My first memory of knowing I was different in “that way”, happened around the age of 9. My parents had friends over for dinner. They also brought their daughter, Sara, who was a year younger than me. I had a playhouse that my parents had allowed me to set up in our living room. I loved that thing… it allowed me all of the privacy I craved, yet, I was within earshot of anything that was happening. I never wanted to miss any of the action.
I have always been more of a follower than a leader. Even though I was an only child, I was completely at ease letting others decide what we should play. If there was ever anything I didn’t want to do, I’d speak up. But for the most part, I enjoyed just going along with things.
This particular evening, Sara and I decided to play house while our parents began a game of cards in the next room. She immediately suggested that I be the “husband” while she played the part of the wife. I had no problem with this. She began to cook us a pretend dinner, all the while asking me what I’d like to do. My response probably mirrored my own father’s gentle response these things in our own household. “Oh, honey… whatever you’d like to do is fine with me.” I remember we had a delicious dinner in that little cardboard house. Then Sara crawled over to me, tucked her legs underneath herself, and lay her head on my shoulder. I didn’t really know Sara all that well. And up until now, I’d never really been much into cuddling. That all changed at that moment. There was something exciting racing through my body that I had never recognized before. She gently rubbed my back… because, as she said, I’d “had a long day at work”. Her touch was very soft. Although not sexual in nature, my body was responding in small ways. The hair on the back of my neck was standing on end. My attentiveness to her became an infatuation, in a way, at that moment. Of course, I didn’t know what to call these feelings. They seemed natural to me. But I remember knowing enough to realize that mom and dad would probably think it was strange that we were playing husband and wife.
It was then that I decided I should keep this to myself.