Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 06:08:00 -0700 From: Tim Stillman <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: "Golden, Thy Heart, and Autumn Leaf Dappled" This story is about a 10 year old boy, Pretty Boy and the boys who make love to him dearly and unashamedly. And the advent of Halloween. And children trying to hold on to the evanescence of youth and first love. "Golden, Thy Heart, And Autumn Leaf Dappled" by Timothy Stillman Pretty boy, they called him. Of long golden locks and thin moldable body, as they lowered him to the October ground in the ancient frosty Civil War era cemetery on the outskirts of town this delicious little ice in the wind two nights before Halloween night. Supple, he was and fair of skin. A little boy of ten or so who looked like a little girl. Porcelain flesh and tender to the touch. Lost and dreamy eyes that were big and blue and knew where all the other secret skies came from. Sometimes the other boys, not pretty, not desirable, not good with school as was the pretty lad, asked him, where do the skies come from? And he would say, it's not where you're looking, never forget that, because it's never where you are looking. Pretty boy in the cub scouts this year, and emotionally, as always, off by himself in the corner, whittling on loneliness, because his appellation was of how dear they held him, and how he knew deep down, they were just making a joke, and angry at him because they didn't have his swan's willowy neck, and they didn't have legs that were delicate and did not lift them, standing by their desks, off the ground in sheer exuberant happiness when they answered a teacher's question correctly, as did his. And he answered them all correctly, but he was not conceited, only self-perplexed and amazed, as he smiled and his smile was sunshine, always, and his hands were constantly fiddling with something, a ruler or a pencil or a dream there in those hands with those long piano playing fingers, if he ever wanted to play piano. So they were delicate with him, as were the girls, even when he shamed them with himself, for it would have been like amassing armament against summer sky clouds, the ones that go overhead so billowy and brightly white and formed of all sorts of long and slender and magical and convoluted edges of mountains and hills of the sky that could never exist on earth. For the earth was unworthy of them being part of the topography and everyone on the earth was unworthy of Pretty Boy who might have had another name. Christopher Robin perhaps. Or Charlie Brown had he been pretty. Had he had the pretty boy's little red rose mouth and those little bright milky front teeth that almost broke your heart when you turned away from them. And you had to for if you did not, the sun of him would get in your eyes and bring tears of rain and that could be embarrassing, for everybody, for everybody wanted to be with him. They wanted to smell that soft gentle breeze rain smell of him, something in the offing that was for him alone, and for his fawn like movements, for his trembly little rifts of life as he walked to school with his friends, and Pretty Boy did have so many friends he was always unsure of, always ready for the joke to be exposed, and he to run away. But it wasn't that way at all. It was because it was good to throw an arm around his shoulders, because it would good to be near him in his blue shirt and blue jeans, to surreptitiously touch his nipples through his shirt fabric, to walk his way as though for a moment's notice he would keep you posted in his mind just the way you were. And maybe, just maybe he might make a cloud of you somewhere later that he too would long for, that was forever gone. So this night, two nights before Halloween, the cub scout troop had been marched to this cemetery of Civil War and dusty human rights that had somehow still not been achieved. The boys in their blue uniforms and their yellow kerchiefs and their blue caps and their talks of Halloween night and what, dancing as they went, they would go as, and they talked and circled Pretty Boy, and they told him they were glad he was not a girl because then, and they said this in low voices, like he was a church all to himself, they would not want to make love to him. They said make love, not the cruder word symbol of the act which they said around other boys not him, but there was something so fine, something so chimerical china about this golden boy that even as they lowered him to the grass floor atop the glass ground where the tombs and their contents, what there was left of them, lay, they did it as though they were helping a dying cloud down to the ground, giving it surcease and peace. The knelt round him, and they asked one or the other, echoing or at the same time, those squeaky little boy voices, are you going to die, Pretty Boy? Please, please say you will live forever. Their throats hot with the fear of mortality for him. More importantly, they asked are you going to grow up and never be pretty again? Will no one remember you as a boy as no one will remember us? And they leaned closely over him, Pretty Boy on his arched angel back and they covered him and they felt his warmth and the wool blue of his and their uniforms. Their staving the cold night from him. And the words were silent for a time, like pebbles washed so carefully off into the autumn rustle of air chanting to itself, and they leaned over Pretty Boy, and one might be thinking, does he ever get tired of it?, having such delicate rose petal texture skin? Does he ever get tired of boys and girls feeling his long hair and tracing it down his back and holding it close to their faces and kissing it? Does he ever get tired of looking prettier than the girls did? What is down there in the depths of Pretty Boy? And there are depths, for sometimes Pretty Boy of small body and tender insights would see something no one else could, something ephemeral and precious, even in the dim dirty dark school cafeteria while all the other kids at the tables were whooping and hollering and throwing the occasional French fries at each other in a hit or miss gambit to get one down a girl's blouse so the offending boy could go down there and find it, sometimes in the din of lunch room, Pretty Boy would put his head to his hands. They could not, the children round him, tell if he were weeping or laughing or something else. His elbows on the table. He looked like he had turned into a glass boy, into a statue of a fish boy in some fishing capital of the world, where there were whorls of sea blue in him, whorls of moments that were so magical and so invincible they would take him over from himself, and it seemed as though he were hanging by a thread, and the boys or girls next to him touched him, for they thrilled to touch him, and they were gentle and they asked, have you found where the clouds come from?, and could you tell us?, but mostly they asked, you aren't going to die, are you, Pretty Boy? And a girl or a boy on either side of him there in the smell of hamburgers and pickles and milk and relish and ketchup and French fries and sweaty bodies might put their heads on either of his shoulders. For Pretty Boy was sickly much of the time, though never pasty or coughing, but he took medicine from his teacher that his mother had brought to her with very rigid scheduling and dosage instructions. And Pretty Boy might go away from them someday, might some day go into the sky and find out where all the other skies came from, all the other skies from all the other distant worlds, and the boys and the girls below, below, would never know the secrets. And here in the cemetery that did not mean death, for death was below ground and that was a long time ago, so it didn't count, and as far the death of summer, that was just so the air would crisp and teeter and fall into colder and colder cider and apple vats as the seasons went on, preparing their world and ground and hearts and eyes and sleeps for snow and more snow to come for it had always been this way in this land. Pretty Boy was so sweet and so nice and he wasn't sappy or a nerd or an incher who was always comparing, but he was shy and shyness in him was handled with a kind of boldness as shyness is handled in some children. As though it was why they were born here, to see the transcendence of things, and to always be in wonder, always be amazed and frightened as a rabbit, scared to run at a moment's notice, and the sheer sensuousness of that. The sensuousness of fear that wasn't really fear as much as running for a nice safe snuggle in a warm comforter on a snowy winter's night with the snow fall whispering in white shadows through a boy's window into a moon scaped distant wall over on the other side of a boy's bed. And in the night of tombstones, ragged teeth, some only still completely standing, all in various stages of disrepair, there on the cold and lonely ground, the boys lay gently and touching only Pretty Boy, now, tenuously. They loved to see him naked. They loved to see him take off his clothes as though he were a fan dancer of some other era. That was such chaste sexuality and longing. They loved the way his clothes hid flesh that was like a quiet field at the end of the day, when there was just the beginning of dusk and just the end of the hot summer sun or the cool autumn one. They loved how, in the woods of summer and autumn, after school, and they running to keep up with him, like he was the wind they would chase down the tunnels of days all their lives, to their private place, where, slowly and slowly he would began to take off his clothes, as the boys and girls sat in front of him as though he were the world's greatest magician, and he knew, like a great magician, how to tease them, how to do it with agonizing slowness, and to make them wish to take the obscene nakedness of his clothes off him, to see him in the true beauty and loveliness of his flesh clothes. But they always had to let him do it at his own pace and in his own time. And he would take off his shirt, one button at a time, his head bowed down, in embarrassment, but an excited embarrassment, and what a joy it was to the boys and girls watching, to see a promised nipple of soft orange appear and then the one on the opposite side of the little boy chest, on each side of the sternum that was a shadow as were his bones and ribs, distant little paraffin cross hatches there inside him like little ripples in sea night fields when the earth turns slowly and there is sexual promise at the beginning of everything, as little penises began to rise on the little boys watching them, and little girls felt such a rush of love to this undefended seeming, this little pixie of a boy who was turned from them, half his body now, turned from the waist. His slender arms and his little concave arm pits and the little shadowy dells of them, and his chest that was like a bird's chest and it was wholly his, it was the little domain of soft comfort that had taken something that when totally bare, when very hollow and caved in looking, had made it more than it actually was. Had made it a screen like in a movie house on which you could project lilacs and rose buds and carnations of pink dreams and you could see those flower lights in that chest, in the chest that breathed hard at these times, sexually exciting himself, because he knew the children wanted him to. He knew they saw him as a waif in a WW II movie, an Italian waif, all alone in the country side of dangerous bombs and planes, but he encircled with his flesh that was satiny, that was so real it seemed as though the whole world would love to feel it, would love to lick the space of ribs that were like night leaps into a fair skin body of water, like a lake that held all those secrets inside it, that held the heart that beat so hard the boys and girls could see it moving in his chest up and down. And the boy bare chested and only his jeans on, and he turned back to them and his face was smiling, downward he looked, but smiling, and his face was the morning naughty lovely expansive giggle a child might see in a drawing or in a dream and filled with stanzas that stood them together in a circle just after morning sun had tickled them awake, but their world of morning was Pretty Boy's, and he was enticed as though he had to be, to take off his jeans, to unbuckle the big buckle on his belt, and the long fingers of his little hands did this thing. On his left arm, right at the wrist, his big blocky watch which he always wore, even swimming and bathing because it was waterproof and his dearest possession, while the other children's dearest possession was Pretty Boy, and he seemed to glow as he would unzip his jeans as though he were so intrinsically fantasy that the sound of the zipper was odd and not him to his ears, those little elf like ears that hung on him in such a way that they pointed through his thick golden hair and made you feel good, feel like something in the world was right because they proved that he at least had come in a door no one ever had before or ever would again. A door that said, see the boy. And also said, see how lucky you are to be here with him. A door that said see the child with the little perfect oval for a navel and the long way from the navel to the groin, such more of body, such more of sexual geography descended, depended from him than when he was in his clothes, for naked, everything about him was sexual, from his stick out shoulder blades, to his delicately almost webbed toes, to the hands that sometimes covered his genitals when he was embarrassed, and he was embarrassed often like this, just at the exact right moments, so someone would have to delicately take his hands away, and see him harder than ever because of that, and themselves harder as well. And sometimes he, naked, holding out his little penis, like a tiny faucet that had not made up its mind what to be yet, a faucet made of soft winsome wind song soap. Masturbating at them and they at him, sometimes, and his eyes closing, and lost in his little world, as they in theirs, finding connecting doors with each other, with all of the others. Save for Pretty Boy. And that made them so sad. He was illustrated with duskiness. He was a boy who was experiencing that little moment of pure and lovely stasis on a brief too much so summer hiatus before the pandemonium of his body, of theirs as well, but his body too, and that disturbed him so, for it was just not right, that pandemonium that would soon be exploding. But now, but here, his slightly inturned tiny feet, his not being sure where to hang his little nipples that tightened at the thought of their imminently about to be sucked, where to put his little buttocks that would soon swell and become tighter and become more desirable, but in a different way, on a different plane. The little panes of boy flesh that held the sex parts, the apertures of him that nature said were the sex parts. But the back of him too and the chest of him and the tender legs of him, the flesh that was so appealing in and of itself and in which some of the children claimed sometimes they saw pictures, saw drawings that were meant for them and them alone and they would never tell anyone about them, and oddly true to their word, children, they never did either. But here he was, the country of boy, a plain body, not embellished at all as a woman's but having so much unexplained more to it, and his long arms dangling, and his fingers touching his penis, absently, congestively, looking up at the faces of the others, a slight cough of embarrassment, why am I always the center here?, he might be thinking, and then away his head, and turn to the side again, because this was the best way for the children to see his hard on, in profile, and he was so proud of it, the tiny cotton swab of it, held in his fingers, as though he needed to run away to the comforter at snowy midnight. All sweet and luscious and trembling and housing pieces of himself in his cupped hands before taking those hands away again, or someone else tenderly doing it for him, and his turning his back to them and bending over and the children seeing the ridges of his spine and his hole between his buttocks, and then he would stand up and turn round and his face would be like a little embarrassed pinkish moon. And all of him was though he were somehow magnified for all the secrets that were being uncovered, and his jeans, today, this day, at the beginning again of the ritual, as he bent over sliding them down his little downy straight legs, and thus his penis uncovered. A little bump of a penis, as the boy took off his pants altogether, a little penis that was white and had little traceries of blue veins in it, the blue veins of a writer's words just beginning, like the rest of him. And as he stood with his side to the boys and girls who had gathered in the woods often to see this tree nymph perform his ritual duties of proving that magic existed among them, he seemed so soft and he seemed so summery and his little buttocks were waves of tiny hillocks, and he would put his fairy tale hands to his penis and he would stroke it to, a sighing with his mouth and closing of his eyes, an erection of an inch or so. And the boys would close their eyes for a brief seconds, handling their own unzipped penises, and the girls would watch the boys and Pretty Boy would stand naked before them, there in the summer green woods with the cambric sky and green trees in background and the sweet smell of clover air enchanting them, or in the autumn woods, with the crackling leaves of brown and gold underfoot, and the trees shedding their skirts and shirts for winter and the sky getting that autumn slate gray color to it, and this naked boy, Pretty Boy, part of it, a dweller in this place of misty eyed magic, and wearing only his watch and his glasses, always his glasses because he could not see without them, but also because he seemed more naked with them and his big blocky brown watch on his wrist, dangling from it, the only things he wore. And the boy was of cloud and the boy was of dreams that formed in the creamy smooth crotch of him as he turned back to the children and deftly moved round and round as though he were on a dais, and he was perfection. He was the doll house without the doll. He was boy and he was Pretty and his balls were so tiny they could almost not be seen. And his abdomen was slightly protrubent and his penis seemed to be hiding under it, as he stroked his balls that were not really there and as he looked at the boys and girls with his wide blue eyes and put his hands to his long golden sun hair and waved it in those hands and licked his lips in that sexual tip of the tongue way he had. And the boys and girls then taking off their clothes in those rituals of summer and autumn until it got too cold and too close to winter, and the way the children were soon all naked and pink and white saucers like Pretty Boy. Pretty Boy with the little impish smile as a boy and a girl put his little slit tip penis in their mouths as though they were sucking tea out of a toy tea pot in a little girl's play house tea set and they felt his narrow little pill hips, and they pulled him toward them and they brought him gently to the ground and the nestled into the little hollows of the so warm inside of his legs and the tiny buckles of his knee caps and they felt him and they felt the smoothness of skin that laughed like creek water in a morning mist and they held to him and to each other as he looked at them through his thick black rimmed glasses and his smile would grow a little wider. Not much, just a little, and his slightly protruding abdomen would garner and tug at the lips kissing at it, little boy and little girl naked buttocks high in the air, that they might kiss him and fondle him as well as each other, this little liter of a boy who must be worshipped because his eyes said he shouldn't be. Because sometimes during this he would weep a bit, because he knew he was not worthy of them. And in that way, he knew he was. And it was pleasure and little night creatures stirring up inside them, making them feel younger even than they were, and it was caresses and examining and the joy of finding a penis that was bigger than it was last month, but just a tiny little bit, and the fear of finding a moment of pubic hair, no matter how dusty and dim it might be. Little kisses on little mouths and little sighs of private aches and opened doors the way it was then and the way it would be for only so little more. There in their forest home of tented summer or steal away autumn of this time to come and the memory of it to last a life time. And now the boys in their scout uniforms, as they lay around Pretty Boy, as they thought of the little soft skittling sigh he made when he came and his face so sweetly contented, and how that tugged at the skin of their penises and at the skin of their dreams, that little protected longing that was inside them like a series of mountain skis going away from them, carrying them away from these desires, making them obsolete and though they could not imagine it now, not far from now, it would make them embarrassed, those who had loved him, their love of Pretty Boy. The cub scouts lay in a circle round Pretty Boy in the midnight cemetery, the moon rays tipping off tombstone edges, and they watched the cold slices of orange moon and felt the colder slices of autumn in the wind that was taking their year away and heading them out to snow banks sooner far sooner than they could realize. They lay like the rays of a never to be extinguished sun, radiating themselves outward from the sun that was Pretty Boy, and they remembered the configurations of how they had supped on him and the girls had and on each other in all combinations, configurations in the woods just two nights ago, and one boy wondering, yet again, did Pretty Boy like looking like a girl? Did he like looking delicate and winsome and like finely spun pinkish sugar the way he did sometimes in just the right shade and angle of sunlight that could send a heart soaring or could break it in half permanently? Though the boy did not think this in those words, he thought it just the same. Did Pretty Boy ever want to look boxy like other boys sometimes did? Did he want to look imperfect and like he had a body that came mismatched as did so many of the boys' and girls' bodies appear away from the incandescence of the dim candle light that Pretty Boy made into an effulgence? Where do the skies come from, Pretty Boy?, one of the boys this cold October night, whispery asked? Where do the planets come from that these other skies hang over and shelter and give ceiling and peace and colors that are so different from the colors of this world, please tell us, Pretty Boy and let us know that when you go and then when we do as well, there will be beauty still for us to huddle in, to take shelter in, to o so dearly love. And the voices of the boys whispering and silent thoughts were like autumn's leaving and the silence was the silence of a cemetery that only boys remembered, in each generation, when the time for wonderment of life has to be atoned for with the wonderment of death that must only come to someone else, that must always come from a long time ago to people long ago turned to rust and dust and not remembered for generations of long shadowed and sunny and cold and snowed on years, to put a safe and perfect distance between them and us, between it and us. They waited for Pretty Boy's answer, his high piping clear voice, every word he said washed pure and fine and right and mountain stream clear, as the boys remembered their making love with Pretty Boy and Pretty Boy making love with them and with the girls, and the naked children of the enchanted forest, (some of those naked children, not really children at all, but inhabitants of the woods who danced and had sex with the children, and when the children sadly and slowly dressed, when it was time for dinner, and dragged themselves away, the fauns and the sprites and the elves dropped their child body clothes and went back inside the trees and the grass and the darkness from which they had come, to wait always till tomorrow, always till tomorrow) finding the Hansel and Grettle of their homes to be their own bodies after all, to be their own desires and sweet tipped sexual longings in their minds and in their hearts. And when Pretty Boy hadn't answered about the skies and the planets and the colors of some other where, one of the boys who was one of the left rays of the Pretty Boy sun rose up and looked at Pretty Boy who was asleep, his face sculpted of moon white shadow, his lips concomitantly dark in the moon glowing down on him so determinedly, so obsessively, but then of course, how could it not? It had no other choice. So the boy lay back down. And they all lay there for a time, radiating out of Pretty Boy like the last sunshine of the season, and the night got colder and colder, but the boys, all, had fallen asleep in the night air. But Pretty Boy was their metier and Pretty Boy would never let them go or hurt them or go away from them or let anyone else hurt them, for this was the way it had to be. This was the way they had to believe. On the cold black grass of the ancient weather battered cemetery under the bright bright moon and stars on this night, bone knitting and clicking as it went, straight to Halloween, and no one could stop its hands from turning in the vastness of the evening, not even Pretty Boy, least of all Pretty Boy, which was why all the children counted on him so.