My best friend was named Daniel.
He didn't like his name in the same way I didn't like mine. My name is
"Daniel", said Daniel, "that's how old ladies at the coffee
table name a kid."
"And how would you name yourself, then?" I asked.
He shrugged. "Dunno. No idea."
"Well, I'd rather be called Steve. Steve Lord." Yupp, I thought
that was a good name. Somebody with that name could become a movie star
or a rockstar... no matter, it was a real cool name.
"But why?" asked Daniel. "Marcus sounds okay to me. Why
not Mark? That sounds cool, too."
"Nobody calls me 'Mark'. Somehow I never get a nickname." And
now I shrugged, too. We looked at each other. Actually, our names weren't
important at all. Whenever we played together we pretended to be other
people with different names, we never simply played ourselves. For me,
Daniel was just Daniel. His name matched him perfectly. Whenever I hear
the name Daniel I automatically think of a boy with reddish-brown hair
and a slightly chubby shape. In fact, he wasn't really chubby, but when
I was mad at him, I usually said he was fat. There were some fat girls
in our class but no fat boy, and so it was up to poor Daniel to be the
fattest boy in our class.
When Daniel wanted to take revenge for calling him fat, he made fun of
my long hair. Of course, my hair wasn't really long, either, it was just
a little bit longer than the other boys' hair. Daniel used to say, I had
no haircut, it wasn't even any hair style. What he had, that was a haircut.
My hair wasn't cut, and I'd look like a girl that way anyhow.
So, I called him fat and Daniel called me a girl. We were always wide
of the mark. Like all the boys at that age.
later I took the effort to look for all the old music from the charts
at that time and record it on cassette tapes. I rummaged through lots
of music stores and spent quite a lot of money to collect all the old
hits and hear them again. Just to remember. But when I played the music,
Chris, our common friend, winced 'Oh, no, please, stop it! Don't remind
me of that f***ing time!' Like Daniel and I, Chris had always been wide
of the mark at that age and he still felt embarrassed when thinking back.
But I like to think back. Even when there were so many things that were
painfully embarrassing, it had been a very good time for me, a special
time with a very special feeling. And I never want to forget that special
Daniel smiled a bit uncertainly and said, 'It's okay, let your music play."
And he knew every song. So many times we had sat together and listened
to music - mostly songs that we recorded from the radio charts on cassette
tapes. We played our favorites to each other, and even though Daniel had
different taste than mine, we usually agreed that typical girls' favorite
music was unbearable. We loved big, impressive rockbands with tough guys
and we didnt give a shit for greasy boy groups playing bubble-gum
Like I said, I had a very special feeling during that time of my childhood
that I never want to forget. That's why I'm still able to describe it...
It began when I came in 5th grade at high school and I didn't know anybody
there. For months I didn't take any notice of Daniel - like almost everybody
else. I had a secret crush on a girl in my class and a short time later
on another girl, but I never talked to them. Just like any 10-year-old
boy. But one day I talked with Daniel during the break, and again in the
next break, and also next day, and one day he took me home with him after
school to show me where he lived, and later I took him home with me and
though there was never a point where we said we were friends, it was clear
that we were.
Daniel asked me if I ever took notice of a blond girl with freckles in
our class. Her name was Betty. One look at her and I was in love. Daniel
said that's no wonder, he was in love with her, too. So, we were both
in love with the same girl and we knew it and it was no problem at all.
We never dared to talk to her, anyway. But we had really adventurous fantasies
about her and we told each other that stuff. It was quite clear that we
had to rescue her from some terrible dangerous to win a kiss from her.
It seemed impossible that she'd kiss one of us just because we were nice.
Girls only kiss heroes and never just simple fifth-grader boys who play
with Lego bricks.
To kiss this blond girl named Betty was my biggest dream --- or at least
my second biggest, right after a journey to a distant planet. Once I actually
dreamed about kissing her, and the dream seemed to be so real and so exciting
that I woke up immediately. I was daydreaming a lot about her and I always
imagined how we might fall into a situation where we came so close that
inevitably our lips would touch.
I told Daniel my daydreams and he told me his. It was great. We never
thought about jealousy. It seemed like we could both kiss Betty at the
We turned 11 and when we started 6th grade, we were both still in love
with Betty. Even Chris, who lived next door to Daniel, said that Betty
was a wonderful girl and he'd like to kiss her, too. Me and Daniel grinned
and said 'welcome to the club'. But Chris actually took his bike and rode
to Betty's house and rang the doorbell and asked if she was there!
"Geee, how unfair!" we said.
Luckily, Betty wasn't home that day and she didn't seem to take any notice
of Chris. She was too busy with her girlfriends. Just like we were busy
with our friends and didn't know what to say to her, anyway.
Then came a certain morning when I lay half asleep in bed and fantasized
a bit. I fantasized about some rather weird stuff, like I was in a meadow
together with two young women with big boobs. It was really hot and the
women took off their shirts and we climbed up a hill. I kept looking at
these big boobs and they were really turning me on, and I was turning
from side to side in my bed and suddenly I felt a warm shudder going through
my body and my heart was pounding and I was feeling unbelievably great.
What really overcame me was the intensity of this feeling. I had never
felt anything that strong before, so much of a feeling at the same time,
and I'd never thought that I was simply able to such a thing. It was even
better than that dream about kissing Betty, and even though I knew it
was just a fantasy it felt so incredibly real.
While the feeling let up I finally awoke and noticed that there was something
wet in my pajama pants. There was a small stain to the front, something
white and soapy that didn't smell. Obviously, it had come out of my weenie
but it wasn't anything that I had seen before.
Well, I had a rather fuzzy idea what it could be and I felt weird about
It took about two or three months until I got another wet dream. And soon
I figured out how to get that great feeling and the soapy white stuff
again. I used to lie on my tummy and I moved it so that my weenie rubbed
against the blanket or the sheet, and I thought of naked girls.
The problem was that this soapy white stuff always made a stain. You couldn't
see it on my bedsheet because it was white but it became dry and rough
and you could feel it.
I thought, nobody has to know that I was doing such dirty things and I
found a way to hide the stains. I simply took some old underwear and let
it disappear in the depth of my wardrobe, behind piles of comic books
and toys. And everytime I was in the mood I dug out some of that underwear
and spread it under my tummy.
And I was in the mood a lot!
Rather soon that old underwear started to look pretty disgusting.
Daniel was allowed to stay for a sleepover with me. I couldn't believe
how complicated he made it! I bet he'd loved to take half of his bedroom
with him, pretending he couldn't sleep without his stuff. At last he came
up with two stuffed animals, his big pillow, toothbrush and toothpaste
and a beaker, several towels, soap and his pajamas. I thought to myself
I'd only take my toothbrush with me if I ever happen to spend the night
with Daniel. I didn't understand why my parents just laughed about Daniel.
I thought he was awfully childish for his age.
My Mom tucked us in. That way she could make sure that we wouldn't stay
up half the night, having a pillow fight or something. My Mom was a "real
mom", she was a bit fat and she looked like she could cook and clean
up to perfection, and she loved children. She grabbed me everytime I came
too close and cuddled me, stroked my cheeks and kissed me, no matter if
I tried to resist. She even grabbed Daniel and cuddled him! And then she
gave him nicknames, really embarrassing nicknames! I blushed, but Daniel
just grinned and looked somewhat pleased.
Daniel's Mom was slim and fancy and she smoked. Her household always looked
cleaner than ours, though I couldn't imagine her wiping and scrubbing.
She used to talk quietly and patiently with Daniel and she hardly ever
lost her temper. But I never saw her cuddling or kissing her son.
Daniel and me lay in the darkness of my bedroom and talked a while. Daniel
sounded as if he was already a bit homesick and I made fun of him.
"It's ooookay, Marcus", he muttered in the dark, "we knooooow
that you're better anyway."
I didn't understand him. "Huh, why 'better'? Maybe because I'm normal
and youre weird."
"Haha, you - normal? Excuse me for laughing, but what's normal about
I thought for a moment. "Um, for example, I don't need my old pillow
for a sleepover. And no stuffed animals, either."
Daniel said nothing for a while, then he mumbled: "Forget it."
He was rather restless during the night, I heard him breathing, moving
and murmuring in his sleep and sometimes he made some smacking noises
with his lips. Because of this noise I didn't sleep well, either.
We got up pretty early, long before my parents. We stayed in my room and
fooled around, jumped from bed to bed in our pajamas and finally sat down
together on my bed.
Daniel didn't look as if he noticed that he was sitting on my foot. My
foot stuck under the blanket, but I think he had to feel it. Anyway, I
felt him quite clearly, inspite of the blanket between us. My toes nearly
flattened his privates and I was surprised how soft they were. We kept
on talking as if there was nothing. I moved my foot under him so that
he had to notice it, but he stayed sitting there.
Then it flashed through my mind that he might like it getting touched
this way. And I realized that I could like it, too, and I asked myself
why we didn't say it. But we talked about something else. And finally
Daniel stood up and this exciting moment was gone.
Before this morning I hadn't ever noticed Daniel's body, except his slight
chubbyness which I called fat to make him mad. But I hadn't seen anything
interesting about his body. From that day on, I was excited and curious.
I couldn't get it out of my head that Daniel liked the way I touched him
with my foot. And that I liked it, too.
The next time we went swimming, I looked at Daniel sharper than ever.
He wasn't really chubby, he just looked smoother than other boys. His
shoulders and knees looked rounder than mine, less drawn by the bones.
His tummy was a little bit curved, his butt was round and neat. Later
when we dried ourselves in the lockerroom, I caught a glimpse of his weenie
and I saw that he had an average, small dick.
I was quite sure that Daniel noticed how weird I looked at him lately,
but he didn't show it. At least he didn't stare back at me like I was
I couldn't stop thinking about it. Since Daniel sat down on my foot my
life became complicated. Everything that had happened to me until that
day had been more or less familiar to me. At least I had heard of it before,
what people call 'the facts of life'. Though I thought it all happened
to me way too early, so that nobody ever had to know it, I knew it was
'normal'. I had 'ejaculations' and I thought of girls while doing it.
I was in love with girls.
And now I couldn't stop thinking of Daniel, how he sat on my foot and
my toes felt up his small soft parts and how I felt that he liked it and
I liked it.
I was 11 1/2 years old and I had just the faintest ideas about sex. That
was something that men and women did, just like the heroes and heroines
on TV, who always fall in love with each other and in the very next scene
lie in bed, breathing heavy, and biting their chins. I never ever heard
of two boys and sitting on a foot. Probably, I wasn't normal. Everything
had happened too early to me, that must have been the reason. Daniel couldn't
feel anything when sitting on my foot, he simply wasn't that far along.
I felt like a dirty pig.
But it couldn't stop me thinking of Daniel while I played with my body.
I thought, as long as I was still in love with girls, it could do no harm.
Soon it was my turn to stay with Daniel for a sleepover. Of course, I
was just going to take my toothbrush with me, but my Mom began to pack
things up for me, like my pajamas and some clean underwear, and it was
hard to convince her that I don't need even more stuff. Daniel's Mom had
a date that night, so we knew we'd be alone for hours. We did what all
11-year-olds love to do in such a situation: watching TV without any parental
guidance. We planned to move to the living room in our pajamas, to be
ready for bed. Daniel kept his underwear on under his pajamas, so that
he didn't have to undress in front of me. Since I never keep my underwear
on when I put on my pajamas, I wondered if I should undress. But then
I simply did it like Daniel.
We took our blankets with us and made ourselves comfortable on the sofa.
Actually, we didn't care what was on TV, we made fun of the program, anyway,
no matter what it was. In fact, it couldn't be bad enough for us. The
biggest fun was when we tuned down the sound of the commercials and 'dubbed'
them with new words:
"Well, these are bedsheets that we painted white so that they look
cleaner." (Detergents) - "Our stupid pills have no effect, but
it doesn't matter, you won't be able to shut your mouth, anyway."
(Denture cleaner) - "Don't ask me what I'm doing here, I grin whenever
I see a camera." (no particular) - "Disgusting sticky stuff
- and the best of all: it's incredibly expensive!" (Candy)
We lay on the floor in front of the sofa and laughed our heads off. Daniel
was really good at 'dubbing' the commercials. Off the cuff he said really
funny stuff that perfectly matched the pictures, or he changed the slogans
with only a few words to something that sounded wonderfully stupid.
But after a while we had enough of the joking and we leaned back on the
sofa, curled up in our blankets, and watched a detective movie saying
out loud who we suspected was the murderer. The movie was rather boring,
and after an hour or so we gave up and carried our blankets back into
Daniel's room, and we expected Daniel's Mom would come home, soon.
We played a while with his toys, let his model cars drive along the edge
of his bed, chasing each other. My car disappeared under the bed and when
I reached for it I grabbed something else and pulled it out. It was a
pile of cotton wool.
"Whats this cotton wool under your bed?" I asked and wrinkled
Daniel blushed deeply and took the cotton wool from my hands. He made:
"Shhhh! I put aside that, so that Mum doesn't know."
I had no idea what he was talking about. "Huh? What do you wanna
do with a pile of that stuff?"
Daniel was awfully nervous and hid the cotton wool in a drawer. "I
need it for the night. You know, there can be something running out -
that's what I read somewhere." And that last thing - 'that's what
I read' - really sounded like a lie.
"Huh?" was still my only reaction.
Daniel looked at me with his blushed cheeks and didn't know if I knew
anything about 'things that may run out at night'. Nervously he said:
"I just clean it up with that cotton wool, so that my mom doesn't
I sat there on the floor next to his bed and I was confused. First I thought
of bedwetting, but I doubted that cotton wool could help there. But later,
when Daniel's mother was back and we had to turn out the light and keep
quiet, I had the idea that Daniel might do the same thing that I did with
my old underwear. I just couldn't imagine it, Daniel seemed to me so immature,
so... innocent, he could impossibly be as dirty as me.
In spite of all this confusion, he made me even more curious. Next morning
I became a little bit more aggressive: I changed my underwear before Daniel's
eyes! I wanted to know what he'd do when he saw me naked. I did it while
he simply lay in his bed and had nothing to do. Either he'd watch me or
he'd look away.
Daniel watched me silently.
It was a real good feeling, to be watched by Daniel. I took my time to
fold the dirty underwear tidily, drew the clean pair out of my bag in
an involved way and spread it out before I put it on.
But Daniel wasnt fair. He changed in the bathroom.
Like I said we were always wide of the mark at that age. But I didn't
know that back then, I just thought I was the only one who was always
totally off the mark.
Whenever I tried to act like a grown up I made a fool out of myself. Especially
in front of the girls I wanted to impress, and sometimes I said boastful
crap that makes me ashamed even today.
And when I acted like the child that I actually felt like, I made a fool
out of myself then, too. For example, when Daniel and I sat in the bus
and had fun playing games we made up, people shook their heads and said:
"You belong in kindergarden." And I felt bad then and didn't
realize that they also said it to Daniel.
So, I thought about my friend Daniel and did stuff to myself again and
again, and I thought I was completely tainted. Abnormal. And until I found
that cotton wool under Daniel's bed I didn't dare to think that anybody
of my age could be as tainted as me. But now I was wondering about it.
I searched my memories for pieces of circumstantial evidence that Daniel
was tainted. I watched him and looked for signs.
Chris and Daniel were catholic, I am protestant. The catholic students
had some lessons about sexuality, masturbation and morale in religious
education, and I heard a lot of stories about it, especially Chris couldn't
stop talking about it, giggling smuttily. The stuff about masturbation
was his favorite. Daniel just blushed and smiled awkwardly and kept quiet.
"It was about a boy who sat in his class and couldn't concentrate
and they said that he rubbed the front of his pants. So that he'd get
a clear head again. Could you imagine doing this" - Chris showed
how to do it - "in the middle of a lesson, just because you can't
concentrate?" (giggle, giggle) "I wonder what girls do then.
Perhaps they take their pencils..." Chris clinged to my sleeve and
laughed his head off.
Daniel had to laugh a bit, too, though he didn't want to. "Aw, stop
it, you're impossible!"
Suddenly Chris asked us: "Did you ever do that?" And he looked
at us with a bright smile.
I blushed extremely and pretended to be ignorant: "Huh? Did what?"
"Well, masturbation! Like this!" Again he rubbed the fly of
his pants. "Until something comes out."
I hoped that Daniel would say something since he knew those lessons, but
Chris only looked at me, and then I lied: "Nooooo. Never done that."
Chris asked Daniel: "What about you?"
Daniel shook his head. "No."
Chris looked sceptical. I don't think that he believed us but at least
he stopped talking about masturbation and making jokes about it.
I kept in my mind that Daniel said no, like me, though I was fairly sure
what he really did. We both lied.
Me and Daniel liked to ride around on our bikes and look for spooky places.
There were some spooky places in the woods and on the outskirts of the
city, for example an abandoned building which must have been used for
some mysterious purpose that we couldn't imagine. But there were also
some weird places in our neighborhood, particularly a weeded area, surrounded
by a fairly high wall. From outside this wall you could only see undergrowth
and weeds, but we wanted to find out why there was this big wall around
it. It had to be hiding a secret.
So, we climbed up the wall and it wasn't easy at all. I wasn't too athletic
and Daniel performed like a lead weight in gym. I was the first one to
try, I jumped up and clutched at the top of the wall. Then I hung down
the wall. "And now?"
Daniel helped me. He simply grabbed my butt and pushed me up. This way
I really made it on top of the wall. Feeling Daniel's hands on my butt
had shocked me slightly. I lay on top of the wall and everything was turning
around me. Daniel used his bike for a step and climbed on it, but he didn't
know how to climb up the rest of the way to the top. When he hung down
the wall like a monkey I reached for his knee and pulled it up. And so
even Daniel's big butt reached the top, finally.
We leapt down on the other side and looked around. There were some beaten
paths leading through the undergrowth, and we wandered along those paths
at random. We didn't find anything remarkable - just some rubbish. But
nevertheless it was interesting to search the area. We did something forbidden
and that's always exciting.
The only reason why I tell about this 'expedition' is that Daniel grabbed
my butt again when we climbed the wall to get back down. The way back
was easier since there was a tree near the wall. But again I felt Daniel's
helpful hands on my butt pushing me up. And now I knew he was doing it
'Gotcha, Daniel', I thought to myself. Finally a revealing sign! Daniel
took the chance to grab my butt.
It began to rain. And it became a heavy downpour.
We weren't too far away from home, but somehow we didn't want to go home,
yet. We stopped at a playground and entered a wooden hut. This hut was
made for little kids, its roof was so low that we could either crawl or
sit down in there. So, we sat down on the wooden floor.
We listened to the sound of the rain pouring on the roof of the small
hut. Our hair was straggly wet and our T-shirts were damp. For a while
we looked each other in the eye.
For some reason I felt like I should say something nice about Daniel:
"All in all, you aren't really fat."
Daniel spoke somehow self-pityingly whenever it came to his weak points.
"Tell me who in our class is chubbier than me?" he moaned.
"Thomas Newman is just like you, and he isn't fat or something."
"But he looks more handsome."
I was surprised to hear that. Really, I had never thought about which
boy in our class looked handsome and who didn't. Either, I didn't think
that Daniel was any less good-looking than others. Though the girls treated
him like he wasn't there. "Uh, do you think that?"
I shrugged. "Dunno. But... then, who are the best looking boys in
our class, in your oppinion?"
Daniel shrugged, too. "Andreas. But he's gone." There was once
a student in our class named Andreas, and everybody said that all the
girls had a crush on him. A tanned boy with bright brown hair, almost
cut like the early Beatles' 'mushroom heads'. Somehow everybody in our
class agreed that he was our Mr. Handsome.
I said: "Funny, I have no idea why they always said he was so handsome."
Daniel sighed. "Oh, Marcus! We know that YOU don't have to think
about that. YOU are good looking and slender, YOU don't need to make a
fuss of it. The girls like you, anyway."
I felt the blood pounding in my head. My cheeks became hot. Never before
somebody had said I was looking good. Not even my Mom, who said I was
"sweet", which is a completely different thing - she only saw
the sweet and cute child in me.
Daniel said: "I'd rather be more slender, like you, at least."
I tried to console him: "I'm not too good at sports, either."
"But you draw well. And you write funny stories. Didn't you ever
notice how everybody is always eager to see what you're doing? You get
all the attention. Always."
I didn't know what to say. Yeah, I got all the attention, and I took it
for granted. In our arts class there's usually someone who almost shouts
'look what Marcus is drawing' and then the students leap up and come to
my desk and look what I'm doing. It must have been hard for Daniel to
sit next to me. It must have been hard to be a friend of mine. I was almost
ashamed: "I could teach you drawing!"
Now Daniel looked almost contemptous. "Oh, no, thanks! You better
forget everything I said."
I was helpless. Should I tell him that I thought he was looking good,
too? I was so used to his face that I couldn't tell if it was nice or
stupid. And actually I didn't care about his chubbyness. He was my friend
because he had similar interests and because we could tell each other
stories and invent new games and because he was patient and gentle. But
I couldn't tell him, because I hadn't realized it then. I wasn't even
I'll never forget how it was sitting there in that small playhouse while
the rain was pouring on the roof and Daniel told me what he really thought
about me. It was a real weird mood. I had a strange feeling in my tummy.
Daniel thought I was good-looking.
The next time I was alone at home, I wanted to prove that in detail. I
made a one-man-fashion-show in front of the hall mirror. I treated my
hair with a hair dryer and a brush so that it looked fancy and silky.
I tried several kinds of pants and shirts, with or without a belt, and
looked at me from head to toe in the big mirror, struck cool poses, turned
around and looked at my back and my butt. Most of all I liked the open-shirt
look, without anything underneath. Though I always wanted to have chiseled
muscles, there was never ever anything like that to be seen on my chest.
But that day I liked myself the way I was.
Yupp, I was good-looking. If Id had a look-alike, I would have liked
to kiss him.
Summer came or at least what they call summer where we lived. And Daniel
and me went on a vacation - together! Well, actually it was pure accident
that Daniel and his mom planned to go on vacation quite close to the place
where my grandparents lived. So, they took me with them and left me with
my grandparents. But my parents and Daniel's Mom had agreed that Daniel
could spend a few days with me at my grans. And I couldn't wait
Before our journey Daniel's Mom made really big efforts so that Daniel
wouldnt get car-sick. He had to take pills and she put him in his
seat with a pillow under his head so he could sleep all through the drive.
But the two of us talked the whole time - mostly about the chartbreaker
music on our tapes that played in the car stereo - and Daniel didn't get
sick that way, either.
His mom drove fast and soon the journey was over. My grandparents were
surprised to see me so early. I wrote down my gran's telephone number
on a piece of paper and gave it Daniel and then he and his mom were already
Vacation with my grandparents was nothing special, but it was okay. Id
known all the neighbor kids as long as I could remember. We went swimming
or played ping pong and the boys had a new favorite game that we fought
out in endless little tournaments. Just this summer I was limited to the
younger kids - the other boys had turned 14 and therefore they were suddenly
big and didn't play with me anymore.
It wasn't boring at all, but I could hardly wait til the phone rang and
Daniel was calling. After almost one week it finally rang. I sat around
the old black and white TV with my grandparents and saw a stone age old
movie and when the phone rang my grandma almost got a heart attack because
it was set so loud that they could hear it even in the garden and because
I jumped up with a yell.
Daniel didn't say much on the phone, his vacation hadn't been too exciting
so far. We just agreed that his mom would bring him the next day and then
we hung up.
It was a hard piece of work to make my gran clear that we had to sleep
in the same room. And that it had to be the quiet room under the roof.
I almost started a quarrel, but then I agreed to carry all the sheets
and pillows up the steep stairs and make the beds on my own.
The next day I spent hours running up and down the street in front of
the house, looking out for the red car Daniel's mom would be driving.
I thought maybe shed forgotten the way to my grandparents and got
lost. I even took my bike and rode to the end of the street and looked
around the corner. I could hardly imagine that Daniel's mom simply took
When they finally arrived they hadn't been lost at all. We had some coffee
and cake together, and Daniel's mom constantly told her son that he had
to behave and all the things that he shouldn't forget to do.
Then she endlessly thanked my grandparents and made clear once again that
she'd take her son back immediately as soon as he'd cause trouble.
Then she finally took her car and drove away.
I was uncertain if Daniel would like my grandparents' little old house.
I showed him some of the rooms and the old fashoined water closet and
I made a joke about it and watched Daniel's face. It seemed that he didn't
care. And when I showed him our room in the attic he agreed with me that
it was the best room in the house.
I was relieved and laughed. Daniel unpacked his things. Of course, he
had that pillow with him about which he said he couldn't sleep without.
Plus half a dozen stuffed animals.
We didn't go downstairs to my grandparents for the rest of the evening.
We spent hours exploring the old stuff in the loft - majorly dusty books
and old toys - and we made our jokes about the stuff we found and so we
didn't realize how time went by. Finally my grandparents called up from
downstairs that they were going to sleep now and that we had to be quiet.
Then I realized that it wasn't nice that we hadn't come downstairs, at
least to say good night or something.
We didn't sleep much during our first night in my grandparents' house.
We talked until late after midnight, and we were happy that it was our
vacation. I don't want to tell much about this first night, nor about
the next day when Daniel discovered two or three spiders in the loft and
really panicked because he couldn't stand spiders at all and we had to
buy insecticides at the small supermarket in the village and kill all
the spiders until Daniel calmed down. No, I want to tell about the following
night with Daniel that became the most remarkable of our summer vacation
and even one of the most remarkable nights in my life.
This time we said goodnight to my grandparents after supper and we went
upstairs to the attic, and that meant that we'd stay there for the rest
of the night, undisturbed. We planned to play cards or dice while listening
to our favorite music cassettes with all the hits. But we didn't do that
too long, soon we began to fantasize about Betty, the girl with blond
hair and freckles that we were both in love with.
We sat on Daniel's bed - the big one under the window - and imagined stories
that always led to the point where Betty had to kiss us.
Daniel began: "We're at a summer camp." Summer camp was good.
We had never actually been to a summer camp ourselves, but of course we
knew from TV and books that things might happen there that could lead
to a kiss.
"There's a group of older boys who always play rough and they're
really mean. We are in another group together with Betty. One night we
go on a night walk...", Daniel said with a promising grin.
"Yeah, a night walk! That's it!" I laid back on the big old
bed and looked up through the window at the dark sky. When the light was
out you could see the stars above through this window, while you were
lying in bed. And maybe you could hear some crickets singing. But usually
you could hear some distant music from a bar or a party down in the village
and the voices of rather drunken grown ups and the noise of a motor bike
or a car.
"A night walk... in the woods. We get some flashlights", Daniel
"Woohoo!" Full of delight I wriggled on the upper end of Daniel's
bed. That was spooky and exciting - exactly what we needed to kiss a girl.
"We're going ahead cause we have the flashlights. Soon, the path
becomes rather narrow and we have to work our way through the undergrowth.
There's rustling and crackling. And when we finally come to a clearing
and we look around, the girls are...", Daniel stopped breathing for
a moment, "...gone!"
I stopped breathing, too, then I giggled and took over telling the story.
Each of us told a part, and we knew anyway how it would end up. Of course,
that nasty group of boys had caught 'our' girls in the darkness - probably
to force them into kissing them - and it was just a matter of time that
we'd rescue them and get away and then... yeah, then the girls couldn't
refuse to kiss us --- the heroes! This time Daniel could kiss blond Betty
because he had started to tell the story. For me there was 'only' dark-haired
Jenny left to kiss, Betty's best friend, who was all in all way cuter
and nicer than Betty, but I didn't know that back then. Jenny counted
only as second best.
I lay across the top end of the big bed and let my feet dangle down the
edge. Daniel sat cross-legged at the foot of the bed and watched me.
I said: "Once I dreamed that I was together with Betty in the park
and we were alone and I was going to hold her and right then she was turning
around and our lips touched."
Daniel looked a bit expressionless. "So what?"
I shrugged. "That's all. But it was like real kissing. In my dream
it felt so real."
"Your lips were only touching?" Daniel couldn't imagine what
"Yeah, wait..." I sat up on the bed and turned my back to Daniel
as if I was Betty in my dream. "Just do as if you'd try to catch
Unsure of what I was doing, Daniel took my upper arms. I turned around
to Daniel and fell back onto him inevitably pushing him aside with the
weight of my body. Daniel exaggerated a lot: "Ooouuh, aauuuuhh!"
But he laughed.
"Not like that! No, of course not this way! We have to stand up."
I got up from the bed. "Come on, stand up!"
Daniel followed and he seemed to be curious now. We set ourselves up again
like in my dream, Daniel behind me, and when he took my arms I turned
around and I wrapped myself in his arms this way and came really close
to his chest. The tips of our noses almost touched and we were so close
like two lovers ready to kiss each other.
Daniel grinned with closed lips. Just like me, he felt that we could simply
try it out, right at that moment. Nobody was watching us, we could just
do it for practice.
I hardly dared to breathe because I didn't want to blow into Daniel's
face. Almost voiceless I whispered: "Our lips touched very slightly."
And slowly I came closer, beside Daniel's nose tip.
At the very first faint touch - probably by some tiny downy hair on our
upper lips, because it was tickling really weird - Daniel burst out laughing.
His wet breath smelled like tooth paste and white bread. Daniel released
me and shook himself, laughing.
I remained silent and serious. I was a little bit disappointed that this
first attempt had failed so completely. "Of course, it doesn't work
this way. Betty didn't laugh in my dream. Nor did I."
Daniel giggled with red cheeks. "Marcus, do you really want to show
me how to kiss Betty?" But when he saw that I was serious and it
seemed that was really exactly what I wanted, he stopped laughing. He
"Ah, well, how about you play Betty now, and I show you how I would
Daniel's cheeks became even more red but he didn't say anything about
my suggestion. He said nothing.
I tried to explain: "Of course, not real kissing. No wet lips or
anything like that. My lips are perfectly dry... look, here!" I showed
my dry lips.
Daniel still said nothing. I felt like he didn't know what to say about
it. Or maybe he just didn't want to say something against it. He showed
no signs of resistance, he simply let it happen.
"And don't laugh", I made clear once again. And then I pushed
Daniel gently down on his bed and made signs that he had to stretch out
on it. "So, imagine, you are Betty and we're in that summer camp.
It's late and we're out for a walk and we lie down in the grass and watch
I lay down beside Daniel, on his big pillow that smelled a little bit
like Daniel. And we looked up through the window in the roof. I reached
for the bedside light and turned it out.
It was dark in our room and we saw the stars above, through the window.
The noise from the party down in the village had died down. I only heard
Daniel breathing. He didn't move.
My heart pounded up to my neck and my ears and I thought, Daniel could
hear it. I whispered: "So, you are Betty and I am me."
Daniel remained silent. No complaints.
"So, I'd put my arm around you." I pushed my arm under Daniel's
shoulders and he even helped me and lifted his head a little. Then we
lay there close to each other and I felt Daniel's undershirt on my arm
and his warm and smooth shoulder in my hand and I began to stroke it.
And Daniel's breath became deeper. Without saying any more about Betty
and the summer camp, I turned on my side to Daniel until I almost lay
on him, face to face, and our legs touched.
And then I kissed him. His lips weren't stressed anymore, they were smooth
and a little wet, just like mine. We both knew that this wasn't really
a game, it wasn't just doing 'as if'. We really kissed each other! We
were both panting and we could each feel our breath across each other's
cheeks. And Daniel wanted to do it too. I felt how he wanted to really
kiss me, too, and how he enjoyed the feeling of my mouth against his.
Slowly and gently he wrapped his arms around me and stroked my back, and
we finally lay there in the darkness cuddled up tight and kissing until
we were breathless.
Then our kissing became less wild and after a while we just lay there
cheek to cheek, stroking each other's back and shoulders.
I'm sure I would have liked to fall asleep like that, but we were both
too excited, even though we didn't move or talk any more. After some time
we let up stroking each other and laid back. And in the end I crept back
over to my bed and soon we were sleeping.
This wild 'kissing practice' was the only time we ever did anything like
that. Although I daydreamed a lot about it and I really would have liked
to do it again. But since we never talked about it, I was never sure if
Daniel wanted to do it, too. And I wondered if we would 'become gay' because
of it. Well, like I said, we were always wide of the mark at that age.
Later, we both had problems finding a girlfriend. Daniel, because he was
the partykiller who couldn't dance or flirt - the kind of boy that the
girls generally ignore. And me, because I was too much in love with myself
and I thought, all the girls had a crush on me.
But neither of us turned 'gay'. Even if we had kissed a thousand times.
Actually, I'd been a little bit in love with Daniel, though I would never
have admitted that at age 12, not over my dead body. What kind of love
is it that you may have for your best friend at that age? Is it somehow
less valuable than the love for a girl? Or is it a better, deeper kind
of love - actually, it will last until the end of my life, my love for
my best friend.
Talking about love for a lifetime - during the days when Daniel spent
his vacation with me and my grandparents his mother met the man who was
to become her partner, step by step. Daniel never accepted him, not as
a surrogate father and not even as a friend.