|The Man from Swift Current|
|© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved
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|Chapter 6: The Lecture|
A couple of days later, I sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast when Uncle Dave came in from outside. "Hey, Glenn, would you be interested in flying with me up to Saskatoon tomorrow morning?"
"Sure I would! Do I get to pilot the plane?" I asked enthusiastically.
"Yes, at least for part of the way," Uncle Dave replied. "We'll leave at 7 AM so be up and ready to go, okay?"
"I'll be ready," I said. The next morning I was up early and dressed. I love flying and my Uncle Dave always lets me pilot the plane for part of the trip.
Uncle Dave came downstairs and poured himself a cup of coffee and joined me at the kitchen table. "Are you ready?" he asked.
"Yes, I'm ready to go." I said.
"Okay, let's hit the road," Uncle Dave said.
We climbed into his SUV and drove out to the airport. Uncle Dave filed his flight plans, fueled up the plane and we climbed aboard.
As the plane climbed into the air, Uncle Dave looked over at me and said, "I know something's bothering you, Glenn. You have been pretty moody around the house the last few days. I thought maybe taking you with me to Saskatoon today would give you a chance to talk about it. You know you don't have to if you aren't ready. I just wanted to let you know I am willing to listen."
I sat there in silence looking out the window. When Uncle Dave had suggested we take a quick trip up to Saskatoon in his plane, I knew he wanted to talk to me. I had agreed to go but I really wasn't ready to talk to him about me and Ian. I had promised him I would talk to him when I decided I was gay and I hadn't kept that promise. It had been a couple of days since Ian and I had become lovers. It really shook me because I still wasn't sure if I was really gay or had just been seduced by the best looking guy at school. In some ways, I felt that Ian had only wanted to get off and was using me as a substitute for his Norwegian girlfriend. But that didn't make sense to me because he could have any girl he wanted. In fact, the girls at school were falling over each other to get him to notice them including my sister, Nancy and my cousin, Cynthia.
I didn't want or need to be some guy's substitute girlfriend. I wanted to find that special someone who would love me for who I am and treat me with respect and dignity. Ian had told me he is into both girls and guys. I just don't understand that. How can someone be attracted to both girls and guys at the same time? I feel so confused, angry, and abused all at the same time thinking about what happened a couple of nights ago. As these thoughts raced through my head, the silence started to get uncomfortable in the cockpit of the plane. I finally decided to come clean with my Uncle. He has been very good to me and I owe it to him to be open with him about what is going on with me.
"Okay," I said hesitantly, not really wanting to talk about me and Ian. I might as well go for the gold and just get it out in the open I thought to myself. "Ian and I have become lovers. I know I promised I would talk to you first but it just happened so quickly. Can you forgive me for not keeping my promise to you?" I watched Uncle Dave's face to gauge his reaction to my words. I was surprised to see a slight smile appear before it was replaced with a stern look when he realized I was watching him.
Uncle Dave responded, "I thought something like that had happened when I saw you come home a few days ago from Ian's house. Yes, I forgive you but I do wish you had talked to me first. Keeping your word is a very important character trait to develop, Glenn. "
"I wanted to tell you right away but I thought you would be angry with me," I said.
"I'm not angry, just a little hurt that you didn't trust me enough to come to me as soon as it happened," he said.
"I'm still so confused, Uncle Dave. I don't know if I am really gay or just confused about who I am or who I want to be," I said in a miserable tone of voice.
Being fucked by Ian really has done a number on my mind. I'm not a really a "tough" guy or jock type but I had never, ever dreamed of being fucked by a guy, again, sucking them off, maybe, but playing the girl's part in a sexual encounter just hadn't entered my mind, especially after being abused by my cousin, John. I'd sworn to myself that I would never let another guy treat me that way ever again!
The fact that I'd let Ian touch me was my first mistake. I should have told him to get lost right at that moment and left for home. I could just kick myself for letting him continue to caress me. I've never felt so alive as when Ian's hands ran over my bare skin. It wasn't long before I lost control of the situation. The memory of Ian telling me he is always the top and that his partners are always the bottom should have sent warning signals through my brain. However, I was so amped up by then that all I wanted was Ian to fuck me and I didn't care about his motives at that point.
Uncle Dave's voice shook me out of my reverie. "That's why we needed to talk before you stepped into relationship with a guy," he said.
It was like he was reading my thoughts. "So what do I do now?" I asked earnestly, my confusion and frustration showing in my tone of voice.
"That depends on you and your feelings for Ian," Uncle Dave replied.
"I have a huge crush on him and he's great in bed! I think Ian just wants sex from me and that's it. I want it to be more than that but I'm not sure that Ian wants a romantic relationship," I said looking over at Uncle Dave.
"There is real a danger of a relationship deteriorating into an abusive one where sex is the only driving factor, Glenn. Things can get pretty ugly pretty fast if sex is the only thing that brings two people together if there isn't a foundational relationship of mutual respect and friendship," Uncle Dave said. He glanced over at me and I met his eyes as he continued, "Gay relationships tend to mature quickly and burn themselves out just as fast. Just like with heterosexual relationships, a stable relationship should be developed first before moving to a physical level. If you are still not sure about him, you should talk to him about his feelings for you and your feelings for him." Uncle Dave reached over and put his arm around my shoulders. "I'm not being critical of you. I just want to make sure you don't get hurt."
I nodded my head letting him see I understood his concern, "I'm afraid I will lose him if I tell him how I really feel about him. I think I'm falling in love with him, Uncle Dave."
"Then it's even more important that you talk to him than it otherwise would be," Uncle Dave said with grave concern in his voice. "Ian seems like a nice guy and we've enjoyed having him around the house but I'm not sure about this being the right thing for you. It's difficult enough dealing with everyday life without adding a gay relationship to the mix, especially as a teen in high school. Have you two talked about how you're going to handle your relationship at school?"
"No, we haven't even talked about us, yet, let alone how we plan to tell other people," I answered.
"Don't you think that you need to decide if you're both going to come out to your classmates about being gay? Or if this is going to be a relationship that you both try to hide from everyone?" Uncle Dave asked earnestly.
I just sat there thinking. I wasn't sure what Uncle Dave was driving at so I didn't say anything.
He continued, "If Ian is so into you that he's willing to admit to your family and friends that he's in an intimate relationship with you, isn't that a pretty good indication that he's at least making an appearance that he isn't using you? If it's to be a secret relationship, does that mean he's just using you? How do we, your Aunt Mary and I, know that you're safe being with Ian? How do we know that Ian won't turn on you and become violent or abusive in other ways?"
Uncle Dave's questions had occurred to me but I've been trying to ignore them because they make me so uncomfortable. "I have asked myself some of those questions over the last few days. I will try to talk to Ian about them but I won't promise because I want to keep him as a friend," I said.
"If Ian turns against you for asking him questions about your relationship, then Ian is not the one for you, Glenn," Uncle Dave said very seriously.
I nodded my head to let him think I agreed with him but I still wasn't sure I could talk to Ian about our relationship. I really want Ian badly. I didn't realize just how much I wanted him until Uncle Dave started questioning me about our relationship.
"So since you are still unsure about being gay, can we have a candid discussion about the subject?" Uncle Dave asked.
"Sure, I guess….I'm not going anywhere else for awhile," I said with resignation and just a little sarcasm. I knew that Uncle Dave wasn't about to let me out of this one from his tone of voice. I just hoped he wouldn't spend the whole rest of the trip lecturing me. That was the last thing I wanted right now. I hate it when my dad starts into his lecture mode. You'd think he'd figure out that I stop listening as soon as he starts talking, but NO, he just drones on and on and on. I know Uncle Dave is different in that respect but just the same, he's still dad's brother!
"I know you don't want to talk about it but I think it will help you with Ian," he said reassuringly. "Have you really thought out the consequences of being gay?"
"No, but I shouldn't have to do that. I should be able to love whomever I want to love no matter who he or she is," I said a little heatedly. I'd heard some of the vitriolic sermons preached from the pulpit at our church detailing the sins of homosexuality and didn't want to hear it, again, from Uncle Dave.
"Please don't get defensive, Glenn, I'm not being critical of you. I am just trying to judge how much thought you've given to the impact being gay will have on your life that's all," Uncle Dave said.
"I've seen my brother, Randy, and how happy he is. Isn't that enough?" I asked rather defensively and with a little heat behind my words.
"No, it's not enough because you don't know everything Randy has been through to achieve that happiness," he said. "There is much more to Randy's story than a little bit of fairy dust and a magic wand that made things come together for him and Shawn. They have been through some very difficult times, both of them," Uncle Dave said patiently.
"I didn't say I thought Randy had an easy time of it," I responded rather energetically. Uncle Dave was really getting under my skin! "My Dad made it very hard for Randy and Shawn when he threw them out of his house and disowned Randy. It hurt a lot! It tore us apart as a family! I've never seen Mom cry so much! How could he do that to us! How can he say he loves us unconditionally one moment and then disown one of his own children the next!" I shouted. "I hate him sometimes for the pain and suffering we've gone through as a family! In fact, I'm not sure that I didn't start a relationship with Ian just to get back at my dad."
"Do you really still feel that way about your dad, even after he reconciled with Randy and Shawn at Grandpa's funeral?" Uncle Dave asked me, his concern showing in his voice.
"No, but I still feel the hurt inside," I said as tears streamed down my cheeks. I couldn't understand why I was crying. I felt so out of control of my emotions and that made me even angrier than I already was.
"Glenn, the only way to relieve that hurt inside is to forgive your Dad," Uncle Dave said.
"I know "THAT" but there is still some part of me that can't let go of my hurt feelings. I felt so betrayed when Dad threw them out. I really trusted Dad and felt I would always be loved by him. His actions said otherwise," I said. "I still feel totally devastated by that betrayal."
"You need to find it within yourself to forgive him and to forgive yourself. Often, the reason we can't forgive others is because we haven't been able to forgive ourselves," Uncle Dave said.
"What do you mean?" I asked wondering if Uncle Dave had really lost it. Why did I need to forgive myself? I haven't done anything to hurt myself!
"Maybe you feel that you didn't do enough to reach out to Randy and Shawn yourself and you keep dragging yourself down with the thoughts of how you betrayed Randy and Shawn by not stepping up and trying to mitigate some of the damage your dad had done" he said.
"Maybe you're right about that. I have felt that I should have done more for them instead of cowering in my room and hiding out from my Dad's wrath. I just didn't have the courage to call them or write to them for fear of retribution if Dad ever found out," I said. As I reflected on what Uncle Dave had said, it clicked in my head that he was right. I needed to deal with my own sense of guilt and stop projecting my feelings onto other people. I resolved right then to call Randy and Shawn to apologize as soon as we landed. It felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders.
Then my thoughts moved to what John had done to me. I still feel like a big zero sometimes because I let John use me. I still haven't told anyone what John did to me. I quickly buried the thoughts of what happened.
I hadn't realized that Uncle Dave had stopped talking until the silence intruded on my thoughts. "Uncle Dave, I don't really want to be gay. How will I know if I'm really gay?" I asked earnestly hoping he would have an easy answer for me.
"I don't' believe that anyone is born "gay" Glenn. Life is all about choices. Some of those choices have a life-long impact such as how we decide to express our sexuality. Every creature on earth is born with an innate sexual drive that ensures the continuance of the species. You have probably noticed how dogs in heat will try to get off on anything and anyone. Their urge to have sex is very strong. Having a male dog pumping on your leg isn't exactly thrilling is it? In fact, most of us will push the dog down and scold him for doing it. And we get very apologetic when it happens to a guest who is visiting our house because it's a little embarrassing," he said.
"Yeah, Dad has even locked the dogs in a kennel until they aren't in heat anymore," I said. "But what does that have to do with being gay?" I asked.
"Human's are sexual creatures with very strong hormonally driven behaviors. When the testosterone levels get too high, guys tend to get very aggressive and horny. They don't care whether they are having sex with a girl or a guy as long as that need for sex has been satisfied. However, as sentient beings with a capacity for reasoning and thinking, humans have a choice to make--become masters of themselves and their hormonal challenges or become slaves to them. Our survival instincts drive us to have sex with females to perpetuate the species. If every human male decided that having sex with another male was the way to satisfy his sexual urges, the species would die off in one single generation."
"But Uncle Dave, being gay doesn't mean the species will die off. I'm not following you're line of reasoning. Are you saying that anyone that gives in to their sexual urges becomes a slave to those urges?" I asked. I was trying really hard not to get angry at Uncle Dave for his statements. I was becoming more offended by the minute.
"Yes, I am. Our cognitive abilities are what separate us from other species on the planet and part of being able to think and reason includes controlling all of our behaviors especially those surrounding reproduction. Too many people, gays and heterosexuals both, advocate giving in to our animal instincts and having sex with anyone at anytime and that this type of behavior is okay. They say, "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die" and "Live for the moment and let tomorrow take care of itself" and "Self-gratification is our reason for living no matter what the impact is on others." In fact, society encourages it through all of our media and entertainment. It breeds contempt for our fellow human beings and degrades us especially when we look at each other as sex objects and as outlets for our own selfish desires for pleasure. Bottom line, we need to be more cognizant of the impact our wanton sexual behavior has on us individually and as a society," he explained.
"Wow, I never knew you were into human psychology?" I exclaimed trying to divert the conversation to another topic. "Dad never has talked with us about anything like this before."
"I studied both psychology and sociology in college," Uncle Dave replied.
"So why didn't you become a psychologist or something like that?" I asked.
"I couldn't afford the additional years of schooling. I had already married your Aunt Mary and we had a child on the way so more college wasn't the answer to our financial situation. Your aunt already had her nursing degree and had a good job so I applied for a job with Canadian Tire and have been there ever since," he said pausing for moment. "Let's get back to conversation about being gay. I guess where I'm going with this discussion is that human beings were intended to be together as male and female and not male and male."
"But I thought you were okay with people being gay," I said not a little surprised by what I was hearing.
"If I remember correctly, I said it depended on the situation. I'm okay with people's choices but that doesn't mean I approve or that I think it's the right thing to do," Uncle Dave said.
Now I was getting really mad at Uncle Dave, "Why didn't you just tell me straight out that you didn't approve of being gay? Why did you convince Dad to accept Randy and Shawn? Why didn't you stop Randy from going out with guys when he was living with you? Why are you telling me now how you really feel?" I was shouting at the top of my lungs I was so angry.
"You can stop shouting now, Glenn. This cockpit isn't very big and I can hear you just fine!" Uncle Dave responded. "I will answer your questions in the order you asked them."
"First, you weren't ready to talk about your sexuality at the time you asked me that question. If you remember, you were still really angry with your Dad and weren't ready to hear anything that would seem to lend credence to your Dad's position. Had I told you how I felt, you would have immediately shut me out as well. Just like you shut out your DAD! I felt it was more important to preserve a line of communication to you than it was to forcefully express my opinion about gays.
Second, I talked to your Dad about trying to mend his relationship with his son and his partner because that was the right thing to do. We have always been a family that has loved and supported one another, especially during difficult times. Your Dad had forgotten that very important fact and he needed to be reminded. Our family has always been a religious one. We don't all go to the same church, but we are all deeply committed to living our religion…whichever one we have chosen. Without exception, all of us believe in serving others, giving of ourselves to improve those around us, and trying to build and lift others up, to motivate them to excel and live up to their potential as human beings. Your Dad's actions didn't square with what we stand for as a family.
Third, as for Randy, he chose to hide from us as you did. He feared making us angry and didn't want to go back to the farm so he hid from us. We didn't find out about his relationships with guys for some time. As I have told you before, your Aunt Mary is the one who figured it out and told me. Randy and I had a very similar discussion to the one we are having now. He stopped fooling around with his classmates after we talked and settled down to his studies. Before that, Randy was failing at school because he was so focused on sex with any guy he could convince to drop his drawers so he could suck them off! Did I answer all your questions?" Uncle Dave asked.
"I'm angry now because you weren't completely honest with me when I asked you about gays. I might have fought Ian off if you had been more forceful about the subject and I wouldn't be as conflicted and confused as I feel right now," I said with as much anger as I could manage to show in my voice. "You say you value honesty and integrity. Didn't you think I deserved that from you when I asked my question about being gay? Didn't you think I needed to have that even if it hurt my feelings? "
"You're right, Glenn, you deserved an honest answer. I'm sorry. Can you forgive me for trying to do what I thought was best?" Uncle Dave asked me.
I sat there in silence thinking about what we had been discussing. I was still angry and hurt but I felt deep down inside that Uncle Dave did care for me and that I should give him another chance. I really needed someone I could confide in and talk about the things going through my head right now. Uncle Dave had always been willing to listen to me. "Okay, but on one condition though?"
"And what is that?" he asked.
"You have to promise me you will be brutally honest with me from now on and not in a malicious way either. I have to be sure I can trust you to tell me what you think instead of trying to shield me from hurt feelings. I've got to be able to work through this mess and I need someone I can talk to and trust they will help me in the best way possible," I said.
"Glenn, I promise you that I will do my best to help you in any way I can including being brutally honest when necessary to get you to think through your situation," he said.
"Okay, let's start by you outlining your reasons why I shouldn't be gay," I said.
"Are you really ready to hear that now?" he asked.
"Yes, all of it." I responded with more than a little anger. I didn't want him to sugar-coat anything this time!
Uncle Dave took a deep breath. "If you're absolutely certain, I know what I'm going to say is going to offend you and make you very angry." He paused and looked at me.
I nodded, "I'm already angry so piling on some more won't change that fact. I want to hear it all!"
He continued, "Alright, here we go:
First, it goes against nature to have male-on-male sex. The continuation of the species depends on human beings reproducing themselves. It's impossible for a man to get another man pregnant.
Second, from a religious standpoint, there are several points:
a. God, if you believe in one, has stated that we should have children. The biblical command was, "Go forth and multiply and replenish the earth," here multiply means perpetuating the species and covering the planet with human beings.
b. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed supposedly because the men of both cities had become homosexuals desiring men rather than women.
c. Most churches teach the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.
Third, socially speaking, we should examine the following:
a. The lack of a support network for gays. The confusion and fear gays feel forces them to hide their feelings and creates bizarre behavior, sometimes destructive to themselves and others.
b. There is still a huge amount of prejudice against gays in our society. The courts have ruled that being gay is an acceptable behavior and must be protected by our laws but that doesn't change people's beliefs and attitudes. There are still many who result to violence to express those beliefs and attitudes. These beliefs and attitudes will haunt you in every aspect of your life no matter where you decide to live or what career you choose.
c. Straight guys' fear of gays due to the prejudices mentioned above in addition to their own fears of the unknown - they place labels on people so they can feel safe in knowing that they have been categorized. Gays don't fit into their neat little worlds and so they react with violence, bullying, name-calling, or other abusive behaviors to protect themselves from the unknown. They don't understand how someone can be attracted to another guy. It's a concept totally alien to them. This can be particularly troublesome for gays in high school or college who wish to participate in sports.
Fourth, environmental vs. physiological:
Physiological - many gays claim they are genetically gay or that they were just born that way. That statement is totally false. Genetically, all males have the same two sets of chromosomes X and Y. They each have the same physical anatomy—meaning a penis and testicles (no vaginas). This argument is one that just doesn't make sense.
Environmental – this one has some validity since we are all products of our environment to some degree or another. However, we all have the ability to choose what we will think, say or do. We can decide to be gay or not. For most males, it isn't even a question. The uncertainty gays feel about their sexuality shouldn't be based on whim or fancy or on the fact that you haven't found a female you are attracted to at the moment. Again, I appeal to your logic and reason not the rush of hormones and emotions that seem to dominate such decisions.
I don't think I have left anything out. I'm sorry that seemed like a lecture but it's the best way for me to lay out my thoughts logically. Do you have any questions about anything I've said?"
"Yes, I have a lot of questions and yes, I'm angry and deeply offended by some of what you've said," I responded.
"I'm sorry I've offended you but you asked me to tell you the reasons I feel the way I do. Will you at least consider what I've said before you move forward with your relationship with Ian?" he asked.
"You've given me a lot to think about, Uncle Dave. But it still doesn't help me with my situation with Ian," I said. Why can't Uncle Dave leave me alone? I really don't want to talk about Ian right now!
"Okay, let's talk about Ian. Is he Mr. Right? Is he going to be the one who will always be there for you? Has he shared with you his feelings about a long-term relationship? Have you talked to him about your feelings and what your dreams are for the future? And does he share the same hopes and aspirations? Does Ian have a commitment to you and your relationship?"
"I don't know the answers to those questions, Uncle Dave. I'm afraid to ask those questions even of myself right now." I said.
"Then I suggest you put the physical relationship on hold until you have some answers to those questions. One of the most precious gifts you can give to your life partner (wife or significant other) is the gift of yourself and that includes the sexual side of the relationship. In a loving, stable relationship, sex deepens the love you have for each other and should be reserved for after you are married. Having casual sex cheapens it and demeans both individuals instead of edifying, uplifting and strengthening them," Uncle Dave explained.
"I will give it some thought. I will let you know when I've talked to Ian about some of those questions," I said.
"Good! Remember, Glenn, your Aunt Mary and I love you very much and we are here for you whenever you need us," he said.
We continued to talk about many other things during the remainder of the flight but I don't remember what they were. I really did intend to talk to Ian about our relationship but I never had the courage to bring up the subject. Mostly we were just so into touching each other and giving each other pleasure that we didn't want to spoil the mood by talking about serious things. I guess we just wanted to live in the moment and not really think about the future.
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