Source: SOLR interview, in-person, audio recorded
I pass by a man who was beautiful. Blonde hair, over the ears. Mustache. He looks just like one of those guys in the magazines. I kept walking, and he walked past me. He turned around and looked at me and I turned around and looked at him and inside my head, I heard myself shriek. This changed my life, that moment. I said to myself, “What the hay?” And I walked back up to him and said, “Hi.” And he said, “Hi.”
His name was Rob and he was 35. We talked for a while and then he took me by the hand and we walked around the corner to the parking lot of the Catholic school and I had what felt like my first real kiss.
But it didn’t take long before my mom figured things out and confronted me. And Bruce’s parents found out about his being gay at the same time. He was shipped off to Japan, where his father was living and told him, “If you use it like that here, I will cut it off.” Rob high-tailed it to Montana to avoid being thrown in jail. I had known him less than two months, and I was alone again.
I started going very gay. Bomber leather jacket, tight jeans with the crotch highlighted by rubbing it. My dad, who had divorced my mom when I was eleven, moved to Los Angeles, and got “born again,” showed up one day after school. He spent the weekend with me, and then he got me to go spend the summer down there with him and his new wife and kid. At first, I wasn’t interested. — I didn’t like my dad — but then I realized there were a lot of hot men in LA.
So I went down there to that Christian environment and met Esther and Sandy, his new family. They sent me to a Christian summer camp and to Sunday school, and they took me to church with them. I became born-again and renounced my homosexuality.
They home-schooled me for the next year. I did a paper route, and I prayed, read books, got ready for the end times. I learned to navigate by the stars for when we would sneak through the hills because the Antichrist is here and the world is gone.
That lasted about a year and a half. Then, when I was 17, I found about nine reasons to understand that I was gay, that I want to have sex with men, and that it’s not evil, whatever they say. I don’t care what those people talk about, pray about, tell me about the Bible, I gotta be me. My dad punched me when I moved out.
A few years later, I got in contact with Rob somehow and we met up again. I had my own apartment, a tiny and wonderful space with a little fireplace. I invited him over for a romantic meal, wine, fireside, blanket, pillows, lube, condoms. And he made this comment, “You’ve grown up, Jason.” And I suddenly realized at that moment, we’re not gonna have sex tonight. It’s not gonna work. Something’s changed, and it was only four years ago. That’s when I realized he was a pedophile.
I’m 43 now. I’ve had a number of relationships over the years. After all this time, I’m good with my dad. I’m good with my mom and my sisters. I have a decent circle of friends here. I’m very educated, a pharmacist. I think I’m happier than most. Life is very good.
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