Loving you, loving me
Before you start reading:
Here is the next part of the story. It's kind of funny that a couple of people wrote to me saying that they can identify with the character in the story. Good to know that so far the story is believable, and that people are actually enjoying it. And I'm really enjoying writing this too~ : )
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 am trembling violently for some reason. I hug myself with both hands and arms, which grope around my body like ropes, tightly and firmly. I feel so vulnerable, so weak.
There is a door at the end of this long corridor that draws my attention, so I tread slowly toward it, one foot, then the next one, carefully. I open the door, and at first I see nothing. Air with a peculiarly dense and thick smell wafts around my nostrils.
It takes a few moments before my eyes adjust to the darkness. The inside is pitch dark, an almost unnatural kind of darkness and blackness. But there is further nothing else. Nothing at all.
I step inside out of curiosity, but as soon as I step forward, I feel a stinging pain shoot up my foot. I look down, and see that there is broken glass on the ground, shattered and scattered all over the place. I bend down to try and pick up the pieces, but each shard pricks me, each one makes me bleed. There are simply too many of them, and each too sharp to handle, let alone clean away.
I am there, in this strange darkened room, with stains of blood on my bare hands and body.
The wooden door opened slowly, creaking a little.
"Good morning, Nicole," I said.
"So nice of you to come," she said, as she leaned forward to give me three pecks on the cheek. Our usual way of greeting one another. I did the same, even though I felt very self-conscious doing so. I had never been good with intimacy.
"Oh wow, you brought flowers!" she said, her brown eyes and pretty face apparent with joy. "You really know how to pamper someone." She stroked me on my arm as she smelled the tulips I had just given her. "Well, come on in! It's so cold outside!"
I lifted the corners of my lips and just smiled. Nicole turned around slowly, and it was then that I realised how big her stomach had grown since the last time I visited. She was over eight months pregnant, and doctors expect the baby was due any moment now.
A couple of months ago she found out she was pregnant and told her boyfriend. The next day there was not a trace of his belongings in the apartment they shared together. She never saw him again since. He just abandoned her, without saying goodbye, without giving a reason. When she told her ultra-conservative parents, they completely went berserk, and basically told her forthright that she was "no longer welcome". They cared more about what people in church might say than for the future of their own daughter.
Poor Nicole was distraught for a long time. Not only was she abandoned by her so-called boyfriend, her own parents--people she trusted and loved dearly--disowned her. And all because of what? Reputation, face, honour. Why do people place such importance on these unimportant things? She was depressed and suicidal, haunted for a long, long time by the sudden turn of events in her life, and the uncertainties that the feature held in stall for her. I knew, because I was there with her.
When she went to the clinic as soon as she saw the small creature moving with such vigour and life inside of her, she broke down. And cried and cried. Nothing the doctors said or did could calm her down. At eight weeks, the heart had already began to beat. It was still a weak beat, but constant and continuous, unrelenting and determined. The beginnings of life in its earliest form. I was there too.
She just couldn't go through with it. Too painful, she said. It wasn't just the pain of having the foetus surgically removed, of having the uterus forced open and scraped clean of everything inside. It was more the pain of living the rest of her life with the thought that there was once a life inside of her but she denied it. The more she thought about it, the more she was determined to keep the baby, despite all odds. Luckily she qualified for welfare, and could also keep the apartment she was living in.
"Well, am I glad you're here. I've been having terrible cramps and back pains lately. Maybe you could massage me like you did the last time," she said, wincing a little.
"Sure, anything you say," I answered, smiling at her. I slept over at her place once when she was really feeling blue. In the middle of the night she woke up and just starting screaming. I thought she was going into labour, but it was the muscles in her leg. Growing babies absorb a lot the calcium from the mother and it leaves the mother with terrible cramps. Sort of like when you over exercise, but then a lot more painful and prolonged.
"Have you eaten yet? We're starving!" she said, as she made circular movements on her belly. Ever since she became pregnant she started talking in terms of `we' and `us'.
"No. What would you, uh I mean, you two like?" I asked.
"Oh, anything will do. You're the great chef here!" she said and winked at me. I enjoyed cooking a lot. The whole preparation, cooking and anticipation always made me excited. Cooking is not just about the eating. It was the smell, the taste, the colours, the display. And the best part was cooking for others, and seeing empty plates and satisfied faces at the end of the meal. It was instant gratification, something you could see and taste the results of instantly. It was creative, fun and always charged me with the feeling that I was useful, for a change.
"Oh, yum! I love the way you make them. Don't spare the syrup," she said as she tied the long brown hair she normally let droop on either side of her round face in a pigtail, and started getting the necessary equipment out to start. "So what's been happening in school lately?" Nicole had to quit school a couple of months into the pregnancy as she just couldn't bear the pressure any more. Besides, just getting to and back from school started to be like an challenge which got more difficult with each passing day.
"Not much. The usual. Classes and more classes. You know how school is like," I said flatly. "Hm Nicole, you shouldn't stand too long. Let me take care of everything."
"Yeah, alright," she said as she pulled a chair and slowly lowered herself with care into the chair. Though she was pregnant, she still looked stunningly beautiful with her long hair, round lips and a pair of beautiful brown eyes covered with naturally long lashes. Her face hadn't changed a bit, and besides the five-kilogram sac she was hauling in front of her she didn't seem to gain any extra weight. "Anything else exciting happen in our class?" she asked.
"Not really. Everyone seems tense about the finals, and teachers have been really pushing us lately," I said as I rhythmically stirred the mix of milk, flour, eggs and a few spoonfuls of sugar in a bowl. "I'm not really the best person for gossip."
"Yeah. That's the one thing that's not `gay' about you," she joked. Nicole liked to poke fun at me for being gay, and I never minded that. We were really close. She was the one person in class I could really talk to, about my life, my problems and my darkest secrets. She was the first I told about me being gay. And about the other things too. She took it all very well, and was always very supportive. In many ways she made up for the absence of my mum...or anyone in my life I felt close to. And she confided in me too, about everything and anything. She said I was unique, that I could just sit and listen and not judge, that I put the true meaning of `friend' in friendship. I never believed her when she said that. Compliments had a tendency to wash over me like a sudden shower and not register.
"Hey, what happened to your face?" she asked with a hint of worry in her voice. Her finger reached toward my cheek and touched it momentarily. I winced a little and pulled back ever so slightly.
I had hoped she wouldn't notice, since she'd probably go on again about how I don't take care of myself. I didn't know whether I should explain the whole thing. I never did like bothering people about my problems, it always felt like I was unloading my own rubbish on other people, and that felt selfish in my opinion. And Nicole certainly had enough worries of her own. "Oh, it's nothing much. I had an accident in P.E. the other day."
"You really should look out for yourself more." As expected the mother role in her surfaced as her face became stern with the look when you're scolding a misbehaving child. "Didn't anyone see it?"
"Oh, Leo, huh... Isn't he your secret crush?" she said sniggering like a little girl who knew something that she was not supposed to know about.
"No, he's not!" I protested, though as soon as I did I felt my cheeks dye red.
"Well, well, guess who's blushing now," she said as she quickly dipped a finger in the batter and went on to touch the tip of my nose. "Details! Details! I want details!"
"Calm down, woman! I know you're pregnant, but control yourself!" I joked.
is the start of something big."
"All we did was talk. That was it," I said, and started pouring a thin layer of liquid batter on a preheated pan. A sweet smell and slight sizzling sound filled the air.
"About what?" she asked with the eagerness of a child who was intrigued by anything and wanted to know everything.
"This and that.
You know he lives really close to me, so we walked home together."
"Oooh, you're moving fast. A stroll in the sunset already."
"Stop it! You're making me blush!" I said with embarrassment.
"So you admit it! There is something there!" she said, as if she had just unearthed some hidden secret and was terribly proud of it.
"We talked a bit, but that was all," I said. "Besides with my luck he's probably not even gay." As soon as I said that I felt the blush fade and disappear. What was the point of getting excited about nothing? "I mean I've seen him hang around this attractive girl in school. And they always seem so intimate when they're together."
"Don't give up so easily. Who knows," she said, "maybe he's as shy as you. Maybe he's just putting on a show. Just turn on your gay-dar and give him a good scan next time you see him."
"I don't have a gar-dar. I've always been single, remember?"
"Yeah, but you
never tried either. You've got to break through your fears and start meeting
"It's hard. You
know how it is with me and strangers." I reminded her as I flipped the pan and
sent the thin pancake hurtling through midair and landing perfectly flipped
over in the pan again. The side facing up was toasted in a light brown colour
and slightly crusty.
"I can imagine
it's hard, but you really need to try. Don't let the past stop you enjoying
life. You're sweet, caring, smart. Not to mention the looks. Whoever gets you
will be a really lucky guy."
"Yeah right," I said. I've heard of these compliments and praises plenty of times, but somehow I never believed them. It was like whenever someone said anything positive about me, it penetrated through me and didn't register at all. Whenever I thought of myself adjectives like `sad', `hurt', `troubled', `closed off' immediately come to mind.
"I mean look how many girls have fallen for you in school," she said, "That must mean you have something that people get attracted to." She was right about that. There were a number of times when girls, pretty girls at that, came up to me and wanted to get to know me `better'. I always made up some lame excuse, saying that I was either not interested or that I was `taken already'. One girl had the nerve to actually kiss me on the lips. It was totally unexpected, and though it was more of a quick peck, I just panicked. I pushed her away and ran as fast as I could away from her. I was trembling and completely paralysed by a bout of panic attack that a pedestrian stopped to ask me whether I needed a doctor. I had never felt comfortable around girls. And anything remotely intimate made me weak. The next day the story spread of course. And so did the rumours.
"You've got to believe yourself that you can love. Like I said before you've got lots of potential, but you have to discover it yourself. Or nobody will notice you." That was one thing I had always been afraid of. I had been alone most of my life, and the one thing that really scared me more than anything else was the thought of growing old alone. Each time I saw couple walk by, hand in hand and basked in so much happiness and love, it seemed like they were actively taunting me and reminding me how alone I was. Every time.
"Yeah..." I whispered. As much as she was always right when it came to relationship issues it, and as much as I agreed with her, I still could not get over this barrier inside to meet new people. The whole experience of trying to chit chat, socialise and make an effort to make friends was just too much. I always felt like people were judging me, analysing my every move, thought and word that I could never feel natural...never be just me. And there was so much of me dying to come out...
"It hurts you still, doesn't it?" she asked softly, "Are you still having those nightmares?"
Yes...the nightmares. The terrible nightmares that had kept me awake almost every night. Each one was different, but each one felt so intense and so real. And they kept on coming, like those terrible monsters under the bed children are scared of at night, only... my monsters were inside of me. And they tormented me. Made me frightened, made me so insecure, made me so fragile each time they visited. And they left their marks on me after they left.
I started to bite the nail on my index finger, even though I didn't notice when it had gotten in between my lips. It was a clear giveaway that I was feeling nervous, and Nicole knew that. She knew many things about me. She probably knew me better than I knew myself. She was like a mirror, and it was through her that I started to discover things, to face things that I probably would have never dared to deal with.
"It's OK, honey," she said as she stroked my back softly like a mother comforting her child. "If you ever want to talk about it again..." I did want to talk about it. But I didn't know where to start. How do I even begin describing the anxieties and fears I felt on a daily basis? How could other people understand what it means to be me, and what it means to be haunted by the past almost every waking moment? I was like a body with no soul, like someone who just survived instead of actually living life. The rims of my eyes went moist at the thoughts.
"Thanks, but maybe some other time," I silently said, "We've got a bunch of pancakes to eat." I looked over at the pancakes piled up like a little fragile tower on a pure white plate. Any more and everything would certainly have come tumbling down.
Outside the window a seagull cried. It was a low, melancholy cry.
As if it was lost.
As if it was lonely.