Lessons Learned
Outside of School

Chapter 7

On Monday morning, I suggested to Kirk that he stay behind after dismissal so we could talk. He grinned and said, “Sure.”

When all the other students were gone, Kirk and I went to the teachers’ lounge, where I bought sodas from the vending machine.

Back in my classroom, we opened our sodas and settled back to chat.

“So, Akram tells me you’re gay,” he said, grinning.

“Yes, but did he also tell you that I don’t want other people to know right now? I want my privacy respected.”

“Yeah, he did, and I promise I won’t tell anyone except my mothers. I sort of wondered at the beginning of the school year if you might be gay. Now that I know, I’m really glad.”

“Thanks,” I said. “Akram said you wanted to ask some questions about dealing with being gay,” I said, “so fire away.”

“I guess my questions are about how you handled being gay without coming out. I’m only out to my parents, Akram and his dad, and you. I’m not out to other kids yet, but I’m not sure if I’m doing anything that would give me away. Like Akram, I mean. It’s pretty obvious that he’s gay and he doesn’t hide it. Do I give off signals?”

“None that I know of,” I replied. “You’re right about Akram, but there are big differences between how the two of you act. I don’t think any of your classmates

suspect. But I’d like to give you a little advice.”

He nodded.

“When I first thought I was gay, I didn’t come out to anybody. Eventually I told my parents but no one else. That was years ago and being gay wasn’t as accepted then although my parents were fine with it. Now things have changed some even in this conservative town. I was always bothered by the idea that I was living a lie. I pretended to be straight, even dated some girls, and I was uncomfortable about that. I know each person feels differently, but I’m relieved to be coming out now, even if only to a few people. I guess I’m saying that each person’s path is different, but if you feel you’re living a lie and you’re uncomfortable about it, then maybe it’s time to do something.”

“That’s pretty much what my moms said. They told me I should do what made me comfortable, but you know there are still bullies around and next year there may be more in school. I’m not sure I can deal with that.”

I nodded. “Before this fall, I’d have said perhaps you’d better stay in your shell. Now, after what happened with Akram and his friends, I think those bullies can be dealt with, but you should still do what feels right to you. If you come out, then sure, there might be a few rough days now or next fall, but we can deal with those.”

“Okay,” he said, thinking. After a few moments he said, “I’m gonna do it. Do you think I could say something to the class on Wednesday before we get out for Thanksgiving?”

“If that’s what you want to do, I’m sure you can. Why don’t you think about it until then? You can tell me Wednesday morning what you want to do.”

That’s where we left it until Wednesday, when Kirk said he wanted to talk with the class.

School always dismissed at noon on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so at 11:30, I announced to the class that Kirk had something he wanted to say to them.

I could see he was nervous as he walked to the front of the room, but he gave me a little smile, turned, and faced the kids.

“Some of you know that I live with two moms,” he began. “That has nothing to do with what I’m about to say.” He paused and looked around the room. Then, taking a deep breath, he said, “I want to tell you all that I’m gay.”

He looked around the room, but there were no obvious reactions among the students.

“I’ve known about it for a long time now, and I felt I was living a lie unless I told you. No, you guys don’t need to worry. I won’t perv on you. In fact, I have a boyfriend, a seventh grader, and we’re very happy together.

“What I meant when I mentioned my moms was that they didn’t ‘make’ me gay. Nobody can do that. I was born gay just as you were probably born straight. They had no influence over that, but they have made it easier for me to deal with the facts.

“Does anyone have any questions?”

Jean, who was a bit of a tomboy herself asked, “How do you know?”

“I guess it has to do with how you feel about others,” Kirk responded. “Are each of you attracted to boys or girls? I’ve crushed on boys for as far back as I can remember, at least from the time I was five. Of course, at our age, boys spend a lot of time with each other, as do girls, but that’s not what I mean. Who feels special to you? Who makes you feel special? Who do you want to spend a lot of time with? Other than that, I really can’t tell you anything. I guess we each have to figure it out for ourselves.”

One of the boys asked, “Aren’t you afraid of bullies when this gets out?”

“Well, yes, I am, although I’m not afraid of anybody in this class. I talked with Mr. Travis about it and he reminded me how another boy and his classmates dealt with bullies early in his seventh-grade year. Someday I may need help from anybody who’s willing, but we won’t know that until any bullies come out of the woodwork.”

“Who’s your boyfriend?” Jamie asked, grinning.

I heard a few titters, but Kirk answered the question seriously. “Right now that question is off limits because his friends don’t know about me yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if it all became obvious pretty soon.”

Then Anna said, “My parents tell me that being gay is against our religion and that gay people should stop being gay and just go straight.”

“Oh dear,” Kirk responded. “All I can say is that it’s not possible for gay people like me to go straight. Oh sure, most of us can pretend, but that’s living the lie and I can’t do that any longer. Like I said, we’re born this way. Will you hold what I’ve said against me?”

“No,” she answered. “I like you. You’re a good friend. And I can’t see that anything has changed. My parents might not let me socialize with you outside of school, but I’m fine with how things are here.”

“Thank you,” Kirk said. “Maybe if your parents realize that most gay boys are just like everyone else, they’ll rethink what they’re saying. Meanwhile, thank you for your support here.”

He looked around and, seeing no further hands raised, he said, “Thank you. Have a great Thanksgiving. I know I will.” Then he returned to his seat.

The dismissal bell rang, and all the kids left, shaking my hand and chatting happily. I was happy to see that Kirk was with a couple of the boys who had asked questions.


On Thursday morning, I packed an overnight bag and drove to the Midanis’. My heart was beating rapidly as I thought about what might happen during the weekend. Jamal met me at the door and we kissed. While we sat in the living room, two sets of footsteps came pounding down the stairs and Akram and Kirk emerged.

“Hi, Mr. Travis,” Kirk said.

“Hi, Unc… Mr. Travis,” Akram joined in. I noted that he hadn’t called me ‘Uncle Ben’ while Kirk was there, and I was grateful.

I could smell some delicious odors coming from the kitchen and I knew this would be a Thanksgiving dinner unlike any I’d had before.

Soon Kirk departed for his home, saying to me as he left, “Have a great time!” All three of us knew exactly what he was saying.

Jamal said that we’d eat around 3:00 and went to get glasses and a bottle of wine. Just as he returned to the living room, the doorbell rang. “Akram, that’s probably your mother. Why don’t you let her in?”

He went to the door and returned with his mother, whose first name, he said, was Shahar, which he said meant ‘moonlit’.

We had first met at a parent-teacher conference last year, but I still didn’t know much about her. She shook my hand and took the seat which Jamal offered.

“I’m glad to finally meet you more informally,” Shahar said. “Akram has been singing your praises for over a year now. I understand you were instrumental in dealing with the boys who were bullying him.”

I blushed a bit, most unlike me, and answered, “It was really his classmates who dealt with the bullies. I only called them together and told them what the problem was. They organized themselves.”

“They were great,” added Akram. “They really banded together and made it clear they weren’t going to let me be bullied anymore.”

The three adults sat talking and sipping wine, while Akram drank some grape juice. With Kirk gone, he called me ‘Uncle Ben’, and that was fine with me.

When dinner was ready, we adjourned to the dining room, where I was seated beside Shahar. She proved to be a charming lady and a good conversationalist.

By the end of dinner, we were all stuffed. We returned to the living room for a bit of brandy. It was delicious — not too sweet but perfect to top off the meal.

Soon Akram, carrying his backpack, departed for Kirk’s home. Shahar left as well, saying what a lovely time she’d had. Jamal and I had to deal with the dishes. We talked as he loaded most of them in the dishwasher. Then I washed the pots and pans while he dried them and put them away.

We returned to the living room, where, I must admit, we both dozed. When we awoke, Jamal suggested that we go for a walk. It was a beautiful afternoon to be outside. The sun shining through the colorful leaves illuminated them beautifully. There was just a light breeze, and the temperature was warm enough that we didn’t need jackets. My heart, which had calmed down during dinner, began beating rapidly again.

As we walked, Jamal said, “I believe you told me that you’d never been with a man before. Am I right?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Well, if I try to do anything you’re not comfortable with, I hope you’ll tell me.”

I agreed, eagerly anticipating what he might do as we walked in silence for a while.

Returning to the house, Jamal took my hand and said, “Come.”

By then there were chills going up and down my spine. He led me upstairs and into his bedroom, where I turned to him. He kissed me gently before becoming more fervent. Feeling his tongue on my lips I opened to him.

Soon, we were lying on the bed, naked, both of us hard. Jamal began licking all over my body. Nobody had ever done that to me before and I reveled in the feelings he was evoking, especially when he kissed and sucked my neck. He licked down around my cock, then took it in one hand as I felt him slip a finger of his other hand into my anus. I groaned a little. He stopped and asked, “Is this okay?”

“Oh yes, it’s wonderful,” I sighed.

By the time we finished, I had been gently and creatively fucked for the first time. We lay back and he asked, “How was that?”

“Amazing. I had no idea what I’d been missing,” I replied. “Oh, I knew about it and watched some porn, but the sensations were new and wonderful. It couldn’t have been better.”

I remained with Jamal until Sunday morning, when I had to return home to work on papers and lesson plans. We enjoyed sex and eating, in no particular order, for three nights and two more days. We agreed that I would spend the next Friday and Saturday nights with him. As I left, Akram was arriving home. We looked at each other and I asked, “Have fun?” His grin went from ear to ear.

“Did you?” he asked. I too smiled and nodded before he giggled and we parted.

Driving home, I reflected on everything that had happened and thinking of what was to come. Was I in love, I wondered, or was this just wonderful sex? I still wasn’t sure, but whatever it was, I wanted it to continue for a long time.