Loving you, loving me
Before you start reading:
Here is the next part of the story. Thanks again to people who have written to me...really appreciate it! : )
What follows is a work of fiction, but many things are based on personal experiences and events. I'll let you decide what is fiction and what is fact. The story revolves around teenage gay males and includes sexual and other content that may be offensive to some. If you think this might be the case, or if you are under the legal age in the area where you live, please do not read any further. Any resemblances to persons, names, or places are unintentional and mere coincidence. Please respect my efforts in writing this, and do not copy or reproduce any part of the story without my permission.
Comments and suggestions are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
I didn't know if I was hearing things through music in my ears.
"David, are you
I heard it again. This time it was unmistakable someone was talking to me. I looked left and right but saw no one. Then I guessed the person talking to me must be behind me, so I turned around. And saw a smile.
"Hi. I saw you
walking this way, and wondered if you're alright."
It was Leonardo, or just Leo for short, since his name was such a mouthful every time. We've talked once or twice before, but never about anything deep, so never became close. To be honest, there were not many at school I knew well, other than their names and their reputations. I've always been what they'd call `loner', I guess.
"I'm alright," I replied
"Looked like it hurt a lot. Are you sure you're OK?" he said, sounding concerned.
"Yeah, I'm fine," I said, but felt those words probably came out too hard, so quickly added, "Thanks for asking". I lifted my hand to feel the tip of my nose and stroke the space between the nose and upper lip. The blood had by now stopped, and it felt crusty from the dried blood.
"Maybe you should get to a doctor or something," he said, the concern in his voice still very clear. "I mean, your face looks a bit swollen."
Swollen? Oh god, I must have looked terrible! I touched my cheeks, and unfortunately confirmed his observation. A deep sense of embarrassment crept up inside of me and loitered around my chest, as I imagined what a sorry sight I have been. Just what I needed to start a weekend. "I think I'll be fine. It's probably just a small bruise, nothing a bit of ice won't cure."
"You sure about that?"
"Yes," I answered bluntly, unsure why he was so insistent, or why even bothered to care. Nobody ever cared this much.
"It was terrible what happened," he said, this time his voice had a mysterious calm to it. He was around an arm's length in front of me, wearing a slick looking black winter jacket which brought out the light colour of his hair. His hair was straight and medium long, and he had styled it with a bit of gel to give it that sort of out-of-bed look, with wisps drooping naturally down the front covering the upper parts of his forehead. He was good-looking by all standards, and smart too. Sometimes I would steal glances at him in class. I did that a lot, stealing quick looks at guys in my class. It filled me with a strange pleasure admiring people who seemed to look flawless in every way. It reminded me of who I was not, and could never be. "Some of the things they said were really terrible."
Yeah, and it wasn't the first time, I heard myself saying inside. Though I've never actually gotten beaten up by anyone, some of the things I heard them call me or say about me hurt more than physical violence. Words penetrate deeper than a punch or a kick. Skin can bruise and heal, but things you hear often become glued to memory and replays itself inside your head, over and over again. It's like when you hear a catchy tune and it sticks around for sometime however you try to get rid of it...only name calling and insults are unpleasant.
"I hope you really are OK," he continued, still looking concerned and frowning a bit. I realised I had again been lost in my own thoughts. I had a tendency to do that, just drift into my world and be distracted by the numerous voices that seem to be chattering away at the same time, left and right.
"Thanks again, but I'll be fine, really," I said, biting the insides of my cheeks as I finished. I felt my face wince uncontrollably from the lingering pain. Perhaps I wasn't too convincing and my body language betrayed my words. I didn't want to tell him that these things had happened before, or how much they could hurt. He didn't need to know that. There's no need to hang the dirty laundry out, as they say. I just wanted to go home, to get away from that field and the embarrassment of it all as quickly as possible.
For a few moments we stood there on the pavement, and neither of us said a word. A sudden gust of wind ruffled the leaves on the trees towering above us, bringing down a couple that spiralled to the ground. The wind felt comforting as it blew against my sore face, and seemed to take the pain away. I shifted my eyes, trying to find something interesting to look at, while biding time and searching for something to break the awkward silence. But something about him tempted me to want to look at him more. And when I did, a pair of clear blue eyes looked back. I had never realised his eyes were so mesmerising. I had never studied a person so closely in my life.
"So, uh, you going this direction?" he said, apparently trying to break the silence, and gestured with his hand.
"Yeah, I live just down this road," I answered, not knowing why he had bothered to ask.
"Oh, wow! I live just two streets down this way too," he said with excitement as his face brightened. "We can walk together."
"Uh...OK," I said, but wasn't really too keen on the idea. Nobody's ever walked home with me before, and I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable being around him so long. I just didn't know what to say to strangers, and my throat seemed to just freeze and my mind go numb every time. As we started to walk, I searched deep inside my head for things that could ease the mood, or break the ice as they say. But I couldn't find any.
"How come I've
never seen you go this way?"
"Normally I take the bike, but it broke down the other day," I answered.
"Yeah, I take the bike too. But today my sis borrowed it since she was in a rush. She and I are pretty close." There was a big grin on his face as he mentioned his sister. Whenever I thought of my brother only unpleasant memories come to mind. Growing up with him was terrible. I always envied siblings that get along well, that share so many interests and things together. We were never like that. We were more like enemies, though I had never actually done anything wrong to him. He, however, did plenty of terrible things to me. Plenty.
"So, I can see you're not too keen about football," he said, after a brief moment when I didn't say anything again, in a tone that showed he meant it as a joke.
"Yeah, it's just not my thing," I said while I had actually hoped that he would stop talking about it. As I walked and I traced the tiles in the pavement as they passed under my feet. Each tile was just as broad as my shoe, and I liked taking steps that fitted nicely onto one tile each. It gave me a little satisfaction, and gave me the feeling as if there was some kind of order in my life.
"I'm not too keen about it myself. I've never been a sporty person," he said with an embarrassed smile on his face. "I just play along. If I get to kick the ball around a bit, great. If not, it's no big deal."
"I just try to get out of the way. You heard what Jack said." The image of Jack's clenched fists and that blood-shot angry look flashed before my eyes. Uncontrollably, I shivered at the thought.
"Jack has issues, and all he can do is sport. He knows `jack' about other stuff," he joked, triggering a little laughter that rose from within me. "Don't think too much about what he says." As he finished his faced turned to me, and this assuring look seemed to radiate from his facial expressions. Those eyes again.
"Yeah, you're right," I said, but I knew deep down that despite the fact he was right about Jack being nothing but a dumb jock the words he said would remain.
"I don't see how people like him can be so popular and surrounded by so many girls," he shrugged his head as he said this, and his blond fringes moved from side to side on his forehead as he did this. "I mean, are people so dumb?"
"Hm, it's strange, and I don't understand it either," I said, agreeing with him. High school is such a strange place. It's like a centre where a bunch of hormone raging teenagers are detained, drilled with useless facts and formulas about things they'll probably never use in their entire lifetime, whilst all the time the competition to be good looking, to have the latest fashion accessories and clothes, to own the big brand names, and to be popular or to be `cool' creates such a pent up environment full of tensions and rivalries. You either belong, in which case you are safe and can `hang out' with the cool people, or you're classified as a geek or a freak, and left exposed to ridicule and isolation. It's you against them, or you against us, and there's no other way. I guess this is what they call `survival of the fittest' in Biology. Is the `great big world' out there going to be like this too?
we've never actually talked much, even though we've been going to the same
class for more than six years." His words struck what I had been thinking about
before. How do I add to that?
"You're quite shy, aren't you?" he added.
I felt a blush flash across my cheeks as he asked them. I guess that answered his question.
"But I've read some of your stuff in the school paper, and it's great."
"Thanks. I try." I responded, glad he gave me something to respond to, or otherwise I would still be standing there, blushing like a silent fool. It was true, I wrote often for the school paper. To me it was nothing to be proud about. I see something, and I write about it. Whether it was something in school, or about something in the news, I can write about it. Ideas and thoughts just come from all around me, and when I get writing, when I really get writing, the words seem to flow out of my fingers. Some people paint with colours, I guess I paint with words. I never planned or drafted what I wanted to write, I just did it.
"I especially like that piece where you raised the idea of a student-teacher forum. We really need something like that, or else the teachers have no idea what we students want."
"Yeah, sometimes I think schools are run like a dictatorship. Teachers tell us to do this and that, but don't have a clue about what we really enjoy. How are we supposed to learn anything if we don't like what we're doing?"
"Haha, dictatorship. That's a good one," he laughed aloud, and finished it off with a big grin on his face, revealing two little dimples on either side. There was something about him...something that made me feel at ease.
"Think about it, we've all got ID numbers, and we've all got to swipe our cards to get in and out of the building. They are always watching us, judging and trying to control our every move," I finished the sentence in a sinister tone, putting emphasis on the `every'. I was talking properly and coherently, and I didn't stutter or trip on my words, like I usually would when talking to a stranger. I surprised myself even, as this realisation crossed my mind.
"It sounds like that book we once had to read for English, uhhh, 1984," he said, drawing the same comparison as I was actually just thinking about. " `Big Brother is watching!'"
"Shh...maybe they've got us bugged," I said in a hushed voice, my head turning left and right, looking up and down the street to see if there was anything suspicious to add to the dramatic effect. I felt like I was free, that I could joke and forget all the pain and embarrassment that I had endured earlier.
"Oh..." he gasped, playing along with me, as he quickly jumped behind me, placing his hands on my shoulders and trying to hide himself behind my back. I was a bit taken aback by the contact and weight on my shoulders. I guess I've never been comfortable being touched, and I rarely touched people unless it's absolutely necessary. Even the usual greeting of kisses on the cheeks could make me feel intimidated and frightened.
But then there was a scent...a mild, yet refreshing fragrance which I had not noticed before which wafted around me. It must be his perfume, I thought to myself, as I lost myself in the scent. It smelt of spring, of soft colours, of lightness and of warmth. I couldn't quite picture what it was that had such a profound effect on me. The shock of having been jumped on and the feel of his hands placed on my shoulders somehow disappeared completely. There was something about him...
"Is the coast clear?" he asked, mimicking the voice of a small boy. "Can I come out now?"
Come out? What a peculiar choice of words. Could he be...? It must have been just coincidence, I told myself. Mustn't read too much into that. "You can come out now," I said with a big smile as he re-emerged from behind me. He straightened himself up, and for the first time I noticed we were about the same height. His messy-looking though beautiful blond hair probably made him just a touch taller. As we continued walking again our eyes were level. Somehow the distance between us became shorter.
"Ha, this is funny," he laughed again, finishing off with yet another big grin across his face, which again revealed his dimples. "You're not too bad to be around with, you know."
I was surprised at the compliment. I had never thought myself as someone who was sociable or easy to talk to. Probably because I rarely talked to anyone. Probably because I thought I don't really have anything interesting to say. But his compliment contradicted me and the way I had always thought about myself. Again I didn't know what I should say to respond.
"They say you're strange and a loner. But talking to you I don't think there's anything strange about you," he said, and I noticed he looked at me intensely. By now I noticed we were walking shoulder to shoulder, so close that we were almost touching. Strange...when did he get so close to me?
"Oh, thanks," I said. I may not be strange, but I certainly felt I was `different'. There's just so much about me that makes me feel `different' from everyone else. Too much. Too confusing and too complicated to get through that it hurts my head whenever I think about it. I'm just `different'. Leaves rustled under my feet.
"So, uh, what're you doing in the weekend?" he continued, perhaps sensing that I wasn't going to add anything else to what I had just shortly said. His scent took control of my senses again.
"Uh...nothing much. My life is not that exciting."
"But you live alone right?" he asked. "That must be so amazing!"
It was true, I did live alone. I had been living almost completely alone since the age of thirteen or so. My dad, who I had not seen for years, worked somewhere abroad, and my mum's job often involved `business trips' which shuttled her from one country to the next. To catch a glimpse of her, let alone have a moment with her, made me understand early in life why time is precious. School was really the only place I got to see people, and know that I'm not completely alone in the world. It wasn't that I minded the loneliness. After a while it became your friend and accompanied you wherever you went. But it was good to hear other people's voices, laughter and see faces. It was a break from the silence at home.
"You know, so many people in class envy you for living alone. All that space to yourself and the freedom to come and go as you please," Leo continued.
Envy me? I never thought anything about me could be worth envying at all. Though, sometimes when I thought about it, I was kind of proud of the fact that I was living alone, while everyone else was still living at home.
"Well, it's not that amazing. Really, it's not," I replied. "It can be lonely sometimes." As I finished the sentence, I realised the truth is that it could be lonely often, instead of just sometimes.
"But you get to do whatever you want, right? There's no one to tell you when you should be home, or that you should do this and that."
"Yeah, but at least other people seem to have a `proper' family life. I don't get to see my mum often, and my dad just left us one day."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I guess I can't really complain about my family too much."
"It's funny. People who have families want to be free, and people who are free want to be with family."
"Yep, I guess you can't have everything in life," he said as-a-matter-of-factly. "Well still, I just can't wait till the day I move out. I guess that'll be pretty soon. Can you believe we're going to graduate in June?"
"Yeah, the final year. Some more classes, exams, and then we're done." I said, mentally counting the number of months we still have left. As I did that, I was also reminded of the number of years I've been at this school, and wondered where all that time seemed to go.
wait!" he said excitedly. "So what are your plans after this all?"
"I don't really know yet. I guess uni will be the next step, but I still have no idea what to study." Really, I didn't have a clue. I could eliminate the things I didn't want and which I just had no interest in, like the sciences and anything remotely related to maths. But that still left a lot of options open.
"Same here. And that careers adviser, Ms. Loveless, doesn't help at all."
I pictured her in my mind, and saw her with her big hair tied up in an oversized bun on top of her head, and those black-rim glasses that look like they had not been changed since the sixties. Her wardrobe probably dated from the same era too.
"Yeah. Once I went to her for advice, and she just gave me some guides and told me to read them." I said, recalling the event. "And to think I actually made an appointment with her for that."
"Her name sure does suit her character. She screamed at me once because I accidentally put a brochure in the wrong place," he said with his eyes rolling showing disbelief.
"We really have some weird teachers."
"You know, I
swear I saw Mr Peeherbert reading a porn magazine in his classroom during
"Really?" I asked, sounding surprised. "Well, that's probably explains why he's also known as `Mr Pervert'."
teacher's name goes well with his character too."
"Mr Prick. Yeah, he can really be one sometimes," I said, almost laughing. I looked at Leo, and saw a big smile spread across his face. Those adoring dimples again. And those eyes...
"And don't you love the way Ms Smiths hisses and spits whenever she pronounces `s'. Like Misssessss Ssssmithssss," he imitated, breaking out in laughter as his tongue poked out of his mouth and let a little spray escape. It was then that I noticed how full his lips were, and how his upper lip seemed to pout a little bit, giving him a very young, innocent look. His eyes, his nose, his lips looked so proportionate and symmetrical on his smooth, round face. There seemed to be no flaw at all.
"And rumour has
it that our English teacher is gay."
That sentence unexpectedly dropped out of nowhere and I was instantly taken back to reality, away from the fits of laughter I was beginning to enjoy. "Oh, really? I've never heard that one before." I guess I've never cared much for gossip and rumours. It happens when you're not part of the crowd, I guess. Then again there's also less controversy too, which is good. But that didn't stop the fact that you yourself sometimes became the topic of rumours and laughs.
"I saw him once
kiss another man after school hours. They looked really happy together."
"Well, good for him," I said simply, trying to hide my surprise and any hint of excitement as my mind tried to picture what it must have looked like. My mind raced and I momentarily shut my eyes as I tried to imagine what it must feel like to be kissed, to be loved, to be in love. The more I tried to picture the scene and the happy couple's faces and feelings as they kissed one another a hint of envy started to stir.
"You OK? For a moment you seemed to have drifted away there." he asked.
"Yeah, I'm alright. Just felt a little pain, that's all." I wasn't exactly lying. I was feeling pain, but not from the accident before, like I wanted him to believe, but from the thought of two gay guys in love, and the thought that I may never be able to feel what it feels like. The breeze picked up all of a sudden, and I shivered a little.
"Brrr, it's getting cold," he said, rubbing his arms together, and jumping up and down a bit like an excited boy, trying to keep warm. His scent seemed to grow stronger.
We continued walking, and for a while neither of us said anything. That awkward silence again. I searched deep inside for something to say, but couldn't find any. It was difficult to follow the conversation from before. It was a `sensitive' issue, and I didn't want to `out' myself. We seemed to have gotten close in the last half an hour or so, and I didn't want to ruin it all by talking about something he may feel uncomfortable about. But then again, it was him who brought it up...
I stole a couple more glances at him, hoping he didn't notice. Each time his head was looking downward, as if his feet were interesting. Something had changed him, changed the way he behaved, and all of a sudden too. Was it something I said? Something I did? Something about me? We seemed to be getting on so well!
Then suddenly I felt a brush against my right shoulder as his touched mine. As if by reflex my head quickly turned in his direction. A pair of soft blue eyes looked back at me. Leaves rustled beneath our feet. The sun cast a pale orangey light on one side of his face, giving him a look as if he had put half a mask on. One half, the half not captured by the sun, was darkened and hidden, while the other, the half that was exposed to the light, was bright and clear. The breeze whispered in my ears.
A moment. I didn't know how long it lasted, but there was a moment. I can't describe it. It felt different. There was something in the silence, a lot of things unsaid. What was he thinking? What was he looking at? What kind of look was that? What were those eyes trying to say, if anything? Again, my thoughts were running left and right.
The moment went as suddenly as it came. He broke off the moment by turning his head down again. Instinctively my head followed and did the same. Now my feet had become interesting too. We continued walking, again in silence. The breeze and rustling leaves were the only ones that spoke.
Luckily, we had arrived in front of our house.
"Hey, uh, I'm home already," I said softly.
"Oh, so this is it, huh?" he said, looking around. "And you live here all by yourself. Nice!"
Admitted, my house is nice. It's on a quiet street of row houses, built out of brownstone bricks in the 1930s. Iconic of houses from that period are the great big windows that project out from the façade and that are suspended in mid-air like hanging gardens. The house has two storeys, both with high ceilings. The primary bedroom space is situated on the second floor, while the first contains a large kitchen, and a spacious living room linked to an open dinning room. It's perfect for a family of four, with its four bedrooms, two toilets, one on each floor, and big bathroom. But for just the one, it was really too much.
"Yeah, this is where I live."
"OK, I guess this is goodbye then," he said, and I seemed to detect a tone of disappointment. Or maybe I was imagining things. I must have been. "It was nice talking to ya!"
"Yeah, it was
"So, uh, I'll see you around then," he said with a small smile. And did I see a little wink too?
"See you." Those were the only words I could think of to say, the only words I could manage to get out. I had never been good with goodbyes. But I really wanted to say something, something else besides a simple goodbye. It just didn't come out.
"Bye then," he said and turned to walk away. Then he turned his head and with another smile he said, "Have a nive weekend. And you better take care of that bruise!"
I smiled back.
For many minutes I stood at the door, looking at his back as it got smaller and smaller as he walked further and further away. He looked so tall, so strong from the back, and that tuft of hair seemed to glisten in the weak autumn sun. His scent lingered on the footsteps, even though he was long gone. I breathed in deeply, closing my eyes, and feeling the vapours enter my nostrils and into my lungs and insides. The pain from before had all disappeared.
There was something about him...
There was something about Leo.