Editor's Note: This is a work of fiction, inspired by reality, such as it is. Pronouns are intentionally left vague, as most characters are composites. If you understand what's going on, congratulations; please respect the wishes of everyone involved and speak about this with no one. Its safer that way, it's happier. If I can keep my mouth shut for the better part of valor, then you can to. Chris as referred to in the last scene is of course Chris Knittel, for those of you who are curious. Some of the back story can be found here. For all of my family that reads the site, it'll all become clear in the next week or so, wait till then and know that I'm not ready to talk about it quite yet. For the people from school, keep your mouths shut (and that's serious folks. Please?) It's really a matter of safety and of being comfortable. Respect that, both in this situation, and just in general. Thanks. Enjoy!
"I'm so full of things to say my mind is talking nonstop and has been for a while and I can't get it to top I can't get it to slow down, and you know on one hand I don't want it to slow down to stop because this is an amazing feeling an amazing buzz and why should it stop? It doesn't have to, but I would like to regain some semblance of coherence, some semblance of internal sanity." I said breathing only occasionally.
"You should talk to Hawthorne about your syntax," She quipped. I sneered. "But seriously. All things end sometime, but I'm sure you've thought about that," she said rolling her eyes.
"Hey, I can't help it; but yes, I've thought about it a little, and I think that it's worth ignoring that for a little while, to let what happen will and just try. I'm allowed, am I not?" I asked. I was so excited that it hurt and that was after hours of distance and time for reflection. My mind was still reeling and if I didn't pay attention to it I'd probably lose my self to an incoherent manic attack,
"So tell! Tell! What happened? Was it perfect?" She asked.
"I can't, and perhaps that's part of the problem. And yes, yes, yes it was; even moreso than I might have imagined. I have all this joy and excitement and but its ok, I mean it's not a fun thing and I can completely respect things from his point of view. It's so familiar, like I was there a couple of months ago and now… now it's different for me, but I still know, all too well, what that fears like. So I can completely respect where he's coming from," my words were bordering on incoherent, but that was ok, she'd understand, and it was probably the best reflection of how I was feeling.
"Oh that's awesome."
"Yes. It's unreal, it's completely uncharted territory. A brave new world. And it feels good. I feel good." What more could I say, what more was there to say?
Perhaps that was a question better left unasked, I thought as I was bombarded with a thousand little manic thoughts that wanted to be spoken but that I knew I mustn't speak.
I whimpered joyfully in protest, but restrained myself. Thinking of nothing else todo I unfolded my arms and hugged her. She understood.
"I don't know, I feel a lot better about him now," She said idly as I stood there.
I bit my tongue softly in my cheek and nodded. I couldn't— or wouldn't—say anything, despite really wanting or needing to say a lot of somethings. "Yeah," I mumbled, not releasing my tongue.
"He seems to be really cool, underneath all of that. I spent some time with him after we closed up that project and the personality really started to show."
I moved my eyebrows up in a surprised expression and waited for more information. I hoped I was convincing.
"I don't know," she said. It strikes me as ironic that she, and I to a lesser extent, said 'I don't know' before any thought that we obviously did know but were hesitant to vocalize. "Before I was just kind of afraid and thought that he was weird, but now I really find I have a lot of respect for him, and I'm realizing that all of the assumptions that I had made about him were wrong. And that's a good thing," She said as she reached around and messed with her hair. It was interesting to see how it all fell back into place and still looked wonderful. I was almost jealous.
"And who knows, maybe he'll manage to come out some day," she added.
I nearly chocked on my tongue. I wanted to twitch or wink or give some hint as to what had happened over the past couple of days, but managed to restrain it. "Yeah, who knows," I said when I had regained my internal composure. We walked off towards class talking about something else, something completely unrelated, but I wasn't there, not in mind anyway.
"What happened? What happened?" She asked instantly as she sculpted a fine detail into the wet clay that she held tentatively in her hands. "It's as if you got some sort of a buddy," she added without really meaning it.
"Well, yeah, kind of," I said very softly.
"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god," she said, once she saw the look on my face and knew that I wasn't just playing around. "Someone from here, or not?!?" she asked excitedly pointing the ground.
I nodded and put my finger up to my pursed lips and tried to inspire her to be a little quieter. I felt like the entire room was looking at us and listening intently to what we were saying, though I knew they all could probably care less.
"So is it like, him, the guy who, everyone know, and everyone like thinks and dude and oh my god," she said softly as she bent over the table, as if that would make her voice softer.
"Yeah," I said.
She grinned. "That's so awesome," she said, and I think she meant it. I was happy. I grinned and nodded, but didn't make any noise. I didn't dare. "I'm so happy now!"
"You know, I think a lot of people have had a lot of respect for you since you've come out," She offered after a while. I knew it was connected somehow.
"As if it was a surprise to anyone. You all knew," I said. I still haven't completely decided how I felt about the glass closet. In some cases it made coming out easier, and in others it was just frustrating.
"Yeah, but still, its cooler when you're actually out, instead of just having to assume and worry that you haven't figured it out and would do something stupid to try and disabuse us of the notion. You know where I'm going?"
"Yep, and you're right I hope." I agreed.
"Why did it have to take me so long to figure it out?" I asked silently, looking up hoping that some goddess would have an answer for me.
I think I got an answer later; someone asked "if you didn't have to come out, if everyone knew you were gay from the starting line and was completely cool with it, would you like that?"
My immediate reaction was to say "oh god yes!" but then I thought about it and realized while I would probably really like homophobia to end, I think that figuring out sexuality and what it means to me is a privilege that I wouldn't dare give up. Everything in life will teach you a lesson and help you grow, if you let it; and through coming out I've been able to gain an insight into myself that I wouldn't dare give up.
"Hey, Andy, err, Chris," I said as I started to stand up and wave to him. I still couldn't get his name right on the fly, after four years of thinking of him as 'Andy' the fact that his real name was Chris hadn't really set in. It made things easier, I knew too many people named Chris and this distinction made it a little bit easier; even better he responded to Andy just as well as he responded to Chris, maybe even a little better.
The café was bustling and I had managed to secure a small table in the corner for our chat. When he arrived I shook his hand, like I'd done a thousand times and we took our seats.
"It's good to see you," it's been a while. He was right; we'd been really busy for far too long; but we've been coming to this little table in the corner every few days for years. Years. And we talk, about projects we're working on, the torments of education and life, and lots of other little nothings. He's the only other male I've ever really connected with, well maybe until now, and I'm not sure how my life would be with out him.
He has short hair that would probably look really cool if he gelled it, but perhaps that's what drew me to him: he had the potential to be a really cool popular kind of person, but he startled the fence and still dared to be buddies with someone like me. In retrospect I think he'd probably laugh at me and claim to out geek me in the geek contest, but that was part of the game I suppose.
"Yeah, so what's up with you?" I asked, taking a sip of tea.
"Nothing much, the usual. Their pulling all of the usual tricks and it's frustrating, but such is life," he reported. I nodded, there would be more eventually, 'nothing much' usually meant so much more; if it meant anything else then we would never talking about anything at all. "You?"
"I don't know, I'm still fairly manic feeling, I'm so excited, there's so much that I want to yell at the top of my lungs so that everyone can hear, but I can't," I said trying not to fidget with the packets of sugar sitting on the table.
"So I take it you two aren't going to be out?"
I ignored the comment, in part because it had an obvious, but also because I didn't want to explore the question. People would surely notice, I mean how could they not? But then it wasn't my choice to make, and given the circumstance, and given that it was really his choice, I was ok with this. I chuckled, when I listed everything out in my mind, it all seemed like a big mistake waiting to happen, but then I thought of the look in his eyes and the feelings I got from his words, and it seemed like after coming out, that I was completely at peace about this one. It never stopped to amaze me.
"I'm learning a lot about the closet now. Because I've been through my own closet once, and now I'm kind of half in somebody else's both vicariously and in a very real way, I feel like I know a lot more about it now. And I'm really comfortable. It scares me even, but just a little," I said.
"Never quite saw it that way," he commented, looking on and waiting for what he knew was coming. It was interesting, despite the fact that he's two years older and probably smarter than me, I constantly feel like I'm showing him the world, and it's wonderful.
"Yeah." I drifted off for a while and tried to form something coherent, or at least something close. "I think the problem isn't that I have a problem letting him stay in the closet. I mean I think people disserve to stay in the closet until they have everything sorted out, and defiantly through high school. There are limits to that, obviously, but we're no where near a limit right now. It seems that my problem is that there's no way I can be excited, no way I can tell my friends, no way I can express any of this."
"The curse of the extrovert," he commented.
"Totally." He knew me too well, but then we'd been over that already.