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Everyone Can See
|By the end of July, I had already started summer school (Stan was taking some kind of summer enrichment class in the mornings too), and so our workouts were early in the afternoon. I was surprised that working out did not make me less focused on my schoolwork -- to the contrary, it seemed to me that my ability to concentrate on something, even in the face of boredom or disinterest, had increased. Plus, I was able to read or do homework while we were tanning, so things were working pretty well. The Muscle Club didn't take that many hours of my time, really, so I was able to visit with my school friends and do my summer reading (I was on my second annual re-reading of The Lord of the Rings) without really feeling that I was giving up anything except possibly television summer reruns.
The measurement session at the end of July was as encouraging as the previous one, and everyone was progressing quickly. Barry and I had 'caught up' with Stan's steel biceps at 12 3/4 inches, although with his shorter arms, the effect was still more impressive when Stan flexed. I added another eight pounds during the month, and my chest was up to 39 1/2 inches, including my lat spread. I had noticed that I could feel some thickness at the center my own pecs when I drew my arm across my chest, which was a new experience for me. Barry's thighs 'leveled off' a bit, only picking up another half inch, and his waist continued to narrow. On the other hand, his chest was up to 38 inches, and his weight was up to 141 pounds. His chest poses started showing the same muscle striations that Jonathan and Stan showed. Barry surprised the rest of us that day by putting together a short posing routine, moving with surprising grace and smoothness from one pose to the next, and earning applause from the Muscle Club. My boner rose to the occasion as well; Barry was really starting to show a fine, if still slim, physique, the sort of thing he'd been making believe he had back when we were doing our own muscle-flexing comparisons.
Stan was gaining steadily, especially in his chest, which looked proportionally thicker than either Barry's or mine; he was also getting taller. Jonathan said that he had grown a half an inch in the last six weeks. I had also noticed that Stan was growing in other ways. His voice had settled into a solid adolescent tenor, and I had noticed that he had sprouted a fair crop of pubic hair. I think our hygiene text had called it 'primary and secondary male characteristics'.
Everyone agreed that my back was not only showing width, but that ridges of muscle were appearing up the middle of my back. I could only look at my back sort of sideways in the mirror, and Stan poked hard at them with his fingertips so that I could sense the thickness that was starting to appear there.
I was now actually looking forward to posing in the mirror and seeing the results of my hard work. Our tans had deepened during the month, and this enhanced our muscular definition. The Muscle Club Kids were definitely on a roll.
For his part, Jonathan continued to get leaner and harder. He was beginning to look like one of those anatomy charts you see in the hygiene books, the ones that diagram all the muscles with the skin off. But he was maintaining his muscle size, and the effect was electrifying. Whenever he took his shirt off for the posing sessions, I heard Stan and Barry take a breath just as I did. Whatever was going to happen on Labor Day weekend, Jonathan was going to be ready for it.
The other thing that happened during July is that my parents found out I was lifting weights. I was getting ready for bed, and my mom came in while I was stretching just after taking my shirt off -- it was definitely beginning to feel much tighter! "Michael," she said in a surprised voice, "have you been getting fatter or something?" She pretty much equated 'bigger' with 'fatter', though I was actually a bit leaner and starting to show some 'abs' myself, if not as sharp as Barry or Stan. I decided to give her an honest, if limited, answer.
"Well, maybe," I said, "I've been lifting weights with Barry Winters for a few weeks." Mom knew Barry a bit; he had been to the house with some other friends a couple of times, though she had a mistrust for kids that were not part of my academic circle of friends.
"Well, you don't want to overdo it. I think big muscles look really ugly." She paused for a moment. She looked as if she were deciding whether to say something else. Finally, she said slowly, "Michael, be careful. Some of the biggest, most athletic and masculine-looking men turn out to be homosexuals."
I turned pale, but maybe she just figured that she had frightened me appropriately. "Oh," I said, trying to sound nonchalant, "I don't think Barry is going to try anything." I meant it; Barry was about the most heterosexual guy I knew. He had Playboy magazines stacked in a corner of his room, and the wall beside his bed was covered with pictures of women in various stages of undress.
"OK," she said as she turned to leave, "just be careful, that's all. Good night, honey."
"Goodnight, Mom," I said, and lay down in bed and turned off the light. A million possibilities were going through my mind. Suddenly, I remembered what Jonathan had said about 'Pygmalion', and at long last remembered what it was that had struck me odd about the reference, the thing I couldn't remember at the time. Shaw's play 'Pygmalion' was named after the king in a Greek myth. The king had sculpted a statue of a beautiful woman. The statue was so beautiful that the king fell in love with it, and prayed to Aphrodite to bring it to life, which she did.
The king fell in love with the statue he sculpted. If that was what Jonathan meant about Pygmalion then...but he couldn't be queer, he was so...but that would mean...
This wasn't something I could afford to be wrong about. If I came out and asked him and I was wrong it could be a disaster and I suppose I could ask Barry what he thought but then he'd want to know why I wanted to know so I couldn't ask him and Stan probably didn't even know what a homosexual was so I couldn't say anything to him so what was I going to do? Besides, even if Jonathan was like that, what was I going to do? Go up to him and say, "I think you're queer. I think maybe I'm like that too"?
I sighed as I sat there in bed. All I could think of was that I was going to have to watch Jonathan more carefully. I smiled to myself in spite of my consternation. Watching Jonathan -- I guess I could live with that.
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