I was a young environmental researcher living in a remote forest. A man named Pablo was there but we didn’t have much in common except marijuana. But Pablo & I started smoking together & we got to know each other.
We discussed spirituality & Greek philosophy. Pablo would tell me about his life: he had been a monk & a shaman during his 40-odd years. I liked the way he described interactions between people. He said most monks in his monastery were gay & that’s why they joined. They played mind games with each other, something I found fascinating. Pablo shared his music & wrote me a poem. He gave me a nickname & we became good friends.
We decided to go to a festival. Before we left, Pablo warned me he was bisexual but only young, beautiful & intelligent partners.
At the festival, we were dancing near a group of teenage boys. One kept looking at Pablo & catching his gaze. Pablo winked at him. The boy smiled before walking away with his friends. The whole thing was fascinating.
The festival went on & we drank more. I was chatting to a guy & I could see Pablo getting jealous, which annoyed me. I kept flirting & kissed the guy then Pablo said we had to go. In my alcohol-fuelled rage, I started yelling that he couldn’t control me. He confessed he liked me, which hadn’t crossed my mind, maybe since the marijuana had clouded my judgement.
Looking back, I should have known – he wrote that poem & kept asking about my sexual history. I had no romantic feelings for him so I had assumed he didn’t either. Things were uncomfortable between us the next day but they went back to normal & the fight made our friendship stronger.
Back in the forest, I asked Pablo about the boy who kept looking at him. He said that in the gay community, extended glances were a way of letting someone know you liked them. Pablo said that in ancient Greek times, men initiated young boys in sex. This was an aspect of the culture he hadn’t mentioned before. Maybe it was the marijuana or the fact that he was my only friend there but I didn’t think any more of it, even after he said he himself had ‘initiated’ boys as young as 14. We continued to hang out & smoke until my contract ended a few months later.
I met some friends & travelled to the country. Once, Pablo randomly showed up where I was staying.
Back home, I no longer smoked. I realised I’m not at peak mental ability when high & Pablo didn’t bring out the best in me. He continued to send unrequited poems & said he wanted to visit. He sent a recording of him playing the guitar & singing a song he wrote where the chorus was ‘I wanted to fu-ck you!’ He was drunk when he sent that though.
Eventually, I saw he was a paedo creep constantly trying to seduce me as he had done to others more vulnerable than me. I learnt that the few Greeks who had ‘initiated’ young boys had been killed, as most the society knew it was wrong. I don’t know where Pablo is now but I think of him sometimes, if only to remind myself I’m a bad judge of character when I smoke marijuana