Excerpt: The Beauty of a Whisper

     There it was. Thirty feet had never seemed an impossible distance before, and seeing the painting for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the sight of it and forced to stop, to fully take in its visual impact. Until that moment, the concept that mere oil and canvas could contain even a portion of the essence of a person like him had felt foreign to me.
     Even from this distance his eyes seemed to have been waiting for me, and held me, just as they had when I had looked up from the dock to find him bending over me, helping me untangle my leg from the mooring line of my small sailboat. His first words to me were forever etched into my mind, and had not faded in the fifteen years since he had spoken them:
     ‘Unless you think your leg will float away, I believe you’re supposed to tie the boat to the dock.’
     At twelve, I knew about sex and such matters - though I had yet to firmly establish my own thoughts about it all - and, until then, I had not even considered my specific gender preference. It was how he said those words and held my leg so carefully, while he separated my endangered limb from its binding that made me fall in love with him on the spot.
     It was only after I was freed from one entanglement, though now immersed in a new and thoroughly disturbing one, when I learned that my fifteen year-old savior was to be my new sailing instructor, for the summer.