The year was 1987. LL Cool J and Kool Moe Dee were beefing.  I was in middle school on the cusp of puberty.  I knew what sex was or at least the general mechanics of it all but I was around 11 years of age; so what did I know?  What I did know was that something seemed different.   My 11something year old mind was more curious towards boys than girls.  

Gym class was awkward.  Not because I didn’t enjoy sports or physical activity but because it was a hassle to change into my gym clothes, play, change back into my school clothes and go on with my day.  For me there was something weird about having to get dressed twice in one day for school…whatever.

5100824355_34bc77c7bf_oLike most gym classes there were indoor and outdoor activities.  Our outdoor activities, like track and field, were conducted in the warmer months and indoor activities, like basketball in the cooler months.  It was one of the warmer months and soccer was on the syllabus. 

Raymond Charles was an anomaly amongst us boys.  He was the biggest (not tallest), fastest, strongest and most athletic.  Regardless of the sport, you always wanted to be on his team.  There was something else about Raymond that was unique.  He would not wear underwear during gym class.  

He was somewhat hygienic in the fact that he would not wear underwear during gym class.  

For the most part, we were unhygienic.  We would take off our school shirt and pants, change into our gym clothes (t-shirt and shorts) and play.  We would sometimes get smelly and dirty while in gym; take our gym clothes off, change back into our “school” clothes without showering and changing underwear…Yeah gross.  This is what 99% of the boys did in gym class, but not Raymond.

Every gym period in the locker room, Raymond would strip completely naked, put on his t-shirt and gym shorts without any athletic support or underwear.  When we hit the field, he would get his “I am the best athlete in the school” on.  Believe me, Raymond was a beast on the soccer field, football field, on the track and basketball court.  Again he was the biggest, strongest and fastest of all of us.   Once gym was over and it was time for us to go in and change, Raymond would of course undress to his bare skin  to put his school clothes back on.

In the gym locker room, your personal assigned locker for the semester, could be anywhere on any row.  Mine just happened to be next to Raymond Charles.   Every gym period I got to experience him naked.   Raymond and I had no other classes together except gym.  This was the only time we interacted.  When the school year began, there was apprehension there because we all didn’t know each other but as time passed we got more comfortable.  I wouldn’t dare look at Raymond’s naked body at first but as time passed and we got more comfortable, it happened.  I also noticed the other boys looking at Raymond.  I would wonder what they were thinking. I know what I was thinking “How does he look like this”?

We all were scrawny compared to Raymond.  He had broad shoulders and a broad back. He had a bigger chest and arms than the rest of us.  His buttocks, thighs and calves seemed massive.  In my 11 year old mind at the time Raymond seemed like a “smaller” full grown man.  

As the school year went on and walls went down Raymond and I kinda became friends.  We usually always picked each other to be on teams.  We would usually pass the ball to one another and I would always make a point to laugh at his corny jokes.  After gym class, I always found myself with lingering thoughts of Raymond’s nude body. 

I would envision myself caressing Raymond’s naked body, embracing him our penises touching and laying together or on one another.  Looking back on my thoughts through my adult lens; it’s strange now that I realize my fantasies were not so much sexual but more so intimate.  What I mean is that, because I had not experienced any sexual activity, my fantasies were not polluted with sex; which is understandably so due to my age (Wow to be 11 again. What a beautiful thing).  Seeing Raymond nude made me realize I was different.  I had never fantasized about any of the girls in my school like this or any woman on television.  

Raymond was the son of a military man and his family had to be stationed someplace else (I can’t remember where).  After the first semester in sixth grade, I never saw Raymond Charles again.

Looking back, after many years of confusion and second guessings concerning my sexual orientation; coming to terms with my homosexuality may have begun in gym class in 1987 with my intimate fantasies of Raymond Charles.  Thank you Raymond, where ever you are.

Side Note: Teachers began to complain about the boys being smelly and musty after gym class.  We then had to take showers before we got dressed and went to our next class.  During shower time, we realized not only was Raymond more athletic than all of us, his penis was bigger than ours too.  Fuck you Raymond!