Today I experienced the ironic joy of being a closeted gay. Monday was the first day I had a boyfriend, but that I couldn't tell it to the school, for fear of certain death. Well, maybe just near death. Sometimes, it just seems like it's harder to pull off not "being gay" in public than it would be to be so. Of course, maybe after high school I could be more open with myself, but in this environment that's not the best decision.
After swallowing the pride of secret romantic conquest, I shuffled off to school. Since Sarah does know about everything, she senses a bit of pride herself. Without her, I would be a miserable wreck. Hell, I WAS a miserable wreck before she all but forced me to come out to Drew and my parents. In the long run, it was the right decision. I now live with the motto of "No Regrets."
I had to admit I was a bit rude to Mark before school started. But it's just the public factor. With hundred of my peers around, I was too chicken to be a proper boyfriend. I'm not even sure how to act at lunch or anytime else. I kind of pushed him aside, told him I'd talk to him in English. I mean, I can get away with it. We spend more than half our day together, so it's not like this is our only chance to talk in school.
The worst thing about the first Monday is that classes REALLY started today. The first two days are a bit of a grace period, just
getting reacclimated to your surroundings. Even Mr. Myers was teaching. But somewhere in the lessons, I was able to squeeze
some time in to have a conversation with Drew. I decided to hang out with him tomorrow. I didn't tell him why I couldn't meet him
today, but I'm sure you'll understand. I want to give Mark some warning to when I want to go out with my long time friends.
Interesting actions in English though. We started examining some poetry. We broke up into groups to read it, so Mark, Billie, Michelle, and me went to work on some poems. We also had to explain its meaning. To be honest, I wasn't paying attention to the poem. I was spending my time staring at Mark, staring at the book. Good thing no one noticed, with the exception of Billie. And fortunately, she helped me pay attention before everyone did notice. She whispered to me, "Do you want to get caught?"
Well, no highlights in the rest of Monday's action, save for the first gym class. Gym class, the ultimate purgatory for the gay individual. You get the heavenly look of your fellow man (or women, if you're into that kind of thing) in a state of undress. But on the flip side, you're faced with the hellish possibility of getting a hard on or being accused of staring too long.
At our school, gym class means getting fully changed, and it means taking showers. To be honest, that's the worst part about it. Showers are full of gigantic, and not so gigantic temptations that you just want to stare at! Seeing a classmate in his underwear is one thing, just something you see in passing and maybe get away with, but when they're stationary for a minute or two without any ounce of modesty on, it's difficult.
And to top it all of, I got in the jock class. You know what I mean. School likes to put all the good athletes together. That's a better thing anyway, since they yell at you if you make one simple mistake. Jeez, I like winning just as much as the next guy, but I'm not going to bite someone's head off if they can't catch a football. You just put them on the line, then they're ineligible! But it's the worst thing for me. I'm damn sure I could make it through gym classes with normal people, but now we're talking about the most fit people in the freshman and sophomore classes. Not only will my gym grade suffer, but I'm in the ultimate test.
But to start the year off right, the drill sergeants, I mean gym teachers made everyone run a mile. I may not be athletic, but I can run circles around JV soccer captain Mike Zito any day of the week. I finished in a little less than five minutes, a good thirty seconds before my closest competitor. Unfortunately, I think I may have given these coaches the impression I'm an athlete, not just a runner. Boy, will they be disappointed.
After the run, everyone was herded back into the locker room. Luckily, Mark's locker was on the other side of the room. This way, I could sneak some peeks without him watching. Besides, I could see him naked anytime I wanted. But I was able to control myself when I had to wash off. But I showered as fast as a little poodle running away from a big rabid doberman. I got out of class as fast as possible, only stopping to be applauded by Mike for my antelope-like ways. I left that situation ASAP, since he was standing there in just a towel. I couldn't risk anything yet.
I only wished that I had someone in Algebra with me to talk to about that "stuff." I guess I have to wait for the car ride.
After Sarah and I dropped Dave off at home, we drove off and started talking.
"Man sis," I said. "I forgot how bad gym class is."
"I know! The teacher made me do 30 sit-ups because I was running to slow. I'm sorry I cramp up when I run, bitch!"
"That's not what I'm talking about. You know, the locker room?"
"That has to be tough."
"It was. I made a beeline for the hall. I didn't talk to anyone, besides some congratulations from Mike Zito."
"Mike Zito? Boy, he's a babe. What did he have to say?"
"Just kudos for my running skills."
"That's cool." She looked at me again. "You seeing Mark today?"
"Yeah. I'm going to his house."
"When? I now I let you get rides, but I'm not hear to drive for you at every beck and call!"
"Sorry. At about 4:00. He's going home on the bus."
"Okay. Do you need a ride home?"
"Yeah. Around 8:00."
"Then call Mom and Dad."
When I arrived at Mark's house, he greeted me with a smile on his face.
"Hi Mark. Anyone else home?"
"Nope. Parents at work, Stacy with friends."
"Come on inside! I'll give you a tour!"
So I walked with Mark around his house.
"How much did you see when you came for the party?" he asked me.
His house was immaculately decorated. Probably by a professional. All the making of a classy house. He took me around the rooms on the ground floor, pretty basic tour stuff. He showed me a more in-depth tour of the library. He knows that I love this part, especially since this was where we first talked. On our way upstairs, a big hairy thing ran our way. It was a dog.
"Hi ya, Murray! How's my buddy?" Mark said to the dog in the way that owners lovingly talk to dogs. He started petting him, shaking the dog's face, making it feel good."
"Cool dog," I said. My family used to have a dog, a lab named Sadie. Unfortunately, she passed away a few years ago.
"This is my best friend in the world, Murray. He's an Alaskan Malamute."
"So that's what they're called. I thought they're just huskies."
"Some are. But that's a general term. This dog is my best friend in the world."
"More than me?"
"Sorry babe. But the dog has helped me through everything."
"Just being so nice. He's my dog. I'm the one that takes care of him. There's just something about dogs. They don't give a shit about your problems. Murray doesn't care that I'm gay, or any other shit I deal with. All he cares is that I love him, and for that he loves me back. It's a great trade."
"That's a cool way to think about it."
"So, wanna see my room?"
I took to devilish mood. "Will that include a tour of the bed?"
"If you play your cards right, I might add another destination to the tour."
I loved his room. He told me it used to be two rooms, but his parents knocked it down to give him a huge suite, with his own bathroom. The walls were painted really stangely, as if paint was just flung around.
"So what's with the paint job Mark?"
"It's a bit of a Jackson Pollock inspired moment."
"Wow. You're into art?"
"Not really. I just liked this idea though. Something different, you know."
"Yeah." I looked around, and saw a notebook sitting there. I picked it up. "What's this?" I read the cover. "Tears of an Emerging Man."
Mark quickly took it away. "It's a story I'm working on. It's private. No one reads it. Not yet, that is."
"No. It's not ready for another's eyes. Even yours."
"What's it about?"
"That's top secret." He took it, and put it into a locked drawer in his desk.
"If you want to keep it private, that's okay. I write a lot of private stuff too."
"Yeah. It's all about letting your emotions spill out."
"I know. Sometimes, it great to express them, even if you're the only one who knows it."
"True, but sometimes, you just need to express them to others to get your point across." With that, I leaned in and kissed him passionately.
"Oh, Kel. I love you."
"I love you too Mark!" While my face is busy, I started unbuttoning my shirt, showing off my chest. I decided to pull us over to the bed in his room. It was really low to the ground, in a secluded corner. "I'm so hot for you right now."
"Hold on," he said abruptly, breaking the kiss. "I'm not ready."
I was kind of disappointed, but I wasn't going to force him. "That's okay. I won't do anything if you're not 100% sure."
"Nice and slow, then it will feel better."
"Haven't you just ever wondered what it's like?"
"Yeah, but I'm not so ready to explore it."
I admitted defeat and put the shirt back on. I'm not going to make him do it. It would be too hypocritical after what happened with Evan. I chose to look around his room for some more time.
I found a photograph on Mark's nightstand that interested me. It was him all right, with a clone it seemed, except with brown hair. "What's this? Do you have a twin?"
He knocked it down, afraid to look at it. "Mackenzie is his name. He was my best friend, my ONLY friend. He made a big mistake, and now he isn't around."
"Don't want to talk about it."
"Well, is he alive?"
"Alive, but I have no contact with him. I barely even know how."
"Please tell me. Maybe I can help."
He finally opened up. "My brother is kind of my opposite. I'm quiet and introverted, Mac is loud and outspoken. I guess we did it to make up for being identical. That's why his hair is dyed. Mom hated it at first, but she understood. He's also like me, in that he's gay."
"Wow. So maybe it is genetic."
"Maybe. But anyway, he was a bit more daring. He was caught with his pants down, literally. He was in the middle of having sex when the parents caught him. They basically threw him out, like last week's garbage. They sent him to some military school out in Colorado. That's all I know. This used to be part of his room. They made this room extra big so they didn't have to think about it."
"What the hell is that about?"
"I don't know, but that's why I'm so careful Kel. I know what they did to him. Sure they're sending him to military school, but that's all. He has no contact with me. Mom was adamant that all mail from us was to be screened, so I couldn't see him. There's no way. He's supposed to be nonexistent. He's been disowned, and will not be financially supported after he graduates. And to cover the whole thing up, his was officially sent there because he was doing drugs."
"So what about you? I thought they knew you were gay."
"I really only told them I'm not exactly sure. I'm able to be saved in their eyes. I'm still a virgin, anyway you look at it. They want to change me. They tell me all sorts of shit. 'Learn from Mac's mistake.' 'You'll be set for life, if you get stay straight.' All the stuff so far is here say, and because of Mac."
"Why don't you show more of Mac than this little picture?"
"I hide this picture normally. They've thrown countless others away. I keep them with my story, safe from their evil manipulative hands."
"I understand now. I'm sorry, I just didn't know."
"Listen, Kel. It's not you're fault really."
We soon heard the phone ring. Mark answered, full of yeah's and uh-huh's. He then turned to me and asked me, "Ready to go downstairs? Stacy's gonna be here any minute, so we need to do 'Work' down in the library."
"Okay. Remember the cover: we're working on English, analyzing poems."
"Yeah!" We headed down to the library, toting backpacks with us. We had to look legit, since my association with Mark is so new.
We waited for a few minutes for Stacy to finally show up. She was alone, not toting the posse today.
"Hi Stacy," Mark greeted her.
She greeted him back, "Hello, Mark. Hi Kel. What are you guys doing?"
I lifted up my textbook, to indicate schoolwork. "English work. We have to do poetry analysis in pairs."
"So what made you pick my brother Kel?"
"I didn't. Miss Trulio paired us up randomly."
"Oh, that so?" she said as if she didn't believe me. It's not that she saw through the lie, but rather a defiant bitchy tone that she takes with most people. She'd acted just the same way if I told her the sky was blue.
Mark decided to use a break in conversation to get Stacy away. "We should get back to work." Him and I huddled at the desk, looking at our books, pretending to talk quietly.
"Well, I'll tell Mom to have Maria set another place at the table. If Kel's staying, that is." Stacy said as to make me leave sooner.
"Okay," Mark responded.
I decided to be the comedian with my next quote. "Probably better. My mom has her book club meeting, and that leaves Sarah to cook. And everyone knows that she's such a world class chef."
Stacy was slightly amused. Her and Sarah didn't get along, so any jabs at my sister were well received. "Funny."
Eventually, Stacy decided that we were boring and that she would retreat to her room, where her ego could lavish itself on her.
"Ah, free from that trouble," I said after I heard her march up the stairs.
"Yeah. Just remember, hands off while family's around."
We actually DID do some studying in the meantime, quite a surprise if a say so myself. We actually got all our work done for the next day, so we headed over to the TV room to watch a movie.
"So, what's your pleasure?" He asked, pointed to the immense collection his family had.
"Porn, but I guess I don't seen any of that in here. So I'll leave it up to you."
"I can guess who's libido is in full gear! You know what, I really don't feel like a movie. Wanna go outside? We have the hot tub."
"But I don't have a suit."
"Don't worry, I've got plenty." He looked at me with an odd look. "You didn't expect to pull the same stunt you did Kel, did you?"
We went up to his room to go change. He handed me a suit that was pretty small for me.
"This isn't exactly what I had in mind." It was short on my legs.
"I know it will be tight, but then there's more to enjoy! Now go into the bathroom to change."
We didn't do much in the hot tub, just sat around. We ended up in the pool more than anything, playing some basketball on the poolside hoop he has set up. It was an incredibly hot day, even for September. This is probably one of the last hot days will have for the calender year.
Mark's parents showed up in the time we played around in the pool. They were civil to me, that's for sure. But not outright kind. In fact, their cook Maria was the only kind one, aside from my Mark. I was very polite at dinner, trying to impress these people. We had steak, and it was a big production. Boy, at my house even a cool dinner like steak is pretty basic. But there was all sorts of fancy settings, lots of courses, the whole nine yards. I wonder if they eat like this every day. Anyway, it was the best steak I've ever had, period. Note to self: invite my dad over to learn how to cook it from Maria. Dad overcooks every steak, sometimes to the point of no return. A good 25% of our steak dinners turn into pizza dinners or Chinese dinners.
By the time we were finished, 8 o'clock rolled around and my parents showed up to pick me up. I said my goodbyes to Mark, telling him I'd see him in school.
On the car ride home, I thought about what Mark told me about Mac. Would he always be so protective of himself. Surely
no one else knows a lot about the real situation outside of the family. The drug story seems pretty plausible without the real facts.
They're so easy to get, and with their kind of money it's even easier. I'm sure a lot of socialites have similar problems, so they see it
as something else. I also wanted to help Mark find Mac. If he could just tell me the name of the school, we could maybe send him
letters through me, since the parents don't know I know about Mac. As much as I wanted to tell Sarah, I know this was a destructive
secret, vital to Mark's security. If she let it slip, the integrity of our relationship could be jeopardized. After all, he trusted me so much.
As much as my friends were welcoming, he still didn't trust them. He didn't trust anyone, period.
I went home and sat around my room. I wondered about his manuscript. What was it about. It must be sad, with the word "tears" in the title. Maybe it had to do with his life. I probably shouldn't focus on it too much. It'll consume me if I do.
"Kel," Sarah said coming into my room. "Phone call. It's Billie."
"Hey Billie! What's up?"
"Not much, Kel. How was your day?"
"Cool. I hung out with Mark."
"Nice. Anyway, my team has a big game on Friday against Steinert. I was thinking after the game, all of us could go hang out, maybe go that little café downtown?"
"Yeah. Someone told me that every Friday they do this whole open mic night thing. You know, singing, poetry, whatever the hell people want to do. You in?"
"Well, it would be cool to do that. I try and gather up some people."
"Good. Bring your singing voice! We should maybe sing together."
"Oh, and don't forget Mark. Don't exclude him from this!"
"Billie, we're all in the same English class, it's not a big deal if you ask him."
"But it would seem sweeter if you did."
"Are you channeling Sarah now or something?"
"Come on! Cut me some slack!"
"And make sure Drew comes."
"Ooh, Billie! Do I detect a certain admiration?"
"Yeah. But I want to get to know him better, before we go about doing anything in a relationship."
"You've got it. Anything for my best female friend who's not in my family."
"Cool. See you tomorrow Kel."
So, I've been wrangled into going to an open mic night. Sounds kind of corny, yes, but cool in some other fashion.
So how will Kel help Mark re-connect with his brother? Anything sparks between Kel's best friends? How about open-mic night, what plans are in store? Find out in the upcoming entries in Kel's Journal!