Exactly one week ago, I figured "it" out. My elation at finally solving the mystery, understanding who I am, has given way to depression. There are no books on gay topics in the library, no gay organizations, no meeting places except for a gay bar that I'm too young to go to.
And I can't tell anyone. Everyone thinks that gay people are either horrifying monsters or swishy jokes.
What do I do now?
My friend Aaron invites me to a Marx Brothers Film Festival held at the Augustana College Student Union: The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers tonight, and Horse Feathers, Monkey Business, and Duck Soup tomorrow (this was before DVDs).
Jana, a girl I know from Rocky High, comes into the first screening. With the most beautiful guy I have ever seen. Greek or Italian, rather short, short black hair, sharp features, flawless skin. He is wearing a yellow tank top that displays his smooth chest and nicely bulging biceps. But no verbal description can do justice to his amazing confidence and energy. He is a Golden Boy.
"Who...who is that guy with Jana?" I ask, transfixed.
Naturally Aaron assumes that I'm interested in the girl. "Dunno. But I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. He looks like a college kid, so at the end of the summer, he's out of here!"
During intermission, I drag Aaron over and get an introduction. His name is Dino.
"Are you related to Dino ?" I ask.
"Uncle Dino? Sure. We don't see him much, though. He joined a crazy fundamentalist church, Nazarene or something, and decided that we were all possessed by demons."
"He was my Sunday School teacher at the Nazarene Church!"
His face falls. "Oh...um...I didn't mean..."
"That's ok, I know they're crazy fundamentalists. I've been trying to get out."
"No, no, I shouldn't have made that crack. Let me make it up to you. Come by Lagomarcino's tomorrow, and I'll fix you up with a box of candy. Your friend, too," he adds, glancing at Aaron.
"Are you working there for the summer?"
"Sort of. My grandpa owns it."
The Lagomarcinos are one of the wealthiest families in the Quad Cities. They own several businesses, but they are best known for their landmark candy store in Moline, open since 1908. It sells ice cream cones and sodas, but mostly you go there for the fancy chocolates. (In 2015, one-pound assortments begin at $24, double the price of one-pound Whitman Samplers).
We arrive about 2:00 pm. Dino is working behind the counter, wearing a white apron, but still muscular, athletic, alive.
Before I can catch myself, I blurt out: "For someone who makes candy for a living, you have a really nice physique."
Dino smiles. "Thanks. I was on the swim team in high school, and I studied karate and boxing."
"Cool! Aaron and I used to go to the Davenport Athletic Club on Saturday afternoons to..." I catch myself before saying "to look at the cute guys."
"Maybe we saw you..."
"Probably." He pauses. "Hey, are you guys doing anything for the 4th? I'm having some guys over to see the fireworks -- Mom and Dad are in Europe. Our house is on River Drive [in Davenport], so you get a really good view from the front porch. We'll have some barbecue, drink some beers."
Who could turn down an offer like that?
Aaron could. "Can I bring a date?"
He looks confused. Does he think we're a gay couple? Are we a gay couple?
"It's guys only. We don't want any women messing up our fun, do we?"
The rest of the story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.