It is the summer of 1981. I just finished college in the spring, and now my younger brother and I are waist deep in Lake Michigan, chicken fighting: His girlfriend, Trish, sits on his shoulders. My friend Serge sits on mine, his crotch pressing against the nape of my neck.
My brother and his girlfriend have no idea that I am gay. I am struggling mightily to stay unaware of it myself. I believe I am destined for a literal hell if I continue to do what Serge and I have been doing in bed at my parents’ house this summer.
As Trish and Serge fight to pull each other into the water, I wage an inner battle against the desire to throw Serge down onto the warm sand and ravish him right here and now: To hell with propriety. To hell with my family learning I am gay. To hell with my burning in everlasting fire.
Big plans, but I don’t act on them.
Later, back on the beach, I scout for a clump of dune grass that might afford Serge and me some privacy. Then I decide not to risk it. I will never openly declare my feelings for this man, but will continue to deny, repress, and hate the love I have for him. I know well the fear of damnation. I do not yet know the world of sorrow, heartache, and grief that awaits my future wife, our children, and me.
This article appeared in The Sun, Issue 412, April 2010