Kyle (by Grant Bentley)


By Grant Bentley

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

Not all summer camps are fun, but Halloween is.

I’m Kyle McTavish. I came out to my parents in eleventh grade. Big mistake. They immediately sent me to counseling. When I tried to refuse, they told me I was either going be their way or no way. I assumed no way meant I’d be on the streets, so counselling it was. Not that I was surprised, the counselling sessions were way past stupid. Their big push was: why would I choose to serve Satan when I could rejoice the glory of God. Of course there was no way I could convince the counselor that being gay wasn’t a choice, or that, given the choice, I wasn’t at all interested in serving or rejoicing, so I gave up and played the game.

If counselling sessions every week for three months wasn’t bad enough, when summer rolled around my parents announced that I would be going to camp and again, I didn’t have a choice. The camp was, of course, a conversion center for gays. The camp was crap in capital letters and I don’t mean like stepping in it, I mean like swimming in it. Never mind putting up with their conversion tactics, but we were forbidden to have cologne or even scented deodorant, colourful clothes, hand held games, hell a guy couldn’t even listen to music because it would distract him from his therapy. For the first week, we weren’t even allowed to talk, just listen and listen we did. We listened to every putdown imaginable. We were sinners, damned, going to burn in hell, be separated from God, be hated, be hopeless in a world where real love is unknown, and on and on.

Then each person was assigned a big brother. Some dick who had survived step one and was on his way to redemption. Woo-hoo. My big brother was Roger, Roger Schultz. We were assigned to share a room with two other guys. There were no doors on the rooms and each room had two bunkbeds. Big brother got the top and the little sinner got the bottom. Of course being a good little sinner, I didn’t mention I liked the bottom. The other two guys in the room were Geo, which is apparently how his parents spelled Joe, and Ronnie. Ronnie being the bottom, I mean sleeping on the bottom bunk. I know I shouldn’t admit it, but they all seemed like nice guys, even Roger. The first night we lay in bed talking, and being sinners never came up once. The gist of our conversation was basically how we all ended up at the camp. Among the four of us we had: a don’t forget to clear your internet history; a don’t get caught “playing doctor” with your boyfriend; and two don’t come out to bigoted parents.

I guess, once again, I shouldn’t have been surprised when in the morning I found out bathroom time was limited to 10 minutes so my usual shit, shower, and shave was out. I decided on shit and shower. They even set a timer to make sure no one was spending too much time in the shower doing something sinful. Then we were off to church and given the procedures that were going to turn us straight. Then it was breakfast. I like to tell you what we had for breakfast but I didn’t know what it was. I did recognize the toast. Next was group. Obviously none of the group leaders or counsellors had any actual training. We were asked a bunch of questions and then we were each given a long list of things we couldn’t do. Then lunch, which I did recognize, and wished I hadn’t. The afternoon was spent in the gym because gays don’t go to a gym. Then group again, dinner, group again, and finally lights out.

I could list more of the insane crap they had us do, but I won’t bore you. Needless to say we spent a lot of time hearing how sinful we were, repenting for our sinfulness, and being carefully observed, which in itself was kinda creepy. As the days dragged on, and I do mean dragged on, I began to realize that my big brother hadn’t mentioned my being a disgusting sinner even once. Nor had he reminded me of the list of things I couldn’t do. Maybe because I wasn’t doing any of them, he didn’t see the point. Thankfully he didn’t do a bunch of preaching, just talk, and that was okay. Then, after a couple of weeks, under orders, he and I sat down with a counsellor and he was to analyze my progress. Surprisingly Roger had nothing but good things to say about my progress and I was then promoted to step two.

By the end of the six weeks, Roger and I had actually spent a lot of time simply talking about life, our dreams, our hopes for the future, and so on. It almost seemed like we were becoming friends, but then it was all over. When I moved up to step two, I became a big brother. We did try to talk as often as we could, but fraternizing between big brothers was obviously discouraged. Then, when camp finally came to an end, we said our goodbyes, and I was on my way home.

Home lasted two weeks before I phoned my uncle Ray and basically begged him to let me come and stay with him. No door on our room at camp was one thing. No door on my bedroom was another. Moving my bed so it was fully visible from the door, and sleeping with a light on was simply too much. Ray was dad’s baby brother at twenty-six, and the only member of my family who accepted me. After a twenty-minute explanation of the conversion bullshit and what my life was like at home, he was totally into having a new roommate.

Since I would be starting grade twelve in a week and a half, we didn’t have much time. To my absolute delight, three days after phoning him, we were packing all my stuff into his car. My parents were furious, condemned us both to hell, and pretty much disowned us, but neither of us really cared. I had definitely had enough of their crap and, apparently, so had Ray. For Ray, it wasn’t that he was an abomination, he just didn’t have a strong enough faith. He actually believed that scientific research was acceptable. I didn’t ask, but now I’m wondering if they think the world is flat with four corners.

After a reasonably short drive and some quick unpacking, I helped Ray with dinner, and we relaxed and chatted for a couple of hours. It was such a good time, and no worries about being chastised. I can’t even begin to explain how totally wonderful that first night was. I felt safe and relaxed for the first time in years. My door was closed, my room was dark, and I slept peacefully and soundly for the whole night. In the morning I woke up to the smell of bacon cooking and couldn’t help but grin. Finally, I was free. Finally, I could be me…and the bacon was a definite bonus. I was out of bed, had taken care of business, brushed my teeth, and was walking into the kitchen in fifteen minutes max. Ray was standing next to the stove in his boxers and a t-shirt, buttering toast. Never in my life could I have imagined being in the kitchen in my underwear. My parents would have flipped out. I almost ran back to my room to take off my shoes, socks, pants, and shirt, but Ray heard me, told me to grab a plate. I was grabbing a plate and loading it up with bacon, eggs, and toast in about two seconds.

When he sat down across from me, he asked, “So how did you sleep?”

“Better than I ever have,” I answered grinning, “It’s like I’m someone else, you know? Like relaxed, happy, I don’t know…like I’m new or something. I mean you’re in the kitchen in your underwear.”

When he was able to stop laughing, he said, “I can’t tell how good seeing you so happy makes me feel. Things have been pretty much shit for you for a long time haven’t they…. You never made breakfast in your boxers?”

“Are you kidding? I wouldn’t have even thought of crossing the hall to the bathroom, in my underwear, in the middle of the night.” I stated laughing.

And that was the beginning of my freedom. It was incredible. I no longer had to think before everything I did to make sure I wasn’t in for a lecture. I should mention that Ray and I did some intensive shopping too. I didn’t own a single pair of jeans or casual shoes, or track shoes or t-shirts or boxers. Dress pants, dress shirts, and oxfords helped separate me from the ungodly heathens and were the only clothes I had.

When we were got home, I stood in front of the bathroom mirror for half an hour, first in my boxers, then in my jeans, then in my jeans and a t-shirt, and finally in my jeans, t-shirt and Vans. I thought that I looked at least half-way cool and finally, not like a total nerd. I even considered sleeping in them that night. I know that sounds sad, but for the first time, I would be able to go outside, to a mall, and to school without feeling embarrassed.

When school did start, it was a new school. That in itself I thought was great. I had nothing to live up to or live down. No kids from church to report my every move. No being loudly judged for being a disgusting sinner. It was a dream come true. I made no effort to stay in the closet. I was gay and that was fine with me. If anyone didn’t like it, too bad. Well, it appeared that 90% of the kids didn’t care, 1% did but minded their own business, and 9% thought I was totally cool. Okay, so most of that 9% belonged to the Gay Straight Alliance, something I’d never heard of before, but whatever, I was accepted.

Before I knew it, we were coming up to Halloween. Halloween was not high on my parents list of celebratory events. In fact, we had a prayer session the night before to pray for our protection from Satan and the influences of witchcraft. Uh huh, yes we did. One Friday, after Ray and I got back from the mall, Ray dragged me downstairs and began digging around in the storeroom. To my delight, I quickly discovered that we were digging out ghosts, zombies, bats, and a ton of Halloween stuff. Now this was a whole new experience and I loved it as Ray and I spent hours turning his front lawn into the scariest place on the block.

As soon as he got home from work Halloween night, we spent almost two hours turning each other into zombies and eating little chocolate bars. Then it was time to terrorize little people and, as payback, give them a couple of those little chocolate bars. Sadly, though, only maybe two of the little people were even slightly nervous, but I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun. After last call for the little people, at nine thirty, Ray turned the front lights off and announced we were going to a Halloween party for big people at Central Park downtown.

When we arrived there was already a large number of odd people and odd creatures there having fun. I met a couple of guys from school and Ray did introduce me to a couple of his friends, but I still hardly knew anyone. I did spend some time chatting, but most of the time I was just drinking Coke and ogling other people’s costumes.

Then, after about an hour, a voice behind me said, “Kyle?”

It was a familiar voice, but not one I’d heard for a couple of months. I quickly turned around and was face to face with a rather young looking Dumbledore.

“Hey,” he said.

“Hey,” I replied.

Okay, so eloquent we weren’t.

“Roger?” I questioned.

“Yeah, it’s so great to see you,” he responded.

“Oh my God, you too,” I replied.

We immediately found ourselves in a hug. It felt so good to hold him in my arms and feel his cheek, and beard, against my cheek that I didn’t want to let go, and the hug actually lasted for a couple of minutes or more. When we finally stepped back, we both had huge grins and were a little teary-eyed.

“You have no idea how much I’ve wanted to do that,” he said grinning.

“Uh, yeah I think maybe I do,” I said, “About as long as I have.”

“Hey, come on,” he said, as he took my hand, “I want you to meet my brother.”

After a little bit of hunting, we finally found Batman having a drink with a very pretty Wonder Woman.

“Hey Chris. I want you to meet Kyle,” he announced quite loudly.

We got a pretty big grin from Chris and it was then that I realized Roger and I were still holding hands.

“Hi Kyle,” he said as he reached out his hand to shake mine. “It’s nice to finally meet you,” before turning to Roger and asking, “This is the Kyle I’ve been hearing about for two months, right?”

‘Uh, yeah,” Roger replied.

Then glancing down at our hands, he grinned and said, “It’s nice to see you’ve found each other, now go have some fun.”

“Now you need to meet Ray,” I announced.

He wasn’t as hard to find and we both got a big hug from him as I introduced Roger to him.

This time Roger heard, “It’s nice to finally meet you Roger,” and my hand felt a nice tight squeeze.

The music had been blasting for more than half an hour at this point. Roger nodded towards the wooden dance floor they’d move in and starting pulling me towards it.

“I can’t dance,” I said as I tried to resist.

“So, neither can I,” he replied, “And neither can most of the people on the dance floor. We can move to the beat as good as any of them can…come on.”

I gradually stopped resisting and we were suddenly in the middle of the dance floor moving our feet and sorta swaying in time to the music, I think. After a few minutes though, I didn’t care. This was so much fun, and looking at the glow in Roger’s eyes, I knew there was a great big smile under that beard. It was close to midnight when the music died down and the celebration was over. Roger and I were both hot, sweaty, tired, and happier than we had ever been. Chris came over to us and wrapped an arm around each of us. We each wrapped an arm around him and announced that he had to meet my uncle. Again, it took about a minute to find him and we introduced them.

“This seems to have been a pretty good evening,” Ray said to us.

“Yeah,” Chris replied, “And now maybe I won’t have to listen to Roger’s forlorn stories about Kyle anymore, or at least the stories won’t be followed by a sad little face and a sigh.”

“Sad little face?” Roger questioned.

“Yeah sad little face,” Chris repeated, “You were pushing the pathetic button for a while there.”

This time I gave his hand a little squeeze and got a squeeze back.

After giving Chris a kinda strange look and Chris grinning, Ray looked at Roger and said, “I don’t suppose you’d want to stay over and catch up on the last couple of months would you? We have chocolate.”

Roger glanced at Chris, looked back at Ray, grinned, and replied, “Uh, forget the chocolate, of course I want to catch up.”

That said, we wished Batman and Wonder Woman a good night, and the three of us started towards home, Roger and I hand-in-hand once again. About half way there, Roger realized he would be walking home tomorrow dressed like Dumbledore. After laughing at the image for a few seconds, I offered to let him borrow some of my clothes. An offer he quickly accepted.

Once home, we hit the bathroom quickly and both flopped backwards onto my bed. We did chat for a little while. I found out that Roger had gone beyond desperate. Chris had visited him in the hospital and made sure he knew he would never have to go home again. For a few minutes we were both in tears and I moved closer so I could take him in my arms. I looked him in the eyes for a few seconds, and for the first time in my life, kissed someone I loved. Nothing, and I do mean nothing I had ever dreamed of could compare to the rush I felt when our lips met. It was an otherworldly, almost out of body experience. I know you think I’m exaggerating but no, it was totally unreal and I knew Roger was feeling it too.

It did become very real when his tongue touched mine though, and I thought I was going to pass out. I can’t remember how or when it happened, but I began to realize we were somehow only wearing boxers. We were sharing our love that evening though, and neither of us needed it to go any further because nothing could have made this time together more special.

My first Halloween had turned out to be a time I would cherish for the rest of my life.

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

If you enjoyed reading this story, please let me know! Authors thrive by the feedback they receive from readers. It's easy: just click on the email link at the bottom of this page to send me a message. Say “Hi” and tell me what you think about ‘Kyle’. Thanks.

This story and the included images are Copyright © 2015 by Grant Bentley. They cannot be reproduced without express written consent. Codey's World web site has written permission to publish this story. No other rights are granted.

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!