But the Sand was Warm (by Grant Bentley)

But the Sand Was Warm

by Grant Bentley

If any nice person, nasty person, place, event, happening, thing, or sport, seems familiar, it is purely coincidental.

This is about some sweet kids, meeting each other, getting together, a bit of bullying, making friends, and the lack of sleepovers. Oh, and it mentions Christmas a couple of times.

Just so you know, I like San Diego better than Anchorage. You can go swimming in October at La Jolla Cove without digging a hole through the ice first. You’ll still find the water freezing and the breeze just a tad chilly, but whatever. Oh, and you’ll realize, no matter how old you are, stupid is stupid. But the sand was warm.

Anyway, so there we were, wet, cold, shivering, throwing wet sand at each other, and laughing like we weren’t actually all that stupid. And after a bit, we’d finished swimming, or whatever it was we were doing, and decided to make our way to Jay’s house, which was close to the beach. We ate some snacks and spent some time just hanging out on the deck before it was time to head home.

Of course, Shelly decided on a contest, and a chase was on. Without leaving the yard, the last one caught would owe her a banana split and a chocolate shake. And yeah, it was her idea, not ours. Suddenly we running and hiding behind trees, trying to avoid getting caught. I was kinda hiding behind a bush when someone else decided to hide behind the same bush. We were both suddenly tackled to the ground. He was laying on me when we hit the ground, and all I can remember is just staring into his eyes as he stared back into mine. He smiled as he got off of me just as it was announced Jay had to pay up. Of course there was some discussion as to why the last person caught, who was obviously the most skilful, should have to pay, and it was decided the first caught, Kai and I, would be the pay up victims instead. Oh, and I’m Chad, by the way.

And then there was Kai, this boy with beautiful blue eyes and beautiful curly brown hair. I thought a lot about those gorgeous eyes after I got home. I mean I’d known him for two years, but all of a sudden there was something about him. I know, weird, right? The feelings I experienced were weird, too. I was thrilled whenever we saw each other or got together because he made me smile every single time. I wasn’t sure if he was aware of how I felt about him. Actually, I wasn’t sure if I was aware of how I felt about him.

Since we all got together a lot, after a while I noticed he seemed to be showing a bit of affection towards me. He started moving closer to me, where I could feel our arms and legs touching. Whenever he looked at me, he’d smile, I’d smile back, of course, and try not to just stare into his beautiful eyes. So yep, now there was Kai.

Then, just as December rolled around, I found out he truly did like me, because everything was signed, sealed, and delivered by our first kiss, in my room, watching A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim. I never thought a simple kiss could be so awesome. I mean, I could even feel the butterflies … like really. Oh, and it’s a good thing we’d seen the movie before as we missed a bit of it.

And no, we weren’t the fastest moving gay couple on the planet, but love seemed to be a pretty major emotion between us. And yes, we started holding hands at my house if we were sure no one could see. Within a couple of weeks, we even started holding hands around town. I was in love, and I didn’t care what anyone thought about us. We had each other, and that’s all that mattered to me. Oh, and it was approaching Christmas, so nobody cared about anything but shopping anyway.

Then, after his mom saw us and followed us around the mall one day, and after she had a nice little chat with us, we broke the news to all family. She, his dad, and his brother Asher thought we were definitely cool, as did my mom and dad. Apparently, though, they’d already seen us down by the park. So blessed at home we were. Even his grandma gave us a grin and told us we were totally cute together. Yep, love her, too, I do.

Oh, and we did go Christmas shopping, like ten times. I now had to buy four more things, and he had to buy three more. Funny, I don’t remember Christ telling us we had to go out and spend two years’ worth of allowances to buy each other crap on HIS birthday. Oh, well.

We also had to help decorate. You know, like reindeer and plastic snowmen on the freshly cut lawn, stuff like that. Something else that kinda confuses me cause I don’t think there was a lot of snow in Bethlehem when he was born, or reindeer. Oh, and when you’re putting up lights and the ladder slips, you actually can hang from the rain gutter by one hand.

I was also very appreciative of how fast Kai can move, pick up, and set up a ladder too. I was only two stories up, so I think I’d have survived, but the pointy end of a pretend Christmas tree is not what I wanted up my bum. He also decided to hold on to the ladder this time, and I chose not to get up so high and lean quite so far off to the left.

All the hard work done, Christmas eve was at my place, eating far too much and opening said crap. Then Christmas day was at his place, eating far too much and opening more said crap. And both days we played games, sang, and ate treats … although we did wonder why we got up so early on Christmas morning. Needless to say, we all really liked what we ate and the crap we got. We even thought our matching green and yellow polka dot boxer briefs were totally cool. Yep, love Grandma, I do. 

Thankfully, we still had ten more days off to recover, however unlike most best friends, sadly, sleepovers were not yet in the books. They had been discussed, though. I think it was Asher who said that bringing it up to our folks showed that, yep, stupid is stupid. I used to like him, too.

And then … New Year's Eve. The neighbourhood dance and celebration, the cruise to the park, the fireworks, and the midnight kiss. Yes! Did I ever mention I like the taste of his tongue? Then again, maybe never mind. You know, in case you find it offensive, maybe I won’t mention it.

Then two more days and back to school. Everyone at our school now knew about us after days of wandering around town, holding hands … and a lot of things there changed. It seems the losers suddenly thought they had everyone’s support. We were called all sorts of names such as faggots, and even though I hadn’t seen his yet, butt-boys, etc.

It was hard going through everything, but I had my friends and somebody very special to keep me going, Kai. Sadly, he faced the same. We felt safe at home, but wherever we were in school without all our friends around, somebody had to remind us that we were useless fags. I was in the same classes with the same kids each period, and I was bullied quite a bit. It didn’t take long to get to the point I was tired of all the homophobia … tired of having go through the entire day listening to losers making fun of me, of us, and I was getting ready to throw a punch or two.

Then, when Kai had a lab, one of the kids walked up to me in the hallway and pushed me, saying, “wanna fight?” in front of a ton of the others. So yep, let’s all gather around. Apparently though, our 6’5”, 225lb, linebacker had been leaning on his locker, and suddenly this kid, who was pretty much the leader of the pack, was being suspended about 6’ in the air.

At the same time, the losers and their fans who had been cheering and yelling. “Yeah, yeah, kick his ass,” to the bully were now cheering and yelling. “Yeah, yeah, kick his ass,” to the football player. Go figure.

As this was all going on, Mr. Harrison stepped around the corner. Given half an hour in the office, it seems there was a school assembly now scheduled. It lasted more than an hour, and except for a couple of, “I gotta pees,” it was dead silent except for the speakers.

It ended with, “As time goes on, people are still going to be negative and ignorant, but that should never stop you from being the person you are. You’re loved by many people, people you may not even know, but there will always be support for you. No matter gay, straight, bi, transgender, or whatever, we were born this way, and no one has the right to try to tell us otherwise. No one.”

And yeah, love our school admin, cause people quickly started backing off and leaving us alone. Things soon got much better, and we didn’t have to worry about going to class, walking the hallways, or even wandering around town without our crew … and we held hands.

Of course, semester one final exams came and went, and we were both in new classes with new kids. And Kai was in three of my classes. Naturally we spent a lot of time studying together and working our asses off, which was all we were doing with them. Sometimes quite late into the night. Still no sleepovers. Sigh.

Okay, then a bright idea happened … and I think I’m starting to like Asher again. You see spring break starts in a week, and he suggested a ‘hopefully being able to ski’ weekend at Bear Mountain for him, his buddy Graham, and Kai and me. I mean, it was just a short drive … right? And hey, snow. Plus, believe it or not, after checking to see if there really was still snow there in March, our parents said yes. Of course, none of us mentioned that, what with cost and everything, sacrifices might have to be made. Like Kai and I might have to share a bed.

As it turns out, sharing a bed … I mean … the weekend of skiing was awesome. We didn’t even see the other two most of the time, and I did learn to stand up on skis and was able to slide about ten feet without falling over. Kai stayed with me to keep me company or catch me if I started sliding towards a building or something. He actually did quite well … even when teaching me to ski.

And once again just so you know, you can go swimming at La Jolla Cove the day after sliding down a snowy hill on skis. You’ll still find the water freezing and the breeze just a tad chilly. Oh, and you’ll realize, no matter how old you are, stupid is stupid. But the sand was warm.    
We didn’t throw wet sand at each other and laugh like we were all that stupid, though. We did decide to make our way to Jay’s house. We did eat some snacks and spend some time just hanging out on the deck. We did then go to Kai’s for a bit, and we ended up at my place, in my room. Oh, and we did kiss. Of course, with Mom downstairs, that’s all we did, well … sorta.

Now as much fun as we were having doing basically nothing half the time, we decided to go to a pool for the afternoon, an indoor pool. As I was practicing treading water in the deep end, there was a huge splash right beside me. And who caused it? Our 6’5”, 225lb, line-backer. Then just as suddenly, there was a little splash right beside me. Who caused that one? A 5’9”, 100lb, total cutey, who immediately wrapped his arms and legs around our 6’5”, 225lb, line-backer and called out, “Save me.”

Hmmm, ya think? Well, we didn’t have to for long. The grin, the kiss, and ‘saving him,’ answered any questions we might have had. A couple of hours of swimming and saving later, an hour of fast food, and we had two new friends, Joey and Chad2. Yep, Chad number 2. And, like us, neither of them liked girl parts, something that seemed to draw us closer together. We were the same. We could talk. We could confide. We knew we could be totally free to be ourselves. We could feel free to kiss, hug, cuddle … not them, by the way … and it was great.

We spent a whole lot of time together. Mom and Dad weren’t thrilled when I told them I needed rollerblades. Nor were they overly excited when I mentioned a skateboard would be a good idea, but they loved Joey and Chad2, and it was a go. Now getting into shape wasn’t high on my list of priorities, but let me tell you, from two to three hours a day rollerblading, skateboarding, and/or swimming work wonders. We were actually starting to get sexy bods. Well, we thought so, yes, we did. Of course we did our homework and studied hard too. Yes, we did.

Now I know it sounds like we were having fun, active lives … and we were. I mean, we went rollerblading, skateboarding, swimming, even skiing once. Hell, I climbed a two-story ladder to put up Christmas lights and again to take down Christmas lights, hanging from the rain gutter by one hand … and I didn’t get killed once. But life could be rather quiet and mundane too. Just going for walks, standing on top of the cliffs, looking out over the ocean or down at the critters hanging out on the rocks below was fun too.

It was on one of those walks the four of us met “wanna fight,” or as his folks named him, Butch, basically charging down the path towards us.

First words, “Get out of my way, fags.”

Second words, “Now, fucktards.”

He had a mostly ripped shirt, blood all down his face, and a black eye. We stepped aside, but as he walked by, Joey grabbed his arm.

“Leave me the fuck alone,” he yelled.

Joey just held on.

Then suddenly he yelled, “I can’t do it any more … I won’t.”

The next thing we knew, he was wrapped in Joey’s arms and sobbing his heart out. He spent the better part of an hour just listening to us trying to comfort him and enjoying Joey’s hug like he never wanted to let go. He stayed with us the rest of the day. We found his mom’s brother, and that got the ball rolling. Social Services were called, the police were called, charges were laid, and his uncle showed him his new room. It was like wow, things sure can move fast sometimes.

And yes, we had a new friend. At school, we got smiles and waves. Hell, we even sat around chatting a few times. Semester two final exams came and went. Naturally Kai and I spent a lot of time studying and working our asses off quite late into the night for those exams. Still no sleepovers, though. Sigh.

After grad, Joey and Chad2 enrolled in university and moved to San Francisco for a bit, like four years. Joey tried out and was once again a linebacker. He was a backup for a while but worked his way up. We stayed in touch as much as we could and got together whenever they were home.

We did lose track of a lot of the kids from high school, though. It was almost a year after grad that Kai and I ran into Butch at a College information session. After a nice long chat, we found out he was one of the senior organizers, he was engaged, he was close to his mom again, who was now by the way a divorcee, his dad was still visiting with his ‘roommates’ behind locked doors, and he had officially changed his name. He was no longer Butch MacDonald. He was now Joey Benson. Benson being his mom’s maiden name. And yep, guess where he came up with Joey for a first name.

Of course, we exchanged info, and our old new friend was back to being our new new friend. And yes, we got together quite often. We even got them to buy rollerblades. Sheila decided skateboards, maybe not, but we still had tons of fun travelling all over, especially when Joey1 and Chad2 were down for a few days.  

I was too soon in my third year of education, planning on a delightful career teaching chem and physics to grateful young learners. Kai was in his third year of computer engineering, planning on getting rich. Oh, and Kai’s dad, with a little help from us, designed and build a small apartment to replace the deck on their garage. And yes, we now had sleepovers … yeah. Sigh.

Then in July of that year, after much planning, La Jolla Cove had an event … like a serious event. A triple wedding. Yep uh-huh. Joey1 and Chad2, Joey2 and Sheila, and Kai and Chad1, that being me. Sheila loved the idea. She thought the whole thing was beyond belief, and something no one would ever forget. Getting married in shorts and swimsuits may have capitalized the word weird, but we and our guests had a blast. And no, we didn’t all go over to Jay’s house afterward, but we did throw wet sand.

And once again just so you know, you can go swimming at La Jolla Cove in July. You’ll still find the water freezing and the breeze just a tad chilly. Oh, and you’ll realize, no matter how old you are, stupid is stupid. But the sand was warm.

Thanks to Colin for editing, prepping, and posting this story for me.

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This story may contain occasional references to minors who are or may be gay. If it were a movie, it would be rated PG13 (in a more enlightened time it would be rated G). If reading this type of material is illegal where you live, or if you are too young to read this type of material based on the laws where you live, or if your parents don't want you to read this type of material, or if you find this type of material morally or otherwise objectionable, or if you don't want to be here, close your browser now. The author neither condones nor advocates the violation of any laws. If you want to be here, but aren't supposed to be here, be careful and don't get caught!