All fourteen-year-olds are invincible. I was. I was immune to all
that names that were whispered in the dark hallways at school, the
cruel snickers of the girls and the louder taunts of the boys. All
the "fag" names and the "sissy" names. I was slight then, a slender
bespectacled youth too fond of reading who should've safely been
marginalized as a "nerd" or a "brainiac" by the cruel shorthand of
high school students. But it was my languid gestures my vaguely
effeminate way of walking and my apparent disinterest in the opposite
sex that started the whispers. Nerds and brainiacs are allowed to
associate with others of their kind, zit-faced boys who gush about
Star Trek and quote from Monty Python movies excessively. Fags had no
one. I was a pariah, it was social death to speak to me in a civil
manner, the risks of having lunch with me were too terrible to even
It was lonely, but to cave in to despair, to admit defeat at the
hands of the callow boys and smug girls who shoved me in the halls,
who put tacks in my seats, who snickered as I passed by was not an
option for me. So I built walls of ice, I was safe behind my arctic
reserve. But I was lonely. From October to May of my Freshman year I
plodded dully along; getting decent, but not exceptional, marks in
school and rebuilding my icy facade for each gray new day. Then in
May, on an overcast, drizzly day he spoke to me. That was the
His name was Mason, and he was a senior, handsome and popular. He
had a winning, toothsome smile and hands that recalled his name.
Strong, large hands. Hands that could crush or build. I loved his
hands. On that drizzly May afternoon some churlish jocks had seen me
crossing a grassy field and had taken the opportunity to push me into
the mud. From my place on the ground I heard a voice, "Hey guys,
leave him alone." Surprised, I looked up. Mason was staring down at
me, and offering me a hand up.
"Are you OK, Chris?", he asked me with what seemed like honest
concern. I was surprised that he knew my name. But then, everyone
knew about the little stuck-up fag-boy. I muttered assent and rose to
my feet, brushed myself off and with my dignity bruised, hurried to
my next class. I didn't see him again for another week. During the
following Tuesday he tried to have a conversation with me, but the
harassment I had suffered had made me guarded. My answers were
monosyllabic and sharp. He persevered. Two weeks later he was eating
his lunch with me. Artfully and persistently he peeled away my
emotional armor. By early June I began to think of him as a friend.
By the middle of June I trusted him completely. When he told me he
worried about how I was treated on the schoolbus and that he would
feel better if I allowed him to take me home, I believed him. And I
accepted. And so, on that sultry day in late June, that day it
happened, I suspected nothing. Remember what I told you before this
began, all fourteen-year-olds are invincible.
There were only 4 days left in the school year. The heat on that
day was stultifying and insufferable. I was sitting on a concrete rise,
waiting for the dingy yellow bus, when a shadow fell over me. Mason.
"Hey, you want me to take you home? It's so hot today and the
truck's got air conditioning, plus I don't want those jerks to fuck
with you." I gladly accepted. A ride home in Mason's pick-up seemed
heavenly when compared to a ride on an antique airless bus, complete
with snarling, loutish teenagers and petrified, faded seats that were
so uncomfortable that they would try Job's patience. Mason seemed
preoccupied and we rode in silence until I noticed him making an odd
"You're getting off the freeway now? But this street only goes
into Griffith Park."
He grunted. "I gotta get something in Griffith."
"Oh, OK." I answered, wondering what he could possibly get in
Griffith Park, but still suspecting nothing. We drove along, he
popped a tape into the console. As we turned up a winding and obscure
rode, Prince started singing about a sexy motherfucker. Mason laughed
once, without humor, a nasty, superior chuckle. We turned into a
parking lot halfway up a hill, it was secluded and mostly hidden by
trees. Mason stopped the truck and turned off the engine.
"OK, now it's time for you to give me what I want, Chris." I
stared at Mason blankly.
"Don't play stupid with me, you know what I want." My mouth turned
to chalk, in my darkest heart I knew, in my most secret fantasies he
had desired me, but not like this, not with a contemptuous sneer on
his lips, and not with rage burning in his eyes.
"N-no", I stammered. Then, with terror knotting my stomach, with
fear covering my skin like oil, I forced out, "what do you want." He
laughed. A short, harsh bray.
"I want to fuck you, you little queer. Why else would I pay any
attention to a little cum-stain like you? You knew that from the
I gave a half-yelp of terror, and shook my head "no" emphatically.
He snarled, and grabbed me. I tried to unlock the door, tried to get
away, it was no use. One of those strong hands cover my mouth while
the other fumbled with my clothes and held me near. I floated. I
concentrated on how I could smell the eucalyptus from the half-open
truck door, and Prince singing about chains of gold. I tried not to
think about what he was doing to me. About the awful rending pain,
about him forcing himself inside of me. About the smell of the hand
covering my mouth, that strong. veiny hand. I tried to ignore his
grunts and half-moans. I listened to Prince until Mason shuddered and
I knew that it was over.
Mason drove me home. Smiling and chatty, he acted as if nothing
special had happened. He ignored the way I stared blankly ahead at
the city streets. he pulled up in front of my house, and as I opened
the door to get out, he whispered in my ear, "Hey, that was fun, we
have to do it again." He drove off, and didn't see the solitary tear
that slid down my cheek. The next day I came down with a
fever, and I was ill until the last three days of school had passed.
I changed schools the next year. And I never told anyone about what
had happened to me in the park, because all fourteen-year-olds are