Postcards From the Ledge (and Other Extraordinary Folk): Some Men Go Crazy (Story 2) - Part D

Ken Painter By Ken Painter, 29th Dec 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>General Fiction

Join me in a stroll through an eclectic collection of short stories filled with gay and straight characters in the mid-Michigan communities of Lansing and East Lansing and surrounding areas as they laugh, love, and find their lives intertwined in inexplicable ways. (Some of the stories - not all - contain softcore male/male sex scenes, and some of the material contained has been previously published on Wikinut by this author and have been modified from its original form.)

The Breakthrough Session

That following Monday afternoon Jeff returned to Matt’s office for his next follow-up session. He actually walked into the office with a bit of a bounce in his step which Matt noticed and commented upon.

“Well, you seem chipper today,” Matt observed as Jeff took his already usual seat. “So you must have something good to report. Care to tell me how your homework went for the last two weeks?”

“Well, which one would you like me to start with?”

“How about we start with the shop talk? How’s that topic working out for you?”

“Actually pretty well,” Jeff began. “It’s not perfect yet, and we both still find ourselves catching each other starting to bring something up we really didn’t mean to. I guess old habits die hard, that sort of thing. But we’re probably 80, maybe 90% of the way there. We’ve both got our own confidantes now that we’re kind of venting on instead, or perhaps commiserating with is a better choice of words, but I think it’s going to work out.”

“That’s great really,” Matt replied. “I didn’t really expect you to fall into a pattern overnight, and actually you’ve exceeded my expectations for the first two weeks. It does take some getting used to. But are both you and Tim comfortable with the arrangement? Are you happy about it?”

Jeff smiled at Matt and nodded, “Oh yes. It’s working. There’s a much better atmosphere in the house because of this and, well . . .,” Jeff started blushing. “I guess there’s a better atmosphere because of that and other things.” Jeff looked up at Matt and shot him a sheepish grin.

“By the way you seemed to underscore other things,” Matt asked, “am I to assume that the two of you at least attempted to try a role play or two?”

“Oh yeah!” Jeff grinned like the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.

“Okay then!” Matt cleared his throat and gave a little chuckle and plowed on. “Well, I don’t need to know the particulars. But from that grin, I can sense, no, I can see that the results must have been . . . well, very, shall we say, satisfying? Would that be a proper word to put on it?”

“Yup! Works for me,” Jeff responded, and then they both burst out laughing simultaneously not being able to contain themselves any longer.

Finally after a few moments when they’d both regained their composure, Matt went on, “Well I really don’t want to know the details, but let me just say that in my experience,” and Matt felt the need to clear his throat here, “um, with my hubby and me, we kind of had the same look on our faces that you just shot over at me. So I’m reading you, Jeff. Let me ask you a couple of non-relevant questions if I may that don’t have anything to do with your particular role play or plays. Did you get to do one or two?”

“Two. One for each of us.”

“Good, that’s great really. And obviously they turned out well?” Jeff was nodding quite actively.

“I already thought that, but I just wanted to check again before I asked the next question. Did you or perhaps both you and Tim learn anything about each other that you’d never known about each other before, and you don’t have to divulge to me what that was specifically, but if you guys learned anything new from the role play, I’d be interested to know how you felt and if it opened up your relationship any?”

Before Matt had even finished the question Jeff was shaking his head back and forth and grinning, not the Cheshire cat grin, but more a look of simple amazement and wonder on his face when he said, “God, Matt! You’re good! Do you read minds too?”

“I don’t read minds, Jeff,” Matt responded. “First of all, this is my job. And second, I’m just as gay as you are, just as damaged, just as broken. There’s nothing you’ve been through, nothing your eyes have seen that mine haven’t seen also. Now you still haven’t answered my question.”

“Okay, but you’re still amazing, and now you’ve raised a question in my mind I’ve got to ask you about before I leave today so don’t let me forget. Fair enough?”

“Fair enough, and thank you.”

“Okay,” Jeff began carefully, “well the answer to your very astute observation Matt is that yes, both Tim and I found out something new about each other from our individual fantasy role plays. And while I’m not going to get into those specifics only because some of the details get kind of hot, not that you couldn’t handle that,” Matt was laughing and blushing as he waved on Jeff to continue, “well, you know, anyway, it was all good stuff. And it definitely brought us closer together. And I don’t think we’ve ever laughed so much as we have in the last week and a half. Our house has turned into this sort of happy, crazy oasis. You know, I’ve always known I’ve been in love with Tim,” Jeff looked up at Matt with just a hint of a tear starting form in his right eye, “but suddenly almost overnight and like magic it’s like we’ve discovered each other, and I’m head-over-heels in love with him.” And then without thinking Jeff added, “or heels-over-head, I did not just say that!” And he buried his face in his hands as Matt began laughing, and so Jeff raised his head and sheepishly added, “Well, that gives you an idea about the craziness in our household lately!”

“No, no,” Matt waved him off, “don’t apologize, really Jeff, and try not to feel so embarrassed. Really! I’ll let you in on a little secret. What you and Tim are now experiencing, it sounds like, sounds a lot like Jim and me, and let me tell you that’s healthy! It sure as hell has worked for us!”

“Well, that does make me feel better,” Jeff replied with a chuckle. “And quite frankly your suggestion has changed our lives drastically, and we’re not about to stop! It’s too damn addicting!”

“Yes, it is,” Matt agreed. “Positive things are supposed to be. Now you wanted me to remind you that I had said something earlier that raised a question in your mind. What was that?”

“Oh yeah. Well first of all, when I said you were good I meant it. Before I came to you Tim and I had this discussion about psychiatrists versus psychologists, and he gave me the pros and cons of both, but other than the obvious warning that I was under orders not to fall in love with you,” and Jeff winked at Matt as they both laughed, “Tim said that not only did he recommend you because you were a good therapist, but because you were gay, and I believe if I can recall how he said it he said something like ‘nobody understands us like us.’ Well, then earlier you mentioned exactly that, you were just as gay, and I think you also said just as damaged and just as broken. Did I hear that correctly?”

“Yeah, that’s what I said,” Matt replied.

“Well, I guess my comment is what did you mean by the damaged and broken part? I know it’s a pretty fucked up world, but I didn’t ever feel any more damaged or broken than anybody else.”

“You didn’t, huh?” Matt looked quizzically at Jeff with a gentle grin as if to challenge him.

“No, not really.”

“Then you, my friend, may be the first gay man in the world I’ve ever known who’s felt that way.” Matt was still smiling. “Let me ask you this. How old were you when you told your parents that you liked boys, and which parent was it?”

“I was 22, and it was my mom. She said she already knew and that she and my dad had already discussed their suspicions since I’d never dated any girls in high school, and so I never had to have that talk with my dad. They just accepted it, and we’ve all gone on with life.”

“Sounds pretty open. Are they accepting of Tim?”

“Yeah, they like Tim”

“You said like. You guys have been together a lot of years. Wouldn’t you think that by this time it should be that they would love him? I’m not trying to pick apart your relationship with your parents here. I’m just giving you something to think about, because you said that you never viewed yourself as being damaged or broken having grown up as gay. Let me tell you what I meant by that.” Matt leaned back in his chair as Jeff intently listened for an explanation.

“What I meant was,” Matt continued, “both you and I, and Tim, my husband Jim, and every other gay man in this world, were raised from infancy believing that they were going to grow up and date girls, have sex with them, get married to them, have children with them, and raise a family with them, in short live a lie. Am I right?”

“Well, yes,” Jeff nodded, “I can see your point, but how does that make us damaged?”

“Each of us, Jeff, grows up concealing our true identity, who we really are inside and learning to shut up about it. Learning to shut up that we like boys! That we’ve got this special feeling for boys! Because society has a taboo about boys who have a special feeling for boys! How old were you when you knew you really liked boys, Jeff?”

“Oh, five or six. Seven for sure.”

“And how old were you when you kissed your first boy,” Matt pressed on.

“Twelve. Bobby Wallace behind the grocery store one evening when no one else was around.”

“And how did you feel about that?”

“Scared shitless that we’d get caught.”

“Right. And weren’t you even just a little bit ashamed?”

“Oh yeah. Big time! Bobby was my best friend, and he never, ever spoke to me again. I kept apologizing to him or trying to, but he wouldn’t even let me get close enough again to do even that.” Matt could sense Jeff’s agitation, and he knew he was getting through. “That was during the summer before we went into the 7th grade, my God, I haven’t thought about this . . . in forever,” Jeff buried his face in his hands and started to sob.

“That’s all right, Jeff,” Matt said quietly as he stood up and placed a comforting hand in Jeff’s shoulder. “Take your time.”

After a few moments more Jeff was able to compose himself, and he looked up at Matt with huge doe-eyes that almost melted Matt’s heart. Good thing Matt thought that the both of them were happily coupled to others. This one was such a damn sweetie. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Jeff looked at Matt in quiet resignation and then smiled, “and I repeat, you are good! I see your point. I’d just never seen myself quite in that light before.”

Matt had returned to his chair. “I don’t want you to think that I’m making martyrs of us in the gay community or anything like that. I don’t want to overstate our case. But it is important, Jeff that you and every gay person especially every gay man understand that we were bred uniquely in a straight society while knowing we were gay and hiding it and being ashamed of who we were and thus closeting ourselves and having a coming out experience. Some of us like yourself had one that perhaps wasn’t so bad, and some of us like myself had one that wasn’t so great. And then there are others that I’m aware of that were just plain damnable!” Matt wasn’t going to open up to Jeff that his own lover, his partner, his would-be husband if the state of Michigan would ever get off its ass and evolve had been thrown out into the streets by not-so-understanding parents at the age of 15 for being a gay teenager as are thousands of others throughout American society. Jim was one of the success stories, however they both had heard too many horror stories of those who had fallen through the cracks.

“I think I understand where you’re going with this.”

“You know, Jeff. You’ve made remarkable progress. Actually, I don’t think there’s that much wrong that requires fixing, but I do have a suggestion. What I’d like to see you do is obviously keep doing what you and Tim have already started, because it’s working so well and then make an appointment again for four weeks rather than two. I also have one additional assignment for you,” and Matt scribbled something on a notepad and slid it over to Jeff. “I’d like you to read this if you can locate it. You can find it I believe at the library or any of the online booksellers, perhaps any of the bookstores and even used booksellers in town. It’s a great book, all of the gay & lesbian history you never knew or wanted to know or perhaps never wanted to ask. I personally find it fascinating, but then I’m a damned firebrand!” Matt looked over at Jeff, “I think every gay person should know this stuff! You would not believe! And you being a teacher, you also might find it interesting.”

“Thanks, Matt. I believe I will.” Jeff smiled back at Matt and actually shook his hand. “History was my minor in college, so this should be good. Thanks.”

Jeff hit the streets again with that skip in his step and a hum in his voice.

New Friendships

Jeff was able to locate the book at one of the used booksellers in town, and he found the material even more fascinating than he had expected. He found himself sharing little tidbits from it with Tim between and around their next three fantasy sessions, two of Jeff’s and one of Tim’s. (Tim‘s last fantasy had read pretty bare-bones to Jeff. All it said was sailors and a deserted island. Jeff ran with it in a completely unexpected direction for Tim showing up on their front stoop in a handmade pirate outfit which he‘d once used at school and with two coconuts in hand. “Avast, Matey! Name‘s Patch-Oye Pete Oy say,” as he came blustering past Tim into their living room, and Tim broke down into hysterical laughter immediately, but Jeff kept right on never once breaking character. And the rest is best left to the imagination). Tim had become interested enough from what he’d heard from Jeff’s tidbits that he read the book himself after his lover was finished with it, and after the cracking of the nuts . . . er, coconuts, that is.

It would be only a couple more monthly sessions that Jeff would see Matt in the office professionally before Matt pronounced Jeff unclogged and therefore no longer in need of his services. Matt had declared privately to Jeff in their final session together that he’d never really viewed him as seriously troubled, but rather more like plugged up as a drain sometimes gets or clogged, and now he was unclogged and okay to go. But if he ever needed him again not to hesitate to call. Jeff went home and told Tim what he’d said, and they looked at each other and laughed, and they said, what the hell?

Jeff looked at Tim and said, “You call him and ask him.”

“Nuh uh,” Tim smiled back at his lover, laughing. “He’s your therapist. You call and ask! He said if you ever needed him again not to hesitate to call!”

“Not for this Doofus!” They were giggling like schoolboys. “He’s a colleague of yours, Tim. You call him, please? I don’t want him to get the wrong idea, like we mean a foursome or something. You know, not in the wrong way?”

“Okay, you’re right,” Tim relented. “I’ll call him. Actually, I just wanted to see you squirm.” And he laughed like the devil.

Jeff laughed and smiled back at his goofy lover and said, “You turd!”

Tim made the call to Matt Dobson the next morning, and Matt & Jim and Jeff & Tim started going out on doubles outings within the next two weeks and went on to become the best of friends.

I'm Not Afraid (A Gay Liberation)

By Jeff Abernathy

In a world of saints and sinners I am learning how to grow
From among the weeds and wicked things, how far I don’t yet know
It’s a far-off destination that calls out to my own hands
But I must fight through wrong and right to claim my heart’s demands

I’m not afraid of what anyone might say
I’m not afraid, oh Lord, to slip up along the way
And if life is one big circus, I am not the only clown
When I find my perfect purpose may I never set it down
I can be the king of ‘most anything, let me step into the crown
I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid

As I walk through fields of heartache where all broken dreams abound
I can see the scorn of fear and hate in faces all around
It’s a struggle for a gay man not to fade back with the weak
But not wind and rain, nor private pain may cloud this truth I seek

I’m not afraid of what anyone might say
I’m not afraid, oh Lord, to slip up along the way
And if life is one big circus, I am not the only clown
When I find my perfect purpose may I never set it down
I can be the king of ‘most anything, let me step into the crown
I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid
I’m not afraid . . . ANYMORE!

(Written by Jeff early in that summer break from school after he’d finished his sessions with Matt Dobson, as he began reflecting upon all he’d already learned and all the new and wonderful discoveries he was making about life each and every day as he stumbled along its uncertain but lovely way.)

(This concludes "Some Men Go Crazy (Story 2)". Next up: "Slugger: The Interview")

Link to "Slugger: The Interview" . . . Here

Link to Part A of "Some Men Go Crazy (Story 2)" . . . Here


Gay Community, Gay Couples, Gay Experience, Gay Lesbian And Bisexual, Gay Love, Gay Men, Gay Rights, Gays, Lgbt, Lgbt Community, Psychoanalysis, Psychological, Psychological Problems, Psychologist, Psychology, Short Fiction, Short Stories

Meet the author

author avatar Ken Painter
Retired Chicago public school teacher. Singer, songwriter, musician, author, & opinionated old curmudgeon. Married to my husband & living in Colorado, USA. Also a father & grandfather.

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