“I’m glad there’s only a month left!” he said. Kyle Dobson and I were sitting in a relatively empty fast food restaurant. The school cafeteria was always noisy and engulfed in a strange smell, so we preferred to eat elsewhere. Just one month of school remained before summer jobs and university would claim our lives, and we were both looking forward to turning a page and finding independence.
know! So Kyle, we’re still going to
“No! I can’t believe this completely slipped my mind, I got accepted to U-Penn today!” I felt goose bumps on my arms, and I quickly slipped them under the table so he would not see the hair standing on end.
“Congratulations!” I said. The smile was false but the felicitations real. I was happy for him; just not for myself.
“Thanks. I’m just glad I was able to do well on my calculus exam, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten in.”
I was up with him the whole night before that exam. We were going sequentially through the chapters in the textbook, each one longer than the previous. Studying in my dining room. The large table was the perfect workspace, though we were using only a small portion of it. As the night gained hours, the lights softened, the coffee heated and we sat even closer when we returned to our seats. We were almost whispering so as to not wake my parents. We were tired, and the thought of sleep crossed my mind as Kyle extended his arm to turn a page. I watched it move quickly to the page, and then I jerked myself awake before I collapsed on it.
“So which one are you going to?” He laughed, not seeing that I was serious. His heart had been set on U-Penn for two years and nothing could have stopped him from going—least of all me.
“Good one.” And then I knew I had to tell him. I had to tell the man who had been my friend ever since we had met in art class, on the first day of school in the ninth grade. I remembered being lost and walking into class late. The teacher pointed out an empty seat.
I heard a voice beside me say “Hey” as soon as I sat down. I turned towards the voice and was about to reply when I was excited by the pink and moist flesh of his lips. In anticipation of pleasure my tongue began moving towards my lips, ready to fly out of my mouth and meet with his. But suddenly the class room sprang to life and interrupted me. I sheepishly said hi and he started a conversation.
“I couldn’t believe it when I opened the letter. I had to read it three times before I was able to believe it was real.”
“I wonder why they took so long though,” I said.
“Who cares? I got in! It’s going to be so much fun!” The fun would only be for him. He was leaving me behind.
The last time he had left me was not as bad. In fact I had encouraged it. We had planned on seeing a movie when he ran into one of his friends at the mall. After we had been introduced, I was ignored, and felt like an obtrusive parent who had just taken my child to a friend’s house to play.
“Kyle, we’re all going to Richard’s house why don’t you come?” his friend said. I could tell he wanted to go but he did not immediately say yes.
“Do you feel like skipping the movie and coming?” He asked me. I did not know who Richard was, and I had errands (that I had delayed because of the movie) to run. But it was still no reason to ruin his day.
“Umm, not really, but you can still go.” I had given him permission but he wanted more. He needed justification for what he was about to do.
“No I couldn’t do that I’d feel bad.”
“Really Kyle, it’s okay. I don’t mind, we can go see it tomorrow.”
“Are you sure?” he asked again.
“Yes, really, it’s fine.” He turned back to his friend.
“But I feel really bad.” She shrugged and told him not to come then.
“Kyle, don’t feel bad. I have some stuff to do anyway.”
“I’d be really upset if someone did this to me,” she said. “Are all your friends this nice?” I immediately felt embarrassed at the words, especially because I had not done anything especially nice. He turned towards me and locked his small, brown eyes into mine. I looked into them and felt like I was staring at the world. I froze as he said,
“Just him.” His eyes, however, said that he was truly sorry for not seeing the movie with me; that I was the only friend he had who would do something like that for him. I wanted to remain in that position forever, looking into the recesses of Kyle’s mind. But after a moment he turned away.
“So much fun? Yeah, I guess it will be, but you know there’s a lot of work in university too.”
whatever.” He rolled his eyes.
“So you’re still set on
“Yes,” I said firmly, trying to hide the fragility of my answer. “Umm, Kyle, I have something to tell you.” He took a sip of his drink and looked at me. I could not tell him while he was looking at me. Though his gaze amplified my feelings it dimmed my confidence. “Well, it’s…it has to do with the prom.” I regretted adding in the last bit, because I knew he already had a date.
“What about it?”
“Well, see, the person I want to go with is kind of, well…”
“Has a date already?”
“Isn’t there anybody else?”
“I’m sure I could find someone. But the thing is, this isn’t just about the prom. I’ve kind of wanted to ask this person out for a while, and, I don’t know, I guess I just never got the courage.”
“Who is it?”
“Nobody!” I said defensively. He rolled his eyes again, so what I was about to tell him lost just a bit of its significance.
“Well I can’t help you if I don’t know who it is.”
“Why don’t you guess?”
“I’m not guessing, just tell me!”
“Or the people at the table over there…” It would have been easier to tell them because by doing so I would have nothing to lose. By telling Kyle the entire friendship could collapse because one of the beams was too strong. I did not want to even risk losing him, so I brought up the subject of university again. He was only too happy to continue talking about it.
It was a warm Friday, and I left my house that evening in a good mood because I would be seeing Kyle. I had been foolish not to get it over with in the afternoon. It had crowded my mind the whole day, and would probably ruin the party I was headed to if I could not get it out of my head.
I rang the doorbell of the large, red brick house. The door opened and I saw Lisa Boyd standing in front of it. I was not expecting her to open the door, so I was somewhat surprised. I just stared for a moment. Her wavy, black hair and slender build kept me interested until I noticed her bright, green eyes. I stared into them as she asked me how I was doing, and then suddenly self-conscious, I looked away. The black clothes she was wearing contrasted her skin, making it look bright and smooth. Like Kyle, Lisa and I had been friends throughout high school.
“I’m fine,” I replied. “How are you?” She said the same thing, and then I could not think of anything else to say. I looked around quickly and saw that I was still outside. I stepped inside and she moved backwards. I could not think of anything else to say to her.
We walked farther into the house and she stopped next to a table of drinks. She poured two of them. “Thank-you.” The corners of her lips turned slightly upwards, and then she took a long sip.
“It’s quiet over there,” she said, leading me into a corner of the room. When we got there, the music seemed to fade and the rest of the guests seemed continents away. She moved closer to me before she asked me if I had bought my tickets for the prom yet.
“Tickets?” I asked.
“You’re taking someone aren’t you?”
“Umm, no, actually I don’t know who I’m going with yet.”
“Oh, neither do…” A number of shouts from another area of the room interrupted us. We both looked over and had an unhindered view of Kyle shamelessly drinking shots of tequila for an easily amused audience.
“They’re so immature,” Lisa said at the grunting noises they were making. I nodded in agreement and asked her to hold my drink as I began walking towards him. Kyle had never been able to hold his alcohol well, so I had to put a stop to it.
“Hey!” Kyle said when he saw me. I smiled.
“Lisa wants to say hi to you,” I said softly, trying to lure him away from the alcohol.
“Then tell the bitch to come here!” He said loudly. Many around us laughed at the contemptuous defamation of an innocent girl as I pulled him away. “Relax, I’m coming!” I let go of his arm and he stopped walking. His head drooped, and then in a sweeping motion he righted it and displayed a drunken smile and an alcoholic odour.
“You okay?” I asked him.
“Yeah, sure, just gotta sit down for a …” He fell backwards and landed in a seated position on the floor. Lisa came over to us, still holding my drink.
“Sorry,” I said. “I had to get him away …”
“It’s okay,” she said, shooting him a dirty look. He was still sitting on the floor, moving his head from side to side like a baby in a crib looking for a toy. “Are you all right?” She asked him slowly, in a condescending manner. He looked at her, nodded, and fell backwards. My stomach jumped as his head hit the floor.
“Shit,” I yelled out as I knelt down beside him. His eyes were closed but I was relieved to find that he was still breathing. “Kyle?” I slithered my hand underneath his head and coaxed it upwards. “Kyle,” I said louder. He opened his eyes. “Kyle how much did you drink?” He responded with a burp, and then a moan.
“I think I need to throw up,” he said groggily.
“Shit. Okay, I’m going to help you up.” He nodded his head, but did not smile. I held on to his arm and guided him to the bath room, propping him up over the toilet. “I don’t have to go,” he said.
“I thought you wanted to vomit.”
“Oh yeah.” His head lurched forwards as he propelled the contents of his stomach into the toilet bowl. I stepped back, disgusted, and led him over to the sink after he had flushed. He was sober enough to rinse his mouth. “Now I have to go,” he said.
“Huh? Oh, okay.” I shut him inside the bathroom and went to find Lisa.
“Is he okay?” she asked when she saw me.
“Yeah he’s fine,” I said hurriedly, not wanting to talk about him. But I did not want to talk about the prom either, at least not yet, so I asked her how school was going. We continued talking about that until I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw Kyle – his face had turned pale white and he looked like he would be sick again at any moment. I said nothing, annoyed at being interrupted.
“Could you, umm, take me home?” he asked. I sighed.
“I think I’d better,” I said to Lisa. “He doesn’t look that great.”
“Yeah,” she said. She turned around and walked off, holding her head as high as she could. I blamed the disappointment on Kyle, but it was not his fault. It was mine—it was my feelings for him that allowed him to have me whenever he wanted.
“I’ll see you on Monday okay?” I called after her. She did not turn around. I led Kyle out to my car, opened the passenger door and helped him inside. The drive to his house was completed in silence, and from the look on his face I would have to help him inside. I walked him to his front door. “Are your parents home?” I asked him. He painfully shook his head, and then reached into his pocket for his keys. He began fumbling for the right one, so I took them out of his hand and unlocked the door myself. He leaned on me for the journey up the stairs, but then lay down by himself after I had pulled the covers off his bed. I pulled them back over him and sat on the edge of the bed as I watched his eyes shut me out.
His slow, rhythmic breathing calmed me. The force of his lungs caused his entire body to move slightly upwards, and then collapse again in the soft bed. I watched him for a few moments and could no longer resist him. I slowly brought my face closer and closer to his neck, the anticipation growing stronger and stronger. But then, I felt tiny hairs brushing against my lips, and I stopped. My eyes closed, and the curiosity of what I was about to feel was almost too much for me to handle. But suddenly my head moved away from his, and with a tear in my eye I moved away from him. He had been my friend for five years, so it was not nervousness that stopped me from sharing my feelings with him earlier. It was because our feelings for each other were not equal.
I reached the door of his bed room and turned back. A drunken sleep. He would never know. I did not want my feelings tossed around any more. At this point I was too confused about how I felt about him and about how he felt about me to simply let it go. I ran back to the side of his bed. I bent over and pressed my lips firmly against his and with my right hand I squeezed his stomach, feeling the flesh and muscle I had been lusting after for five years.
I released his lips. He had not woken up. I kissed him again, this time moving my hand downwards, into his pants, below his boxers. Either my touch or my kiss had made him hard.
I let him go. Completely. There was no more confusion. I loved him and I would have given absolutely anything in the world for him to tell me that he loved me in return.
I walked quickly out of his house and into my car. I wrote him a letter, that night when I got home, wishing him all the best for the future. During the final month of school I avoided Lisa and talked to Kyle as little as possible. I mailed the letter to him on the last day of school. When I knew I would never have to see him again.
As I pushed the letter through the slot in the mail box, I thought of Lisa. Every time I remember her, I wish to death that I wasn’t gay. At that time I wanted more than anything to fall in love with her, with anybody in fact. Just as long as it wasn’t Kyle. As long as it wasn’t the man who could never feel the same way about me.