There is a time, there is a place, when love should conquer all. The rest of life is pushed aside as truth and reason fall. --Aida Bryan Denton is a high school journalism teacher, and David Jacobs...
All summers have a peak, and all peaks have an end. The summer of 1985 peaked in a dorm room and ended in an airport terminal. The rest of Bryan Denton's life /began /in that airport.
Bryan spent his senior year working on the staff of /Clamor, /a newborn protest /publication/-not magazine-started by his Yale-dropout cousin. Bryan never applied to Yale; instead, he found himself attracted to Berkeley and was accepted early-admission, much to the dismay of his parents. He spent a delicious semester at the University of Paris, rooming with Gabriel his sophomore year of college, and after he'd returned to California, he met a wonderful, young Psychology major from Stanford with whom he spent two tumultuous years.
As far as he was concerned, Bryan Denton had changed for the better.
David smiled down at the green slip of paper resting in his hand. The blue ink scrawled across it gave him power and its companion, confidence. As he made his way through the nearly empty, gray passages, his back straightened and his chest puffed out. No teacher could stop him, and no other student would dare attack.
Name: David Jacobs
To: Rm. 227
Pre-signed signature: Bryan Denton
David liked to pretend that Mr. Denton's room was a haven for bohemians like himself, (because of course he considered himself bohemian), a shelter from the repressive tyranny of math and chem teachers. Mr. Denton devoted his soul not only to his class but also to the school's literary magazine, /Apparently, I Was Misinformed. /Visually-inclined artists vied for the coveted distinction of "cover art" while the poets waxed their best and the thespians and musicians recorded monologues and debut singles for the magazine's complimentary CD.
Mr. Denton's signature was smooth and flowed all the way across the pass; with just one glance at his handwriting, David could imagine his teacher, casual and laid-back, yet collected. Denton could cross his room with a few wide steps. His colleagues found him to be much too young and therefore much too liberal, and his students, though appreciative of his innovation in the classroom, took every opportunity to mock his clothing and overall style of dress. It was rumored that Mr. Denton lived in a studio apartment, in which a canvas mat served as his bed and three beanbags as his living room. The journalism teacher walked to and from school everyday and carried with him naught but a container of Yoplait yogurt for breakfast and an apple for lunch.
David knocked on the doorway of Room 227, and then followed Denton's beckoning hand inside. As he entered the room, David had to admit that Mr. Denton was somewhat of a hippie. He wore patchwork pants, simple canvas shoes and a Buddha-adorned t-shirt with the words "Inquire Within" splayed across his chest. Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Could You Be Loved"/ /blared from a stereo perched beside Denton's desk. The teacher flashed the young boy a grin, then turned to his desk and lifted a folder from its surface. "I've been collecting photos for that magazine you wanted to start. I've talked to the All Student Council, and they've approved the club. You just need to come up with a name." Denton opened the folder, revealing its contents to David.
When David had first walked through the doorway of Room 227, he'd been surprised by the journalism teacher's relaxed style, but he came to appreciate Mr. Denton. He was always eager to start new projects and always volunteered to supervise any new clubs his students came up with. However, it had been Mr. Denton who had approached /David /about /this /project. Denton always tried to squeeze /photo/journalism into his course, but none of his students had ever cared, except David, so when Denton decided to put together a photography journal, he already knew who his first editor-in-chief would be.
David sifted through the photographs, admiring them. Denton definitely knew what he was doing; it was obvious that he'd carefully chosen every piece in the pile, and David knew he'd have a difficult time cutting it down to thirty images.
"I thought that you could use some help," Denton added as he watched David study the photos. "I asked Mr. Tanner to refer one of his photography students, and he came up with Jack Kelly." Denton gave David a not-quite-decipherable look and continued. "You can meet with him today after school."
It hadn't taken David Jacobs long to realize that he was gay- he just didn't have a word for it for the first seven years of his life. Liking boys made sense to him. Boys played with boys, and girls played with girls. Sometimes a brave girl would cross the line at recess and kiss her love-of-the-week, but the boy always pushed the girl away and screamed about cooties. David figured that boys weren't /supposed /to like girls.
In the middle of first grade, David was invited to a birthday party. Not just any birthday party, but /Frankie Sullivan's /birthday party. Frankie Sullivan's /cowboy /birthday party. Considering that David had not been invited to a single party since his birth, possibly not since his conception, (though she wouldn't call /that /process a party), his mother RSVP-ed with a black Sharpie "YES," accompanied by no less than three long exclamation points.
Halfway through the party, David gave all of the Smarties he'd saved from the piÃ±ata scramble to the birthday boy. Frankie gave David the first goodie bag and pronounced him his deputy. Mrs. Sullivan gave Mrs. Jacobs a call and asked David to stay a bit longer for a play date. Mrs. Jacobs gave Mrs. Sullivan an enthusiastic "YES!!!" and it seemed that David had begun to slowly climb the first grade social ladder.
Halfway through the play date, David proclaimed his crush on Jack and gave him a smack on the lips. Jack gave David a smack across the face and a new word for his vocabulary: /faggot/. Mrs. Sullivan gave Mrs. Jacobs a call, and Mrs. Jacobs gave Mrs. Sullivan the answer she wanted, ("Of course I'll take him home...").
Suffice it to say, David's first play date was also his last.
Ten years later, David "had seen the error of his ways," though he preferred to call it "being in the closet". Ironically enough, Frankie Sullivan's father had seen the error of his ways, and those new ways required leaping out of the closet attired from head to toe in purple and rainbows. In a fit of revulsion, Mrs. Sullivan reverted to her maiden name, and forced her son, Frances, /to legally change his name and thereby remove all memory of Frances James Sullivan Sr. from her memory. Poor Ms. Kelly had no idea that /Jack was more like his father than she knew.
David was quite aware, though.
Bryan Denton was equally aware; he'd found the two boys smacking quite fiercely in the darkroom during David's sophomore year.
This explained why Bryan was just a bit put out when Mr. Tanner sent Jack Kelly over to work with David on the magazine. He didn't want any darkroom rendezvous' interfering with his student's work.
It was probably more likely that the person distracting David Jacobs would be a certain hippie teacher.
I can't sit in that room any more. I go there everyday and sort through piles of crap portraits and flowers and any other stupid thing some kid decided to take a picture of, and all I can smell is incense and curry and Mr. Denton. Sometimes he leaves the room, and I can't do anything until he comes back. Too bad he's not gay.
I think he suspects though. He already knew about me /and /Jack, and he probably knows we broke up right after he found out. Why else would he pick Jack of all people to work on the magazine with me?
Dear Mr. Denton,
I could fucking rape your class if I wanted to, but how I could I manage that when all I want to do is rape /you/?
Dear Jack Kelly,
I wish I never gave you my Smarties.
David was sitting in the back of the journalism room, perched on a stool when Jack Kelly decided to approach him. He'd been sorting through the newest batch of photos submitted by aspiring Ansel Adamses and Margaret Bourke-Whites. Portraits of students, snapshots of hyacinths and pencil-colored school buses surrounded him. The two had spent the past few days sorting through them... without saying a word. Mr. Denton's constant presence required an awkward silence from the two boys, and David preferred the quiet anyway.
"Davey..." Jack spoke finally, as he sat down beside the other boy. David turned to glare and hoped that his eyes conveyed the following:
a) We are not /friends/.
b) We will never be /friends/.
c) You are not allowed to dump me and then decide to be /friends/.
d) You definitely not allowed to dump me for my sister and then decide to be /friends/.
e) I want my Smarties back because we are not /friends/.
However, this maneuver did not seem to do the trick as Jack tried once again. "Look... I know I sort of panicked when Mr. Denton... /saw /us last year, but I'm /sorry/." Jack reached out to touch David's hands. His eyes were opened wide, full of amber and honey remorse. Jack was a master of the beaten-puppy look. Thankfully, so was tiny Les Jacobs, which allowed David to become immune to such faces.
"Mr. Tanner brought over another new batch today," David answered, triumphing as his heart ran circles around his chest with an Olympic torch. "We had better go through them."
Jack hung his head in defeat and took the proffered folder.