tagGay MaleNew Life

New Life

byrobintexas1957©

A divorced man and a widower stumble toward healing and wholeness -- and love.

All characters are fictional.

I welcome comments and helpful criticism. This is my first story, so like all virgins, I ask you to be gentle.

Chapter 1 -- The Art Museum

Rob

I sat down on the bench to feast my eyes on the beautiful painting. Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir, one of my favorites. The Houston Museum of Fine Arts had brought in an exhibition of Impressionist paintings and I had decided to go. It was hard to get going again after shutting myself away for so long. But the temptation of this exhibit was too much. And it was safe. I would go alone and not have to be around anyone who, however well-meaning, would make the mistake of trying to draw me out. I was hiding and I knew it, and if I ever came out of my den of grief, it would be in my way, in my time.

I took in the painting, loving how the people Renoir had captured appeared so carefree and joyful. There they were, just being themselves. Relaxed. Smiling. Chatting. Flirting a bit. Totally natural. It was ironic that the people in a painting were, in a sense, more real and genuine than I was.

Without a word, another man sat down at the other end of the bench. I expected to see a footsore husband following his wife around the museum who saw an inviting bench and wanted a break. Instead, I saw him looking at the painting, totally enraptured, drawn into it. I found it surprising that I would find another man who was so completely taken by this painting. He murmured, "Amazing!" and, not wanting to interrupt him, I whispered "Totally!" He glanced at me with a smile, nodded, and returned his almost worshipful gaze to the art before us.

I noticed that he was dressed casually, like me, in khakis, polo, and comfortable shoes. Probably in his mid-fifties, so a little younger than I at 60. Brown hair, tanned skin, mustache and goatee, well-built but not over-muscled, a little less tall than my six feet, hair on his arms and visible around the unbuttoned top button of his shirt, and a promising bulge in his . . . Crap! Here I am mentally undressing a total stranger in public, in front of the painting I had come to see, with him oblivious to the inventory I was taking. I had to get out of there! It had obviously been too long since I had had an orgasm if this was all it took to get me fully aroused.

I was glad that I had a sweater with me due to the cold spring we were having. Covering up my erection, I stood and left without a word, hoping that the flush on my face wasn't too obvious. Safe in my car, I checked a couple of contacts to see if one of my suck buddies was available and willing to give me some relief. If my body didn't explode soon, my head probably would.

Mark

Since my divorce five years ago, I had mostly withdrawn into a shell from which I had no intention of emerging. My grown son, however, knew me better than I knew myself. He was patient, but I know I was really difficult to be around. Finally, after one day of grousing around the house and being generally a pain in the ass, I snapped at James about some trivial thing. He faced me, grabbed my shoulders, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Dad, if you don't get laid soon, I'm not going to come around here anymore. Sarah knows how lonely you are, and the kids wonder why Grandpa is so snarly. I'm not expecting you to get married again, just get out, date, whatever."

Trust my logical engineer son to state things bluntly.

"I'm just not ready for a relationship yet, James. And you know it wouldn't be with another woman."

"Yeah, yeah, I know all about that. I don't get the attraction to men, but I want you to be happy again. I want my Dad back. Come out of your shell and see that there is a world out there. And not everybody in it is out to hurt you. I know Mom's affair tore you apart, tore us apart. But you need to live again, Dad. Just take some baby steps."

"You're right, James. I promise to try."

"And if you're still so mean next time I see you, I'm going to hire a call boy to come over and take care of you!" Wearing an evil grin, he headed out the door.

He's right. I've got to move on. But it's hard to move on when you can hardly move at all. Five years of slugging through each work day, only to come home and mostly veg out, had left me emotionally high and dry. I needed something to spark me up, something to make me get my sorry ass out of the house and actually be around other people. And something safe, where I didn't have to interact with other people if I didn't want to. Something very public, where I could hide in the crowd.

Picking up the mail off the hall table, I saw a flyer from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. An exhibit of Impressionist paintings! I had nearly forgotten how much I loved Impressionist art. And here was one of my favorites, Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party, as the centerpiece of the exhibit. I decided to go. Surely this would be a safe baby step.

Rob

I had been married for thirty-five years when it all came apart. My wife had known of my sexual activities with other men in college, but that was over, in my past. And when we married, for many years, it stayed there, safely locked away. We were a good team, loving each other through all the ups and downs of married life. Two kids, son and daughter, all the stresses of my job as a high school music teacher, extended family challenges, the loss of all four of our parents in a five-year span. Even through all this, Helen and I had held together.

But there was something she never knew, something I hid away so deeply, that nobody knew I was living a lie. During one of our "down" times in marriage, I was at a music teachers convention. In a restroom, taking care of business, I saw a foot in the next stall tap twice. All the memories from my college days came rushing back. We hadn't had sex for at least a month and I was feeling really sorry for myself, as well as unbelievably horny. I tapped back.

All the usual back and forth. I ended up in his hotel room, lots of hot and heavy sex for the next three days. Of course, I felt guilty, like a complete asshole. But the craving for cock was reawakened in me.

Helen and I made up, and we got back to having great sex. But I was now on the prowl. My life became very complicated. Sucking and getting sucked. Guilt and swearing off men. Then wanting it again. Sucking and getting sucked. Guilt. Wanting it again. On and on and on and on . . . I became two men. Loving husband, good dad, pillar of the community, outstanding teacher, and . . . closeted craver of sex with other men.

I got really good at hiding. Over time, I ended up with three suck buddies, one gay and two bi. The bi guys were also married, so we were helping the cause of horny married men who need head the way only another man can give it. I gradually became accustomed, almost comfortable, in this new life, this deception.

Then disaster hit. Our son was killed in a car accident. Drunk driver headed the wrong way on the freeway. Chris was killed instantly. Our daughter Anne actually was the strong one, the one who held the family together during the worst of it.

Then two years later, I had open heart surgery. My body was a time bomb waiting to go off. They got me repaired before I had an actual heart attack. But the recovery was hell. Between Helen and Anne, I made it through and felt like a new man.

Some good investments and some inheritances made me decide to retire early from teaching. During the bad years, I had not had sex with another man at all, and I thought that it was truly in the past. I wanted to enjoy the time I had left with Helen. We were young enough to be able to do things, and we had years before us. So, I retired at age 56, eager to have many golden years ahead.

Then Helen got a call from her doctor. The routine physical had shown some things that needed further checking. She needed to come in for another exam. Funny, there were no symptoms that were concerning. But the tests were conclusive: stage four pancreatic cancer. All we could do was hold each other and cry.

Helen went fast. All I wanted to do was hold her and be held by her. But the pain she was soon in prevented anything more than holding her hand as she slipped away. My heart was broken and my body ached for what would never be again.

After the funeral, Anne stayed with me for a few weeks, but she had to get back to Virginia, where her husband, Jason, and their four-year-old twin boys, Casey and Cory, needed her home again. I promised her that I would be all right. But I knew I wouldn't be.

I disappeared into my grief, not planning on ever coming out of it again. There I stayed for two years. No thought of another relationship. And certainly no thought of ever going after cock again.

Then I saw the flyer advertising the Impressionist exhibit at the art museum.

Mark

I walked though the museum, hardly looking at the works of art around me. I was on a mission, looking for one thing. I was never what one could remotely consider to be an art expert. But I was always interested in Impressionist paintings. And then one day, in Washington, DC, visiting the Phillips Collection with a fellow worker just to kill some time, I saw Luncheon of the Boating Party. I was astounded, consumed, drawn in to this painting. I really knew nothing about art that would help me appreciate the genius of Renoir. All I saw was a swirl of colors and movement of people who were relaxed and happy, things I definitely was not.

My marriage was on the rocks, my job seemed dead end, I was stuck in suburbia without any joy, and there was no end in sight. I figured I would end my days as a nobody, an anonymous worker bee in an engineering firm. I was resigned to going through the motions until I died.

And then I saw that painting! Something stirred in my heart, something maybe even hopeful, something that made me determined not to die by fizzling out.

Then my wife had an affair. She walked out taking her part of the community property. But she took more: my heart. I was left in a daze, wounded beyond belief, and determined to not lose my heart to anyone ever again.

But my body was still active, and my balls were as full as any man's. I would relieve myself when I couldn't stand the tension anymore. But solo sex was all I was going to do. No chance of opening myself to such pain again.

I started working out to not turn into a total marshmallow. But at my gym, I began to notice the men around me. At first, there was nothing sexual about it. But as time wore on, I began to feel stirring on my groin when I saw men in various states of dress or undress.

I ran away as fast as I could, but the door was open. Finally, I went to an adult video store, something I had not done since college days. And there I got my first blow job. I felt like an idiot, but I also knew I had to have it again. I was on the prowl for cock now.

First receiving, then learning to give, oral sex to a man, became my hobby. But eventually, the thrill of the chase waned, and I withdrew again into my shell, not realizing how mean I was becoming. My son was unbelievably patient with me. He knew I couldn't open my heart to anyone again too easily, but he also knew that the needs of my body were building up and if I didn't let off some sexual steam, I would become someone nobody would want to be around.

His pointed comments got me thinking, and I realized I needed to take his advice. Right then, I needed to cum, so a quick jack off, spraying the shower walls with my semen, was the solution. Dressed casually, then off to the art museum.

I sat down on the bench in front of the painting, unaware of anyone or anything around me. Observing the people on the canvas, I wondered how anyone could be so carefree. "Amazing!" I murmured. I heard a whispered "Totally!" to my right, and only then became aware that there was another man sitting there. I turned and smiled, then went back to my study. How on earth had I noticed in one moment the wedding band on his hand? And the fact that we were dressed similarly? And we were close in age? And that he was a bit taller than I, and clean shaven, and smelled of my favorite aftershave, and that he had a killer smile, and a handsome face that bore the marks of a man who has been in grief, and that my cock was beginning to stir like a teenager, and that if I didn't leave soon, I was in trouble, and . . .

He stood up, grabbed the sweater he had laid on the bench, and walked away. I breathed a sigh of . . . relief? Or disappointment? What the hell was going on in me? I looked at the lucky, happy people in the painting again, then sighed, knowing that I would never have that. I walked away, back into my shell.

Rob

I made it through the week, not really sure how. I taught my music lessons to the few private students I had kept, and I had fallen into my suburban routine of mowing the lawn, buying groceries, eating, sleeping, watching too much TV, all the things I did to make myself go emotionally numb. I knew I was sinking fast, but I had no energy to stop the descent.

But one thing had happened that seemed to light a spark of interest: that man. I knew it was ridiculous, but I started thinking about him, remembering that mental inventory of him that I had taken. Silly. But then he popped up in my dreams one night. The preview of a hairy chest peeking out from his shirt, the masculine shape of his body, the bulge in his pants . . . I hadn't had a wet dream in years, but that one was a mess. What's come over me? Get hold of yourself, Rob! Don't act like a teenage boy!

Another week of numbness (and one more wet dream about HIM) and I had to get out. I thought one more trip to the art museum would be a good idea. The Impressionist exhibit was about to close, and I wanted one more immersion into my favorite painting.

The weather had warmed up, so my 501s, a casual short sleeve shirt, and sandals were my attire for the day. I drove into town, got to the museum, paid the exhibit fee, and marched myself directly to my bench and filled my mind with the happy, beautiful people in the painting.

I was completely absorbed in my study when I heard a low voice say, "The painting does something to me, too!" Startled back into reality, I looked up to see him standing behind me, looking over my head to study the art before us. "I had to come back, too, before the exhibit closed. This painting draws me like a magnet." He stepped over the bench and sat down next to me, closer this time as I was in the center of the bench. He stuck out his hand. "Mark Elliot." I took his hand. "Rob Davenport."

He was close enough this time for me to smell him: clean, masculine, natural, intoxicating. His jeans were tight enough to cling to his thighs. His shirt again revealed a mass of thick, curly, dark hair on his chest and arms. And I had had an eye-level peek at his crotch as he stepped over the bench to sit down next to me. I had no sweater this time to hold in my lap to hide my growing hardon.

Mark gazed at the painting. "Wouldn't it be wonderful to be that carefree? I wish I could jump into that painting and join the fun."

"Yeah. Look at that body language: relaxed, at ease with each other, loving life. Where do we lose it?"

A shadow of pain passed over Mark's handsome face. "Sometimes it gets taken from us."

"Yes, I know that," I said softly to myself.

So we sat there, two mature men, staring at a painting showing something we both longed for. My erection subsided, although I was still very aware of this handsome man sitting next to me. Somehow, a subtle connection had sparked between us. Somehow, I didn't feel alone in the world. A total stranger had lit a candle of hope in my heart.

Chapter 2 -- In the Sandwich Shop

Mark

James didn't have to hire a call boy for me. I took care of myself, just to take the edge off and help keep the grouchy me away. But I was still lonely. Went to work, came home, lazed around, and generally gave in to inertia. The TV became my best friend. Sad, isn't it? After two weeks of this, I felt myself slipping away again.

"Elliott, you sorry bastard, snap out of it! Your heart's been broken, not your brain! Get up and get out and try to live again." But it's hard to give yourself a pep talk when there's nothing to get pepped up for. Still, I could at least get off the couch and get out of the house before the walls closed in and suffocated me. I remembered the Impressionist exhibit was about to close. "At least, go to the museum again. You'll probably never get to see it again in person." You know what "it" was.

So off I went. I made a beeline for "it." But when I turned to corner into the exhibit room, I pulled up sharp. There "he" was. I immediately recognized the man sitting on the bench. I didn't know what to do. He was in the middle of the bench, staring straight ahead. If I sat down, I would be in very close proximity to someone who made me hard.

So I studied my man from behind. He's around my age, maybe a bit older. Brown hair, graying. A bit taller than I, perhaps. Not overweight, just carrying the body of a man who's lived a while. And while I couldn't see his face, the slump of his shoulders spoke of the grief I had see shadowed in his handsome face. I remembered the glimpse of his killer smile, and, irrationally, I wanted to see it again, see the grief eased and comforted.

I quietly stepped up behind him, trying hard not to interrupt him. As I got closer, I could smell the aftershave again. Stetson. Not high end, I know. But plain, masculine, confident. There was a stirring in my groin that didn't bode well. Or, did it?

I heard my voice saying, "The painting does something to me, too."

He started and looked around.

"I had to come back, too, before the exhibit closed. This painting draws me like a magnet." I stepped over the bench and sat down next to him, closer this time as he was in the center of the bench. I stuck out my hand. "Mark Elliot." He took my hand. "Rob Davenport."

I gazed at the painting. "Wouldn't it be wonderful to be that carefree? I wish I could jump into that painting and join the fun."

"Yeah. Look at that body language: relaxed, at ease with each other, loving life. Where do we lose it?"

I looked away, suddenly struck by painful memories. "Sometimes it gets taken from us."

"Yes, I know that," Rob softly said.

And so we sat, stared, and talked. It became apparent that neither of us was an art aficionado. It's just that something about the people Renoir had frozen in time, pulled us both in the same way. We found that we both had invented back stories about the happy people, explaining how they got together, what they were conversing about. It was uncanny how similar our imaginations were.

I said, "Look at the man leaning against the rail. He seems somewhat detached and aloof from the crowd. As if he can't quite let go and enjoy life. And he has such strong arms."

Rob gave me a quick, quizzical glance, then looked back to the painting. Had I seen something in his eyes as he looked at me? Or was it my foolish imagination?

I looked at my watch. Damn! We had been sitting there for three hours. My stomach growled audibly and I apologized. Rob smiled and said, "I'm hungry, too. Let's get something to eat." There were several choices within walking distance and we settled on a sandwich shop. Slipping into the booth, I found myself drawn to this man. I knew practically nothing about him, but we seemed to share something, I didn't know what. We placed our order and then looked at each other. That spark again! His hands were on the table. Impulsively, I reached over and lightly traced my fingertips over the back of his hands.

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