Visiting Rock Island, I went to church at the MCC, and a swishy, flamboyant older guy named Gene approached me during the coffee hour.
"Your last name is...what?" he asked, offering a multi-ringed hand to be shaken. "Oh, Mary! I tricked with your Dad."
"My Dad? I don't think so,..he's pretty straight."
"Your uncle, then. Steve Davis. Girl, she was such a hottie, back in the day!"
I shook my head. "I'm not related to anybody in Rock Island. My family is from Indiana."
"Distant cousin, then! When that Cute Young Thing came into the Hawaiian Lounge, all the queens just swooned. She was picky, though, wouldn't go home with just anybody. You had to have class."
Could he mean Mr. Davis, my grade school math teacher? Everybody assumed that he was my uncle back then. He wasn't -- but I had a major crush on him! Black hair, sharp features, big, expressive hands. He wore a thin white shirt with no t-shirt, so in the right light you could see the contours of his body as he moved. And tight pants -- the first time I ever fantasized about a guy's basket was in his class.
"But that was, like, twenty years ago. He'd be...."
"In his 40s? A big burly muscle daddy?"
My interest piqued, I asked "Is he still in town?"
"Oh, no, Mary. I heard she fell in love with one of those big burly rough trade types and now manages a glory-hole truck stop in Ottumwa."
In the 1980s, you looked people up in telephone books, one for each town. I went to the public library and looked for a Steve Davis in Ottumwa, Oscaloosa, Osceola, and Indianola. Nothing.
I invited Gene to lunch the next day.
"All this trouble just to trick with your Uncle, sweetheart? And he might not even be hot anymore!"
"Well, yeah," I admitted, embarrassed. "He was my first crush, he's gay -- how could I pass up the opportunity to at least meet him? And maybe see if his basket lives up to my fantasies."
"Well, Mary, you're in luck. I've been asking around, and one of the girls has it on good authority that Miss Thing is now running a stud farm in Keokuk. Rhymes with...you know."
Back to the library. Keokuk, Iowa, about two hours south of Rock Island, had a Steve Davis listed!
I called. The number was disconnected.
Wait -- Dick, my former bully and current friend, had Mr. Davis in class, too. Maybe their paths crossed.
I called him and got invited to dinner.
"Sure, I know Steve -- we dated for awhile, back when I first came out. He lives down in Normal now." Two hours from Rock Island, the site of Illinois State University.
"Why didn't you mention that you dated our grade school math teacher?"
He shrugged. "I thought he was your uncle. Who wants to hear that his friend had sex with his uncle?"
I called the number Dick gave me, and Mr. Davis -- Steve --answered! He remembered me -- it's hard to forget a kid who everyone thinks is your nephew -- and even suspected that I was gay. He invited me to visit on Saturday.
The day before I was scheduled to fly back to Los Angeles.
Aching with anticipation, I borrowed my sister's car and drove out to Normal, to a small white-paned house a few blocks from the campus.
A Cute Young Thing answered the door: probably an Illinois State student, mid-20s, slender, with thick black hair and a short beard. He was wearing a yellow shirt, unbuttoned to reveal a slim, hairy chest, and very tight short pants.
"I'm Maier, Steve's lover," he said with a smile. "He's asleep, but I'l try to wake him up. He's really looking forward to seeing you again. Not a lot of his former students turn out to be gay."
Asleep, at 1:00 in the afternoon? When you're expecting company?
He led me through the living room, down a hallway, to a closed door. He knocked, and a weak voice called "Come in."
A rather buffed, 40-something guy was lying in bed in his undershirt, propped up on pillows. A couple of books beside him -- I remember A Brief History of Time. A box of kleenix and an assortment of vials and bottles on the nightstand.
I stared -- the situation seemed unreal. He had a beard now, and some crags and lines, but it was definitely Mr. Davis, who I used to gaze longingly at in sixth grade math class! Memories came rushing back. The smell of big math binders, the feel of chalk squishing against blackboards, That white shirt with his body visible underneath. The basket....
"Hi, 'nephew.' Nice to see you again," Steve said with a weak smile. A little raspy, but the same voice I remember talking about multiplying and dividing fractions. "Sorry I look so awful. Fever of 102. Some kind of summer bug."
"No, you look great. Same as you did back in sixth grade."
"You don't -- you've grown into quite a hunk."
Maier and I sat on chairs a few feet from the bed. I told my best West Hollywood stories, about my date with Richard Dreyfuss, my stalled porn career, and Alan helping me thwart a celebrity at Mugi.
Steve didn't say a lot, but Maier told me about him leaving Denkmann to take care of his ailing mother, moving briefly to Chicago, and then getting a job teaching middle school in Normal.
"I wish you could visit again in a few days, when I'm feeling better," Steve said, reaching for a kleenix. "We were hoping that you would be up for sharing."
"Too bad I'm flying back to L.A. tomorrow." I looked at him hopefully. "Um...this is a little embarrassing, but...I was wondering...could I...get a grope?
"Sure, if I can grope you, too -- I'm sick, I'm not dead." He pulled back the covers -- he was naked underneath. Rather small, but that didn't matter -- I approached him and fulfilled a 20-year old fantasy.
I promised to visit when I came back to Rock Island again, but at Christmastime it was too snowy for a two-hour drive, and the next summer I was too busy, and so on, and so on. It never happened.
But that moment of intimacy at Mr. Davis's sickbed was worth a dozen nights of passion.
See also: Hooking up with the most conservative professor on campus and 15 teachers I may have hooked up with.