After we left for college, Craig and I did our best to keep our promises to each other. We started out by emailing at least once a week. We shared our trials and tribulations as freshmen in college, far from home and family. We also shared our sexual conquests, although most of mine were more fantasy than actual sex, and I guessed that Craig’s were, too.
After the first semester, we were both home for Christmas and January break, and we couldn’t wait to see each other. Craig came over to my house for lunch, and we high-tailed it up to my room as soon as was polite, leaving my mother and my sister Natalie sitting at the kitchen table.
As soon as the door to my room was shut and locked, we turned to each other and kissed deeply. Or at least that’s what we tried to do. I quickly realized that something wasn’t right, wasn’t working for me.
After we fumbled around for a minute or so, Craig pulled back. “What’s the matter?” he demanded.
“I don’t know,” was my feeble response. I averted my eyes because Craig could always tell when I was lying.
“What the fuck? Is something the matter?” He sounded upset and worried.
I grew angry. Glaring at my friend, I exclaimed, “Like I said, I DON’T FUCKING KNOW!” I turned away from Craig and flopped on my bed. He sat down on the side of the bed and looked me straight in the eye.
“Bruce. Buddy. You can tell me, whatever it is. We’re best friends, and we’re also fuck-buddies, in case you forgot. I came over here for two reasons – to see you, and to fuck you. And for you to fuck me. Remember?”
I’m sure I blushed as I turned away from his gaze again.
“What is it?” Craig demanded sharply. “Is there somebody else? Do you have a… friend?” He moved to try to look me in the eye.
I shrugged, looked up at him, and lied as best I could. “Nobody special – just a guy I know.” The truth is, I had been having sex several times a week, but never with the same guy twice.
“Then what the fuck is wrong?” There was hurt in his voice now.
I pondered his question for some time. I had to admit to myself that I didn’t really know what was wrong, but something major had changed, and I no longer felt comfortable about my relationship with Craig.
At length, I tried to sum it up. Trying for kindness in my voice, I began, “Look, Craig, we’re still best friends, and I’m pretty sure we always be…”
“But we’re not kids any more, and the shit that we did together was something we’ll always have…”
“BUT?” more insistently. Now there was a kind of dread in Craig’s voice.
“But… we’ve both grown over the past months, and we’ve both had… relationships… sex… with other guys, and that’s changed us.”
“How many guys?” he looked me square in the eye, demanding the truth.
I looked past him at the far wall, “Well… that’s not the point. The point is… there’s this guy I know, and I’d like to get to know him better… maybe get serious.” I didn’t understand myself – why the fuck was I making up this shit and lying about it to my best friend and first lover?
Craig was silent, his face clouded. Then he said tentatively, “Bruce, I understand. This was inevitable. We’ve been three thousand miles apart. We’ve both met plenty of new and interesting people, and to tell the truth, we both have needs that we can’t satisfy by jacking off fantasizing about what we did last summer. I know all that…”
It was my turn to say, “But?”
“But I still believe we have something special between us, something that was a first for both of us, and that… at least, I… want to hold on to.”
We were both silent, not looking at each other.
Craig looked up at me and continued, “Look, we were a couple of horny assholes last summer…”
I burst out laughing, and so did Craig.
“OK, so that was a bad analogy. But you know what I mean. We were both experiencing things for the first time, shit that we really enjoyed, and that brought us closer than we’d ever been.”
I nodded silently.
He added, “No matter where we go in life, no matter who we end up with, one thing will never change: you were my first, and I was yours.”
That got me. “I was your first what? Fuck? Lover? What?”
It seemed to me that Craig had anticipated the question, because he became deeply serious as he looked right at me. “All of the above. Lovers. Fuckers. Cocksuckers. Jack-off buddies. You name it, we did it!”
I knew I had stumbled into some kind of trap. “OK. That’s all true. And maybe we’ll remember last summer for the rest of our lives…” I took a deep breath. “But what do we have now? Just memories, sex fantasies…” My voice trailed off.
“Love?” He said softly, looking me in the eye.
“What?” I said, shocked that he had nailed what I was thinking to myself.
“Maybe what we have – had – was love. Our first love, our transition from boys to men, our coming of age.”
“Fuck, man. That shit’s way over my head.” I looked out the window.
“What do you mean? Tell me you didn’t you see it that way.”
Turning to face him, I said, “Craig, to tell you truth, all I thought about last summer was fucking and getting fucked. I didn’t attach any kind of meaning to it. I’m sorry.”
He looked heartbroken. We were both silent for an interminable moment.
Then Craig spoke, “Bruce, thank you for your honesty.”
I stared at him, unsure what to say.
“I mean it. It’s clear that we saw what happened differently, and it meant something very different to each of us. I see that now, and although I can’t say I like it, I’m glad it’s out in the open.”
After a while, I said meekly, “So what do we do now?”
Craig thought about it and then smiled slyly. “Well, since what it meant to you was hot sex, maybe we should just go for that again!”
With that, he leaned over and pulled my mouth to his. Our tongues met and began to attack each other with thrusting and sucking. Craig pushed me backward onto the bed and lay on top of me. I could feel his hard-on pressing on my limp dick. I kissed him back as vigorously as I could manage, but I knew I was faking it.
We undressed each other, and when I saw how hard his cock was, I smiled at him, kissed him lightly on the lips and said, “Fuck me, Craig, please fuck me.”
I turned my back to him, and he began rimming my asshole. It felt good, but not great. I desperately tried to conceal the truth, that I was only going through the motions.
Craig lay on top of me and gently slid his dick into my butthole. I moaned, not with pleasure, but with sorrow, as I faced the fact that this once-wonderful connection was now just another cock up my ass. I had become jaded. Worse, I had become so used to meaningless sex that I was incapable of giving a loving response to a person who I once told I would love forever.
I did my best to go through the moves with Craig, there in my bed. He was really into it, fucking me with power and affection, trying his best to pleasure me as he got his own rocks off.
After he came inside me, I lay still, breathing hard (but faking that, too).
Finally, he rolled to his side and wrapped his arms around my back.
“It’s your turn, lover.”
I left my back turned toward him and pulled his arms around my chest tightly. I sighed deeply.
“I’m sorry, Craig. I already beat off three times today, and there just isn’t any cum left in me. But I had a great time, and I’m glad you got off.”
I felt Craig stiffen, and I’m not talking about his prick. He removed his arms from around me and rolled over, flat on his back.
“So this is how it ends, huh?” He also gave a deep sigh. “It’s just sex to you, and apparently not very good at that…”
Still with my back to him, I said quietly, with as much false sincerity as I could muster, “Craig, it’s not you. It’s me. I guess we’ve had different experiences over the semester, and mine have kind of left me wondering what love is, and whether I’ll ever know.”
“So, what we had last summer wasn’t love?” There was a quiver in his voice.
“I don’t know what the fuck it was.” I paused, “maybe ‘puppy-love’?”
Craig sat up in the bed, gingerly climbed over me, stood up, and began putting his clothes back on – all in silence.
Finally, fully dressed, he turned to me. “Bruce, you’ve changed. Shit, I’m sure I’ve changed, too, but this wasn’t what I expected to happen to us.”
“Craig, I…” He quickly interrupted me.
“Don’t say anything. I’ve already had my full ration of bullshit in life, and I sure as hell don’t need any more from you.”
I hung my head. “Craig, I’m really sorry. I didn’t plan for this to happen. I didn’t want it to happen. I didn’t even realize how I was feeling until just now.” I felt tears begin to well up.
Craig just looked at me. “Crocodile tears, asshole? That really fucking tops it all.”
“No, I… I…” but I couldn’t find words to finish. I sobbed loudly. Immediately, Craig came toward me and hugged me.
“I’m sorry, Bruce,” Craig said as he gently held me in his arms, my whole body racked with grief. “Look, I’ve been too rough on you. I was pissed that you didn’t feel what I did, but, hell, I know I have no right to demand or expect that.”
I looked up at him, my eyes red.
He went on, “I didn’t mean to hurt you. You have every right to tell me that things have changed, and I have no fucking right at all to be mad about that.”
“I’m sorry,” I whimpered.
He hugged me tight. “It’s OK. I guess we’ve both moved on.”
I nodded, speechless. I just prayed that Craig didn’t figure out that I was delivering another Oscar-worthy performance.
He released me from his embrace and stepped back. “What did they say in that movie? ‘We’ll always have Paris?’ Well, buddy, we’ll always have The Hide and all the shit we did there!” He grinned widely, wiping the tears from my eyes.
I sniffled and smiled back. “You’re right, and I can’t even go near that fucking cabin without reliving all the things we did in it!”
Craig chuckled. “Now get dressed, and let’s go downstairs and try to act normal around your Mom and Natalie.”
Silently, I put my clothes back on, went into my bathroom and splashed cold water on my face, and returned to face my best friend, my first love, who would no longer be in my life.
“Don’t say it. Don’t say another fucking word. We both know what has happened, and it won’t do us any good to dwell on it or try to put some kind of goddamn label on it.”
I nodded silently.
He finished, “What we had was special. It was a first time. It will always be a great time, and nobody can ever take that away from us.”
I nodded again as he pulled me into one more deep kiss. I tried my best to make it real, and I hope he didn’t guess that I was still just going through the motions.
We straightened our clothes and opened my bedroom door. My sister, Natalie, was just entering her room across the hall. She turned and gave us both a quizzical look.
Natalie was five years older than me and in grad school at Johns Hopkins. I always thought she could see right through me, and I was terrified that she had already figured out the whole thing between Craig and me.
“You two done catching up?” she smirked, with a look that implied that she knew everything. “I’m sure Mom and Dad don’t want to know anything about your escapades at college, so can we just leave it at that?”
We both nodded vigorously, and Natalie grinned sarcastically as she went into her room and closed the door. As we started down the stairs, Craig grabbed my arm and stopped me.
“Do you think she knows anything?”
“Probably not. But I know as sure as shit that she would never say anything if she did.”
He nodded in agreement, and we descended the stairs and headed for the patio, where my parents were having cocktails.
Craig and I kept in touch for a while, mostly by the occasional email. The next summer, Craig got a job at a resort in the mountains, and I only saw him once, at a party. We spoke about nothing much for a little while, shared a joint, and then went off to our different sets of new friends.
After that, Craig became just a memory. Thinking about him sometimes when I jacked off, I regretted that it was over between us, but I never felt strongly enough about it to do anything to reach out to him.
I’m sure I loved Craig, but that love had a beginning and an end. He was my first love, but I hoped he would not be my last.
As I returned to Stanford for my second semester, I felt a gnawing dread about having to return to the room I shared with my disgusting roommate, Carl. He was everything that Craig was not, and he was the kind of person I had always avoided and, truth be told, sort of feared for some vague reason.