(damaged boys) 10

(damaged boys) 10: someday we'll know
There were five of them in the row of townhouses, and underneath the sheen of public normalcy and personal success lived the gaping damage within.
someday we’ll know
Marcus, circa 1994.
He’d graduated in the top fifth percentile of the class, beating out almost all the well-established Southern legacy students with names like Thurman, Burwell, Lee and Marshall. He’d managed to navigate the treacherous maze of academia and politics without even outing himself. In the South, even on a college campus, being gay was not anything to wave a flag about…or have a parade. Or even say out loud. No, Marcus had managed to survive four brutal years, four incredibly challenging and stimulating years at the nation’s oldest institution of higher learning.

It was a major feat that he’d survived, the College of William and Mary had the highest rate of student suicide anywhere in the world. He’d arrived at William and Mary by way of his academic prowess, charm and athletic ability. Marcus received a full academic and athletic scholarship for four years. Maybe he’d have done well to join his classmates in the political arena in Washington, or in New York. He had classmates in the international arenas, too. Michael Marchaud worked for the French Consulate in New York. He’d used his excellent grades and a few family connections to land his tony employment with Consul General Chartres in Manhattan. Although he would have preferred a placement in Europe or Asia, he was thrilled to be in the capital city of the western hemisphere. New York also allowed him to be in the same country as Marcus, and close to key influencers in the world of international politics.
Marcus was not interested at all in becoming or being a key influencer, he never had been. But, here, in his life in pharmaceutical sales, he’d become just that, the central figure in his office and certainly within his various social circles. Everyone always wanted to know what he was doing, what he thought of everything and anything, and wanted to be around him just because he was Marcus.
It all seemed exceedingly silly to him, although he remembered growing up, the sixth grade in particular, when he would never have imagined any modicum of personal popularity. He was not liked. He was scrawny and uncomfortable in his own skin. The other boys could smell his weakness and often taunted him, threatened him. So, this sudden adoration as an adult seemed odd and fleeting. He’d not been interested in what others thought, and he thought it foolish that people were interested in his. Nonetheless, he understood the circumstances, he understood the implied responsibility.
Michael was in his World Politics course during their sophomore year. He’d noticed him in class, but the two actually met during a jog through the historic district in Colonial Williamsburg. Michael had just completed a two mile jaunt and was starting his cool-down near Merchants Square when he saw Marcus run from the Wren Building on campus toward Duke of Gloucester Street. It was exactly three quarters of a mile to the Capitol at the opposite end of the street, so Michael followed, unnoticed at first. By the time Marcus reached Bruton Parish, Michael had cinched the distance between them and said hello. Marcus nodded, but said nothing until he’d completed five miles, Michael trailing all the while. Marcus broke the silence.
“You kept up for five miles. Not bad!”
“That was five.”
“Ah yes, but I had completed two miles before joining you. But you make a very attractive incentive to keep running.”
Marcus smiled, and for once, he didn’t mind the attention.
It was like that song, “Fade Into You”…he kept hearing it over and over in his head. The fact was, he couldn’t stop thinking about Michael, and daydreaming was deadly at the College of William and Mary. He’d managed to glide through his World Politics exam, but he’d not be so lucky in Organic Chemistry. Marcus decided to keep all thoughts of Michael strictly out of bounds during his prescribed study periods. Otherwise, he’d fail…plain and simple. But, he felt oddly complete with him…something he’d never felt before…always opting to be alone, single rather than depend on someone else for happiness or love or sex or all three. But, Michael was different in every way.
Michael joined him frequently on his jogs through town, and grew to enjoy his silent company. Michael was indeed an eyeful, his dark hair and eyes set off his athletic frame, and his movement more fluid and graceful than many world-class long distance runners. There was also something else that set him apart, a kind of darkness or aloofness that made him seem almost mysterious, intriguing. Of course, Marcus thought, it might have been his European upbringing…always keeping respectful distance. Not wanting you to get too close, ever.
Whatever the case was, Marcus adored Michael. He loved not only his looks, but his intelligence and good nature. Michael was an affable companion, friend and excellent lover. They were compatible completely…in ways that allowed them to have entire conversations without speaking a word. Marcus hated their semester breaks, and even more, summer…when Michael would return home to his family in France.
Marcus was fascinated by what he called European sensibility…Michael’s family made no issue whatsoever about his sexuality, and made it see if it was the most obvious and normal outcome. This was, of course, completely different from what Marcus experienced with his family. His parents glazed over like they were hearing a fatal diagnosis, or realized they’d just lost the hand of Bridge at the country club. It seemed to Marcus that his parents were more irritated than anything else. It was a reality they had never considered for their son, or for their family.
At once, his parents retreated into the closet…the one left conveniently empty by Marcus. But, after a few months, the family began speaking about it…making the requisite inquiries about safety and something about “have you found any ‘special friends’ lately.” After an entire year had passed and all those concerned had realized this was not a passing fancy, more direct questions were plied, jokes were dispensed and the family settled in with the information that their genius jock son was queer. His father, George, was always curious to know when they would get to meet any of Marcus’ friends, and were they any good at golf and tennis?
Michael would more than fit the bill. His genteel nature and impeccable manners would charm both of his parents, not to mention their friends at the club. Michael was an avid golfer, and worthy foe on the tennis court. He bonded immediately with George, and they spend much of their time together competing.
There was, of course, Michael’s enviable pedigree…from one of the most prominent families in France, and perhaps Western Europe. If George was going to have a gay son, by god, he was going to date within the right circles. And, in this way, George began to see very little difference in the lives of his straight children, and in the life of Marcus.
To Marcus, life became real and surreal…normal in the strangest of ways. And, he was happy, actually happy for maybe the first time ever in his life. Like an accident, or a miracle…or both, he’d found Michael.

Nov 12, 2005 By Todd


  • Dave says:

    Enjoying the stories so far and I know I’m being a bit (okay a lot) pedantic here but…. an Embassy and an Ambassador has to be in a capital city e.g. Washington D.C.; in New York it would be a Consulate and a Consul General. And I have a feeling Michael is genteel – aristocratic not gentile – non-Jewish.

  • Todd says:

    Thank you, Dave! Noted and corrected! (Ah, those pesky errors…)

  • Skip says:

    There are both in New York- -Consulate for the US and an Embassy for the UN with its lead having Ambassador rank just as the US Mission to the UN has its unfortunate choice, Mr. Bolton

  • Cleo says:

    I loved this one. It was Laid back and you got to learn more about these two than any of the others. So, sweet. I give this one two thumbs up.

  • Darkhog says:

    One spot on week!

  • dode says:

    I still can’t get over Ethan’s return to SeanCody. Never let him go, SC!

  • mawbinatl says:

    Ethan’s coming back?