I lost contact with Brian McManus twenty-two years ago when I left 141 Signal Battalion in Ansbach, West Germany. At times, I sense his presence within the foxholes of my soul. He is one of just a few regrets I have in this life. If our souls are granted an opportunity to return again to this existence to eat from the vines we once trampled, I’ll choose to reincarnate in this body like a horny savior and re-enlist in the U.S. Army a second time. I want another chance to shine my boots just right and receive the blessing he attempted to bestow upon me.
I looked away from him, blushing I’m sure. I dismissed the pass he brushed against my flesh. He was simply indicating that it was okay that I found him sexually attractive. We were in the Army and such conduct was taboo. I didn’t want to get into trouble.
He led me on and I failed to turn the other cheek. Instead, I quickly turned my back to him to face the Army radio equipment I was responsible for maintaining. I pretended to be busy setting up secure communications with Brigade headquarters in Nuremburg.
“It’s so cold outside. Can I come in your rig and get warm, Taylor?”
“Yep. Come on in. What are you doing up at this late hour? I thought you were on day shift.”
“I had to get up and change the diesel tank on the tent stove. I need a cigarette. Do you got any cigarettes, Taylor?”
“It’s Sterek’s tape. It’s the only music he brought with him to the field. Do you know how many times I’ve listened to this album over and over again? I wish I had brought something different.”
“I don’t know. Anything else. I’m sick of it.”
The opportunity to touch him in places that once were forbidden to me would be well worth living through life and basic training all over again. I’ll face the hells of bad acne again just to have him pop me, like he wanted to do that cold January night when we were in the woods of Bavaria.
He was more handsome than any man I had fantasized about during adolescence. He made the men that I had known from pages of the Sears Catalogue look like faded newsprint. Curly black hair and blue eyes are such an uncommon match, but he had them and he stood at least three inches taller than me, and I’m almost six feet tall. I felt powerless and nervous as he sat there silently inside that Army truck.
I had already seen him naked in the barracks. We shared a room with two others—James Sterek and Jimbo Stevens. What a cock McManus had. At that age, I never knew they could be so big while soft. It was as round as the beer cans that cluttered the side of the room that James and Jimbo shared. I couldn’t believe he was stroking my face as we sat in the dead of night inside a 31 Charlie Radio/ Teletype Communications Rig in the Army. Everyone else was sleeping. It was the right moment. He stroked my face, yet I turned away.
“Are you alright.”
“Yes. What do you mean?”
“Look here,” he said. He had it out and was holding it for me like a bottle for a screaming infant.
I just sat there, looking at the green strobe light flashing on the AG276 Modem inside my rig, pretending that it wasn’t happening. But it was. The song came to and end. The rig was shaking. I knew what he was doing behind me, but I just sat there, wanting to be good.
Now, 20 years later in life, I realize that it’s better to have lived than to have not sinned, but as far as I was concerned, as a gay virgin, he should have tried a little harder. I was waiting for a kiss first. How silly to believe in such romantic nonsense.