By Martin Clement
Unless otherwise noted, this story is Copyright ©2006 by Martin Clement for Clement & Boule Associes. All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, published, distributed, displayed, performed, copied or stored for public or private use in any information retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process, including electronically or digitally on the Internet or World Wide Web, or over any network, or local area network, without written permission of the author.
No part of this story may be modified or changed or exploited in any way used for derivative works, or offered for sale, or used to construct any kind of database or mirrored at any other location without the express written permission of the author.
Thank you for respecting the intellectual property rights protected by the copyright laws of Canada, the United States and International Copyright Treaty.
The Ghosts From The Past
Each time I sat on that bench in the elementary school's playground, I remembered how humiliated I've been that day of September 2002. five years have gone by but all the hurt remains. How can life become so cruel when you are only eleven years old, some people will never know. As I think back about that day when my best and only friend told me to go away, I think I'd rather not know either. Why did I keep on coming back to that school yard if it hurts me so much, would you ask? Why couldn't I just move on and never come back? The answer is simple: hate. Yes, hate. Hate against Mike who decided one day that he didn't want me in his life after all this childhood shared together, hate against all the children who kept on harassing me even after five years, hate against my father who would rather be anybody's father but mine, hate against my mother who didn't say anything when my father slapped me twice, but still tried to be my mother afterward, hate against my teachers and the principal because they never did anything to make the harassment and the beating in the school yard stop, but mainly hate against myself for being such a worthless piece of shit, a nobody, a coward, a fucking faggot, as they used to say it... "Sigh!" Faggot. I didn't even know if they knew what the word meant when they started telling me that word. I didn't know. The only thing I knew was that the way the were spitting the word in my face. It made the word seem anything but nice to me. But the real reason why I hated myself was they were right. They knew they were right. Jeez, everybody knew!
Mike and I had been best friends for as long as I could remember, our parents being friends from college and neighbours for a couple of years before we were born. Even if Mike was more into sports and I was more into intellectual things like reading or drawing, we were always finding a way to entertain ourselves when we were alone together. We played Hide and Seek or Tag, jeez, he could have asked me to walk on water, I would have tried, just to impress him. When I was younger, I didn't know the nature of my feelings for Mike. For me, he meant the world. When we were walking to kindergarten since it was only a five minutes walk from home, he would always hold my hand. And I would always stare at his deep brown eyes like he was God's most beautiful creation. Well, that's what I thought at the time. Since he was taller than me (not very difficult, since today, I'm still smaller than a lot of girls in my classes), I always thought him as my older brother, even if he were only six months older than me. His dark features and his almost black hair were always amazing me. He was so beautiful... Beautiful, that was exactly the word for him. Inside and out. Well, that's what I thought. "What?" he would ask me each time his stare crossed mine, a little smile on his lips. "I like you!" would be my answer. When you are six years old, these words don't hold the weight they do when you are eleven. His smile would broaden and he would squeeze my hand to let me know he was there, then tell me "I like you too, Lucas." I remember the day in first grade when he told me we couldn't hold hands anymore. We were in the middle of the playground before the classes began. I felt like crying. It was almost as if he were telling me he didn't like me anymore. That might have been true, since the next time I told him I liked him, he just told me to stop saying that. After that, he started playing soccer every break he could with the sports freak. I couldn't complain, since I didn't play any sport because I was so worthless, as coach Wilson told me every time he could. I was not so masochist to get humiliated more than I already was, so I just watched. As long as Mike was playing, as long as we were still friends, as long as he would still come to my house to play Tag with me, I would be just fine watching him play from afar.
Then, there was the mistake. The big mistake. When we were eleventh, one Saturday night of September, I was sleeping over at Mike's place. My parents, along with mike's, were playing some bowling (boring, as we called it) every Saturday night since before we even existed. As we were considered too young to watch for ourselves, it was Maggie, Mike's older sister, who would keep an eye on us every time since she was fourteen. She was always looking at me like she wanted to kill me. I really don't know why she kept on treating me like shit. Actually, I didn't like her that much either.
We had just taken our baths and were goofing around on Mike's bed when suddenly, I did the worst thing I could have ever done. I kissed him. And I today, I still think that he was kissing me back. But how can I be so sure? Everything went so fast... At first, I didn't realized the door was wide opened. But when I saw the look of horror on Mike's beautiful face, then the one on Maggie's, who was probably there to go and sleep, my whole body started trembling. My hands went blue and I can picture my face going as white as a ghost within ten seconds.
"I... I..." I was trying to say I was sorry, but couldn't get the words out of my mouth. I was terrified, to say the least.
"You fucking' faggot! Get away from my brother you poof!" Maggie yelled, running to me and slapping me in the face so hard I fell to the ground. "If I ever see you trying to do it again, I fucking kill you, understand?"
I couldn't talk. I was in shock. All I could do was nod my head while looking at the floor. Then I did the one thing that would tell Maggie she had won: I started sobbing. And I cried. And I cried. All the time, Maggie was looking at me like I was the worst pervert on earth. Then, when she had enough of my sobbing, she grabbed me by the hair and dragged me out of Mike's room and towards the stairs.
"Get out!" she yelled, pushing me with her feet like we would toss a garbage bag. "Get out, I said! You don't want me to push you in the stairs, do you? Get out now!"
"Please, Maggie!" I pleaded. But she wouldn't have any of it. She made a move as if she were to kick me in the stairs, so I backed up and... fell all by myself. As soon as I could lift my numb body from the hard wood ground, I didn't wait for Maggie to tell me to go out again before I left the house and ran to the tree house in the back of our home. Then I remembered exactly what happened and cried myself to sleep. Mike, my hero, never did anything to protect me that night.
I know I was lucky I didn't break my neck in these stairs. But was I that lucky? Looking back at all the events that followed after this lonely kiss, I don't know if it was a good deal to still be physically alive, since I know today that I'm now dead inside.
I remember the way my parents looked at me when they arrived home and found me in the tree house. I remember clearly seeing my mother crying. I remember opening my arms for her to take me in them and to tell me everything would be alright. I remember the tears in my eyes when I saw her step away from me as soon as I was out of the tree house, my arms pleading for her to soothe me.
"I'm sorry, mom... I'm sorry..." I kept telling her while crying my eyes out, feeling so alone.
Then I remember the very first slap in the face my father ever gave me. And the second. And I remember the look of disappointment on his face. It was the first time that I witnessed something so painful in my young life. Even the slap has not been so tough to take as this disgusted look has. I just wanted to be my parents' little boy again, but I guess I realized that night under the tree house my father built for me a few years before, that I never would be again.
"Go in your room! You're not my son anymore."
So I ran inside the house and into my room and tried my best to sleep. Memories of that night kept flooding in my head. I realized I wouldn't get any rest that night when I saw my first sunrise through my window. That was not exactly how I pictured it. Before that morning, I'd always been told sunrises were the most beautiful events in the world. For me, it was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. I decided I would hate every day that would rise and live for the dark... at eleven years old.
I couldn't understand what exactly was happening. The only thing I knew was that I still was Lucas Decker. I was still the little boy whom my father was sometimes tickling almost until I peed my pants. I was still this little guy to whom my mother always told was the pride of her life. I was still me. How could they not see?
That day, my mother brought me food in my room. She didn't say a word. I didn't see my father the whole day. But I heard him walk by my room and stop in front of my door twice. He never came in. I cried a good part of the day and when the night darkened my room, I fell asleep from exhaustion on the floor near my bed, my photo album with pictures of my family and Mike clutched to my heart.
Monday morning, I was very nervous when I reached the school's playground. This morning, when I woke up, my parents had already left for work, but it was a relief for me. I had to collect all my strength to try and speak to Mike. So not to have to confront them or being stressed by their silence again was a given. I was thanking them for that. I knew I still had to talk to them. I wanted them to still love me. I wanted my father to tell me I was still his son, that he didn't meat what he said, but for now, I had to apologies to Mike. I knew I loved him. He was my hero. I knew I loved him. He was so beautiful. I knew I loved him. He was my strength, my rock, my protector! He couldn't not forgive me. He had to. Then I saw him, sitting on that bench where I am sitting right now. He looked so nervous I thought he would fall apart. My rock looked like he barely slept the night before. I thought maybe he was as torn apart as I was. I thought maybe he would be glad to see me, so we could give each other some strength to carry on our lives, but when I got closer and he saw me, the look in his eyes looked so mad I thought he would jump on me.
"Hi..." I said.
He got up from the bench.
"Stay away from me, fucking faggot!" he yelled before he punched me in the face.
I fell down to the ground and started crying. Again, yeah... And people laughed at me for that. Then everything started that way. For the next five years up until today, I've been treated like a piece of shit.
Mike just got out of my life and became the quarterback of his football team in high school. He never talked to me again. Not even a "hello", not even a "fuck off!" Nothing. Whenever our eyes would meet, he would just shiver like if I were made of ice and look elsewhere. At home, I tried my best to regain the love of my parents for a couple of weeks to no avail. When I realized my father's cruel words were really true, that I was not his son anymore, I stopped trying. After about three months being treated as a stranger in my own house, my mother started acting as if she wanted to be my mother again. But it was too late. Too late for soothing me, too late for treating as a child. The child was dead. My spirit was dead. There still was a body walking to school, but in spite to protect my sanity, I had to grow up and shut myself inside of my head. So I shut the world. Of course, all the insults and the beatings my peers gave me hurt me every time I had to face them. My humiliation was at its peak. Nobody would speak to me when it was not for degrading me Nobody would touch me without saying "Oooooh! he's going to give me his disease!" and laugh at me like I were no human being. Nobody. Not even my teachers.
So, here I was again, sitting on that bench remembering all the reasons why I kept my distance, even as I changed school, from everybody and never wanted to let anybody in again. I lost my father. I lost my mother. But worse of all, I lost the one and only friend I had just because I couldn't keep my feelings to myself. I promised myself that I would never fail again. I never wanted any other friend after these events. Even if I wanted to have one, nobody would have been my friend. That was a given. I already went there. Did't want to live it anymore.
I stood. I found a tissue in my pocket and made sure there were no tears left in my eyes. Then I lit up a cigarette. I know cigarettes are no good for health, but see, I didn't give a damn! I think I started smoking the year before just to see if my father cared and to tell my mother I didn't care what she thought. And actually, smoking gave me some strength to carry on with my life, if I could call it that way. Now I was ready to face another day of humiliation. Well... I was never ready for it and it still stung in my heart every time I received an insult. Who am I kidding? It's as if each word spoken my way was a big bone grinder and I was always shattered into pieces... "Sigh..." But at least, they didn't see how much they destroyed me anymore. Every morning, I came to this bench and learned how to put my mask for the day to follow. And by coming there at five every morning, I didn't have to face the people who I used to call mom and dad once upon a time.
Okay! Enough of that! I had to go to class now before they called to say I was late again and endure another speech from my mother telling me she loved me... Berk! Enough is enough! Love was out of my life. There was only place for hate.
I walked to school, which was only a half an hour of walk from the elementary school. Since the temperature was still pretty warm, a lot of students were chatting outside. Well, actually, a lot of the jocks and their popular girlfriends were outside, talking about their fantastic week-ends at the shore or how they won their last match or how they cheated at the last French test since they can't even spell their own names.
I sighed to myself. Then took a deep breath, telling myself that they couldn't hurt me anymore. Then I made sure I would not be taken looking at anybody. All the way to the door, I usually just hung my head low and looked at the concrete not to be spotted. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes not. As I started walking again, trying to do so as fast as I could, that's when I saw him... or actually, that he saw me. He was smiling while talking to his friends when his eyes drifted to me. That was so good seeing him smiling for the first time in five years! When he spotted me, his smile softened, as if he was offering me a genuine one, just for me... But I couldn't have any of it. I nearly stopped in front of him. But I couldn't stay there. I couldn't forget what he did to me. I just couldn't. He was my enemy now. I realized I was staring into his eyes for maybe five seconds, too much time already, when I looked back at the sidewalk again. I past by him and our hands touched a moment. Just a brief moment. Too long...
I shut my eyes an instant to keep one tear from falling, then I put my burning hand in my pocket to prevent from being touched again. Then I tried to force my way to the crowded hallway. I crashed my cigarette on the concrete floor before I entered the school and, as every morning, I walked close to the walls, trying not to be seen by anybody, until I reached my locker. My locker was not very difficult to find. You wanted to know which one was the faggot's locker? Just try the bright fuchsia brush painted locker with the word faget written on it. Yep! faget! They didn't even know how to spell it. Dumb jocks. At least, I knew that it was not Mike's signature, since I knew he was not dumb. Actually, he was very bright. You see, this guy had it all. Remember when I told you he was beautiful? Well it was an understatement considering that at sixteen years old, he had almost become a man. He already had very broad shoulders from bodybuilding, his jaw was square, his whole body to die for... He was close to six foot high already, as were most of his jock friends. As for me, I was still under five foot seven with very thin body and no muscles at all. It took all I had as a pep talk every morning not to crawl to his house and beg him to take me back as a friend... "Sigh..." I couldn't do that. I hated him... It was so weird to see him smile at me... I hated him so much for what he did...
When I reached the faggy locker, as a lot of people put it, I looked in the hall, just to be sure I could open it without being the target of some brag again... The week before, some students had cornered me and locked me in my locker. As weird as it seems, I was there only five minutes before Mike opened it and helped me out of it. I guess he still remembered my lock's number after all this time... weird... Mike gave me a faint smile and I mumbled an almost inaudible thank you before I closed my locker and almost ran away from him.
So, just in case, I looked back in the hall and as soon as my eyes met his beautiful mysterious dark eyes and the shy smile he gave to me, I was about to melt right then. So I averted my gaze and fumbled with the lock to try and opening the pink locker and get my books for my first period.
"Hi..." he almost whispered, inches from me, leaning on the locker next to mine.
My whole body was starting to shake. My heart was beating so hard I thought it would go right through my ribcage and explode on my locker door, overwriting the word faget. I didn't want to talk to him. Why would he come to me after all this time and trying to make small talk, I'll never know.
"Luke...?" he said.
I finally could open the door and I used it as a shield between me and Mike. I breathed hard and sighed heavily.
"Lucas..." I whispered, unsure if he heard me.
"What?" he asked me.
Now I knew he didn't understand. But I didn't want to repeat myself, so I just mumbled "Whatever..."
"Luke..." he breathed more than said.
Now I would have none of it, so I just slammed my locker door. He winced under the sound. But when my eyes drifted to his face, he was looking straight at them. So I averted my gaze and looked back at the floor. I couldn't look him in the eyes.
"Lucas." I finally said firmly.
"What do you say?" he asked me.
"My name is Lucas." I simply said before picking my bag off the floor and heading in the direction of the staircase. Mike followed me through the doors leading to the stairs and up to the second floor.
"Since I was born, Michael!" I was proud and also a bit sad when I saw Mike flinch. It was the first time of our lives he had heard me call him by his real first name. But I continued. "You, know, only my friends can call me Luke. And as I don't have any..."
"Because of me..." Now it was his turn to look at the ground.
I was taking some assurance. I hated to see him like this... but I hated him so much, I just wanted to hurt him a little bit more just for him to see what he had done to me.
"Jeez! You're not that dumb, after all!"
"Luke..." The look I gave him made him wince again. "Listen, Lucas... It was five years ago... Won't you ever forgive me?"
"No." I simply said.
"Why?" he asked me. "I mean... I know what happened five years ago hurt you very much... I know I hurt you very much..."
"Oh! You think so?" I snapped. "What colour is my locker?"
"Lucas... I didn't do it, I swear!" Mike said defensively, putting his hands in front of him.
"What colour is it?"
"Pink" he mumbled.
"Was it pink before I got to use it?"
"I guess not..."
"You guess?!" My voice was raising and we could see some people staring at us. "What are you looking at?" I snapped at them. "Don't you have a life?"
I grabbed Mike by the elbow and dragged to the still empty literature classroom, my first period class.
"I miss you..." It came even softer than a whisper.
"What did you just say?" I asked.
"I said I missed you."
"What? Do you think it does me any good? You know, today I understand everybody's reaction. From day one, they all thought I had the plague. Me the first. Hell, I still do sometimes... Your sister... well... I never liked her very much anyway, so I can't blame her for her reaction... she is too dense to understand anything different from her slutty way of thinking... if she ever thinks. But you didn't do anything when she dragged me out of your room. You did nothing!"
"I was scared..."
"So you were scared...? How do you think I felt for the last five years? How do you think I feel every day when I see this fucking pink locker? It always reminds me that I'm not safe anymore! How do you think I feel when I get cornered by your friends? They lock me in my locker, they dunk me in the toilets, they use me as their punching bag. Do you think life is great for me? Do you?"
"I know it's not easy..."
"You know, even if you hadn't told a soul I acted all gay on you, it was a matter of days before your sister would have spread the news. But still, think about it, don't you think I could have used a friend at this time?"
The first bell rang, which meant Mike had to leave to get to his own classroom. I walked to the right side and sat down at my place, hoping the conversation would be over and Mike would leave me alone. But Mike walked to my desk and leaned into it before asking me "Can I give you a lift home after school? Maybe we could grab a coffee or something... just so we can talk a bit more..."
"Why?" I asked incredulously.
"Okay..." I gave up.
School went the same way as everyday. You know what they say "Same shit, just another day." Well, that's the way it went. At least, Mrs Campbell, my literature teacher is a cool person. I really like her. And I think she has some sympathy for me. She won't let any harassment being done in her class. She wouldn't have it. I know I'm safe in her classroom. But I can't help getting very nervous when I have to present an expose. And that's exactly what today's course was all about. In gym, we played some basketball, and as always, I've been the last one to be picked, and I think they even considered hiding me so they could get rid of me. I didn't care. I hated everybody in that course. Even Sergeant Pickett, as I call our coach. She really is one hell of a bastard. At the end of the day, I was really getting nervous. I couldn't stop wondering why exactly Mike wanted to make up after all these years. I could have ditched him and gone back to my little nothing of a life, waiting for a family that is not my family anymore, do my assignments, finish to read this book I started yesterday and go to sleep early since I wake up at four to go to my bench in the elementary school playground, but I never fail to what I promise. I couldn't anyway, since when I approached the faggy locker, Mike was already there, waiting for me. He seemed to be deep in thoughts. But when he saw me, a shy smile appeared on his lips.
"Ready to go?" He asked.
"Yeah... Give me five minutes." I said, opening my locker.
To be continued...
Here it is, the first chapter of Hate is over. I hope you enjoyed it and will come back to read the next chapters.
It is actually my first attempt at writing a novel in English, since my first language is French. As you can read, my English is far from being perfect. It is also my first attempt at a gay story. I usually write fantasy novels which are translated by somebody else. There's actually one of my novel that's being translated for an attempt at the USA market for 2007 or 2008, I'm not sure yet. While you wait for this book, I wanted you to get to know me a little bit better.
You can send me any constructive comment, I'm pretty open and I'll try to answer all the messages. Don't give me flames cause you know, I don't give a shit about them. If you didn't like to read a gay story, well, what the hell were you doing here? Sorry for people who wanted a good wank because there won't be any explicit sex. Why? Because I don't feel like writing about it right now. And if you were offended by the fact my principal characters are gay, why don't you go back to your churches and trust in everything they say and leave me alone? For the others, welcome to my story and see you soon!