A face from my past caught up with me on Facebook this morning.
A high school classmate sent me a Facebook friend suggestion, “Demetrius Woods.”
Damn. Demetrius and I had gone to junior high, high school and college together but I had not seen him in more than 20 years. He looked pretty much the same in his profile photo except his face was fuller and he had a little belly.
I thought a few minutes. Should I or shouldn’t I? Then I clicked on the button to send Demetrius a friend request. You see, we might have a lot to talk about.
Demetrius, who was a tall, lanky, light-skinned dude with curly hair in school, had a hankering for me decades before I got into dudes. But I didn’t realize it then. At first I thought he was just an asshole. However, he ended up arousing something in me.
When we were around others, sitting at the lunch table or practicing in band class, he would tease me and jone on me. If I was trying to talk to a girl, he would try to talk to the same girl. Sometimes he would get the girl because he was a wide receiver on the football team and had pretty boy looks while I was dark-skinned (which wasn’t in style then) and known more for my smarts.
“Why are you always fucking around with Immanuel,” my best buddy “Maddox” would say to him. “He never bothers you. Shit, you act like you got a crush on him.”
Maddox was right. When I was walking down the hall sometimes Demetrius would walk by me and brush up against me. When I would look up to see who it was he would look me deeply in the eyes. When we sat in Mr. Aboud’s physics class I would sometimes look up from my calculations and notice him staring at me from across the room.
There was something else about him. I noticed he would hang around one dude all the time, a tall, quiet, nice-looking cat named “Tyler.” They were inseparable. When I saw them I would get an odd feeling that I couldn’t express. They looked almost like a….couple? But back then everybody had a best buddy that they hung out with, slept over with etc. So it wasn’t a big deal.
There was even a slang term for it. “Oh, there’s your butt-boy Marcus,” someone would say. That meant the guy was around you so much it was like he was up your butt.
Flash forward a year. It is 1983. Demetrius and I ended up going to the same college and pledging the same fraternity. For some reason we kept getting thrown together when the frat members needed pledgees to do some task.
One day the pledgees were taking showers in some dorm. The brothers had been hazing us hard and it was the first break we had had in hours. It was one of those big, open shower rooms with a dozen shower heads on the wall. I looked up and there was Demetrius again, staring at me. Except this time we were both butt naked.
My dick started to rise. And I know Demetrius saw it because he kept looking at me, almost like he was worshipping me with his eyes. I wrapped a towel quickly around my middle and rushed off to get dressed.
“What is wrong with me?” I thought. “Why did my dick get hard? I like girls. I can’t let the other pledges see me get hard around a bunch of guys. They will think I’m a faggot.”
I didn’t understand myself yet. I’m smiling as I write this thinking about my past self. I was so suppressed.
One night about a week after the shower Demetrius and I were walking alone together, side by side, when he reached over and pulled me to him, hugged me tight and kissed me on the cheek. It wasn’t a brotherly hug. It was like a hug you give your sweetheart.
It scared the shit out of me. Because it felt so wrong and so right at the same time.
I dropped line from the frat soon after. I told my friends and family other reasons for dropping line — I didn’t like the violence and hazing, the brothers were asking us to buy them drugs, and my grades were plummeting. What I didn’t tell them is that I had to get away from Demetrius. I was convinced he was turning me gay.
Flash forward. It is 1987. I had graduated college, was young and a poorly paid new professional, and enjoyed myself clubbing three or four nights a week. Demetrius became a DJ and was spinning the turntables at a club I frequented. He was off duty one night I was there and had a pretty, petite, light-skinned girl on his arm.
They walked through my group of friends and Demetrius brushed up against me and looked back at me.
“Damn, he is rude,” one of buddies commented. “What’s up with him?”
I didn’t say anything. They didn’t know Demetrius and I had been playing this game since high school.
Flash forward. It is May 21, 2010. Now Demetrius and I might end up being Facebook friends. Life is funny, isn’t it?
(Update: Demetrius accepted my friend request a few hours after I posted this blog entry.)