It Takes A Year: Part Seven

I was used to my first kiss with someone being feverish, something that happened in the hasty throes of pseudo-passion. In hindsight it always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; Nothing but hungry hands and desperate mouths acting on impulse. A drunken mistake, an act of pity, or simply the claws of an envious predator. However, some moments in life decide to be generous to me. It’s not often that I actually get to experience a genuine moment of intimacy, at least not with someone new. Most vividly I recall it happening with Will. Not even a year later and now it was happening with someone else.

Speaking of Tyler: He’s sweeter than the words that preluded our embrace. His kisses were tender and slow, obviously indulging themselves in previous desires. Not that I can blame him; I’d been thinking about it for half the night too but I didn’t expect it to happen like this. No, I expected it to be just as reckless as it usually was. I thought maybe he’d plant a sloppy kiss on me while we danced or that I’d play coy before challenging him to make out with me in a drunken game of “Truth or Dare”. I didn’t expect a heartfelt confession or a realization so deep that it made us fall into our own cessation of time. I could trust him and his careful hands, his sincere lips, and his soulful gaze. If it was any other time this year I would have already been screaming words of regret into my own ears. But I was done with that. I was free of my old habits, finished with doing things at the expense of others and beating myself up for past mistakes. I didn’t just want this, I deserved this.

I felt Tyler’s fingers curling into my hair from the base of my neck. I didn’t think I could get anymore goosebumps but I did. I’ll admit that there was always something exciting about kissing someone new. Luckily this time it wasn’t just another shot in the dark.

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Can You Find Me? II: Exordium

Disclaimer: Mature Content

I always knew there was something fucked up in my head.

It wasn’t like I was really destined to be this way. Mom and dad were in the picture from birth. Neither of them ever raised a hand to me that was too harsh or spoke a word to me that was too cruel. My mother doted on me for every minor achievement I made growing up and my father was your typical suburban dad, dead-set on making me the king of football or baseball while teaching me life lessons on how to be a man. We had money, we had a nice house, and I never went for longer than a day without something I asked for. Sure, I was a spoiled kid but I wasn’t a spoiled brat. My best friend in high school was even more well-off than I was and anyone would call him a good kid. A good friend, a good guy, a good son, yet his only faults were a short fuse and a tendency to be over-protective. At least his mistakes never hurt anybody; Mine did.

In regards to the “Nature vs. Nurture” argument I have trouble seeing where my nurturing failed me. I mean, maybe my good life was the reason for my problems, but then I remember my best friend and that he doesn’t have the same issues I do. In fact, he doesn’t have any of the same issues that I do. He had his emotional outbursts so that it was no secret what was going on in his head. I was always calm, cool, and collected. My demons rarely came to the surface.

I grew up being everything my parents wanted me to be. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to play baseball and take photography classes, I’m just lucky that I wasn’t stuck doing anything that I hated. I was being cultivated into the perfect little plant for all to see. Once I hit high school my GPA and sportsmanship spoke for themselves. By junior year I was good-looking, I was successful, and I was popular. My future seemed unlimited to everyone else but me. My paraphilia was the demon hidden inside of me, waiting for me to slip back into his clutches at any moment. I started over-stepping my boundaries as a child. Many young children are caught and disciplined for certain behaviors before it can get worse. Sadly, I was never caught and never disciplined. Because of this, what started as simple curiosity morphed into a complete obsession. That obsession took me down an unforgivable road that put some of the most precious people in my life in danger.

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Can You Find Me? I: Summer

Disclaimer: Mature Content

It was the summer after we graduated high school. The summer I’ll never forget.

My friends and I were dead set on having the time of our lives before we parted ways for college. My parents had gotten me a hybrid DSLR as a graduation gift and I planned on using it to capture memories of our summer adventures. Our first couple months of freedom was pretty typical; we went swimming and fishing at the lake, visited the amusement park, hung out downtown, and partied at our friend’s big, two-story lake house. It was my first year without a curfew and I was taking full advantage of it. I also got to celebrate my eight month anniversary with my boyfriend Nick. Most of my favorite moments that summer happened with him by my side. Looking back now, those hot summer days were picture perfect. I thought that my whole summer would just be an array of happy memories and good times. I was wrong.

At the beginning of July we were all sitting on the back porch of our friend Aaron’s house. I had my feet kicked up on the table and was listening to Nick and Aaron talk about cars while I sipped some lemonade. Whenever I listened to those two talk I swore that they were long lost brothers. If they didn’t look so different their vibe could totally fool anyone into believing so. Nick had short, brown hair and freckles painting the skin of his nose and shoulders. It was my favorite thing about him. Aaron, on the other hand, had no freckles to detail his olive skin but was gifted with dark shoulder-length hair that was thick and lustrous enough to rival that of any of the girls we knew. Katy, my best friend, was notoriously jealous of how easily his hair kept itself while she was left struggling with her own blonde locks every morning.

Katy was reclined in the chair beside me and scrolling through her phone, ignoring the impassioned conversation going on between Aaron and Nick. I glanced over at her just as she began to sit up.

“Hey, this looks pretty cool,” she said, offering her phone screen to the table for all of us to see.

“What does?” I asked.

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