Charleston is my kinda city. It’s piss elegant. The houses and the waterfront are what I want. So that’s where Jack said we all should go for the weekend. Wrong. His friend Jake drove us there-- bearded Jake, my Jack, and Linda who is Jake’s mousy shadow. The first mistake was staying at the Overnight Motel, way outside Charleston on Highway 17. It’s where Jack and I first fucked. What a great night that was. Look, Jack is hot. He has just the body I love, Six feet, something, muscles but not too much-- like a swimmer, smooth, hairless chest and abs, a big cock, long silky brown hair that falls all over my stomach when he goes down on me. Jack knows how to make love like no other guy I’ve ever been with. When we are together he makes me feel like the goddess I am.
So anyway the three of them drive up to my family’s house in Beaufort. I get in the backseat of the blue Mazda with Jack, and off we go. We get to the motel and check in. Then we drive to the Battery and have lunch at this little cutesy café. Then we walk all over everywhere. That’s Jack and Jake, walk, walk, talk, talk. So I’m stuck with Linda who’s telling me all sorts of uninteresting shit about her family and some trip to the mountains she and Jake took. I smile and pretend to care. Linda wants something from me, but I hadn’t figured it out at that point.
For the last few weeks I didn’t think Jack was going to go. We’d planned our trip West for six months and now he was in love with the girl I introduced him to, Helen, the daughter of the woman who worked for me in the Savannah branch library on River Street. I knew he’d love her, her big breasts, her blond hair, her bitchiness. I knew she’d fall for Jack too. On their first night together, I invited them to Rose Dhu—a place on the marsh not far from Skidaway Island. We listened to music from the car and Jack did his trance dance for Helen. He stripped down to his briefs and Helen just stood there not believing this guy she had just met was dancing around almost naked in front of her in the dark. There was enough light from nearby streetlights for her to get a good look at his body and to want it.
So the next thing I know they are in love. Sure, I expected them to have sex. That was my gift to Jack. I never thought it would get so serious. Jack stayed loyal, though, and we left Savannah for San Francisco on a broiling hot day in July. When we got to New Orleans we went to a party with friends of mine from Tulane. Jack loved the city, especially the French Quarter. When we walked among the crowd on Bourbon Street the afternoon we arrived, Jack put his arm around me. We didn’t give a damn what anyone thought.
The abortion was the most disgusting thing I have ever experienced. It was like having someone rape me with a vacuum cleaner. It was Jake’s and my baby, three months old, maybe four. I became pregnant after a long weekend camping out with Jake and my sister and her husband, Jake’s old friend Andreas. Neither of us had brought condoms and I had no idea we’d have so much sex those three days in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Jake and I had slept together only once before at a motel on Savannah Beach. In the mountains Jake wanted me all the time. I fell in love with him as he told me of wanting to travel and see the world, of wanting to find a job at a university. He told me of writers he liked to read, of his favorite books, Steppenwolf, Lady Chatterley's Lover, which he said I should read, On The Road, and Sartre's No Exit. I told him I liked to read, but it would take me a while to read all that. Jake and I were together in Savannah several times after that camping trip, though he told me he was going to drive across the country with his friend Jack, that he hoped to move to San Francisco or New Orleans. Maybe I could join him there...
After the abortion, we did almost move to New Orleans. Jake was offered a teaching job at Loyola University, teaching philosophy. But at the last minute, Jake turned the job down. We spent a couple of weeks there anyway, making love day in, day out, eating rich New Orleans food, and going to all the dance bars in the French Quarter. Jake wore me out with sex, but I loved it. I'd never spent that much time with a man before. Jake said all the ideas for his dissertation came together there and then. Afterwards, we moved to Savannah together. Sometimes, Jake filled me with pleasure and contentment. I felt I had all I had ever wanted from life. Sometimes, he made me want to die.
We almost moved to San Francisco together—Jake and I. That was the plan before I met Helen. What can I say? She is so beautiful. She took my breath away. By the time Jake and I left Savannah on our trip, I could hardly stand to leave her. Why in God’s name was I driving across the country with my homosexual friend when I could stay with Helen in connubial bliss? What was I thinking? I am still in a quandary about it all.
The original idea was to get out of Savannah and do something creative. See the country. See if we could live in a city like San Francisco. It is ironic that Jake introduced me to Helen just months before our trip. I almost canceled the trip. But if I am anything, I am loyal. Ask Jake. I keep my word and I couldn’t just cop out of the trip. And, after all, did I just want to settle down with Helen and her conservative, controlling family in Beaufort? Get a job in Savannah to support her? I didn’t know what I wanted. So I packed my dictionary in my backpack and we left.
What Linda wanted was for me to help her split Jack and Jake up. No, of course she didn’t say that. She just told me things that she knew would make me want to do it. “Their friendship is so special. They really love each other. They tell each other everything, you know.” That sort of crap intended to get under my skin. I imagined Jack telling Jake about going down on me during my period. I also imagined Jake going down on Jack. I knew it happened. I didn’t know the details. Jack never told me. But I knew. You could tell by their body language that they had touched each other everywhere. It made me want to vomit.
Linda made me want to vomit. She came on so sweet and supportive. She was anything but. She wanted Jake all to herself and their friendship made her jealous as Hell. So she told me how Jack would come over and meet Jake in Jake’s Dad’s law office next to their apartment.
“They stay over there all night sometimes,” she says like she thinks that’s all wonderful. What a bitch. And I can’t get it out of my head- Jake giving Jack head. God, maybe Jack gave Jake head. For all I knew, Jack liked cock as much as he liked going down on me. No, that just couldn’t be the case.
Everything came together in New Orleans. We stayed with my old friend Marcia Weston, the widow of a horse racing jockey. I once worked with her part-time at a corner restaurant and café. On our second night in town we attended a party that graduates of Tulane threw. It was there we met with my friend Diana, a fellow philosophy grad student. Diana is an intellectual and sensuous Jewish woman, long black hair, inquisitive, dark brown eyes, an existential love of life and adventure. We were destined to have that night together…
Diana invited Jack and me to her house for coffee after the party. Supposedly, we three were to go on to the Napoleon House to meet others from the party. Instead of a quick coffee, we sat and sipped Grand Marnier, then vodka with a taste of orange juice. Diana put Villa Lobos on the sound system. We smoked a joint. Diana’s gray cat wandered by us, beckoning us to the kitchen for food. We cooked a Swiss cheese omelet. Diana presented us with abstruse limericks about Spinoza she had used in studying for her doctoral exams.
In the living room, Diana turned down the lights as we listened to jazz. Jack sprawled on the large day bed as Diana and I stretched out on the floor, smoking more marijuana, sipping more vodka. Eventually, Diana and I joined Jack on the bed. We arranged ourselves awkwardly and snugly, coming to massage one another.
Diana expressed bafflement. “I have never done anything like this before,” she said almost inaudibly. “I have no idea what to do.”
Jack and I said that neither did we, that we should just follow our instincts and do whatever we all found pleasing.
When I discovered I was pregnant, Jake was on his trip West with Jack. Instead of being together and talking about what to do, we had to decide by phone. At first I wanted to have the baby. But of course Jake had given up his job in Savannah and I would have to give up mine in Charlotte. I wanted to quit, anyway, and did. Still, how could we support a child? Each time Jake and I talked on the phone, I knew he didn’t want it. He said it was my decision, and my decision-- if he didn’t want this child-- was not to have it. I did not want to be a single mother. My own mother knew I was pregnant and expected me to have it and to marry Jake. After my sister took me to the clinic, after I went through Hell with regret and confusion about all of my feelings, I lied and told her I had a miscarriage. I think my mother never forgave me for the abortion or the lie.
Not having Jake there was really hard on me. He talked about Jack as if Jack was the person he loved, not me. He never said that, but I felt it. New Orleans offered something special, a new life for him and me away from Charlotte and away from his old life in Savannah. After the abortion and his trip West, I was excited to meet him there. We would find an apartment and live together. I loved being in that city with him. When he decided not to take the job, I couldn’t believe it. He wanted to go back to Savannah to be with Jack even though he said he loved me. I simultaneously loved him and hated him.
New Orleans changed everything. Jake took me to the French Quarter the afternoon we arrived. Bands were playing and we stood on Bourbon Street watching all the people go by and hearing all the jazz. I loved it. I put my arm around Jake and we walked down Bourbon Street like we owned it. We stayed with this elderly woman Jake had worked with. She was a shrewd commentator on life, with all sorts of worldly experience. “The rain and wind erase it all, Jack,” She said to me. In New Orleans that is especially true, I guess.
Jake and I got into a big fight the first night. I said something about missing Helen and he said maybe I should just catch a plane back to Savannah. I told him that’s not what I wanted, and we talked for hours about what we hoped to get out of this trip. I told him I loved him and wanted to see the country with him.
“Our friendship is an enterprise of great pith and moment,” I told him, quoting Hamlet. He said that is all he needed to know. We hugged each other and fell asleep exhausted.
The second night we went to a big party near Tulane where Jake was getting a Ph.D. He’s done everything but the dissertation. The people there were great, all brilliant and witty, maybe a bit crazy. We met his friend Diana and within a few hours there, we were at her house having three-way sex. She was gorgeous, so different from Helen, yet so voluptuous and knowing. She had the sweetest voice, soft, assured, wise in so many ways. Of course none of us had ever had a three-way before. I didn’t care what happened; I was totally up for it. Diana let me caress her, to touch her sexually. Then, strangely, she took my hand off of her and put it on Jake. I had to stroke his rigid penis. Touching him there almost freaked me out. I did it anyway; that was what she wanted. She kissed me and stroked me as I touched him. It was really exotic, like my touching him was making her give me pleasure. She made me kiss him as well. I could hardly refuse when we were both making out with her and it was so unbelievably exciting. I kissed him like I loved it. Maybe I did. I loved everything that happened that night. She and I were finally together fucking, and when I came, it was one of the best orgasms I’ve ever had. And Jake was right there with his arms around both of us.
There we all were—Charleston. Jake was taking pictures of us at the Battery, in front of big houses, along the waterfront, at this or that café. Smiles galore. Then came evening-- dinner, drinks. Jack and Jake carrying on about literature and philosophy while I’m stuck chatting with the Shadow. I decide to do the talking, telling her that Jack loves sex with me, how he can’t get enough of it. I can tell that’s not her experience, that she is the one who can’t get enough. I’m even telling her how great Jack is at cunnilingus.
“Oh my God, he knows just where to put his tongue, just where to bite. It makes me come like I am going to die, Linda.”
She has repressed horror in her eyes as I say this.
Then I begin to feel a little guilty. After all, it’s obvious that Linda is madly, head over heels, in love with Jake. So I ask her how they met and all that. She tells me about her sister introducing them and how her sister had always liked him, how he was the life-long friend of her sister’s husband, blah, blah, blah. Jake is so smart and so this and so that.
She tried to convince me how great the sex was they had, “No one else has ever made me feel so complete,” she says. Whatever. Jack already told me about the abortion. I guess she doesn’t know I know. “Complete.” OK.
Eventually we get back to the room. We’ve all had too much to drink, too much sun, too much talk. I’m ready to bed down with Jack and I tell him so. When I start touching him he is my slave. He does what I tell him, as long as I let him touch me. Jake and Linda look tired and I don’t think they’ll protest when I suggest lights out. They don’t. We undress and get into bed, they in theirs, Jack and I in ours. Jack tries to be quiet and subtle, holding my breasts, you know, the usual routine, kissing my breasts then getting way more serious. I’m ready for it. I want to fuck with Linda and Jake in the room. I want them to know who’s with whom.
The night with Diana was a breakthrough night for Jack and me. Thanks to her it was as much about him and me as it was about each of us and her. We both had intercourse with Diana, me first then Jack. He went longer than I did and he came, which I didn’t. I watched their faces, dimly lit from a small lamp in the next room, when they made love. Hers was a sweet surrender, a calm smile, an expression of contentment and pleasure. I loved being so close to them, touching them as their bodies moved like waves. Jack had a look of determined intensity, determined to come, I guess. It was a fierce look, eyes closed tight. But he would kiss her passionately, too. I knew when he came, but I don’t think Diana did. When he stopped, she looked a bit disappointed. They both became aware of me again and both of them kissed me, she deeply and fully, he less so. But then in the year we had known each other, Jack had never really kissed me at all, more than a peck. This time it was real.
The next morning we left for Austin. We had a light breakfast with Diana after first returning to Marcia’s apartment.
“You were out all night, huh?” Marcia asked. “Hope it was worth it.”
“Yes. Well worth the hangover.” Jack said. He flirted with her too and even gave her a kiss on the mouth.
“You going to stop back here when you return to Savannah?” Marcia asked.
“We have no idea where we’ll end up,” I said. “But if it’s Savannah, we’ll call you as soon as we know and be back here first.” As we bid her goodbye, Jack looked up “lagniappe” in his dictionary; then, we had brunch with Diana, and headed out on I-10 West.
It took all day to get to Austin and my friend Jane met us at her house not far from UT. The next day we spent at “Hippie Hollow” on Lake Travis. Jane and I had been lovers briefly my second year at Tulane, but nothing really came of it. She was a good Bohemian friend. She had put on weight since then, but was still up for the nude beach and a swim in the lake. We even took photos of ourselves nude. It seemed to me the perfect balance to the intense sex with Diana—lying around like lizards naked on the rocky shore of Hippie Hollow. Jack and I were supremely happy.
Once we returned to Savannah things did go well. Jake’s father had this historic law office in a two-story, Colonial house built in the in the 1700s. His Dad gave Jake and me the adjoining carriage house with a lovely courtyard. When I saw our new home, I was glad we had returned from New Orleans. Better still, I got a job almost immediately at Savannah’s Family and Children’s Services as a social worker. “What irony,” Jake said. But he was glad I got a job, that’s for sure. He got a part time job, teaching in an adult ed. class, while he worked on his dissertation. I worked all day and he worked in the evening, which meant we kept very different hours. Still, I liked being settled. My job was not easy, dealing with Savannah's troubled families. The cases I handled of child abuse and domestic violence made me appreciate what Jake and I had. Our life together, our courtyard where I could sit and read Jake's books, were a blessing.
The trouble of course was Jake’s relationship with Jack. To be fair, Jake had told me he is bisexual, that he would always have a gay side. I told him I could accept that if there were no other women he was sleeping with. I was twenty-two when we moved in together. I was naïve.
Jake despised my neediness. I wondered how he expected anything else. I moved from Charlotte to be with him, giving up my family and my friends. He was everything to me; and at times the loneliness I felt was terrible. He would go out with Jack or with his brother or other Savannah friends and stay out all night. I tried to sleep, not to worry, to get up early and get ready for work. Making love to him was less important to me than his just holding me in his arms and telling me he loved me. That was all I wanted, at first.
The trip we took to Charleston with Jack and Helen, Jack’s fiancée, was a big turning point.
After New Orleans, our stop in Austin was light-hearted and fun. Jake’s friend Jane was a riot. She is plump, witty, well off, living in a three bedroom house. She drove us out to Hippie Hollow and we skinny-dipped and ate a picnic basket full of fried chicken and potato salad. Nothing intense happened, just good restful relaxation. Perfect. I called Helen, feeling guilty about Diana, but I never told her about it. How could I? She told me how much she missed me and how boring Beaufort and Savannah were without me. I rather doubted she was sitting home alone.
After two days in Austin, we drove to Colorado. I had no idea the vastness of West Texas and the corner of New Mexico we crossed. We stopped at some ancient volcano in New Mexico and hiked its red sandy rim. I felt like we were on another planet or moving through some surreal dream. Then came the lush Rocky Mountains and Parry Peak.
Jake and I set up camp some distance away from the designated camping area. We wanted our own space away from the crowd. We were at 10,000 feet, with our little two man tent and supplies to build a fire. When the sun set, the temperature plummeted. We ate the snacks we had brought and got inside the tent. I offered to massage Jake’s shoulders and back after the long day’s drive. After what happened in New Orleans, I knew there was no going back. When the massage was over and we were huddled in our sleeping bags, the tension we felt was palpable. “You want something more, don’t you?” I asked.
There was really nothing to say. I told Jake to do as he liked as I took off the rest of my clothes. I let him lie beside me and touch me the way he had at Diana’s. I’ve known homosexual men most of my life, and it has always seemed to me that the worst thing of all was to be closeted and repressed. “Better to murder the infant in the cradle than to nurse and unacted desire,” Blake wrote. I believed that, not only about Jake, but about myself. For once I was going to live out my own Bohemian ideals and do something different and challenging to myself.
It took me a while to relax, to let Jake’s touching me turn me on. He was so gentle compared to Helen, or maybe it was my being the passive one. I tried to hug him and touch him as well. We both got hard and I felt such a conflict of emotions and thoughts when I did. Jake got the stroke right and he briefly gave me head. I hadn’t come since New Orleans and when I did this time it was plentiful and felt good. I admit it wasn’t as good as being in Diana, but I truly felt Jake’s love for me in what he was doing. We kissed after he had come too and I told him, “I feel your love for me like I never have before.”
Unable to sleep we went for a walk in the cold night air. I put my hand on the back of Jake’s neck as we walked with a flashlight up the dirt trail to a clearing. We had put our clothes and coats on, but it was freezing. A million stars glowed above us and Jake pointed out constellations he knew. He showed me Scorpio with its red heart and the Milky Way stretching like a mist over the entire dome of the sky. We saw a shooting star. For a strange moment I imagined someone killing us, or my killing Jake there and then. It was a weird, scary thought. But it passed in a mere instant to a sort of calm sublime. We returned to the tent and had the sleep of the dead.
There we were fucking. Jack had just put it in me when Jake leaves the room. Of course his shadow has to follow. I smiled, but my pleasure was short-lived. Jack pulled out and yelled, “God damn it!”
“So, what are you going to do?” I asked. “Let them go. Who the fuck cares? We can make love uninhibited.” Wrong. I might as well have said “Just lick my pussy, Hun.” He was putting on his gym shorts and out the door. I just lay there a minute stunned. “Fuck.” I got my ass up out of bed and got dressed. When I got outside there they were Jack and Jake yelling, and little mousy Linda standing over to the side looking afraid.
“Jesus,” I said, “Let’s just go back to bed and sleep.”
“You shut up.” Jack yells at me. Then he turns back to Jake. “Why do you always have to make everyone miserable? I thought you weren’t jealous. That you believe in love and all that other bullshit about not controlling people and getting upset.”
“You are the one that’s upset,” Jake answers. “I just needed to be alone, that’s all. What’s the harm of letting you and Helen be alone?”
For once I agreed with him.
“Because you are a drama queen. Everything is always about you. You are left out so you have to spoil things for everyone else. Why couldn’t you just make love to Linda and enjoy the night?”
I’m sure poor Linda wondered the same thing. Then Jack did something I couldn’t believe. He walked up to the brick wall of the motel and hit it with his fist. He hit it as hard as he could, drawing blood across his knuckles. Jake ran to him and begged him to stop.
Eventually, we all settled down and went to bed. No fucking. Jack was crying quietly beside me. He took hold of me and held me tight. I have no idea what he was thinking. His heart was pounding. But I fell asleep in his arms and I think I was the only one who slept that night.
We entered San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge. From Colorado we had driven across Utah, stopping for a night in Salt Lake City, finding among other things a Greek restaurant with belly dancing. The next day we passed the Great Salt Lake, a huge cesspool of salty, sulfurous water. Sea gulls flapping about on the salt flats looked dazed and confused. We spent another night at midnight blue Lake Tahoe, hiking in a high forest where there was still a trace of snow, even in July. We drove out of our way to get to the city by way of Sausalito where we had a late lunch. “It is the Emerald City,” Jack said as he saw San Francisco from the bridge. Fog was rolling in from the Pacific, not thick enough to obscure the view, but pure white and spreading out over the Bay, making the gleaming city ethereal. We found the hotel in the Tenderloin where we had a reservation for a weekly rate. The place was yellow brick, seven stories high. A monolith. Luck was with us as we got a room on the 5th floor in the front, with a large bay window looking out over Post Street. Jack placed his big dictionary on the window ledge.
Of course I took Jack to the Castro on our first evening. We ate outside at Café Flore. “I have never seen so many beautiful men in one place,” Jack said as we walked down Castro Street after supper. Not that he was attracted to them. That was the thing about Jack, he could see how handsome men were and admit it without even a tinge of attraction.
We stayed in San Francisco two weeks. It was there that Linda told me she was pregnant. We made the decision to abort by phone. For a few days I thought I might be a father, and Jack seemed to love that idea. More than I did. How was I to find a job, support Linda and a baby, write a doctoral dissertation? Of course, within days of Linda saying she would have her sister take her to a clinic in Charlotte, a professor at Loyola in New Orleans called me to offer a job teaching philosophy of law. It was part time, but would likely lead to a full time job within a year, he said. I said yes.
The second week brought a sense of harsh reality to me. Jack’s warmth and eroticism disappeared into the fog. He became nervous, edgy, at times acting as if he were snorting cocaine. On walks along the Bay, he would flap his arms in exercise, looking like a mad pelican beating its wings, unable to fly. He talked endlessly about Helen, about wanting to marry her, have a child. He was visibly upset with our decision, Linda’s and mine, to have an abortion. When I told him about the job in New Orleans, he was far happier than I was.
“That’s wonderful. You’ll live in New Orleans. Helen and I can come visit you there. It is perfect.”
We made plans for our drive back to New Orleans by way of Yosemite and Tulsa, the latter where a friend would put us up.
Jake and I had lived in Savannah for months. We planned a weekend in Charleston with Jack and Helen. They had recently become engaged and there was much to celebrate. Honestly, I thought Helen was a spoiled, demanding woman. She clearly loved controlling Jack who worshiped her. It is an easy drive over from Savannah. When we got there, we had lunch downtown at a quaint little café I loved that served seafood. I had a shrimp salad. Jake and Jack were talking about D. H. Lawrence—Jake’s Master’s thesis had been about him, and I had finished reading Chatterley and some of the short stories. I wanted to hear what they were saying, but Helen was talking to me about her plans to live with Jack in Savannah. I guess I was less than enthusiastic. I told her about how Jack would come over and stay the night with Jake in his father’s office. Maybe I wanted to stir up trouble, but my intention was to put a damper on her going on and on about how Jack adored her. I could tell that what I said infuriated her. It was not easy at first to talk with her about them in Charleston, but our two men were so involved in their own world that I realized they didn’t hear anything I said to Helen. On our walks around the city, it was us and them.
The night at the hotel was horrible. We had all had way too much wine at dinner, two whole bottles of red wine. We had followed that with nightcaps at an old bar Helen knew about. It was clear that she wanted to make love to Jack when we got to the room. After she turned off the lights, Jake and I just lay in the bed quietly. I put my arms around him and tried to doze off. I felt happy for a moment. You could hear Jack and Helen squirming about in the next bed, Helen sighing. The noise got louder and louder as it was obvious they were making love. Jake turned to face away from them, clearly uncomfortable. Then, he just got out of the bed, pulled on his jeans, and as quietly as he could, left the room.
In retrospect, I guess I should have just stayed in the bed alone. I couldn’t stand listening to Helen and Jack. I was worried what Jake might do. I got up, as quietly as I could, dressed, and went outside. It was sultry, hot and humid out, even at midnight. It took me a minute to see Jake, sitting alone in a chair by the joke of a small swimming pool.
“Why can’t you leave me alone?” He says to me.
“What was I supposed to do—just pretend I was fine while they made love?”
“I don’t care. They certainly didn’t care. Why can’t I just be by myself?”
“What you want is not to be by yourself—it’s to be with Jack.”
“Well, I don’t want to be with you while they are fucking. Right.”
His remark cut to the quick. It made it clear to me where I stood with him.
That’s when, to our surprise, Jack appeared. He literally attacked Jake, yelling at him about spoiling a great time together. I had never seen them fight like that. Argue, yes, usually over something philosophical, but never screaming the way Jack was. I thought he was going to hit Jake, but instead he smashed his fist against a brick wall. Helen had come out by this point and just stood there gaping at them. She looked really angry at first, looking at me with hatred. Then she just looked shocked by Jack’s violence.
Finally we all calmed down.
“Please, can we all just go to bed and go to sleep?” Helen said.
That is what we did—go to bed. But neither Jake nor I slept. He wouldn’t touch me the whole night, and I lay there with tears in my eyes until the morning. By dawn I knew I needed to find something else in my life, that Jake alone would never sustain me.
San Francisco blew my mind. Yes, the city is beautiful in so many ways, the hills, the bay, the windswept juniper trees and eucalyptus trees in the city’s many dramatic parks. Yet, it was the people who amazed me. I felt as if I had found another level of humanity, people reading on the electric buses and trolleys, the people in cafes, stylish and intelligent. It was not easy to venture out on my own from Jake; but I did and I met people I loved. I could live in San Francisco and I couldn’t wait to share it with Helen.
Jake drove me crazy at times. He wanted to repeat what happened in Colorado, but I never could feel that way again. I missed Helen, and his constant desire was intrusive. We didn’t really fight. I gave in at times, massaged him, and Jake gave himself a wank. What the Hell? We did enjoy going out and conversing with people in the clubs and cafes. Jake is remarkably social and people took to him. I never understood why he didn’t just meet some man of his own persuasion and have gay sex. It’s not like he’s never done that. Maybe it’s all about Linda and her pregnancy. God, I’d love to father a child with Helen. Jake was depressed by it all, the decision to abort, first not having a job, and then the job offer in New Orleans. I thought the job would thrill him.
At any rate, I was glad to be going home. Our first stop was in Yosemite and everything got better there. We pitched our tent again and I talked Jake into skinny dipping in the cold pond near our campsite. It was broad daylight and I know some hikers were scandalized. Then we met Jamie. He is a rising sophomore at some college in Virginia. We met him around a group campfire in the campsite. He said he had hitchhiked across the country and was headed back to Macon, Georgia where his family lived. We had to offer him a ride.
Jamie and Jake hit it off right away. Jamie loved philosophy and we three stayed up late talking about existentialism. Jamie returned to his own tent, but we met up next day and headed East.
Jamie is attractive. Eighteen, red hair, Irish looking. Great shape, like he enjoys the outdoors, hiking, swimming. He figured out pretty quickly that Jake and I weren’t your everyday friends.
“You two are gay, right?” he asked on our morning drive.
“Not exactly,” Jake answered. “More like Bohemian hippies. What would you say, Jack?”
“I’d say you were bisexual, and that I’m straight but not in a straight- jacket. Like the Beats of the 60s.”
Jamie seemed to like that answer. By the time we got to some little town with a cheap motel in Nevada, we were all friends. We all took turns driving, and that made it a lot easier to make good time. We would stop in Tulsa to sleep and get to New Orleans in no time.
By the third day I heard Jamie say to Jake, “You know, I’m not gay, but if I were, you’d be the sort of guy I’d look for.”
There was a great playfulness about our drive East. At times we turned to random words in my dictionary and asked if anyone knew the meaning. We made up a word, "monosexual"-- a person capable of having sex with only one gender. We decided that monosexuality was a pathological condition and that Jake had the cure. Jamie relieved the tension between Jake and me, for which I was really grateful. I told him about Helen and how I hoped to marry her, even though I had yet to tell her. He talked about some past girlfriends but said he’s never fallen in love with anyone. The night we drove the last leg to Tulsa was Jake’s thirtieth birthday. It would be midnight before we got there to his friend’s house, so I said we had to party in the car.
It was crazy, I guess. We had smoked a few pipes of marijuana earlier and my excuse is that I was stoned. Jamie was driving the car.
“Why don’t we have a little auto-eroticism to celebrate your birthday?” I suggested to Jake. I don’t think he could believe what I was suggesting.
Jamie just stared ahead at the road, not indicating anything. So that’s what we did. Jake took off his clothes, right there in the car. I took off my gym shorts.
“You guys are fucked up,” Jamie said.
I gave Jake a hand job. He fondled me, gave me a hard on, but I had no desire to come. This was his birthday, and this was all about his pleasure. When he came, I smeared the jizz all over his chest. I could tell Jamie was trying to watch. I took some of Jake’s come and put it on Jamie’s hand that was holding the steering wheel.
“Didn’t want you to feel left out,” I said.
He just smiled and said thanks. I was proud for being the corrupter, for once, myself.
Everything ended in Charleston. Jack wanted nothing more to do with Jake. He wanted to marry me, to find a job, to attend law school, he said. Then we’d have children. I just went along with him. Sure. Whatever. I never told him I didn’t really give a shit about having children. I sometimes wondered if he even knew who I was. We went to dinners and clubs with other people he knew from college. Jack found a job in the Chatham County courthouse filing papers while he prepared to take exams and apply to Emory Law School in Atlanta. That was the last place I wanted to go. But for a while, I played along. We’d get married before the move to Atlanta.
Don’t get me wrong, I adored Jack. He was a devoted and talented lover. He was beautiful to look at after sex in the morning, as he showered and got ready for work. He spoiled me, and I didn’t want to give that up. But as the months went by, Jack bored me. Sometimes he would just flip through his dictionary looking for new words. I thought to myself, he hasn’t found the right ones. He became possessive and wanted to know where I was all the time. He began to suffocate me. It broke his heart when I finally told him I didn’t want to move to Atlanta.
When he said we could stay in Savannah if that was what I wanted, I had to tell him, “Jack, I don’t want to get married.”
One day, I was downtown in Savannah at this great little basement café on Bay Street. I just wanted a sandwich somewhere before I met my mother when she got off work. There was Jake, sitting alone at a table. He seemed strangely happy to see me.
“Helen. How are you?” When he saw I was alone, he asked me to join him.
“How’s Linda?” I asked.
“You’ll have to ask Paulo,” he said. “That’s her new hot boyfriend from Brazil.”
“You aren’t together?” I asked in amazement.
“Actually, we are. We just have a nice, modern open marriage, as they say.”
“You heard that Jack and I split up, didn’t you?”
“Don’t be. You know Jack never loved me nearly as much as he loved you. Wanted me, yes. But that was it. Even after you two stopped hanging out together, he would say, Jake would have loved this or that. He missed you terribly, you know. I imagine he’s yours again, if you want him.”
“No.” Jake said
“Well, I know it is strange, Jake. But after he stopped seeing you, when he no longer had you to think about and make plans with, he stopped being the Jack I fell in love with. His allure, mystery, and charisma all disappeared.”
Copyright: Jack Miller (Jack Jameson)