Drew Payne’s Website
His Story (Part 2)
2. Park Life.
I was lying on the grass with Kay when I saw him. We were waiting for Nina, Kay's girlfriend, to finish her stint on the HIV group's stall she is a volunteer with. We'd decided to have a rest. We'd been wandering around the whole of the Pride Festival for ages (I know I should say Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride but sometimes I can't be bothered). The sun was out that year and everywhere I looked there were attractive people and not so attractive ones, who all seemed to be wearing not a lot, all showing off their flesh.
Kay had bought some beers and we were just lying there, watching everything around us. I love it. I love seeing all the really different people getting all together for the day. All the different kinds of lesbians and gay men.
Kay was lying on her back, drinking her beer; I was half sitting up, my beer nearly gone, when I saw him. He was stood at the back of one of the fast food vans just waiting. He was in his twenties and really attractive. His curly blonde hair was short, only just touching the tops of his ears. His skin was turning a golden brown with the sun. His body was lean and trim, what I could see of it because it was all well covered up with clothes. He was all long legs and arms. He was wearing bright, white jeans and a baggy black tee shirt. He was on his own but looking as if he was waiting for someone. Then I changed my mind. He looked like was on his own and just looking around.
Kay sat up.
"What's up?" She said.
"Nothing, just taking in the view," I said.
Kay looked over at him. Following my eyes, I guess.
"The blonde in the white jeans?" She said.
"Yes," I pulled my eyes away from him and looked at Kay.
"He's nice," Kay said.
"I know, I've got good taste," I said.
"Go and speak to him," she said.
"What?" I said.
"Go and chat him up. Its Pride so go and try your luck. For God's sake, Chris its ages since you did anything. It's about time you got yourself a regular boyfriend," Kay said.
"I don't go without," I said.
"Yeah? But with the same guy?" Kay said.
"Okay, I give up," I said.
"And bring him back here to meet Nina and me. Don't just go pissing off," Kay said.
I needed the push she gave me and quickly, but not too quickly because I didn't want to seem desperate, I walked over to him. As I got closer, I saw he had really bright blue eyes. Don't know why I noticed that.
"Hi," I said.
He looked around as if checking to see it was him I was talking to and not someone behind him.
"Hello," he blushed as he said it. His accent was soft but not far away from South London.
"Enjoying yourself?" I said.
"It's very, very different. I've never seen anything like it before," he said.
"Yeah. I remember my first Pride. It was something else," I said.
"Oh, right," he said. His face still blushed with embarrassment, it was so cute. He was so cute.
"I'm Chris," I said and held out my hand to him.
"I'm Lenny," he said. He hesitated before shaking my hand. I wanted to hold his hand that fraction-of-a-second-too-long but couldn't because he quickly let go of mine.
"Are you here on your own?" I said, hoping he'd say yes.
"No. I'm here with my friends. We've been giving out leaflets," he said.
"Yeah, there's a lot of it about. People giving out leaflets I mean. Always is at Pride. Kay moans about all the wasted trees to make them but going home with your pockets full of bits of paper is part of Pride," I said.
"Is Kay your friend over there?" He said.
"Yeah," I said.
"Your girlfriend?" He said.
"Shit, this is your first time. Kay's just a mate. She's a lesbian and we're waiting for her girlfriend Nina. I'm gay so it really won't work," I said.
"Oh... So you've got a boyfriend?" He said.
"Not yet," I said trying to make it sound hopeful, like he'd get the message.
"Oh..." He said and he blushed again. He had sort of got the message, I thought.
"And you?" I said.
"What about me?" He said.
"Have you got a boyfriend?" I said.
"Oh, no. No, that wouldn't be right," he said. He'd become sort of nervous. Not embarrassed, he wasn't blushing anymore, but he had a sort of nervous twitch about him.
"Why not? You're gay aren't you?" I said.
"Kind of," he said.
"What do you mean?" I said.
"I'm homosexual, well I'm attracted to other men," he said.
"Then you're gay. What's the problem?" I said.
"Well, it's different. I don't believe being gay is right," he said.
Suddenly alarm bells went off in the back of my head. I should have walked away then and there but stupidly I didn't.
"What?" I said.
"I'm a Christian and I believe that any homosexual expression is wrong. God doesn't want us going about having gay sex that offends him and his creation. Being homosexual isn't wrong, only an accident, but expressing your homosexuality, living the homosexual lifestyle, is wrong, it's a sin," he said.
"That's shit!" I said.
"No, it's the truth of God. I have homosexual feelings but I've never acted upon them. I'm celibate and that's the way God wants me to live my life. I believe one day God will heal me of my homosexuality," he said.
"You're still a virgin," I said.
"Yes. I'm not ashamed of being a virgin. God has kept me pure," he said.
"God, you're screwed up," I said.
"No Chris, God has opened my eyes to life as it should be," he said.
"How can you know about life, you've not loved any one," I said.
"I love God and I love my friends and God can love you too Chris. Let me show you," he said. He bent down and rummaged through the backpack at his feet. Then he stood up again holding a handful of brightly coloured leaflets. "Here, have these Chris," he said holding out the leaflets.
I don't know why I did it but I took those stupid leaflets. It was all about a thing called The Release Trust and Michael Hamilton, the guy who started it all.
"I'm here with some friends from The Release Trust. They're other men like me, and we've been handing out these leaflets to people here. We want people to know that God can save them from their sin and make them whole again. People don't have to be lost in the dark of the homosexual lifestyle. People can be free to live a new life in God. All you have to do is repent of your sins and turn your back on homosexuality. It's easy. I know because I've done it," he said.
"God you're screwed up," I said.
"No, no. Chris you're looking at all this all wrong. You're looking with man's eyes not God's eyes. God wants us to be free from sin. We're here because God wants to save the lost and lonely homosexual. God has saved me from that lost and lonely lifestyle," he said.
"Lenny?" Someone said from behind me.
"Lenny we're back," another guy said, also from behind me.
"Look my friends are back. Robert and John can explain it all a lot better then me. They were both practising homosexuals before God saved them. I know you want to hear more and you'll love their testimonies," he said.
"Sorry Lenny, you're really cute and I fancied you but you're way too screwed for me. I know because I've been there. I've been where you are," I said.
Before he could say anything more I walked away. Quickly I walked back to where Kay was sitting on the grass.
I hadn't lied to him, I had been where he was, but it was nearly ten years ago. It had all left me really screwed. Took me ages to accept being gay, accept any of it.
When I got back, I found Nina with Kay. Nina was taking swigs from a bottle of water while Kay lay with her head in Nina's lap.
Kay sat up when she saw me.
"That was quick," Kay said.
I sat down on the grass next to them.
"Not a fucking chance," I said.
"Did he resist your charms?" Nina said, she smiled at me.
"Worse then that," I said.
I dropped The Release Trust's leaflets Lenny had given me in front of Kay and Nina. Nina picked one of them up.
"Shit! What the fuck are those bastards doing here? It's our day and they come and spoil it. I don't know how anyone can be so stupid as to believe all this shit," Nina said.
"Drop it Nina. Chris was involved with that lot when he was a teenager and they really got to him," Kay said.
Kay put her arm around my shoulders and gently pulled me into a hug.
"Oh God I'm sorry Chris. I'm sorry," Nina said.
I looked down at the grass I was sitting on.
"Why doesn't it all just go away?" I said