Starting seventh grade meant that I was starting at a new school, a Junior High school. Sixth grade was still elementary school which meant that we did PE as a class and the most strenuous activity we ever engaged in was dodge ball.
Junior High school PE was very different. First, the teacher was as stereotypical as he could be--- ex-military, with the obligatory whistle always around his neck; loud, demanding and impatient. Second, physical education class was now serious business. Dodge ball, kick ball and Capture the Flag were all gone and replaced with 45 minute runs, wrestling, weight lifting, basketball and field events like shot put. The other big difference in Junior High was that we were required to change for PE. In a locker room. With a long row of open showers that ran the length of the large locker room.
You might think that the locker room and showers started my blood flowing in a not-so-appropriate-in-junior-high-school-way. But you'd be wrong. Not once in either seventh or eighth grade did I ever see anyone naked in the shower, much less naked in the locker room. Everyone was so self-conscious that on the rare occasion that a shower was used, the guy would inevitably rinse whatever was dirty while standing in his underwear. When I started seventh grade I was no different than anyone else. I didn't worry about seeing other boys undressed, I worried about them seeing me.
By early February I had grown comfortable with the transition to Junior High school. At first I was nervous about having so many different teachers, having to use a locker, not having a recess, etc, etc. All the typical worries every other kid had. And then I woke early one morning from a dream that prompted an entirely new worry...
The dream began in the locker room, during the first five minutes of PE class when we had to change into our uniforms. In the middle of everyone changing, Coach blew his whistle to get our attention. He then told us to march out of the locker room toward the play fields. Without pause or question, we obeyed, even though we were still in our underwear. What was odd was that the huge metal equipment locker which was normally some distance away from the locker room exit was now directly in front of us. It's wide-open mouth silently beckoned us. As seem to be expected, we marched into the equipment locker. I was at the front of the line with one boy on either side of me. As I entered the locker it became longer, narrower and very dark. When I came to the end, I turned back toward the entrance. Just as I turned to look, I saw the heavy metal doors of the locker closing, thereby locking us in. I don't remember any sounds but the creak of the doors closing and then the slam as they shut out all light. Now imprisoned, I was not afraid. Instead I felt suddenly alive as I savored the feel of naked boy arms, legs and chests, a little sweaty, being pressed into me and moving slowly across my bare, slick skin.
I awoke with a start. Barely awake, I replayed the dream in my head. As I savored the sensual pleasure in the dream I realized for the very first time that having bare-skinned boys press their dewy bodies into me in the dark was very erotic. Then, as the hazy giddiness lifted, my skin went cold with fear.
Does this mean I'm gay?
And so the self-loathing began.