Lessons Learned
Outside of School

Chapter 5

The next afternoon, as I sat in my classroom grading papers, the door opened and Akram walked in.

“Hi, Akram,” I said, “how did things go today?”

“Okay, but something happened that I want to tell you about.” I nodded and he sat before saying, “In the middle of the morning, I was called to the assistant principal’s office. I was pretty nervous, and when I went in, he didn’t look happy.

“He asked me what was going on with my friends, so I told him about the two bullies, although I didn’t name them. Then I told him about what my classmates were doing to protect me. He nearly exploded.

“’Don’t you know it’s my job to deal with discipline in this school?!’ He scolded. ‘The last thing we need is a vigilante group operating here.’

“I told him they weren’t vigilantes; they were just escorts protecting me from being bullied. I said that they hadn’t threatened anyone.

“’Why didn’t you come to me?’ he asked.

“My father went to the principal, who said that the school couldn’t do anything unless he knew the names of the boys who attacked me. At the time, I didn’t even know their names. Now I do, but they’re leaving me alone. Problem solved.

“He sputtered a little more as I got up and left. When I was far enough away from his office, I stopped long enough to laugh out loud.”

I looked at him and burst out laughing. I had never suspected that Akram had the nerve to talk to an adult that way.

“Good for you,” I said. “Have you told your escorts?”

He nodded. “I’m not sure I need the escorts anymore, so I’ve asked Beth to stop them until we see what happens. I think there are a lot of kids in the school now who know the story, and probably some who know who my attackers were. We’ll see how it goes.”

He rose. I thanked him for coming in to tell me and asked him to give his dad my greetings. He said he would and then departed.

Kids solving kids’ problems, I thought. How often do we see that happen? Maybe it occurs more than we adults ever know.


Although we’d already held the traditional ‘Back to School Night,’ where I talked about the curriculum and met a number of fathers and mothers, parent-teacher conferences were now due.

At 2:30 Monday afternoon, when I finished a conference and went to the door to see who was waiting, there were two ladies in the chairs I had put outside the door. I’d met Ms. Prescott but I hadn’t yet met Ms. Browne. I welcomed them into the classroom and asked them to take seats, saying that I was always happy when both parents came to a conference.

They looked at each other and then Ms. Browne asked, “So, how is Kirk doing?”

“Very well,” I replied. He’s a good math student, he reads voraciously, he writes very well, and he enjoys his new classmates. What do you see?”

“We see a happy, busy, contented boy,” responded Ms. Prescott. “Does he get any teasing because he has two mothers?”

“Certainly none that I’m aware of,” I answered. “The children in this school have been taught from kindergarten on that there are all sorts of family arrangements, including families with two mothers or two fathers. Has Kirk said anything about it?”

“We asked him,” said Ms. Browne, “but he just said, ‘No, of course not.’ We only wanted to be sure.”

I decided to ask them a little about his background, assuring them that they didn’t have to say anything they didn’t want to, and if they thought I was being intrusive they could just tell me.

Ms. Prescott smiled and said, “That’s not a problem. We adopted Kirk as a baby. Of course, we knew nothing about him or his birth parents. I suppose it’s like having a baby the old-fashioned way, you just take potluck. We were very lucky.”

Ms. Browne nodded. “He’s been a delight,” she said. “The one thing that concerns us now is that he says he’s gay. He seems very young to us, but he knows however that turns out is fine with us.”

“We know he’s been visiting a boy down the block named Akram, and we wondered if you could tell us anything about him that’s not privileged information.”

“Okay. Akram, as you probably know, is in the seventh grade, but because of the way their birthdays fall he and Kirk are really only two months apart. Akram is on the younger side of his grade while Kirk is on the older. Your son has probably told you that Akram lives with just his father. I think that’s about all I can tell you except that both the boy and his father are very kind, caring people, and I don’t think Kirk could find a better friend.”

When we finished and they departed I had another conference, so I didn’t have time to think about the Prescott-Brownes until later in the afternoon. My initial impressions were that I liked them a lot and that they were probably very good mothers. Their questions were genuine but not overblown, and both of them seemed to be satisfied when they left my room.

I didn’t see Akram or Jamal again until the weekend. My afternoons and evenings were busy as I dealt with lesson plans, grading, and writing up my conference reports.

I received a phone call from Jamal right after school on Friday inviting me to dinner that night. I accepted and arrived at the Midanis’ house just before six. Even before I rang the doorbell, Akram opened the door and invited me in.

“He was watching for you,” Jamal observed when I entered the living room. “I think you’ve become his new hero.”

I laughed. “Who did I replace?”

“Me,” Jamal answered with a grin.

“That’s not true at all,” Akram put in. “Can’t I have more than one hero?”

We agreed that was possible. Jamal produced the usual glass of wine and we sat talking until our glasses were empty and it was time for dinner.

As we sat at the table, I said, “I’m feeling rather guilty.”

“Why?” asked Jamal.

“Because you’ve always invited me here for dinner and I’ve never invited you two. To be honest, the fact is that I don’t cook at all. If something can’t be microwaved or heated on the stovetop, I’m helpless.”

Akram giggled.

“I’m sure you’re a much better cook than I am, Akram,” I said. “The only time I can cook something successfully is over a campfire. Isn’t that odd?”

I went on to explain that I used to do a lot of hiking and camping when I was in college, and I could cook bacon, eggs, pancakes, sausages, steaks, and of course hamburgers and hot dogs over a fire, but that was about all.

“Please don’t feel guilty,” Jamal said. “You’re always welcome here, and while you don’t cook, you’ve helped Akram in so many ways, I feel I will always be indebted to you.”

“Me too,” said Akram.

The meal passed with conversation flowing back and forth easily and wine glasses being refilled.

Before we left the table at the end of the meal Akram dropped a bombshell. “Kirk saw you arriving here the last time you came, and he asked me if you’re gay.”

Oh dear, I thought. How do I answer that one? I decided to ask a question. “What did you say to him?”

“I told him I didn’t know but I hoped you were.”

Awkward again. I could ask him why he hoped that, but that could put both me and his father on the spot. His father knew I was gay but I thought Akram might want more information than that, like whether I loved his father. I wasn’t about to go there right then.

After a long silence, I said, “Akram, that may not be a polite question to ask. People’s sexuality is private after all. But because I know you and Kirk and your father are all gay, I’ll answer you. Yes, I’m gay, but for now you must never mention this to anybody else, even Kirk. The reason for that is that not all parents are comfortable with gay men teaching their children.”

“Why? Are they afraid you’ll perv on us or something? That’s ridiculous.”

“It is,” I answered, “but then it isn’t. The fact is that a few men, a very few men, do lust after boys. Parents know that, and unfortunately in their minds that colors the whole gay community.”

“But Kirk’s moms would be fine with it,” he said. “Why can’t I tell Kirk?”

“I just would be more comfortable if you didn’t for now. After all, teachers should be allowed to have private lives. You’ve had a lot of teachers by now. Do you know anything about their lives outside of school?”

He thought about that for a bit before answering, “Well, no. I guess you’re the first one.”

“And you didn’t even know about me until after you’d moved on to seventh grade and I was no longer your teacher.”

“I see what you mean, but would you just let me tell Kirk? I know he won’t tell anyone if I ask him not to.”

“Maybe in a while you can, but not just yet.”

“Okay,” he agreed, but I could see he wasn’t happy.

Although it was Friday night and I knew Akram didn’t have any homework, he excused himself and went upstairs anyway. Was he trying to give me and his father some privacy, I wondered?

Sitting together on the living room couch with our wine glasses refilled, I asked Jamal, “You didn’t offer any help when Akram was cross-examining me. Why not?”

“I guess I just wanted to see how you’d answer,” he said, smiling. “He’s not satisfied, you know.”

“I’m sure he’s not, but there’s something I need to do before the proverbial cat gets out of the bag.”


“I really don’t want to talk about it right now, but I’ll tell you when I’ve done it.”

He nodded. We were sitting right next to each other. As my mother used to say, “You couldn’t get a piece of tissue paper between the two.” Jamal reached for my hand, took it, and interwove our fingers. Somehow, that felt even more intimate than just holding hands, like he was perhaps establishing a little possessiveness.

I squeezed his hand, and he leaned over, kissing me once again on my mouth. When I responded I felt his tongue on my lips and in no time we were kissing so hard he was nearly on top of me. Then I felt him unbutton my shirt and begin gently rubbing my chest.

Soon we were rubbing each other’s chests while still kissing. He released my hand, and I felt his hand feeling my erection through my pants. The more he did to me, the more excited I became. My heart was beating hard, and my cock was very hard.

He unzipped my fly and felt in my underwear until he pulled my cock out. I could feel it throbbing some as it pointed straight up into his face.

Bending over, he took my cock in his mouth, licking up and down and giving special attention to that spot right under the head which was so sensitive.

“I’m going to cum,” I said breathlessly.

I tried to hold back, savoring the feelings of my arousal, but I failed, and began pumping cum into his mouth. Moaning, I pulsed several times before stopping. Then I laid my head back against the couch and sighed contentedly.

For some reason, I looked over at the stairs, and discovered that Akram was watching. Damn!

Very quietly I said to Jamal, “We’re being watched.”

He looked up and said to Akram, “This is going too far, Son. What Ben and I are doing is none of your business. Don’t I give you privacy when you want it?”

Akram nodded, said, “Sorry,” and ran up the stairs again, grinning.

“He’s not at all sorry,” said Jamal. “He and I are going to have to have a little talk.”

“While he’s gone, would you like me to do you?” I asked.

He smiled and sat with his head on the back of the couch.

“You do understand that I’ve never done this before,” I said. He just nodded.

I reached down and felt his excitement through his trousers. Knowing he was ready, I unzipped him, gently pulled out his swollen cock, and took it in my mouth. I was surprised at how it felt both hard and soft. I tried to do the same things he had done which had pleased me so. Soon he was groaning, and I could tell he was going to cum, so I slid all the way down his shaft, getting it all in my mouth. Sure enough, he began shooting, throbbing hard repeatedly. When he stopped, I swallowed his cum and sat back beside him.

He looked at me and said, “Ben, I love you.”

I didn’t know quite what to say. Did I love him or was this simply two horny guys getting off? I didn’t know, but I decided to answer as honestly as I could.

“Jamal, I don’t know how I feel right now. Am I in love? I’m not sure. I need some time to think about it.”

“Sure,” he said.

“I think I’d better get home,” I said. “I’ve a lot of thinking to do.”

He nodded and accompanied me to the door, where we kissed goodnight. As I drove home, my mind was whirling. Is this what love is like? Do I want to spend the rest of my life with him? How can I know?

Needless to say, I got little sleep that night.