By Ron Kemp
One summer afternoon, we were over his [aunt’s] house shooting pool in the basement. This was the most exciting time of the entire vacation for me!! My heartthrob and I were alone together at last!! Who cared who would win the match!? I just wanted to be alone with him. Eventually, I got close enough to sneak a kiss on the cheek! I was in Heaven. He was furious! Needless to say, that slammed the brakes on our friendship. Stopped on a dime.
I went on with my summer vacation sans my former heartthrob. I’m resilient like that. We never uttered another single word to one another, as badly as I wanted to. He met all new friends. They weren’t the kind of kids I would hang around. Riding my bike merrily down a neighborhood street on blazing summer afternoon, I spot my former friend at the other end of the street riding his bike towards me. And, he was with his new friends….the ones I would never hang around. My gut instinct told me that this wasn’t going to be a friendly encounter. I had no idea how right that instinct was.
As we met in the middle of the block, one of the boys knocked me off of my bike. It was downhill from there. Quickly, I was surrounded by the pack as they proceeded to beat the holy shit out of me!!! At one point, the biggest of the boys had my head locked between his knees, using his knees as a vice grip!, as he delivered blow after blow after bloody blow to my face. Eventually, I was rescued, and the gay bashing was over.
Nothing about me was ever the same after that summer. Whereas it didn’t lead me to suicide (told you I was resilient!), it forever changed everything about how I view life. There are emotional scars left even today. (to wit, my eyes teared as I wrote this recount)
It matters to me because I’ve been there.