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The Adolescent Years of Benjamin Bird

During the adolescent years of Benjamin Bird, he wrestled with inevitable post–World War II socioeconomic and technological change, the breakup of his extended family, transitioning from the country to the city, from public school to college, and from confusion over his bisexuality. The following is an excerpt from Chapter Three.

Benjamin pulled his socks tight in his shoes to avoid getting blisters on his heels, and he began trotting across the Dover pasture out to the county road. There he crawled under the barbed wire fence and headed home on foot. He did not mind walking, even three miles. Walking always seemed to clear his mind. He was relieved to be escaping from Denver's influence, at least for a time. Every step he took away from Denver was a step in the right direction. Step, step, step.

Denver is sexy, all right, Ben admitted to himself, but not as desirable as Jacob Jiggs had been, not sexy enough for me to start daydreaming about Denver, or any other male, or I will fall into a trap that might haunt me for the rest of my life. Step, step, step.

Don't think of Denver's masculinity, don't think of the arousal I felt riding behind Denver on old Misty, don't think of Denver's broad shoulders or his beautiful backside. Step, step, step.

Don't think of Denver's naughty nature, don't think of what Denver might be doing with old Misty. I don't ever want to know. Step, step, step. Stay on the right side of life.

Think of girls. Think of becoming attracted to girls. Think of which girl I will try to win for my sweetheart when school starts up again. Step, step, step. Should it be Peggy Blessing? Peggy is so feminine and dainty. I actually felt manly when I was sitting beside her in assembly! Step, step, step. Imagine putting my arms around Peggy Blessing and having babies and building a nice home and becoming a good husband and father. Step…by…step…by…step.

Ben's shoes became hot to his feet, so he sat down and took them off, stuffed his socks into his shoes, tied the shoestrings together, and slung them over his shoulder. His feet felt good tramping in the warm sandy ruts. His toes felt liberated.

At least his toes were liberated.


Watch for the forthcoming sequel, The Rootless Years of Benjamin Bird.

--MD Gage

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