The Smile is a story about gay teenagers who are discovering their sexuality. If sex between male teenagers is offensive to you, illegal for you to read or if you are underage then you should move on to something else.
The Smile is a work of pure fiction -- the characters and the events do not represent any person or situation. Copyright © 2003-2004 by Reader of Tales, all rights reserved. You may contact me by firstname.lastname@example.org. Note this is a new email address once again.
~Reader of Tales, Jan 17, 2004
The Smile - Chapter 5 - Some Answers
Robert was having an interesting week. He'd been spending a lot of time at the library. He'd always been the studious type so his parents just thought he was being serious about his school work this year which was good as they didn't ask any details. That was something which worried him. He wasn't ready to explain what he'd been doing quite yet.
The information he'd found at the library was putting him more at ease with every hour he spent reading. He wasn't sure he could explain what he was learning to anyone else yet but he was more convinced now that God would not condemn his brother.
He'd found that many scholars had been researching this topic for years, it was that controversial. It seems that there are six key scriptures that opponents to homosexuality used to condemn the practice. There were others that referenced similar key Hebrew and Greek words from those six.
Of those six, three have controversial translation issues. In Robert's mind, there was enough doubt about the current English translation of these scriptures to dismiss them completely.
Two of the last three are together in the Old Testament in the same book and chapter and the last in the New Testament. Both of these references are thought by some to be in reference to idol worship. From his initial reading, Robert was most nervous about these scriptures. It wasn't until Wednesday afternoon that he found a good book that explored the idol worship topic in more detail. He still wasn't sure he could explain it to anyone but then again, he'd just point them to the book he'd found most helpful.
Most of the other information he'd read talked about how specific churches had attempted to address the issue within their own governing doctrines. He wasn't so much interested in what these churches thought as much as what God wanted.
By Thursday afternoon he felt he was at least prepared to help defend his brother's choices, or apparent lack of choice.
Ian was not having a good week. After what had happened Saturday night, he found he was so distracted he couldn't do anything. He couldn't sleep, couldn't focus on his homework or in class. At least 3 times each day he was caught day dreaming in class. It was quite embarrassing, actually.
At dinner Tuesday night his parents were so concerned they sent him to bed early thinking he hadn't been getting enough sleep or that he was coming down with something. Of course, they were partially right. Since he couldn't sleep, he was more tired than usual.
At school, he was depressed most of the time. At lunch time he'd avoided being anywhere that Kyle could find him. At first he was just uncomfortable but the more he thought about Kyle, the more he wanted to be with him, the more he decided he should avoid him at all costs.
So, what was he thinking? Well, first he was thinking about the kiss that he'd received from Kyle. He couldn't get it out of his mind. In fact, most of his waking hours and some of his sleeping hours were spent imagining being kissed by Kyle again and again, each time more passionately. And the more that this happened the more scared and depressed he became.
When he wasn't fantasizing about being kissed, he was thinking about his sexuality. Was he gay? Was he straight and confused? Was he bi-sexual? He wasn't sure he knew the answer to that. He'd tried several times to focus his mind on some of the girls he'd liked over the last couple of years. But invariably he'd find himself kissing Kyle in his mind once again.
He'd even tried thinking of some of the boys in his class that he though were good looking and he'd found himself able to sustain some thought about them longer than when he'd tried to think about the girls. This really scared him. It was something he'd never noticed before and wasn't sure he was ready to accept.
He was growing desperate. He didn't want to be gay - not that gays bothered him so much but being gay would mean a much harder life. And he wasn't sure he was ready for that. If he went by what he was feeling he'd be with Kyle right now. But what would his family and friends think?
Kyle sat in his room Wednesday evening, trying to do his homework. He'd written a title on the page for a book report but that was it. Two hours and nothing to show for it. The reason for this, of course, was Ian. No, it wasn't Ian's fault, it was his own but that was because he was constantly thinking of Ian. And that made him depressed.
Trying to put Ian out of his mind, he thought of Andy. He'd written to him and mailed the letter yesterday. He knew he wouldn't receive an answer until sometime next week. With Ian being around so much he'd forgotten about Andy but with the recent developments in his friendship with Ian, he longed for a response from Andy. He truly hoped that Best Friends Forever was still gonna mean something.
Three days at school had been worse than he'd thought. At first he wondered how his friendship with Ian was gonna be different. But when he couldn't even find Ian, he realized that he was being avoided altogether. He was utterly alone, once again.
Kyle finally realized how much he liked Ian. No, not just "like". He was falling for him. I guess I AM gay, Kyle thought. At this, tears started to form in the corners of his eyes.
Was it because he didn't want to be gay? Maybe, or maybe not.
It could have been because he knew how difficult life would be if he chose this road for his life. Chose? So far, he hadn't chosen this. Who would?
Yes, maybe that was why he was crying. Then again, perhaps not.
Could it be that he was finally understanding his feelings for Ian? Could it be that he was in love?
Whatever it was, he was sure that he'd ruined any chance he might have had with Ian. How could he have been so stupid? He'd have to make sure nothing like that ever happened again.
Dan was waiting to get in line at lunch when Andy finally showed up, 10 minutes late. "What took you so long? I was starting to worry."
The whole class was held back in English because someone threw a wad of paper at Mr. Hansen's back and no one would admit it. Now we all have detention tonight.
"You mean you're gonna miss swimming? No. Who threw it?"
"I don't know. I wasn't looking at the time. I was thinking about being here with you," Andy replied, the last part in a whisper. That brought a smile to Dan's face and calmed his impatience.
They got their lunch and went to their favorite table in the corner. No one ever sat with them so they could talk about their eavesdropper.
"So, no one's said anything about Saturday?" Dan asked.
"Nope. But Robert's been really strange lately. He usually spends a lot of time at the library but this week he's been there even more than usual. Something's up."
"Well, if it was him, perhaps he's just curious. Or maybe he just has a project to do. He's 12, right?"
"Yeah. But acts more like 14 sometimes and 10 at others. Although, I have to admit, I've not see the 10 year old side since we moved. He's in a gifted program here. He's really smart. He's always had problems at school but they determined two years ago that it was because he's always bored. So now he's in a program where he's challenged to do his best."
"Well, that could explain the library. Maybe he has a big project that he's trying to get an early start on."
"Maybe," Andy conceded, skeptically. "We're gonna have to be careful this weekend though. At least until we're sure it is safe."
Thursday after school, Ian found himself unsure of how he felt about going to Band. He'd have to see Kyle there and that both scared him and thrilled him.
One part of him was dreading it. After having avoided him all week he wondered how Kyle would act around him. It would probably be pretty awkward. Also, he was still scared about what his feelings meant. And he still wasn't sure he was ready to accept that part of himself.
On the other hand, he couldn't wait to see Kyle. He'd pretty much decided that he wanted to talk to Kyle and at least apologize for how he'd been acting this week, for avoiding him. He wanted to make sure they had a chance to talk this weekend.
He really did still want to be Kyle's friend. And, he wanted to see if spending more time with Kyle would help him sort out the rest of his feelings. Most of all, he just wanted to be with Kyle, whether he was ready to accept the real reason or not.
Kyle was not looking forward to band at all. He had really wanted to see Ian. In fact, he still wanted to but was feeling so rejected that he couldn't bring himself to be in the same room with him tonight. Perhaps he'd find an opportunity to talk this weekend - to sort this all out.
But what about band? He was the lead 2nd clarinet. He should be there.
Well, he thought, people do get sick. And I'm not feeling well. In fact, I think I'm gonna be sick if I do go. Just thinking about seeing Ian there tonight and not being able to talk about it will definitely have my stomach in knots.
So Kyle decided not to go. He was so depressed, even more so than before he'd met Ian. He though losing Andy was the end of the world. He'd finally figured out who and what he was. And he'd pushed the one person he wanted away before he'd ever gotten anywhere with him. He felt even more depressed. He was such a loser.
Dan and Andy were walking home after swim practice Thursday evening. It had been a busy practice what with Andy needing to catch up since he'd missed yesterday's practice due to the detention. They were talking about how the swim team was doing and how they thought they'd do at the swim meet next month.
"Hey, my folks are back in town and they'd like for you to come over for dinner Friday night," Dan said. I even asked if you could stay the night and they said yes."
"Great," replied Andy. "I'll have to ask my parents first but I think they'll let me if they know you will be staying Saturday night with us and then going to church. You will, won't you?"
"Sure I will. I promised, didn't I?"
Band was even more depressing that the rest of the week. Ian was there but Kyle was no where to be seen. I wonder if he didn't come because of me? Ian thought.
The next couple of hours seemed to take forever. And Ian kept making mistakes everywhere. He'd played most of these perfectly when he'd practiced with Kyle on Saturday. Or course, he knew why he was having so much trouble.
As the practice came to an end, finally, Ian realized how much he liked Kyle. It wasn't just that he wanted his friend back. He really did want more. And as much as is scared him, he was willing to admit he was at the very least bi-sexual. Maybe even gay.
"Ian, can you come over here please?" Mr. Jeffreys called.
"Sure." Ian put down his clarinet and went to talk to his band director.
"Ian, I couldn't help but notice that you were having trouble tonight. I've talked to your old band teacher from junior high and I know you can do this. Is there anything that I can help you with?"
"No. sir. I guess I was just preoccupied with something. It's been a busy week."
"Ok son. Do you know where Kyle is tonight?"
"He's been a little sick sir. He said he might not make it if his stomach didn't settle down after school. He asked me to tell you but I forgot." Ian knew this was a lie but he also knew it was his fault that Kyle wasn't here.
"Ok, thanks for telling. Next time try to remember earlier."
"Sorry, sir. Thank you, sir."
"See you next week. And tell Kyle that I hope he's doing better soon."
"I will, sir."
And with that, Ian knew what he needed to do.
He shouldn't have missed band. Staying home had only made things worse. Not only was he depressed about Ian, now he was depressed because he'd let Mr. Jeffreys down by not being there. It was one thing to be sick but another to just not go because you are depressed.
He was now wishing he could have gone just to see Ian. He was pretty sure Ian would not have skipped out to avoid him. Especially since it was only his second band practice,
Well, it was too late to go now. Besides, he'd have to explain to his mother how he was suddenly feeling better. He'd told her he was sick to his stomach and she immediately sent him to bed bringing some toast and juice along sometime later.
Nothing to do now but sleep or read. He did have books to read for English. Of course, he didn't really feel like reading at the moment. He'd tried a couple of times but couldn't help stopping every other sentence to think about what Ian was doing now. He wondered if he was playing as well has he had last Saturday.
Every time his focus was back on Ian, he remembered how depressed he was. This was impossible. And trying to sleep wasn't helping either. It just left his mind to focus on Ian, completely.
He looked at his clock. 8 pm. Only 1/2 hour to go before band ended. He started to cry, quietly. Why had he kissed Ian? Why couldn't he have had more self-control? His thoughts went on like this for what seemed like hours.
Next morning Kyle really was feeling sick. He hadn't been able to sleep at all. His mom urged him to stay home and get some rest, which he did. In fact, he slept most of the day.
At about 3pm, he woke up, remembering why he was here and started crying again. How was he ever gonna get himself together enough to get back to school? He repeated this pattern on and off over the next few hours.
At dinner time he decided that he wasn't hungry which really concerned his mom.
Dinner at Dan's felt more like a formal affair, even though everyone was still wearing their everyday clothes. Dan's family waited until everyone was seated before anyone started serving the food. There was no conversation during this time either.
Once the food was on their plates, then everyone was invited to "dig in" as they put it. Kinda strange terminology for a meal that felt so formal.
Dan's parents were both executives in the same company. They both traveled a lot which left Dan on his own more often than not. His parents trusted him that way.
They also trusted his judgment with friends so far. And they were impressed with what they'd heard about Andy. Not everyone could get their son to go to church. If only they knew, Dan thought.
"So Andy, you've made the swim team. Are you enjoying it so far?" Dan's dad asked.
"Yes sir, I am."
"That's good because Danny here needs some competition this year, right Danny?"
"Yeah sure, dad." Dan didn't like being called Danny any more and his dad knew it. Next thing you know he'll start expecting me to call him daddy again.
"How are you adjusting to your new school Andy?" Dan's mom asked this time.
"Very well, thank you. Dan's helped me a lot by showing me how things work here and telling about the teachers and what to expect and all. It's because of him I'm on the team. He helped me prepare for the tryouts."
"We are very proud of you, Daniel, for always putting others first." And his mom knew how much he hated being called Daniel. Why can't they just call me Dan, like my friends do?
"So you two boys are going to go to church again this weekend?" Dan's dad asked.
"Yes," Dan replied. "It's very interesting. I thought it woulda been boring, but it's not." He didn't add that it was discriminatory, degrading, depressing or anything else that he had thought over the past week. He was going to be with his boyfriend.
At 9pm there was a knock on his door. "Kyle, someone from band is here to see you."
"Come in," he replied.
He heard someone come in. When he looked up he found that it was Ian and he was smiling. Kyle wasn't sure what to do. His face was still wet from crying and his eyes were red.
Ian expression changed suddenly to one of deep concern. "Why are you crying? I guess that's my fault, isn't it?"
Kyle replied between sniffs, "Well, sorta. But it's mostly my fault. I shouldn't have..."
Ian interrupted him at this point, "No, it IS my fault. I shouldn't have avoided you all week. I know that made you feel bad. I'm sorry."
"Well, I'm sorry I ruined our friendship by kissing you. I'm such a loser."
"Kyle, you are not a loser. I understand. I am your friend and I'm glad you kissed me. It made me think about some things that I wasn't understanding about myself."
"What do you mean?" Kyle asked.
"Well, ever since you kissed me I have wanted to kiss you again. That really scared me, a lot. I had never really thought about guys in that way before and I know that gays are not well treated.
"Since then I have been thinking about who I am, really. And what I am. I kept trying to imagine myself kissing girls that I like in my classes but I'd end up thinking of you. Then I tried to think of some of the guys in my class. I was able to kiss them in my mind longer. But I kept coming back to you."
He paused for a moment, thinking of how best to continue.
"Kyle, I like you very much. From the moment I watched you walk into band last week, I knew I wanted to be near you. I didn't understand how near until this week. Being without you at lunch was so difficult. And then finding out you didn't come to band after I had finally decided that I needed to talk to you about this, I was devastated.
"Band did not go well. I made all sorts of mistakes because I couldn't concentrate. And then I tried to see you last night but your mom said you'd gone to sleep already. And when you didn't show up for school, I was really concerned.
"So, I decided that I had to get this over with. I needed to see you. I want to be with you Kyle. If this is what love feels like, then I love you. I don't ever want to be away from you."
Kyle couldn't believe this was happening. All week he'd thought he'd lost Ian. Now he finds out that Ian was lost without him just as he was with Ian.
"So, after all I put you through, do you still want me?" Ian asked.
Kyle smile broadly, "Of course. I've wanted nothing else since I first saw you."
With that the two boys hugged each other tightly. Kyle thought he was in heaven. And of course, they had to kiss because that was the one thing that Ian had been waiting for all week. And kiss they did.
It was incredible. Ian saw fireworks going off around him as they kissed. And suddenly something forced its way into his mouth. Having never French kissed before he was unprepared for the sensations that followed.
Saturday, Dan and Andy spent the day walking in the woods behind Dan's house. The nice thing about this was they almost no one came in here except them. So, they walked holding hands, something that they wouldn't be able to do just anywhere.
This was the first time since they'd gotten together that they'd truly had to themselves. They were just happy being together, without anyone else around. They didn't have to worry about what anyone else thought. They didn't have to worry about someone walking in on them.
It was the perfect afternoon. As they walked, they talked about all sorts of things. They talked about school. They talked about swimming. They even talked about what it would be like to be able to walk like this, holding hands at school. Both wanted to be able to but neither were ready for all the rest of the stuff that goes with it.
They talked about the dreams they had for the future and, of course, how each other were to be included in those dreams. Neither of them wanted to think about life without the other again.
Too soon though, they had to head back to the world of reality. They had to be at Andy's for dinner by 5:30 and it was already 4 O'clock. They still had to gather their things before heading over.
At dinner that night, both Dan and Andy were nervous, wondering if this was when their still unknown nemesis would spring their trap. Andy noticed his brother looking at them again, only this time it seemed a knowing look.
Andy's dad started the conversation first. "So, Dan, what did you think of church last weekend? Did you enjoy the service?"
Leave it to dad to put Dan on the spot so quickly.
"It was great. I loved the singing and the prayers," Dan answered. Andy knew he wanted to add something about how unfair the sermon was but...
"The sermon was unfair though."
It was not Dan or Andy who said these words. It was Robert. And, everybody was looking at him now.
Without waiting for a reply he plunged forward, "Twice in the last week this minister preached against gays. I've been doing some research and I've found a lot of interesting things about this. First, being gay is not a choice. Researchers have learned that there is a genetic reason for homosexuality. And the evidence from gays themselves confirms that they could not choose - this is how they are.
Everyone was still stunned to silence so Robert went on once more. "Also, I've learned that the English translations of the bible are flawed. That the biases of the translators resulted in improper translations not to mention that some of the writers themselves were also biased by their own cultures. In fact, only two scriptures used against gays have any validity.
"And those two scriptures are in the context of idol worship. Much of the commentary I read supports this. So, I believe that both sermons were unfair to gays."
Andy sat there with his mouth hanging open. Dan couldn't look at anyone else but Robert, afraid they were all looking at him. Andy's mom opened her mouth a couple of times but nothing came out.
It was Andy's dad who finally broke the silence. "I, I mean, we, ... when did you have time to research all this?"
"I started after church last Sunday. And, I've spent all week in the library reading about it. I mean, what if you know someone who is gay?"
Andy's dad looked at his wife and then back at Robert. "Do you have something else you want to tell us Robert?"
Andy spoke next, "Mom, Dad, it's not Robert. It's me. I'm gay."
**** Please read this ****
In The Smile, both Andy and Kyle think about ending their own lives to solve the loneliness and despair that they feel. Fortunately for these two boys they are both still very much alive.
Although at times life may seem tough or even unbearable, please talk to somebody first before taking the irreversible step of taking your own life. There are many others around the world who are going through or have gone through the same things you are and they would be happy listen.
The two links below may offer you some help online. I know that for many of us this is our only contact with anyone in the gay community. The thought of actually talking to someone in person or even on the phone is intimidating. Please do the next best thing. Contact someone online.
The second link has many resources for those who are hurting inside. Don't keep it to yourself. Talk to someone.
Thank you for the opportunity to write this story for you, the reader. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed it.
If you like The Smile and would like to see it continue, please send comments to:email@example.com. Note this is a new email address once again.
I am always interested in hearing what others have to say about my story. I also find it interesting to hear who your favorite character is and why, and perhaps even who you relate with the most. Are there things in my story that touch you in a specific or special way or that you can relate to most?
My goal for this story is to provide experiences from mine and other's pasts to help you, the readers, with situations in your own lives. Please let me know if I have done that for you.
All flames will be ignored.