The retired Rich sits in his rocking chair on the porch of his cabin and reminisces. W.B. Yates’ poem “The Isle of Innisfree “ seems to fit his mood and his life. Rich remembers his college days and his boyfriend, Lee. But that was back in the mid-1950s and Rich and Lee had to be extremely careful, even to the point of dating, then ultimately marrying, women.
After college, Rich was drafted into the army. He was happy but lost contact with Lee. Will life in retirement as a widower continue on its same lonely track for Rich? Or will he be given one last chance at happiness?
The campus had buildings over a hundred years old, with no consistent architectural theme, just designed by whoever the fashionable architects were when they were built. The tall elms on the quad were probably even older. He loved the sense of tradition, that young people had been drawn to this place to learn together since the early part of the previous century. Constantly he felt the place, the ambiance. But the other students weren’t like his friends back at the small high school he’d attended. Many of them were easterners, sophisticated, aggressive, dismissive of those who didn’t come from New York, New Jersey, or New England, of those who hadn’t gone to good private schools. Of course, he thought, if they had gone to the best private schools, they wouldn’t be out here in Ohio acting superior.
But these kids from the good schools were competitive about grades, and he found he had to work much harder, to sleep less, to goof off less than he’d ever imagined when he was a high schooler thinking about what college would be like.
He felt more comfortable as a sophomore, having worked out his daily schedule so he knew when he could steal some time for a social life. He had begun dating girls for the first time as a freshman, and he continued the practice in his second year. In those days only fast girls put out, and nice boys didn’t go beyond some mild petting when they returned their dates to the dorm, being sure to get them back before the mandatory curfew. To do otherwise, to go further, would be to show disrespect, and he was brought up never to do that.
That was the year he met Lee. They had both gone out for the fencing team, neither with any prior experience. He’d admired Lee in the showers after practice, with his blue eyes, chestnut hair, nice pecs, and cut cock hanging over big balls. Having a hairless butt himself, he was fascinated by the light dusting of reddish brown hair on Lee’s ass.
In the second semester, he and Lee found themselves in the same introduction to lit class, and he was both startled and secretly pleased when Lee asked him to go to the snack bar after class for coffee. It turned out that they both lived in Moses Hall, though he didn’t remember seeing Lee there before. They both had singles, his on the ground floor, his new friend’s on three.
They began to spend most of their spare time together. He wasn’t dating that spring, nor, so far as he knew, was Lee. They went to movies, had coffee or milkshakes at the Union, listened to music on their LP players, took bike rides, and as the weather became warm, sunbathed together. Mostly, they just talked and talked. Their bull sessions often went far into the night, and he had to wake up his friend the next morning. Soon he realized he had special feelings for Lee, emotions he’d never had before, even for Jimmy.