Being gay in an atmosphere that is generally disapproving can lead to some desperate behavior where it comes to forming friendships and relationships in general. Secrets and lies become second nature leading to what would be a comedy of errors but for the tragic nature of the situation. The gay kid who falls for the straight best friend and vice versa, the only openly gay guy at school who begins a tryst with the ambiguously oriented Student Council President who will take advantage of whatever sexual situation presents itself because he can get laid and better yet acquire conquests on both sides of the aisle. There are dozens of these scenarios (possibly hundreds) : all ending in tears; some ending in social and familial blackballing; too many ending in suicides, attempted and successful. Tragic. Really. These types of circumstances had honed the emotional expectations of the players in these stories to an edge so sharp that it would seem to sever all bonds before they ever could form.
Then suddenly last Summer they met; at band camp; working at the local amusement park; in the Summer arts program. The magnetism between them was so powerful that even those disapproving adults who had nipped these things in the bud previously, scrambled to get out of the way for fear of being crushed between these colliding hearts.
Although they were from two different schools Kelly and Rafe finagled sharing a dorm room at band camp, going at it all night, every night like the teenagers they were; not caring who knew, daring anyone to say something about it, then hilariously, diabolically, and obviously pranking those who did.
At band camp the three worst homophobes were trumpet players who shouted every iteration of fairy, faggot, and fruit whenever Kelly and Rafe were around. On the last day, at the final rehearsal for the big all schools concert, as the band began to tune up these three were having trouble with their instruments. They were full of fluid which poured out the mouthpieces into their mouths then gushed out when the spit valves were opened.
Rafe stood up in the French Horn section and shouted “Oh, my God! It’s piss! I can smell it from here! Kelly, we have to go now. If someone did that to them what could they have done to us?” Then he and Kelly ran out of the auditorium hand in hand, laughing as the three trumpet players could be heard spitting and gagging over the guffaws and moans of disgust from the rest of the band.
They blew off the concert but not each other, opting to spend their last night together looking into one another’s eyes, furtively and languidly working on a clarinet/French Horn version of the duet from Lakme, knowing they would never be together again.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr7KdTp7Zho
Their supervisor at the park knew what loneliness and despair had driven his gay cousin to (his cousin who now wasted away in a persistent vegetative state) so he always scheduled Ken and Steve together and actually felt a quiet, poignant glee at playing Cupid to this adorably giddy pair.
Once a week Ken and Steve were assigned the job of clearing trash from the area around the old wooden rollercoaster. By midseason they could get the job done in two and a half hours and that left six hours for them to do whatever they wanted. They both dreamed of becoming artists, so Ken bought a tent and art supplies with the loose change they had found while cleaning and they would take turns modeling in the nude, one for the other while reading James Joyce’s ULYSSES, and making love from time to time in the tent they had set up in the shrubbery under the rollercoaster’s steepest hill . Their quiet interludes were interrupted every eight and a half minutes by the rumble and screaming of the coaster’s cars: the perfect counterbalance to the easygoing, quiet intensity of their cozy, clandestine, and extempore salon.
On the night of the last full moon of the Summer, the boys, knowing their magical Summer of love was soon to come to it’s inevitable end, but not knowing it would come to be the source of perspicacity that would come to transform the very concept of love for every paramor who got close enough to feel the heat of those boy’s breath on their own mouths, decided to stay overnight in their literal lovenest. Around three in the morning, since they knew the old security guard would be in a sampsonian stupor they ventured out of the tent and climbed to the top of the rollercoaster trestle, there Ken stripped down, and the blue moonlight burned through his skin and muscles until all Steve could see was his heart. Steve had every intention of doing a drawing of Ken lying in the tracks as a damsel in distress but he was frozen, half in fear that this fierce and beautiful creature before him might devour him: half in fear that it would run away into the night never to be seen again.
Ken had been able to sense Steve’s emotional state from the moment they met and knew without a doubt at this moment they were in love. He spoke, “I love you, and I know you love me. I have no idea how this has happened. Right now I’m naked in the moonlight on a rollercoaster trestle with the guy I am in love with and the thing that I find the most unfucking believable is the part about the guy I love! This doesn’t happen to me! I’m the kid who blows a guy every day for a month then that guy beats the shit out of me for trying to kiss him! Next week the park closes, I get to go back to that hellhole of a high school, you’re going two thousand miles away and something tells me we’ll never see each other again but that’s fine, no, it’s more than fine. Meeting you…the tent, this job… everything is right with the world, before this Summer all I thought about was getting away from here even if it meant offing myself, but now I know that this is possible and I want more of it and I want to show people what’s possible when we are allowed to be exactly who we are.”
They spoke through the night so Steve never got to draw Ken as a damsel in distress but six years later as his Master’s Thesis he presented a monumental painting of a young man, nude with arms spread wide and legs together in a pose that only at first glance would call to mind the figure of Christ on the Cross but even though he has been tossed into the air from a speeding rollercoaster car he is serene and powerful in his release from gravity, hanging in the night air lit only by the full moon. There is one word on the front of the car “LOVE” and the title in Trajan Pro typeface across the bottom “APOTHEOSIS”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1u6628Rdqs
The Summer Arts Program had always been the saving grace of Scott’s Summers, every year diving head first into a different medium or forum, but last year he had discovered Acting! Will on the other hand had been acting in commercials and modeling since he was an infant but since he hit puberty that bit of chubbyness that had been so cute just didn’t have the same appeal on a hirsute, muscular boy who looks more like 30 than 16.
They first met in an improv workshop, when they were thrown together by the instructor who in her disapproval of all things gay and the over representation of homosexuals in the Dramatic Arts wanted to start off the session with something decidedly masculine.
“Now then class, Scott here is one of my best students ever, and from what I understand Will is a seasoned professional. I want you to see how two actors can work off each other. You gentlemen haven’t met, correct?”
“Nah.” Scott said, broadcasting his attraction for Will as only a veteran of an all boys boarding school could; Will receiving on all channels.
The instructor tossed out a scenario and these two were Abbott and Costello; Burton and Taylor; Redford and Newman; Bogie and Bacall, but better. They fit. Meshed. If quantum entanglement I had an incarnation it was in these two. So their summer went.
Every year at the end of the program the Dramatic Arts Consortium would put on a show, this year Scott and Will got everyone to agree to a production of Carol Burnett’s “Went with the Wind” an hilarious parody of “Gone with the Wind” with an all male cast and all girls doing the technical aspects. The instructor should have been repulsed by the idea but after watching the boys sympatico evolve into a symbiosis that blazed with a light that warmed and fed all those around.
In their search for the perfect set of curtains to double as Miss Scarlet’s dress that she “just saw in the wind and couldn’t resist. ” the boys not only managed to consummate their relationship in the dressing rooms of all the finest thrift stores in town but in creating a mock up and rehearsing, their impromptu performances created quite the buzz around the coming showcase.
Originally a three day run, the show played to standing-room-only crowds for an additional 15 performances; Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, and Tim Conway even attended one. They were so impressed the boys were flown out to Hollywood where they wrote and directed an entire episode of their show, soon becoming the youngest and most sought after comedy duo in the country. They were inseparable for the rest of their long and beautiful charmed lives.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXUQjigUxcc
The Beautiful End.