- T I M -
I had reached the point of no return. The door opening scared the shit out of me, I stopped stroking, but that made no difference. My body played a good game of ready-or-not, here-I-come, and did.
Shawn stood in the doorway, one hand on the knob, his eyes taking in the spectacle of me lying on my side on the bed, naked, one hand on my balls, the other around my dick which was spurting rhythmically, uncontrollably, while I lay red-faced from the effort I had been exerting.
And I couldn’t stop my dick! It spurted and spurted and didn’t want to quit.
All good things come to an end, and eventually it did, but to me it was an eternity.
Shawn just kept staring, not saying a word. I couldn’t stand that, couldn’t stand the silence and staring, the total embarrassment of my situation, so finally said, “God damn it, Shawn, get the hell out of here!”
He finally took his eyes off my dick, looked at me, and said, emotion coloring his voice, righteousness coming up seemingly from his very soul, “Masturbation is a sin. I’ve got to tell Mom. You’ll go to hell for this.”
I couldn’t believe it! He was 16 and thought jerking off was a sin? Did that mean he didn’t do it himself? Every boy jerked off. I’d learned that in Sex Ed, and personal research, talking to my friends, seemed to confirm it. It was talked about all the time, joked about. It was something everyone did, and if it was a little dirty and exciting to talk about, that just gave it a little added pleasure. It was like all of us boys were in a club, all members, and we’d all passed the initiation ceremony. So Shawn acting like me jerking off was more than what it was, acting like him catching me was more that just an embarrassing moment, well, what was that all about?
But I had more important things on my mind than sin. “What do you mean, you’re going to tell Mom? You’re going to tell her you caught me jerking off? Why would you do that? That’s crap, Shawn, and you know it! Brothers don’t do that. I know we don’t talk a lot, but we’re still brothers. You know, I hope you know, I wouldn’t do anything like that to you. Why would you do that?”
His eyes had dropped back to my dick, which had withered and now was barely visible in my hand. I had shot all over myself and the bed and wanted to clean it up, wanted more than anything to get up and get away from Shawn, but wasn’t about to stand up and parade around naked with a reddened and withered cock in front of him. I had to continue lying there. Which was too bad because this wasn’t the most effective position to be spouting indignant anger from.
He pulled his eyes back to mine. “It’s a sin. I have to tell Mom.” And with that, he walked away, leaving the door open.
I lay there for a moment, embarrassed and mad and a little stunned. My life had suddenly changed, and I knew it. How would Mom react? Dad? I started feeling strange, a little hollow inside, and not sure what to do. And the more I thought, the madder I got with Shawn. Murderous was a better word for what I was feeling. What was he thinking? How could he do this?
I got up, cleaned up, got dressed and went to find him.
He was in his room, reading the Bible. He did that a lot. So did Mom. I didn’t knock, just walked in the open door and confronted him. He was taller and heavier than I was, but that didn’t make any difference. I needed to get this settled.
“Shawn,” I said, trying to keep my anger under control, “we have to talk about this. Yeah, I was jerking off. Big deal. I do it all the time. Every kid I know jerks off. All the time. Every one of them. I can’t believe you don’t. If you don’t, you’re pretty unique in the entire history of teenaged boys. But whether you do or not, whether I do or not, it’s private. You know that. You have to know that. It’s not something you talk to adults about. Adults know kids beat off. They were young. They know. Maybe they even still do it themselves, how would I know, but they might. But jerking off is not something a brother tells his parents he saw his brother doing. It’d be something like telling them you walked in the bathroom as caught me taking a crap. Can’t you see that? What’s going on with you, anyway?”
Shawn had closed his Bible when I’d walked in. He was looking at me. When I finished spouting off, he said to me without emotion, rather like he was explaining how when you add three to six, you get nine, “Reverend Ellison says masturbating is a sin, and you’ll go to hell if you commit sins and don’t repent, if you don’t take Jesus into your heart. You can still find salvation, Tim. Pray with me. Accept Jesus. Stop being sinful. Pray with me now, it’ll be your first step towards grace.”
That surprised me a little, and sparked my curiosity. Not the accepting Jesus or repenting sins part, that was just Shawn talking, but the first part. So I asked him, “You talk to Reverend Ellison about jerking off?”
“We talk about a lot of things. He tells me what’s right and wrong, what are sins and what aren’t. I need to know what to avoid so I can go to heaven. Masturbation is a sin. Man should not waste his seed, should not spill it on the ground. Yes, we talk about that and other sins.”
“But he’s an adult. I’ve never known kids to talk about jerking off with adults. That’s nuts.” I was about to ask him what else they talked about, but then realized I’d end up with a sermon if I did that, so resisted the temptation.
“It’s not nuts to want to go to heaven, to want to lead a sacred life. You should want the same thing. You have to stop your sinful ways, like masturbation. You have to welcome Jesus into your heart.”
I just looked at him. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I knew he’d been withdrawn lately, I knew he was reading the Bible, I knew he’d been doing a lot of thinking and didn’t seem to be a particularly happy kid any longer, but this? He was going to turn me jerking off, something we all did, into a prayer for salvation? This boy was in serious need of help, in my mind. What had happened to him? He didn’t just go to church, he believed. Really, truly, with all his being, believed.
I could tell, at that moment, I couldn’t talk to him about this. We weren’t talking like two brothers. It was as though he was someplace different from me, speaking a different language, thinking thoughts that had no meaning to me, that weren’t relevant to who I was or the life I was living.
I looked at him, then turned around and walked out of his room, a troubled sadness enveloping me.
== === ========= === ==
I did some thinking that afternoon, waiting for Mom and Dad to come home. It wasn’t happy thinking, but difficult, painful thinking. I decided what I had to do, and it was, well, humiliating. But I didn’t see what else I could do.
Dad came home first. Mom as usual was tied up with church duties. She rarely came home before six, and Dad was usually there around five. When he came in, I let him get settled on the couch with the newspaper, then approached him.
“Dad, I need to talk to you.”
He heard my serious tone of voice and immediately put the paper down and looked up at me. I sat down in a chair right next to him. I didn’t want to do this, but knew I must.
“Dad, something happened this afternoon and I have to tell you about it. You’re going to be embarrassed and so am I, and I’d do almost anything not to have to talk to you about this, but I have to. Please don’t interrupt me. This is going to be difficult enough without that.”
“OK, Tim. I’m listening.”
“Dad, you know I’m 13 now. You know about being 13. OK, here goes. I was jerking off this afternoon. Up in my room with the door closed. Shawn opened the door and looked in. He caught me doing it. He told me I was a sinner and was going to hell. Then he said he was going to tell Mom. I went to talk to him about that in his room, where he was reading his Bible. I told him he shouldn’t tell on me, brothers don’t do that, and besides, all boys jerk off. He said I was a sinner, I had to accept Jesus, and he wanted me to pray with him. It spooked me, so I left. But he’s still going to tell Mom, and maybe you. I had to talk to you first. Dad, I didn’t do anything wrong, did I?”
My voice broke at that point, and I felt like crying, though I don’t know why. It might just have been the emotion, or having to talk to my dad about this, which was more than embarrassing, was actually humiliating. Maybe I was worried about what Mom was going to say or do. I know I was upset by it all. I felt like crying, but I stopped myself.
Dad reached over and took my hand and squeezed it. I looked in his eyes and saw only compassion and sadness.
“No, Tim, you absolutely didn’t do anything wrong. Shawn did. He shouldn’t have opened your door without knocking, he should have closed it as soon as he saw what you were doing, he shouldn’t have said any of the things he said. I’ve thought for some time he’s been getting into his religions activities too deeply, but it’s hard to control that. I’ve tried, but he has your mother’s support and he’s a teenager. Half the time I speak to him, he just looks at me and doesn’t respond. You’re now a teen, too, but I can still talk to you, I still have some influence. I don’t have much any more with Shawn.
“I think you’re pretty brave, telling me this. I’d have jumped off a cliff before talking to my father like you just did. I’m really proud that we have the relationship we do so you can talk to me like you did. Even more, I’m really proud of you, Tim, facing up to doing it. I love you, Tim, and don’t say it enough. You’ve got a lot of character, a lot of inner strength. I don’t think many kids could have faced that challenge, met it head on.”
“But Dad, Shawn’s going to tell Mom. What’s she going to say? She’ll probably feel like he does. She’ll want me to go back to church or something, maybe confess in front of everyone there or something about what I was doing. I can’t do that. It was hard telling you, but I can’t talk about that to a group of other people. And, to tell the truth, I don’t feel like a sinner. I don’t think what I was doing, something that all boys do, is that bad. Actually, I don’t think it’s bad at all. It isn’t, is it?”
“No, Tim. The Bible says a lot of things, and today a lot of different people interpret these things in different ways. Some, like the church your mother and Shawn are attending, take the Bible literally, believing every word of it is God’s word and the absolute, no-gray-areas truth. But there are some really silly, even some offensive, things in it. In one place, it says women shouldn’t have the same religious freedoms as men. In another, it says if a couple not married to each other has a sexual affair, they should be put to death. Most people don’t believe these things, just as most people don’t believe masturbating is a sin.
“We’ll have to wait, Tim. We’ll see if Shawn tells your mother. If he does, I’m on your side, and I’ll calm her down. I’ll also talk to Shawn, but I’m not sure what good it will do. He’s taken all the sermons he’s heard to heart, and I’m afraid he believes every word that comes out of Reverend Ellison’s mouth.”
I felt better, knowing Dad was okay with me. I felt good I’d had the courage to go to Dad with this, and good about what he’d said afterwards. I wasn’t so anxious now. I didn’t want Shawn telling Mom about catching me jerking, I didn’t want to think about how she’d react, but I wasn’t worried any more that the world would fall in on me if it happened. At 13, you worry about things like that.
Mom came home at six fifteen. Dad had already started dinner, as he usually did. Mom changed out of her church clothes and went to help him finish up. A little before seven, they called dinner, and we all sat down. It was Shawn’s turn to say grace.
We clasped our hands, and Shawn started in, thanking God, thanking Jesus, saying a short prayer, then added, “and God, please find room in your heart for Tim, who has been masturbating in his room. Pease don’t send him to hell with all the others who. . . .”
That was a far as he got. My father was out of his seat and had grabbed him by the front of the shirt, yanking him up out of his seat.
My father, as I’ve said, is a small man. Shawn, at 16, was about his size. Shawn, however, couldn’t face the fury in Dad’s eyes. Dad was a mad as I’ve ever seen him.
“Shawn! Stop it!” he yelled, yelled into Shawn’s face. Shawn’s eyes opened wide, fear showing strongly in his face. “That’s not something you say in a room full of people. You might call that a prayer, you might even think you’re doing good, but YOU WILL NOT SAY THAT HERE!” My father was mad, and he was letting Shawn know that.
My mother was out of her seat, too, probably with the thought of protecting her boy. She grabbed one of Dad’s arms and pulled. It had no effect at all.
“Stop, stop, let him go,” she said, her voice worried, maybe even a little scared. “What are you doing, yelling at Shawn that way? And in the middle of a prayer, you should be ashamed of yourself!”
He whipped around into her face, letting Shawn go, who promptly fell back into his chair, his face white. Dad was still mad, and didn’t hold back at all. He spoke to her just and angrily as he’d spoken to Shawn, and just as loudly. “That was no prayer, Marge, that was a denunciation of Tim, a judgment of him, and it doesn’t belong here, and it isn’t any of Shawn’s business. It isn’t his job to worry about what sins Tim commits or doesn’t commit. He should worry about himself a little. Doesn’t your Bible talk about loving thy neighbor and God being the only proper judge of people? He should learn those lessons a little better before he starts worrying about Tim.”
My mother wasn’t going to listen to Dad talk about her wonderful son that way. Now she was mad, mad at Dad for yelling at Shawn, mad at Dad for saying he wasn’t her perfect religious exemplar.
“Stop it! I won’t have you talking about Shawn that way. Stop it. You don’t even read the Bible. What do you know?”
“Marge, I know
this has gone on long enough. When Shawn starts talking like he did tonight,
he’s gone way too far, and I think you’re going way too far, too. You’d better
do some serious thinking about you and Shawn and this family. We’re not acting
like a family any longer. You seem to care more about that damned church than
your family, and I’m sick of it. You better give this some thought. I want to
see you around here more, and I think Shawn should stop going to that church.
I’m not demanding it, but I’m telling you he should stop. And I want you to cut
your time way, way back. Are you listening to me?”
My mother had turned bright red. She sputtered, trying to talk but nothing coming out was the least bit coherent, then finally said, “You’ve gone crazy. I’m not going to do any such thing. And if you grab Shawn like that again, I’m going to call the police.” Then she just glared at him.
His voice was calmer now, but still as intense. “Marge, Shawn needs help. He needs to see a counselor. He desperately needs some time away from that church to get his thinking straight. You might think everything with him is wonderful, but he’s not acting like a normal teenager and you’re so wrapped up in the church, you don’t even see it. You’re an adult, you can make decisions for yourself, but Shawn still needs parents to look out for him. You’re not doing that.”
He walked back to his place at the table and sat down. Mom was still standing by Shawn’s place. She stood there a few minutes longer, looking at Dad, then Shawn, then back to Dad. No one said anything. Finally, she turned abruptly and, without speaking, walked out to the door to the kitchen. There she stopped, turned to look at me and said, “I’ll talk to you later.” Then she left the room.