Bill and I began to drift apart in junior high, when we took different classes and joined different clubs. We still hung out, but we never slept over, and I think both of us were actively looking for new boys.
I tried dancing with boys at the weekly school dance for a few weeks, but teachers soon caught on and gave me detention.
On a bleak Monday morning in February 1973, white with clouds that threatened snow, I was leaving school late after a club meeting, when I heard scuffling and voices from the eastern corridor that lead through Viking territory. I pushed past some onlookers and saw three Vikings dragging a Fairy (a feminine boy) kicking and squirming toward the girls’ locker room. (One of them was Dick, who I would meet again at a gay bar years later). His yellow button-down shirt was nearly torn off, his pants were bunched up around his ankles, and a Viking was jerking at his briefs. They were going to force girls to see him naked, and force him to see them!
When our eyes met for an instant, I recognized him as Dan, a slim, tanned seventh grader with dark blue eyes, glasses, and thick dirty-blond hair. I had him in three classes, but we rarely spoke unless a teacher forced us. Now, as I saw Dan's smooth chest, his warm tight belly, and his sex organs freed from their white briefs, I felt the gasping ache of joy that I usually felt watching men with muscles.
At the end of the hall, a teacher swung through the gym door to investigate, concluded that the assault was for Anders’ own good, and silently retreated.
If the adults wouldn’t intervene, I thought, than I would have to! I propped my book bag against the wall and leapt onto the shoulders of the depantsing behemoth.
A moment later, Dan and I were both sliding through the double doors into the girls’ locker room. Fortunately, the team had a short practice session today, so most girls were dressed and gone, and the stragglers quickly covered up.
On Tuesday I had wrestling, but on Wednesday, I waited for Dan at the portico outside the east door. “Hi, Dan!” I said, deliberately using the feminine form instead of his last name, the correct masculine form. The Fairy barely slowed as he muttered “H’lo, Davis.”
“Hey, do you like Donny Osmond?"
Dan slowed a little more. “He's pretty boss, I guess.”
“I got his new album, Alone Together. Do you want to come to my house and listen to it? I live on 41st Street, over by Denkmann."
We ran joyously to my house and sat on the floor in my basement room and listened to "The Twelfth of Never."
Soon I was meeting Dan at his house every morning to walk him to school, and sitting with him and Darry every day at lunch. After school, when I didn't have to stay late for wrestling or clubs, we went to Dan's house and listened to teen idol music or watched tv or played chess. On Saturdays we rode our bikes, and went swimming and hiking. During the summer of 1973, I saw him kissing Bill at the Longview Park Pool.
Dan came to all of my wrestling matches and judo tournaments, even the one in Urbana, three hours away, and as we drove home across a prairie dark except for car headlights and the occasional dim light on a water tower, he nodded off and lay his head softly onto my shoulder, so close that I could feel his breath against my neck. My brother Kenny, sharing the back seat with us, glanced over but did not comment.
But we rarely slept over, rarely shared a bed. Dan said that we were "too old" for that.
Too old to share beds and rooms, and houses and lives?