He'd known for a long time. Really ... you know. He had just never acted on the knowledge. Well, not overtly anyway. He first knew early in high school. Before that he thought he just wasn't interested in girls yet. Then he realized he just wasn't interested in girls.
He found himself watching closely as his teammates played ball. The way the muscles in their legs would move and stretch; then he became obsessed with the muscles in their backs. He found himself more and more often having to hide a boner in the middle of some class or sport.
He finally admitted it to himself when he started looking at guys' lips. Their mouths, come on! Mmm. He would fantasize about them, and that was his definitive recognition that he was truly gay. He wanted to kiss Tony Elkins, guard on the basketball team, with a single-minded, dedicated need. Tony would have knocked him into next week if he had even looked at him funny. But he wanted to.
That began his lonely existence in the gay world of Small Town, USA. It was such a small, rural town that sports was the only thing to do or to watch. They didn't have cable or any of the high-tech stuff that would have let him know he wasn't so alone in his feelings. He didn't have a computer at home, not that Internet access was available there anyway.
He had one of those late birthdays, so when he started school he was a little younger than others in his class. But he was smart. Really smart. He was so intelligent that he was on both the ball teams and the academic teams, such as they were. They had contests against other small schools and due to his knowledge of lots of trivia, always won. He just tended to remember things he had either read or seen. He had a knack for figuring things out.
He was something of a novelty in his area. Not that much to speak of, but he had his niche. The smart one. The geek. He had even been called "Smart" instead of Steve since he was in about second grade. Everyone called him Smart as a matter of fact. Lots of people didn't even know his real name and some had forgotten. He had gotten used to it.
He won a scholarship to the biggest school in the state. His parents were thrilled and his friends were jealous, but he was just excited to be getting away to a bigger city so he could learn more about the world and education. But what he really wanted to know was what there was out there for people like him. Homos. Queers. Faggots. You name it and the guys had joked about it. Somehow, he never could joke about it. Higher education was truly an eye opener for him.