Okay, this one is of an adult nature, so be so warned.
Now diving into the dark waters of Wildcat, so gather your scuba gear, jump under a bell jar, for downward we plummet into the depths.
I consider myself to be a survivor. I think of myself as the ultimate disaster created by the past. I visualize myself as a terror, a fear inspiring creation, casting a wave of pain from me wherever I may be. I see myself at times as a little boy who sits in the corner of a darkened room awaiting what’s to come next.
My mother raised us by herself, having shed off the shackles of marriage and ditching a husband who was an albatross around her neck. Although she worked (sometimes two jobs at one time), she did make sure that we had time with her. But when she couldn’t be there, she ensured that we were watched over. At times it was our nanny, Ella, or our grandmother, which no doubt left me with more scars than a Vietnam Veteran. But there were times she had to leave us with a relative, our great uncle, John L. He was out maternal grandmother’s brother, and a functioning alcoholic. To this day I can remember how he looked, what he sounded like, even how he smelled. And to this day, I loathe the smell of beer.
I remember how it started. My brother and I were being watched by John L., we were at his apartment. We were bored and I can’t remember if we asked or were offered, but we wanted some paper and pens to draw. John L said we could have it if we did something for him. We had to keep it quiet, of course. So it started with being taken in the bathroom, individually, and just taking his penis in our mouths. That was our introduction to years of abuse, and the beginning of our loss of innocence. I can’t remember what I was thinking at the time, I was only about 10 years old. This is when I realized that everything came with a price, and the price was steep. That I can remember.
I remember also that I kept praying in my mind for God to make it stop. I was an altar boy. I wanted to be a priest. I believed everything told to me by the church. And yet, when this started, as this progressed, God never answered my pleas with anything other than more of the same.
I remember too that I’d already knew I was gay, but didn’t yet realize this was gay sex. Actually the word ‘gay’ hadn’t entered my vocabulary yet. Neither had ‘fag’, ‘faggot’, or ‘queer’. No one knew that I found men enticing. I had a crush on Speed Racer, or Spiderman, or the Hispanic guy on Sesame Street. This was probably when my desire for shirtless men came about, as I do remember at that age being entranced by a good-looking shirtless guy. But I didn’t have a word for it. And I knew I was different, since I wasn’t chasing after girls, but didn’t know how different I was or would become.
So it started with just that. Over time, the price went up. Now he was teaching me how to do fellatio, slowly, guiding; oh for hells sake, GROOMING! I never spoke of it to my mother, or anyone else. My brother and I never discussed it. John L must have known I was gay or at least had the inclination because he seemed to focus more on me. And I was confused, having been abandoned by God, turned free of the religion I loved, and curious about my own self now. I thought that maybe he could teach me the right way. And I believed that he held some affection for me, would protect me, that this was how gay men learned, after I learned that’s what I was.
I remember the day I finally did manage to do fellatio. I gagged. I didn’t enjoy it. I just wanted to get to my paper and draw. I wanted to draw the whole world away. I remember detaching from myself, going away from the physical while he was guiding my head. I remember taking myself away to another place until this was done, until I was out of that bathroom. That evening, my mother took us out for dinner to a local Italian restaurant. I ordered an Italian Sausage sandwich, what the hell possessed me I couldn’t say. And at the first bite, I had to leave the talk to vomit as the memory came right back. My mother thought I was sick, and she wasn’t wrong.
This went on for years. To watch television, there was a price. To go out and play, there was a price. To get supplies to keep myself entertain, there was a price. As I got older, I’d visit him on my own at his apartment. We’d sit at the table and talk, him drinking, me listening to the radio he always had on. He’d arranged for my initiation into the gay world by seducing other boys for me to suck off. He promised them anything from drink to drugs. I attempted, but couldn’t go through with it. The sexual antics subsided more as time went on and I told him some excuse or other to leave when the topic came up. I looked to him for some kind of wisdom about who I was since he was the one who made me. Or did he?
Over the years we never had anal, it was always oral. I question myself as to whether I went willingly to the fire or was twisted to go. I know that he made me hate men. I know that he showed me that everything has a price in this life, as I’d said before. I know that he started my war with God. I know that he didn’t love me, he didn’t care; he just used me for his own entertainment.
The worst part of the whole situation is when I learned that my grandmother and the family always knew about his peculiarities. He’d molested my cousins, and uncles, and many boys in the neighborhood. They knew, and they allowed him to watch us. My mother didn’t know until it was too late. When she confronted my grandmother and the family about it, she was told to keep her mouth shut or there’d be reprecussions. She couldn’t do anything to protect me other than limit the times when he could watch us, but when my grandmother insisted, she had to relent. My grandmother knew. She told me I was her favorite and all the time she knew. It was when she died that my mother pursued prosecution. But no other boys would testify, just me. He could have gotten 7 years for each victim and I was the only one who gave statements, who faced him in the jail and courts. Thus I learned that I was alone.
He’s dead now, has been for decades. I won’t speak to my family anymore. I won’t believe in the Church. I never believed that I was unclean or deserved the abuse. I never thought I must have done something wrong for this to happen.
I do know that he was a pedophile. He preyed upon me because I was made available and he knew that I was gay from an early age. He groomed me. I know that my mother did what she could to keep us safe, in spite of the family. I know that the others still have these memories because some tell me from time to time when our paths cross, and I let them know he got his just desserts.
What I don’t know is why my grandmother let this go on if I was her favorite? Or the rest of the family who covered up for him?
Part of my sexual dysfunction comes from this, because when I’m intimate with men, I can still smell him. Maybe this laid the foundations for me being submissive in the sack. This certainly made me a terrible seducer when I was younger, and yes, I used sex as a weapon to get what I wanted.
I may be broken still. I may be frozen inside. I may be damned.
But I survived it.