Source: Article ‘My Life as a Boy’; youfoundme.org/mylife.html; My Life; 2007.
William A. Ireland
From the above title please do not think I am trans gender, transsexual or trans anything. I was born a male and always will be. I love the freedom of being able to pee standing up.
When I was eleven years old I was lucky enough to meet a man who treated me with great kindness and affection. I was out riding my bike one day when I saw him working on the old house he and his wife just purchased. The house was located far enough from my parents place where I lived as to not be considered a neighbor. I had seen the man before because my dad owned a small business that brought people to our house. The fact that I lived in a very small town in rural New England also made it easy to know the man’s name. If you have never lived or visited a town like I just described you may not understand how fast word of mouth can spread information.
As I rode my bike down his driveway he looked up and seemed to recognize me. When I got close enough he asked me what I was doing so far from home. I guess when your “old” three or four miles on a bike is a long way to travel. My bike was my ticket to the wider world. I loved being on the road. The freedom that went along with a banana seat, two wheels and a sissy bar was like heaven to me. I told him I was hot and thirsty and was wondering if I could get a drink of water. He got down off his ladder and said he needed a break anyway so why not. He had a cooler on the back of his pickup truck and went and got us each an ice cold drink.
He sat on the tailgate of his truck and I sat on my bike. We chatted about the nice weather and about the house he was working on. It was a typical old farmhouse in need of much repair. After I finished my drink I just sat listening and talking with him. It was strange to me that he seemed to care about and listen to what I was saying. I felt awkward because I knew I had no real reason for being there yet I didn’t want to leave either. He may have seen that I was uncomfortable because his next question was “would you mind giving me a hand before you leave”?
I was just thrilled that he wanted my help. I jumped off my bike and said, “Sure what do you need me to do?”
He said he was putting up an eve board and needed me to hold one end while he got it nailed into place. I helped him for an hour or so then told him I had to get home for lunch.
The ride home was incredible. Never had my bike peddled so easily or gone so fast. I had no idea why I felt the way I did, I just knew it was a great day. I kept thinking about how he listened when I talked and he asked me for help. I felt useful and important. I wasn’t just the kid up the street or so and so’s little brother. I was a helper, I could do things that where useful to a man. Seldom since have I had such a feeling. Maybe it is because for the first time I felt someone needed me. What I do know is I changed that day. No longer was I just a kid, I grew up and I knew it. Life for me was not going to be the same; I had turned a corner and was more alive because of it.
From here on, out of respect and for protection, I will refer to my friend as James. For obvious reasons I can’t use his real name.
I waited a few days, and then rode my bike back to his end of town. With only one road through town there was the north end of town and the south end. I lived in the north, James in the south. I was really disappointed when he wasn’t outside. I had looked forward to helping him again and just thought he would be there building away. His truck was in the driveway but I couldn’t see him. It took me a few minutes but after a while I got up the nerve to go knock on the door. When he opened the door he looked almost as happy as I felt. Any fear or apprehension left my mind and body without any haste. He grinned at me and asked if I needed another drink of water. I felt a little stupid then because I hadn’t thought of a reason to be there. He had no way of knowing that being there made me happy. Nothing else was said as to why I was there, he just invited me in.
I knew from conversations he had had with my dad that he worked nights at the paper mill nearby. When he told me he had finished working on the house for the day my heart sank. All I wanted to do was hang out with him and help him repair something. From my first visit I knew he had a lot of knowledge about fixing things. That day was not going to be like the first day and I’m sure my sadness showed through. He told me he had to leave soon but that I could rest there until he left for work. I sat at the kitchen table watching him make his lunch pail up for the night shift. Trying to make conversation I asked him where his wife was and he told me she had a job too and was gone everyday. I told him I thought it was strange that a man would have to make his own lunch. My mother always put up my dad’s lunch. He smiled but didn’t seem offended by what I had said.
If I thought my life had taken a turn three days ago it was about to make an about face. James told me he had started working on the bathroom and that he had no water in there so he was going to shave at the table. As he got a small basin of hot water ready along with the old fashioned lather brush and razor I started panting like a dog. I hid it the best I could but for some reason I was really excited about watching him shave.
At this point I must tell you about the “dirty magazines” as my mother called them. My grandfather had given some old issues to my dad and I found them hidden under my parent’s mattress one day. After sneaking a few looks at them I realized I liked the ones that had pictures of men in them. There weren’t many and it was always the girl parts that the photos were focused on, but there were one or two that showed men with erections. The pictures were up close and personal , and I liked them.
As I watched James lather up his face and get the razor ready (they were scary in those days). I started thinking what he would look like if he was in the dirty picture book. I tried not to think about it, but, as he stroked the shave cream off his face my fantasies just took over. I was staring at him in utter fascination. I had never watched a man shave like that before and certainly never thought about what he would look like naked in a picture. I was too young to ejaculate but I’m pretty sure I came in my pants so to speak. My mind was going places it had never been before.
On the ride home I was really mad at myself. James had done nothing but be nice to me and I wanted to do bad things with him. It didn’t seem fair. If he ever found out what I was thinking he would hate me. I didn’t know much about the whole sex thing but being the youngest of six children I had heard enough to know I was “one sick fucking child.” With what I knew about adults at that time I was convinced James already knew what I was thinking. He knew my little penis got rock hard and that I had that funny tickle down there that happens when you and a friend monkey around in the tree house. I felt I could never go back to James’ house again and I had ruined everything. I was going to hell and I knew it.
When I was watching him shave and having the thoughts it didn’t seem bad. I didn’t want to hurt James. As a matter of fact, while my mind was seeing naked pictures of him I felt it would be like loving him only different. What I also didn’t understand was, if he knew what I was thinking, why did he say it was nice seeing me again? Why did he tell me he could use a hand the next day holding the copper pipe in position while he soldered it?
The next day my Mum was “going into town”. At that point in time going into town was a big deal. It meant getting on your school clothes, washing your face and combing your hair – not the most important things to an eleven year old. I also had other plans. Things were different now. I was grown up and someone wanted my help. I don’t know why my parents hadn’t seen the changes that had taken place in their little boy, and I wasn’t about to tell them.
I told my mother I was planning to go play baseball with Shirley. Shirley was the town tom boy, she was tough, and could spit better than any of the rest of the gang. As parents do, mother had to throw a monkey wrench into my plans. This included taking the trash to the dump. In those days you just picked a corner of your 70 acre farm and used it as a dump. There was no curbside pickup or recycling. I also had to get the lawn mowed. There was a small amount of whining but I didn’t want her to say I had to go to town so I raced through my chores. Mum left before I finished the lawn. I knew I was going to be in trouble and have to re-mow the grass. You can’t run with the lawnmower and think you’re going to get a good job done.
Needless to say I didn’t stop at the ball diamond. I rode as fast and hard as I could to James’ house. Any thoughts about how evil I must be disappeared overnight, and I was only a little concerned about him knowing what I had been thinking the day before. Just as I got to the driveway a car was pulling out. This nice lady stopped and told me she was James’ wife and that I must be “Little Billy”. (To this day I hate family nick names). I said I was and she thanked me for being such a big help to her and her husband.
The driveway seemed ten miles long that day. Meeting James’ wife brought back a flood of yesterday’s feelings. What was I going to do? How could I tell him I didn’t mean to have those bad thoughts. They just happened? By the time I got done scuffing my feet and dawdling around James was already at the door waiting for me. I hung my head and walked to the door. He greeted me as if things were just great, and there was no scolding me for thinking bad things. I was sure he was just waiting for the right time to yell at me and tell me he hated me and to never come near his house again. The longer I waited the worse it got. The strange thing is he never did yell at me.
Finally he took hold of my shoulders, squat down so he could look me in the eye, and asked what was wrong with me. To this day I don’t know how I kept from bursting into tears because that was all I wanted to do. Cry and run. I told him I was a bad kid and if he knew what I was really like he would hate me. At that point the smile went from his face and that serious adult look that I had seen a hundred times but still didn’t understand replaced it. James took me to the kitchen table and we sat down. He told me that he didn’t think I was old enough to be really bad and that he couldn’t think of any reason that would ever make him hate me. It took a long time but I was able to tell him about my thoughts and that I wanted to touch him. I’m not sure where the “I want to touch you” part came from but I said it and I couldn’t take it back.
All he said was “that is serious stuff and I’ll have to think about it”. He got me a snack and went back to work. I sat at the table thinking that the world didn’t come crashing down and he didn’t yell at me.
Over the next two weeks James and I only got to see each other a few times. He had to work a shut down at the mill and I had family stuff to do. His not freaking out did make me more brave. Every time we did get to see each other I would ask him if he had thought about it. His response was always the same “That’s serious stuff I need to think about it”.
My being the kid I was, my comeback was “It’s just for fun, it’s no big deal or anything”. Deep in my heart though I was a little hurt that he didn’t feel the same way. Once I said it out loud the fear went away for me and was replaced by desire.
The big day came not unlike any of the other times I would peddle my skinny little ass to his place. We were working under the house on some plumbing stuff. James was laying on his back working and I was holding the flashlight. At one point he had to spread his legs to get leverage on a piece of pipe he was trying to move. I just reached out and put my hand on his crotch. He stopped for a second but didn’t pull away. After he got the pipe moved he looked at me. I started laughing and said “I bet mines bigger than yours”. I already knew that wasn’t true but I didn’t know what else to say. James just told me we’d see about that later but for now we needed to make sure the water in the bathroom worked.
For the first time I was really mad at James. I had been the one to tell about my secret thoughts, I was the one who wanted to cry when I couldn’t see him. I was the one who held his stupid boards and pipes in position while he fixed them. Why was he more concerned about the water running than about my feelings? We were in a little secrete hiding place where no one could see us and all he wanted to know was did the solder hold. I didn’t hide my anger well and when we got out from under the house and were dusting each other off I hit him a lot harder than I needed to. I was mad and I wanted him to know it. My little tantrum continued into the house where I threw myself into a chair at the table and made a huffing noise. James proceeded to the bathroom to check the water flow. I was really pissed off then.
Because of the remodeling there was no door on the bathroom. When James walked out I knew he was there but I wouldn’t look at him. I could tell he was just standing there looking at me and I was a little ashamed for being an ass to him. Again, all he had ever done was be nice to me. I was being the jerk and I knew it.
All James said to me at that time was “do you really know what your doing”? As I turned and looked at him I realized his pants were unbuttoned and the zipper was undone. His white briefs were showing a little and I could not take my eyes off them. I told him I did understand what was going on and that it was what I wanted. When he stepped closer to me I reached out and took hold of the elastic band around his waist and pulled it down. He was not erect and he did not look like the pictures I had seen in the magazine. He had, what he later explained to me, was a foreskin. I didn’t have one of those and I found it wonderfully exciting.
As that first summer went on James and I spent as much time together as we could. He worked hard at teaching me how to measure and cut things. What I liked about those times was when James would stand behind me and put his arms around me. He would hold my hand and show me how to accurately guide the tool through the material I was cutting. Sometimes it was a handsaw other times a pipe cutting tool. I really felt close to him when he would do that. During the sex times I would use my hands and mouth to make him feel close to me. A couple of times I pretended I was a little puppy dog and just licked him. It didn’t matter if it was his neck, arms or his private parts, he smelled and tasted wonderful to me. We only got to “fool around” four or five times that summer. With me being a young boy we were very limited as to just how much time I could spend there.
I still was not ready or willing to tell my parents what James meant to me. If they couldn’t see the changes and growth that was taking place (in me) I felt it wasn’t my responsibility to tell them. Don’t get me wrong, they were great parents. My mum was a wonderful woman and my dad was involved with my life as much as any dad at that time and place. They did all they could for me and I had it much better than a lot of young people. I was well fed, had clean clothes and a warm loving house to live in. I had more and bigger toys than all of my siblings. I just knew that things were different for me. At a very young age my mother and I were talking one night as she sat there knitting me a pair of wool socks. She looked up from her knitting and told me I scare her because I didn’t think like the rest of her kids. She called me a “deep thinker”.
Summer, fall, winter, spring they all came and went. My life was so typical that there is very little to tell. School, Christmas, birthdays those were the important things to me. I turned twelve and when school got out for summer vacation it gave me more time to spend with James.
At some point in time I had heard about men “going inside” other men. I really wanted to try this, and we did once. I didn’t like it that much because I couldn’t look at James. I wanted to see him have fun with me. My favorite thing to do was to get fully naked and get in bed. What made this so great was two things. One, I got to play the puppy dog game and lick all over him. The other was, these were the times James would rub me all over or have me lay on him. Kissing his neck and having my little hard penis pushing against his belly would make me sweat.
It was the end of that summer that I learned what real heartache felt like. Sex was never the dominating factor in my relationship with James. I wanted to fool around a lot more than he did but I just liked being with him. He knew so much about construction and getting things to work that it was like being at school all the time except it was fun. Like any kid who hears his dad tell the same joke all the time I got tired of hearing “plumbings easy boy, just remember shit flows down hill”. What I really didn’t want to hear was the day James told me we couldn’t do the sex thing anymore. I don’t recall his exact words but something to the effect “this just isn’t right or this isn’t normal”. I was crushed. It (our friendship) seemed so normal and great to me that I didn’t understand why he felt that way. My suffering didn’t come from the hands of an abuser, my suffer came from the words of a man who feared for my wellbeing. I kept telling him I was okay with things and nothing needed to change. Change did come and even my begging wouldn’t get him to monkey around with me. It happened once or twice after the big talk but it was never the same.
I grew up and moved away from my small New England town. I had boyfriends and girlfriends, long term relationships and short term flings. I had fun jobs, bad jobs and high paying jobs. At the age of thirty I married a wonderful woman and a few years later had an even more wonderful son. We moved back to my hometown and I built a house with my own hands. During that period I thought many times about all the things James taught me – like “Do it right the first time” or “Remember that shit flows down hill,” or “Plumbing sucks but it isn’t hard.” He was right about a lot of things.
There are ten thousand therapist out there who would still say I was a victim at the hands of an abuser. I was not. I have every reason in the world to give in to what I have been told, and put all my problems on James, But James was not the problem! I was there. I know what happened, and I know how I felt. Maybe I’m the only boy in the world that had a loving caring relationship with an adult man but I doubt it. This is a true story, and all I’m asking is for you to realize that you are being fed a bunch of crap when you are told intergenerational relationships are always bad. They are not always bad and I am living proof.
James is still married, has grown children and even grandchildren. I see him occasionally even though he has since sold the old farmhouse and moved to a nearby town. Again rural New England life. We have only talked about our two summers together once as adults. I was going through some hardships a few years ago and wanted him to understand I in no way blamed him. He had given me something that no one can ever take away and I wanted him to know that.