Super Circus

Paul lived down the street from the house my family bought and moved into in Indianapolis Indiana when I was in the seventh grade. I believe he was one year behind me in school but was bigger than I was, and about equally developed with regard to secondary sexual characteristics – which was not much at all. I was small for my age and very slow to develop the characteristics of manhood. Our common interest was super circus, which came on every Saturday morning. We would each watch it at her own houses and then meet together in my front yard to practice our tricks. We watched super circus to get ideas for the tricks we could attempt to do. Neither of us had any training in gymnastics, or any great skill. But what we lacked in training and talent we made up for in enthusiasm and ambition. The one trick that we did more or less master was my standing on his shoulders while he walked around.

One morning we took our tricks to the neighborhood talent show that was sponsored by the school department on Halloween. Our competitors were actually trained in singing, dancing or acrobatics, and we realized very soon that we were in over our heads. We performed our trick and a few of the people in the audience were polite enough to clap. So we saved face to some degree.

That first fall when we became friends Paul and I would walk to school together holding hands. It just seemed like a friendly thing to do, but we quickly learned that we were breaking an unofficial rule of the junior high aged boys: thou shall not openly demonstrate affection. If we had been a couple of years younger we could walk to school with our arms around each other’s shoulders to show that we were “pals.” But holding hands at a junior high was beyond the pale. We were ridiculed and called names and that quickly cured us of the practice.

Neither Paul nor I knew anything about sex, but we did feel some attraction to each other. The full extent of our sexual exploration consisted of feeling each other’s erections through our blue jeans as we lay beside each other in a fort we had built in my backyard. We only did that a few times. I think we realized that this was in the category of things that boys are age did not do with each other.

Paul was a gentle and kind boy and we never argued or fought, but we gradually grew apart as I entered high school. I’m not sure why.

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