Is this book about sex? This is a coming of age tale and every coming of age involves our blossoming genitals. He tells me that I do not write about sex. He tells me that when I write it seems to be about sex but is actually about something else. I look at this coming of age tale and wonder if I have betrayed myself in my lust for something young and fresh and still brimming with potential.
I used to love him, my boy, myself. I used to love to touch his perfect skin. I revelled in his shy enquiry. I knew that I would be the first to touch him, and as the first I would be without judgement. He would be too nervous to notice the hardening of my skin, the reddening of my cheeks where the veins have swelled and burst, a little map of damage.
I could settle into my boy and there would be the joy of exploring something new together. He would teach me to see with young eyes and to touch with trembling hands when the reality of repetition has numbed me.
I come to sex with a workmanlike pleasure. I enjoy the craft but the art is rare and the edge has worn off it. I am comfortable with the act.
So this book is about sex, but perhaps it is about aging. The rush to grow too fast, the tired looking back over one's shoulder. Perhaps he is right, my friend. This boy who can write as I would want to write. Perhaps, this young man is my teacher. Perhaps he will become one with my character and we can set out on this journey with that frightened, edgy joy of the just-begun. Talking about other things when it seems that we are talking about sex. And he never talks about sex. Or only rarely.