Feb 23, 2017

A Homeless Teenager Invites Me Home

Plains, February 2017

I volunteer for a drop-in center for homeless youth: they can get showers and food, counseling, jobhunting training, or just hang out and play games or watch tv.  There are over 100 regular clients, about 30% LGBT or questioning, rejected by their parents after coming out.

Sometimes the gay boys get a little cruisy, probably because that's how they've learned to get what they need, but of course it would be unethical to date or hook up with them.

But the other night I did.  Almost.

It was at a fundraiser for the center held at the gay-friendly coffee house: live music, poetry readings, and a silent auction.  I staffed the table with a donation jar and some brochures.  It was across from the main door, so unless they used the side door, everyone saw me the moment they came in.  They also had to walk past me on the way to pick up their orders.

A lot of twinks and college students came in, some of the artsy bohemian regulars, plus a scattering of middle-aged people, one middle-aged gay guy with a nice chest in spite of his "Conky" t-shirt, an elderly guy in leather who said he had been an art history major in college, 40 years ago.

It was fun taking the donations -- especially the $10 and $20 bills -- watching the money pile up -- plus I got a lot of cruisy smiles.

Suddenly a homeless guy came in, rubbing his hands from the February cold, looking around as if he'd never been there before -- a teenager, very tall and thin, with scruffy blond hair and a beautiful, angelic face, the kind that makes you melt.  He was wearing a thin hoodie and tattered jeans.

I didn't expect any clients to come, but I wanted to make him feel welcome.  "Hi, my name is Boomer. Here for the fundraiser?"

He looked blank.  "I...um...I'm Cade. Hi.  How much does it cost?"

"Nice to meet you, Cade.  There's no admission fee.  And if you ask nicely, someone might buy you a cup of hot chocolate."

He stared at the pastries in the display case.

"Um...or a sandwich, if you're hungry."

"That's ok, I'm fine."  He went into the main room and sat down to listen to a poetry reading, but eventually he wandered back.  He stared at me and the donation jar.

"Lot of donations tonight?"

"Yeah.  We're getting a lot of tens and twenties."

"If you want to, you know, go to the bathroom or something, I'll look after the table for you."

This guy was after the donation money! "Thanks, but I'm fine right now.  But...you can sit with me if you want."  I offered him the chair farthest from the donation jar.

He plopped down next to me.  "So...this center is open to gay kids, too?"

"Sure.  Lots of the clients are gay."

"That's cool, 'cause sometimes parents aren't ok with it.  When I told my Dad I was queer, he gave me a black eye.  Said he didn't want 'some pervert' looking at him!"

"That's awful."  Cade didn't have a black eye -- he must have been homeless for awhile.  "Are you sure you won't let me buy you a sandwich?  I'm having one."

He shrugged.  "Sure, ok, I'll eat if you're going to."  He brushed his knee against mine.

The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

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