The Princeton Rugby Guy Excerpts by David Kennedy Polanco

"You can desire, push, obsess, and lust too much, but real love is never meted out in overdoses."

From his choice of language and wardrobe, Harvard was criticized by the hoodlums in his neighborhood for "trying to act white", sometimes even more than for his sexuality. At the same time, the Latinos snickered at his limited Spanish vocabulary. Just the same, Harvard carried in equal measure his American patriotism and love for his Mexican heritage.

Harvard was of Mexican ancestry and solidly grounded as an American. He could in the same breath laud the achievements of Noble Prize winner Octavio Paz and boast of his grandfatherís five medals for service during the Second World War. Although Harvard, and his parents and their families, had been born in Los Angeles, being labeled Mexican - sometimes as a derogatory, other times as a compliment - was a fact of life.

"That's all life is, Harvard. A game." Stokes was playful yet a line of sincerity marked his words.

"Not for me. I do not want to leave it to chance, my life. Nor do I want to stumble upon my fate - lights out, in the dark, knocking into my destiny. That type of strategy is for, well, other people." Harvard replied without hesitation.

He found pure pleasure watching a rival football team in the Coliseum being punished, shouting "Kill them!" And in the nights with his father, a former amateur boxer, and brother watching men destroy one another with their fists in a boxing match. It all seemed in opposition to the character of the young man who had founded his high school club for the prevention of cruelty toward animals.

A tour guideís voice, followed by her small troupe of sightseers, brought Stokes back to the present.

"As you will see, a number of the windows in Memorial Hall show Civil War-related themes," the guide lectured. "The class of 1860 lost twelve students in the divisive war."

In an instant, Stokes was hurled back to scenes from the past. His boyfriend Harvard, holding open a photography book, pointed out various structures at the college, gleefully explained, "This is Memorial Hall. Names of dead Civil War soldiers, who were once Harvard students, including Paul Revere's grandson, are listed on"

Then Stokes was inundated by memories of the conversation that almost ended their relationship.

It was late one afternoon, and the two young lovers were "wasting a day together", as Harvard referred to their casual days spent alone. Stokes, seated on the bed in Harvardís room, his back resting against the headboard, held Harvard with one arm next to his sturdy body. With two fingers of his free hand, Stokes balanced a copy of Nietzscheís Ecce Homo.

"Do you believe in reincarnation? Stokes ran his finger along the curved frame of Harvardís glasses.

"I read someplace, I'm not sure where, 'Dying is easy. Everyone does this. Living to fight and win another day - that's the challenge.'"

"Is that a yes? A no?"

"You are asking me about past lives? It must be the Nietzsche."

Stokes casually tossed the book aside. "Do you believe in it?"

"Past lives," Harvard exhaled. "I am very focused on this life at the moment."

"You can never just answer a question directly, now can you? Let's say we were together in a past life."

"Oh, I see, games." Harvard moved to sit next to Stokes. "We were in the American Civil War."

"That's smokin'." Stokes grasped Harvardís shoulders with his big hands and gave him a playful nudge. How spot on, Stokes thought with a smile, Harvard chooses the Civil War. He was born on the anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter. It matches him.

"Interesting," said Stokes in a near-whisper.

"I, naturally, was fighting for the Union Army."

"The winning side?"

"Of course. You, being a Virginian"

Stokes clenched his jaw. "A loser? Yeah, yeah, we were brothers and fought against each other, and you put a blade through my heart. Kind of like this life!"

"A man spends his time paving his path with deeds of merit, but let him make one misstep; this is what people will remember," Harvard spoke, intending to banish the empty emotional space between them.