My life as a boy

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When I was eleven years old I was lucky enough to meet a man who treated me with great kindness and affection. [...] As I rode my bike down his driveway he looked up and seemed to recognize me. When I got close enough he asked me what I was doing so far from home. I guess when your "old" three or four miles on a bike is a long way to travel. My bike was my ticket to the wider world. I loved being on the road. [...]

After I finished my drink I just sat listening and talking with him. It was strange to me that he seemed to care about and listen to what I was saying. I felt awkward because I knew I had no real reason for being there yet I didn't want to leave either. He may have seen that I was uncomfortable because his next question was "would you mind giving me a hand before you leave"? I was just thrilled that he wanted my help. I jumped off my bike and said, "Sure what do you need me to do?" [...]

The ride home was incredible. Never had my bike peddled so easily or gone so fast. I had no idea why I felt the way I did, I just knew it was a great day. I kept thinking about how he listened when I talked and he asked me for help. I felt useful and important. [...] From here on, out of respect and for protection, I will refer to my friend as James. For obvious reasons I can't use his real name. [...]

Sex was never the dominating factor in my relationship with James. I wanted to fool around a lot more than he did but I just liked being with him. He knew so much about construction and getting things to work that it was like being at school all the time except it was fun. [...]

There are ten thousand therapist out there who would still say I was a victim at the hands of an abuser. I was not. I have every reason in the world to give in to what I have been told, and put all my problems on James, But James was not the problem! I was there. I know what happened, and I know how I felt. Maybe I'm the only boy in the world that had a loving caring relationship with an adult man but I doubt it. This is a true story, and all I'm asking is for you to realize that you are being fed a bunch of crap when you are told intergenerational relationships are always bad. They are not always bad and I am living proof.

James is still married, has grown children and even grandchildren. I see him occasionally even though he has since sold the old farmhouse and moved to a nearby town. Again rural New England life. We have only talked about our two summers together once as adults. I was going through some hardships a few years ago and wanted him to understand I in no way blamed him. He had given me something that no one can ever take away and I wanted him to know that.

source: Article 'My Life as a Boy';; My Life; 2007