor.” A whispery moan slipped from him when I lifted to my elbow and teased my fingertips into the wiry hair of his crotch. Arching his beautiful, slender body, he spread his legs.
From the little boom box that had held court in this tree house since we were teens, the oldie “Fernando” cooed so melancholic and sweet.
His body suddenly stiffened. “No.”
“No?” My fingers stopped.
“No.” It was hard to tell in the muted light, but I thought tears glistened in his eyes. “If I enjoy it, it’ll give me something to be miserable about for the next fifty years.”
“Then try not to enjoy it.” A lame joke was the best I could muster.
“More jokes.” He was crying.
“I’m sorry, cariño, I was only kidding.” Cupping his cheek in my palm and relishing the silk of his fragile stubble, I touched my lips to his nose. “We don’t have to do anything.”
“But if we don’t….” He scrunched against me.
“Then… we… won’t have some last-memory thing hanging over us for… what did you say? The next fifty years.”
“More like a hundred.” He faked a laugh.
“Ah. Well, that’ll be one hell of a fucking memory.”
“Okay, so, yeah. A hundred. Fuck me good.”
I raised myself to my knees, grasped his ankles to spread his legs farther apart, and placed myself between his thighs to dip my tongue into his navel. “A hundred years’ worth, eh?”
He sighed and slowly twisted beneath me. “Honor.”
“Hmm?” Seeing him wanting me, needing me, and knowing this—however good or bad it was—would be our last time, ripped my heart from me. I kissed that ultrasoft drift of hair leading from his belly button to his groin. “What?”
“You’ll never get over me.” Thrusting the silky tip of his cock against my throat, he closed his eyes and issued a tiny, almost inaudible moan. “I won’t let you. I’ll haunt you.”
“No, bebé. I never will get over you.”
“What?” More feather-soft kisses.