“You heard,” I said and grinned.
Andrew smiled, “Come, stand in front of me and let me show you what I came to show you.”
I stepped in front of him and he took the polo shirt from me and put it on the bench Then he touched my right breast. I looked down at his big man-hand on my breast. What I felt is very hard to describe. It was a focused haze, like the only thing in the universe was his hand and my breast. I touched the back of his big fingers touching me. I ran my finger along his finger.
His voice was deep, soothing, and hazy, like the haze around his hand. I stood there facing him He put his palm on my chest between my breasts and at that moment I caught sexual feelings for another human for the first time in my life. I was drunk with his touch and his voice.
I got an erection.
“You have a condition called gynecomastia. It means that you are beginning puberty. Your body is producing hormones, both testosterone and estrogen. It is perfectly natural for a young boy to grow little breasts like you have.”
As he talked he held his palm on my chest. I asked a couple questions about gynecomastia and he explained. It didn’t matter to me. He could have told me I was growing elephant trunks and I would not have cared. I watched and listened to him talk, his deep voice, the stubble on his chin was too much. I couldn’t help myself. I reached out and cupped his chin with the palm of my hand. He snatched my hand away.
“Can’t!” he suddenly said and pushed me back. He seemed to struggle with his desires. “I’m sorry, Ronni. I just got caught up in the moment. But, you can never speak of this to anyone. I can get in a lot of trouble for touching you. Do you understand?”
I nodded. “It’s because I’m only eleven,” I said softly. “I promise I won’t tell.” He stood up and I saw the bulge in his pants. Sexual thoughts raced in my head. I didn’t understand what I was thinking or feeling. I wanted him, but I did not know how or why or what to do. After he left I put on the green polo shirt and went out to see Mother.
I walked past the rows of tables toward her. Sexual desire had never been a part of my life, now it was there in large colors painted on everything, everywhere I looked. Crazy, tumultuous, life-changing feelings were running up and down me like the beating of jungle drums and all I could think of was Andrew.
She smiled at me, “What are you so happy about?” she asked. I hugged her around her shoulders.
“Thanks for the shirt,” I said. I never looked at men and women the same after that day. And I knew, for me, which side of my bread that I would butter. There was no doubt that it was men.
Back in school on Monday, I got the usual ribbing about my hair (One boy called me Motley Crue. I had no idea what that meant. It was just dumb, I guess). I got the usual name calling about my girlish appearances, and of course, the coup de grace – queer! But this time was different. I never understood what it meant, and I don’t think the young boys who called me that knew it either. I got off the bus and one of my usual tormentors, a big red-headed kid, walked along beside me matching my brisk pace. I walk fast to get past the bullies.
Boys have added curse words with “queer” before, like “fucking queer” just for spice, but this time what he said hit me hard. He looked at me while he strode beside me and called me a “cock-sucking queer.” Then it dawned on me what it all meant. It made sense. I grew up some right then, and the guilt hit me hard. I understood some of what those strange sexual feelings were that I felt Saturday at the fairgrounds. I paused for an instant and let myself feel the guilt and shame amid the redheaded kid’s laughter. It was a moment when you can turn in a complete circle, look