We had done this before. Once everybody was asleep one of us would crawl into the other’s bed and get naked under the sheets. That particular night we were at my parent’s beach house in the coast of Ecuador. Andrés was the son of a friend of the family and had decided to spend part of the summer with us. We were kids; I was 14 and he was a year younger than me. As before, I waited in the dark until my two younger brothers were completely asleep; I climbed up to his bed and got under the sheets. He was waiting for me, silent and already naked. It was very difficult for me at that age to differentiate between all the intense emotions that rushed through my bloodstream: desire, shame, pleasure, guilt. So the easiest thing was to blindly follow those instincts that came naturally to me without even trying to question them or understand them.
That night however things did not go as smoothly as they had in the past: Years later she would claim that her guardian angel woke her up (which she usually associated with the figure of her dead grandmother, my great-grandmother). It was clear from the moment she opened the door and entered the room that one bed, my bed, was empty. It was also clear from the abrupt interruption of our panting and the sudden movement under the covers that there was an extra person in Andrés’ bed. She approached slowly, partly because she was still getting used to the darkness in the room and partly because she was afraid to face what she suspected was going on.
“I had a bad dream and I was scared to sleep in my bed”, I whispered impulsively even before she said a word. “Andrés, please step out of the bed”, said my mom. He did, he stood there in front of my mother absolutely naked. “Please get dressed and come outside with me”. She then stared at me with severe disappointment.
I have no idea how long I waited in the dark for them to return. I was lying down for what seemed like hours, shaking, crying, and feeling like a pervert and a freak. I was angry at myself for being who I was and for the things I felt. I was disgusted and ashamed. I did not recognize my actions in the image I had of myself, or even worse, the image my mom had of me.
Later, I was sitting in front of her in the balcony. I remember the windows were open and I could see how the violet shades of morning were starting to spread over the ocean. I did not dare to look at her face; I knew she would be crying and I could not bare the guilt of knowing I was causing her so much pain and disappointment. “Are you a homosexual?” she asked, almost whispering. “No!” I reacted. “Of course I’m not!” She looked at me, I looked at her; she had deep dark circles under her teary eyes. “Then why?” She asked. I really did not know what to say. Homosexuals were perverts and criminals, the lowest kind of people and I did not want to be that, or at least accept that that was what I was. “He made me.” I responded.
Needless to say that I never saw Andrés again after that night. Also needless to say that after that night and for many years to come I hated who I was. I know that perhaps the story is not very encouraging or optimistic, but it is an important part of who I am today… and today I love who I am.