I want to start off by saying that I truly enjoyed working on this story! A LOT! And I am hoping that it will inspire, explain, and maybe even help to change whatever it is in all of our lives that is holding us back. Whatever it is that has become the crutch that we are always so quick to lean on. I hope you guys like it, and can step off of the skeptical 'I don't really like sci-fi' ledge for me again! Hehehe! And all questions or comments are extremely welcome at comicality@webtv.net or stop by my website at http://www.ghouldrool.com/comicality/ (And don't forget to sign the guestbook!)

Magic Man 1

Two weeks. Fourteen days, 336 hours, 20,160 seconds...however you want to look at it, it's all the same. Funny, it seems as though I felt every last one of those seconds tick by individually, counting them as though I had nothing better to do other than breathe. Two weeks into the new school year. Is that long enough for me to fall back into my old stupid routine without breaking the ultimate promise that I had made to myself to change? To finally become somebody different...somebody better. Who knows? Well, Gavin, it looks like you struck out again bro.

I was walking down that high school hallway, surrounded by kids, surrounded by noise, surrounded by opportunities to make a hundred new friends each and every day. And yet...I had never felt so alone. So...apart from everyone and everything else in existence. It's a curse that I suppose I should have learned to live with by now.

I wish I could just once find an explanation for my place in their world. Why some people seem to rise to the top so very easily, and others are constantly getting stepped on, or ignored, or just plain forgotten. It's frustrating to see them smiling as though life gives them everything that they could ever want to be happy. I HATED them for that! But do you know what really sparked my distaste for society's 'chosen ones'? The fact that I loathed them with all my heart...but would jump at the chance to trade places with any one of them. It sounds so backwards, but I wanted to be the kind of person I disliked the most. I wanted to sit back and coast through life without a care in the world for a change. I wanted to have the chance to be a snob, to have people both appreciate and envy me, to just be...noticed. But this was not the case.

I felt like a 'spectator' to life in general. Always expected to watch, but never invited to play. I saw other people laugh, I saw them have fun, I saw them have serious conversations that I'm sure no one would ever have with me. I saw boys and girls kissing in plain sight of everybody else, I saw them sneak off into the bathrooms together for privacy, I saw them borrow cigarettes from each other, occassionally pass a bag of weed back and forth. I'm far from being a pot head, but you've gotta admire the bond they have with one another. It's absolutely unbreakable. I look at all of this, day by day, and wonder if there is a particular category for ME to fit into. If there is a group of kids from this school, that right now are hanging out together, doing the things that I like to do, and talking about the things that I love to talk about. I wonder if they're in some darkened corner of the school, whispering about how long it's taking me to find them. I wish I could believe that. Because the way things are now, I find myself frowning up my face at other people's happiness. How sick is THAT? I'm actually...bitter, and all because I can't have what they have. I'm like some spoiled little brat begging his mom for a video game because I'm the only one on the block who doesn't have it yet. I feel like they're 'showing off' in front of me. Every time they smile, every time they give each other a high five, every time they make plans to go somewhere after school. I feel it inside, and my stomach twists up, tying itself into a tight knot, until I find some silly reason as to why I shouldn't care about what they have. 'I don't need to hang out with them,' I'd tell myself, 'I've got better things to do anyway.' Psh...who am I fooling? If one of those kids were to walk over and ask me to come get some burgers with them after school, I'd practically break my neck running to catch up with them. And there lies the big paradox...I don't want to be the kind of person they hate, I want to be like the person *I* hate. There has got to be some kind of mathematical formula out there that will allow that to make perfect sense.

I'd like to think that I'm pretty confident. Self esteem isn't really a problem for me...at least, it didn't used to be. Then, some time after my 12th birthday, all of that changed. 'Fitting in' became the most important thing on Earth for me, and once I realized that I didn't fit in as well as I thought I had...everything fell apart. It was like being a lone wolf without a pack to identify itself with. Left out in the wilderness to fend for myself. It was a lonely feeling sometimes, a depressing feeling at others, and all I wanted was for one person, just ONE, to understand that. Not even 'cure' it...just understand it. I guess I just wasn't meant to be popular, or even social for that matter. I just have to shrug my shoulders and learn how to operate on my own, because I never reached my 'popularity' goal in my old school, and Lord knows I won't ever reach it HERE.

I was named after my dad, Gavin Blake Jr, which was cool, but sometimes I doubted if I deserved the name. My dad, he was a go getter, a person with real motivation. He would set his mind in motion and just go after things with such determination that he had no choice but to succeed. I always admired that. He tried to instill the same values in me when I was younger, but I truly believe that he gave up the fight by the time I went to junior high. I was the one project that my father couldn't conquer, even if he was one of the most determined people on the planet. A far cry from his brown haired, green eyed, overweight son, who spends most of his time thinking about what he wants to do instead of actually doing it. Don't get me wrong, I probably have enough ambition to fill the Atlantic twice over. I have dreams and creativity and patience. But for some reason I never seem to be able to get that one big boost that makes everything fall into place. I never find that lucky break that is going to make everything come together and rocket me into a world where everything goes my way for a change. I must have picked up a lazy gene somewhere, and now I guess that I'm just stuck with it.

My sister, Faith, however, fit perfectly between my slacker personality and my dad's perseverance. Which basically made her normal in most people's eyes. Lucky for her. How she can only be three years older than I am, and be so much more popular, is a complete mystery to me. It's so damn easy for her. She just smiles in somebody's direction, and they're entranced by her. I watch her interact with people sometimes, even complete strangers, and it baffles me. Conversation comes so naturally to her, so effortlessly. It rolls off of the tip of her tongue like she rehearsed it the night before, and whoever it is that she's talking to, just eats it up like she was the Virgin Mary in the flesh. If only I could figure out what formula Faith was using to figure out what to say to people, I could use it to maybe make a few friends myself. I mean, I had not ONE friend in the whole school. Not one. A small pack of 'acquaintences' that would speak to me for the simple reason that they saw me everyday and had an obligation to be polite. But no real 'friends' to call my own. No one to talk to or party with or spend all night talking on the phone to about bullshit and gossip. Just me and my pitiful thoughts, day in, day out. It was the same old daily routine. Get up, go to school, survive school, go back home, get some sleep, repeat. That was my life. And while I didn't necessarily hate it...it wasn't really what I was hoping it would be.

I mean, this is high school, right? I'm supposed to have parties, and experiment with drugs and sex and alcahol. I'm supposed to have three dramatic shut downs and at least one crisis a week. I'm supposed to be defying my parents, dropping my GPA, getting a car, playing an organized sport, planning for college, and worrying about who I was going to take to the school dance...but...I'm not. None of that has happened for me. No inspiration has really hit me from any direction, and sometimes it can be a scary feeling. Being lost, but not knowing why. Knowing that I'm missing out on something, but not knowing what. Wanting to just pack up and go someplace else, but not knowing where. Whatever was wrong in my life, I wanted to repair it somehow. To find the ONE thing that I was doing so completely wrong, and CHANGE it. To...just have people notice me as more than the shy kid in the back of the class with nothing interesting to say. Sigh...they must think I'm such a goof. If these are the best years of my life, then I am going to have a very sad existence indeed.

Faith was always there to reassure me when she saw that I was feeling down. God bless my sister for being there. We were hardly the bickering brother and sister like the ones on television. We actually cared for one another, even if we didn't say it outloud. Ever since the 3rd grade, she would tell me that I was cool, and nice looking, and that I could have fun anytime I really wanted to. She always said that 'my day would come', and that there are answers just on the other side of the fence, I just had to climb over. I always took so much comfort in that. It worked every single time. Until I realized that the closer I walked towards that magical fence, the further and further it got away from me. And there were many times when I sat still and refused to chase it any further. That's when Faith would put her arms around me, pick me up, and make me smile again. That's just how things went. I would get upset over something, and then Faith would step in to tell me that everything would be alright...eventually. After that, I would give her a hug, and sometimes she would just hold me there for as long as I needed her to. She was always there for me, I could depend on her like I could the sunrise. Who knows? Maybe one day...I'll have the courage to tell her that her sweet 14 year old brother, Gavin, is gay.

Yeah, I'm sure that fact doesn't help with the whole 'fitting in' theory. Nobody knows, and I think I put on a pretty convincing act, so I'm sure that nobody has figured it out. Unless of course they did, and just don't care one way or the other. That's always a possibility. I remember that I first felt the sting of homosexuality in the 4th grade. It was the first day of school, and we were being assigned locker partners for the school year. There was ths boy sitting accross the room from me, short dark hair, big hazel eyes, big cute dimples surrounding his boyish grin, and I KNEW at that very moment that I wanted him to be paired up with me. And believe it or not, from the luck of the draw alone...he WAS! I took it as a good omen. His name was Jeremy. I got to talk to him for the first time as we got our locker combinations and practiced opening it together. He was just so cool in every possible way. I was hooked on his personality after the first five minutes. I wasn't in love, not at first anyway, but I knew that he liked me and he seemed like he would 'make a good friend'. How I came to that conclusion on looks alone, I don't know. But it's what I felt inside, and it brightened my day to know that he was going to be there. Well, we would run into each other a lot at that locker, and by the third week, I was practically passing out at the idea of being close to him. I think the whole thing struck me full force one day when I actually found myself secretly sniffing the scent on his jacket after recess! Hehehe, now that I remember it, it IS kinda perverse! But after that day, I was infected with a terminal case of puppy love like you wouldn't believe. No matter how many times Jeremy smiled at me, I always wanted just one more. He was beautiful. We remained good friends, at least I thought that we had. Then...came the 7th grade. When I began to see and hear how close the other kids really were. It was then that I realized that I wasn't as 'friendly' as I wanted to be with this kid. All that time, I was thinking that I had a best friend, but there weren't any deep discussions between me and him. There weren't any sleepovers, or camping trips, or movies. I had never been to Jeremy's house, or talked to him on the phone for longer than a few minutes. I looked at the people around me, and finally understood that HE was actually doing all of these things...with other boys. So were all of the other kids in my classes. They were out having fun, getting together, spending time with each other...and here I was fooling myself into thinking that they were my friends simply because they spoke to me at school everyday. Many aqcuaintances...zero friends. It was a heartbreaking experience. And downright devastating when I tried to get closer to the people that I talked to all the time. I tried to extend our friendship outside of school, maybe to meet on a weekend or something...and not a single one of them was really interested. Not one. They already HAD friends by that point. What the hell did they need me for? Everything felt 'fake' all of the sudden. Like some artificial clone of what a social life should be. I wasn't popular, or even liked, by the other kids all that much. I was a permanent fixture in the classroom everyday. They just 'expected' me to be there. I was a part of the backdrop, nothing more. I was no different than the classroom blackboard in their eyes. I almost wished that they hated me...at least it was some form of attention.

Later on, when my hormones kicked into full gear, things only got worse. I got self conscious, put on weight, had a few zits...puberty ran its course, and took complete control of my mindset. The shell that I had once crawled into began to thicken...and I soon came to the conclusion that I was better off alone. A solution that I was hoping I'd be able to break someday. No such luck. Once I dettached myself from the people around me, what little popularity I HAD, plummeted to ground zero. I had forfeited my turn, and they refused to let me 'play' anymore.

Which brings me to 'Gavin's Big Promise' for my first year in high school. I made it one hot day over the summer, when my mom took me 'back to school' shopping at the mall, and I saw some of the other kids store hopping in groups of two or three a piece. So happy. So content. They shared everything. They laughed together, played together, traveled in packs and made memories that they could one day look back at as 'the good ol' days'. They shared their problems, and bought each other gifts, and were just...there for one another. Whether it was for support, or for fun, or just for a heavy dose of the latest gossip. And I WANTED that! I wanted it so badly that I refused to let another school year go by me without at least taking my best shot at it. I mean, this was my chance. I was going into high school! No more junior high, where everybody knows each other and have been friends since they were practically embryos in the womb. This was a much bigger school, more kids, from all over town, thousands of them. I would finally get an opportunity to change my image of being the dork who never talks to anybody. This would be fresh blood. A clean slate where nobody knew me and they wouldn't have my bad history to judge me by. I was so sure that I could do it. I would get new clothes, maybe cut my hair different, speak up a little louder, hang out a lot more, it would be awesome! I'd become a TOTALLY different person, and I'd RUN that place by the time I was a senior. How hard could it be, right? Sigh...dreams. All dreams. My confidence and new attitude on life was cut in half by the end of the first day. By the second day, the rest was mercilessly infested with 'insecurity termites' that ate away at my perfect plan until it came crashing down to the ground. My efforts had changed, but the reaction was the same. They didn't buy it, not for a second. I could change my looks, I could change my clothes, I could change the way I walk and talk...but I couldn't change ME. And I was the problem from the beginning. I couldn't become something likable, no matter how hard I tried. God that hurt. I felt so helpless...so 'typecast' in a role that I simply didn't want to play anymore. But I was locked in, and this life got socially planned out for me without my input. So here I am...two weeks after my attempt at self revolution...and I'm right back where I started...


There was no avoiding it. They didn't have any interest in what I had to say. They didn't care about me. They didn't have any USE for me. So I'm stuck. Confined within the walls of what is considered 'normal behavior' for me. What was I going to do, snap my fingers and turn my life around? It's just not that easy. I could leave this school, I could leave the country, I could leave the fucking PLANET and study on Mars...but I'd still be me, and that still wouldn't be good enough for people to spit on, much less be friends with. Grrr...self pity, my old arch nemesis. Ok Gavin...break out of it, man. We don't need a 'downy clowny' face going into English class. I've only got a few more periods to go today, and then I can go home and cry it out later. I accepted the fact that I was gay...accepting my place as a total loser should be no different.

POW! While lost in my thoughts, I accidently bumped into somebody in front of my classroom. "Sorry man, go ahead." He said. Sigh...oh heavenly beauty...Joshua Roth is thy name. He was probably the one reason to even bother to keep coming back to this godforsaken place. I saw him for the first time two weeks ago during orientation. I was so in love with the very aura that surrounded him...it was so incredibly angelic. He took my breath away. He took EVERYBODY'S breath away. He was leaning over to get a drink of water from the fountain that day, and my chest felt heavy as I tried to drink in the very essence of him. I didn't want anyone to see me staring at him in the hallway, but more importantly, I didn't want to miss a single movement of his body. Every single second of the sunlit beauty that poured out of him uncontrollably, would be a miraculous moment in time. The sweet way he pursed his lips as the cool water rose up to greet them, the way his hair fell slghtly into his eyes, but never got wet, the subtle crease in his soft stomach as he bent over, the most erotic curve gracing his back all the way down to his calves...sigh...he was a walking miracle. And when I saw him later on that same day actually sitting in my english class...I nearly had a stroke! There were only three seats left in the entire room, there were two right next to him, and one waaaaay on the other side of the room. I mean, if I had been any further away from him, I would have been in the school's courtyard. Naturally, I took the one far away. I couldn't sit next to him! I didn't DARE! I would have hyperventilated at the thought of being that close to him. It would have been a year long erection that would have driven me crazy by the end of the first month. So...I sat as far away from him as the classroom would allow. But no amount of distance could calm my nerves whenever he entered the room. I just loved the very 'nature' of him...from the soft features of his face to his innocent eyes, and back again. The seductive curve of his hips, his smooth neck, his dainty fingers, his long legs...God, he was gorgeous. He was about 3 or 4 inches taller than me, I'm sure. Slim and smooth...not a single hair on his face. Huge deep blue pools for eyes that were beyond explanation. I had never seen that color of blue before, not on anyone else. His eyes were absolutely hypnotic. He had sandy blond hair curtaining both sides of his face, shiny and soft. Pink lips. Long arms. Alluring voice. I studied every inch of him while sitting in that classroom. Wishing that I could somehow describe the feelings that he inspired in me, just by being in his presence. But everytime I tried to define him, he would do something inanely cute and totally up the standard. Continuously breaking through every limit that I had set for him. He was a sight to behold. A fragile antique that was meant to be admired but never touched. I told myself that I wasn't going to get all infatuated or anything, that would just be a complete waste of my time. Of my LIFE. He's straight, he's 'untouchable' in more ways than I can count, and he's much too cute to be seen with a grotesque hog like me. I've learned my lesson considering falling for the wrong guy. I've had approximately 19 and a half heartbreaks in my 14 years of life. All in junior high. I say a 'half' because I fell for some cute boy that I met while being sick in the nurses office at school. And he actually talked to me for a while! It was great...and then I threw up all over his shoes. It was the quickest crush that I had ever experienced, lasting less than 25 minutes. He didn't talk to me again after that. It's kinda hard to forget somebody's breakfast being spilled out at your feet. Anyway, I wasn't looking to add Josh to my catalogue of childhood traumas. Or anyone else 'out of my league', for that matter. No more love, no more crushes, no more fantasies. Just...a few sighs and maybe a couple of dreamy glances. Joshua wasn't going to worm his way into my list of failures, I was going to make sure of that.

"No...it was my fault. Um...after you." I said after being struck silent for what was probably too long. He smiled and walked into the classroom in front of me as I fought the urge to look at his butt. I always fight it. Now that I think about it, I don't believe that I've ever even seen his butt. Not on purpose. Arrrgh! What the hell am I doing? Sit down and shut up already! I am NOT going to walk into my English class looking at another boy's butt! No matter HOW cute he is! I took my seat against the far wall and twirled my pen in my fingers, trying not to give in to the temptation of staring at him. But my will power never lasted long, and I would find myself looking every few seconds just to see what he was doing. Ohhh it was breathtaking just to watch him breathe in silence. Simply beautiful.

I attempted to concentrate as much as humanly possible throughout the class period, and when the bell rang for us to switch classes, I made sure to walk behind him as he left. I just wanted to stare at the back of his head as we walked down the hall together. Ha...'together'...well, in MY mind we were. I just wanted to see the light shimmer off of his silky hair and see the motion of his shoulders and hips and...oh DAMMIT!!! I just looked at his ass! I didn't see anything! I didn't see anything! It was just a blur, nothing more. And I'm NOT looking again! Oh wow...what if I DID look? Whimper...I'd just DIE if I saw it! It would be as cute as the rest of him, if not worse! I'd cry tears of pure awe if I saw the cute little shape of it, even through his pants. I continued my journey, following him like a loyal sheephound, and wishing that I could just call out his name. Just once. I felt magnetized to him, in a way that I had never felt before. Out of all of the crushes and daydreamed flings that I've had with other boys in my school or at the mall or even the ones on television...what I felt for Josh was so much different. It was...I don't know...focused somehow. It was more than just a nervous feeling, it was armaggeddon rolled into a tight ball and shoved down into my stomach. When he was around, everything that I did became noticeable to me. Was I walking wrong, breathing wrong, did I blink too many times a minute? How was my breath? Were my shoes tied? Did my outfit match? Is my zipper up??? Oh GOD, please let my zipper be up!!! He was so different from everything else that I had ever seen before. Nobody could possibly be a better looking boy. No one could come close to being that sweet, or funny, or intelligent as he was. In the two weeks that I had been a part of the Joshua Roth Experience, I had come to know him as one of the coolest guys around. Just by the way he talked to the other kids, by the way the teacher seemed to just adore having him in her class, and by the way he intrigued me so much with even the most short lived moments of eye contact. I'm going to have the guts to talk to him one day. I know I will. That'll be the best day ever. Sigh...awww shit! I DO have a crush, don't I? Fuck! Why do I do this to myself! Dammit Gavin...turn it OFF already! Josh is a good guy, he doesn't deserve the awful burden of having me stare at him the way I do. I hope I can get out of this before I end up getting hurt again. Before that insane feeling of having my heart and lungs collapse simultaneously finally provides me with enough proof that my situation is completely hopeless and stupid. After that, committing suicide won't seem like such a chore. Hell, I probably wouldn't be alive NOW if I wasn't waiting to see the next two Star Wars flicks hit the theaters.

Josh went his own way, and I slumped off to my next class. My one moment of beauty was gone for the day, back to reality. I made it through the rest of the day, only letting Josh cross my mind a few more times. Much less than usual. See? Emotional supression IS good for something afterall. I went home that day, sitting on the bus up in front while all of the kids in back had a blast. Hugged up next to their boyfriends or girlfriends, laughing, making noise, basically feeding off of each other's confidence and getting even stronger. Never once asking me to join them. Never once allowing me to play. THEY fit. THEY belonged to something. Me? All I had was my thoughts, and my artwork. I tried drawing on the bus, but let me tell ya, it's not the best place to do it. Especially while it's moving. I'm not sure where my images come from exactly, but they transfer themselves onto the page pretty accurately when I take my time to do it right. Ha! Do it right? Who am I kidding? My artwork SUCKS in comparison to a lot of other stuff I've seen. But it's not like anybody is going to see this stuff. I keep it tucked away in my sketchbook, just for me and only me. It's the one thing that I have that makes everything calm down for a bit. It gives me peace of mind, it lets my soul speak for a change and clue me in on what it's thinking. It's the one time that I get to express all of the little things that I'm much too afraid to tell anyone face to face. My drawings have become the ultimate escape for me, an outlet that takes my mind off of how things really are. When I'm drawing, I can be anyone I want to be, I can take control, and the world can be as beautiful and as fair and as safe as I make it. Something about that is so liberating. The ability to create something that lives by MY rules for a change, that grows and changes as I do. That meant a lot to me, and I won't have my stuff laughed at or criticized. I don't even want anyone else to SEE it! It's mine, and it's not FOR them. It's a piece of me that they can't have. The one part of my life that isn't open to their disapproval. They can say what they want about me, but they'll never be able to touch my artwork because I won't let them. Besides, I put my heart and soul into everything that I do. If I think it sucks...just IMAGINE what THEY'RE going to say about it! By the time I got home, I was both disgusted with, and depressed by, the kids in the back of the bus. Let 'em have fun, screw them! I don't need a single one of them anyway.

That night at dinner, my mom and dad talked back and forth about work and current events and the normal nightly chatter. Faith ran in to join us a bit late, probably out with some of her friends. I was almost ready to excuse myself from the table when she asked to borrow the car on Friday night to go to a party. Something about that stabbed through me like a knife, and until she smiled at me, I was on the verge of hating her just as much as I did some of the others. She actually asked me how MY day was, and even though I was pleased that she cared, I answered back the same way that I always do..."Fine. Nothing spectacular." It had become my daily 'catch phrase'. Nothing specific, nothing exaggerated. It gave the impression that things were cool, and that I wasn't depressed. And yet, I didn't make it sound like I was involved in any great adventures during the day either. No need to exaggerate. Hell, I went to school and I made it home. What else could they possibly want to know about what happened in between? She didn't really pump me for any extra information. Faith knew that talking about it made me think about it, and thinking about it made me hate it, and hating it made me drop back into an endless spiral of self pity. More times than not, I think she was just much too busy having a life to really involve herself with my little tantrums. But what she apparently hadn't realized, was that hearing about her after school activities, her dates, her parties, her funny anecdotes...made me feel even more alone than anything else. It was the 7th grade all over again. Seeing how all of the wonderful opportunities to have friends and have fun were out there...and yet, I was just watching everyone ELSE take advantage of them. Sitting back and looking at it all from my inescapable tower of lonliness. Spending half of my time wondering why my life sucks so much, and the other half of my time trying to ignore the fact that it sucks so much. This is the exciting world of Gavin Blake...welcome to it. The exit is over to your left if you feel like running out screaming. Lord knows I do.

That night, as I lay in my bed and looked up at the ceiling, my radio playing softly in the background, I thought about Josh and how incredible it would be to just let myself go. To just stop holding back what I feel, and just...'tell' him. To have the balls to express my interest and have him love me just as much. To take me in his arms and sweep me into a world of infinite beauty and love. The magic that he could bring me would lift my spirit to heights that it had never been to before. I had a feeling deep inside, a burning sensation, that allowed me to believe that he could somehow...'fix me'. He could make me whole again, and fill me with the life that I once had before all of this insecurity and doubt became a part of my existence. It was then that an old love song came on over the radio, and for a few blissful minutes, I allowed some of those deep feelings rise to the surface. It felt good...soooo good. To think about holding Josh in my arms, and dancing slowly to this very song. To feel my heart flutter and my body tremble quietly as his blue eyes met mine. My love for him would explode in such a delightful frenzy that I doubt I would be able to hold back tears of joy. If only I was good enough to hold him against me. If only I was pretty enough, strong enough, worthy of having the chance to touch him. To kiss those sweet lips and...and...

I felt a single tear fall unexpectedly from my eye, and that's when I realized what an idiot I was being for even considering something so unbelievably unnattainable. I felt so ugly. So stupid for thinking that...for believing...sigh...this is pointless. I pushed him out of my mind. And I, once again, bottled up those wonderful feelings and buried them into the pit of my stomach where they belonged. I was only awake for a few minutes longer, and then drifted off to sleep with tears soaking through to my pillow. I hate myself for not being what he wanted, for not being what he needed. I could love him so perfectly, if only I had a chance in hell of being even remotely attractive in his eyes. If only my feelings inside could be accompanied by a face and body that he could love back, if only I didn't have to endure him looking right through my love to accept the lust of the 'cute' boy standing behind me. I hate who I am. I hate who they all think I am. I hate who I want to be. I am so alone. God please help me. Please save me. I don't want to live like this. I don't even know where to turn, what to do, how to change. I'm trapped. I can't see a way out of my misery, and it's swallowing me whole. Everyday, the darkness surrounding my heart seeps further into my soul, corrupting it. Poisoning it. And I know deep down...that if things continue this way, I'm either going to end up a lonely bitter old man...or a tragically dead teenager. They're the only options I have at this point.

A full night's sleep seemed to go by in the blink of an eye, and when I woke up, my radio was still on. But it was playing something different this time. Some kind of early morning, 'rise and shine' type of song that your average person dances to in their kitchen while wearing a bathrobe and marveling in the beautiful sunlight outside. Whatever, I wasn't in the mood. I shut off the radio, grabbed some clothes, and went in to the bathroom to take a shower. While undressing, I looked at myself in the mirror, disgusted by the image looking back at me. I pinched my little love handles, and tried to flatten out my raggedy looking hair. Sigh...I don't even know why I try. I hate this body. I hate it so much that I want to break down and cry everytime I remember exactly what I look like. I wish that I could be one of the people that I drool over constantly. Just for a day...to see how it feels to be one of the 'gifted'...the 'chosen'. That one brief moment would be enough to make me smile.

I took a hot shower and went back to my room. But to my surprise, I heard the radio back on again, this time a little bit louder, and playing the exact same song. It was like it had picked up exactly where it left off. I thought maybe Faith had come in and turned it back on, but she had already gone out to meet some friends to go to school with. The song kept playing, full of those annoying 'pep talk' lyrics and bouncy tunes. I walked over to turn it off again, but something in the song caught my attention, and I drew my hand back. A certain phrase intrigued me, and then another, and another. I can't really explain it, but the song suddenly began to make perfect sense to me, all in that one instant. It kept repeating things like 'you don't have to take it' and 'what are you waiting for' and 'stop holding back'. Maybe it was my mood, but the words spoke to me. They almost...inspired me. Then, out of nowhere, the song came to an end, and that was it. No announcer, no dj, no commercial...the song just stopped, and then silence. I looked back at the radio to see that it had turned itself off again. I jumped up and rushed over to see if I could catch the name of the song, but it was too late. They had already moved on to something else. Shit! I've gotta sit down and find out what stupid features are on this alarm clock radio of mine one day so I can at least get it to stop coming on and shutting off whenever it wants to.

I thought about the message of that song all through breakfast, and on the bus ride to school, and for most of the morning. It 'did' something to me. Something just snapped and I felt...GOOD! I know that it sounds totally lame that a song on the radio could have such an impact on me...but it did. I felt as though someone had written that song for me and for me alone. I'm going to have to scan the airwaves to find out who that was so I can buy it and listen to it everyday. It was the first day that I went to school with a smile on my face in a long time. I carried those song lyrics in my head all the way up to English class, and when I saw Joshua come in and sit down, I felt something rise up inside of me. Other than the usual 'rise up', that is. This was different. This was some unseen force that spread out all over my body and gave me this strange feeling of confidence that I had never experienced before. Something that said, 'tell him. What have you got to lose?' Wow...hehehe, I was almost giggling at this point. That day, I stared at him a little more often than usual, a little longer, and without shame. It was hard to keep from smiling. Something about taking that little extra risk in getting caught, made me feel so GOOD inside. That afternoon...when the bell rang and he stood up to leave, I looked right at his ass! RIGHT at it! Oh WOW, what a wonderful vision I have missing over the last two weeks! It was even more beautiful than I could have imagined. The way the cheeks defined themselves through his jeans everytime one of his long legs stepped forward...it was mouthwatering! I followed him out of the room, taking my 'rightful' place behind him in the hallway as he walked to his next class. The light shimmering off of his sandy blond locks, the motion of his shoulders in perfect harmony, those cupid touched buns of his, and his body just screaming with a sexual explosion that he was so unaware of. I followed him, and at that moment, I SWORE that I'd give 'Gavin's Promise' just ONE more try! For Josh! For the CHANCE that I might even get a 'no' from him. I can't just keep dodging this over and over. 'I don't have to take this'. I have to 'stop holding back'. I mean...'what am I waiting for?' It's going to be hard, and I know that the people around here aren't going to let me change without pushing me back into the same old category as a shy dork who sits alone and has no friends. And I'm probably not even going to last a whole two weeks before changing back this time, but I'm going to try! I'm GOING to try! This time I MEAN it! I'm going to speak up, I'm going to have fun, I'm going to talk to the cutest damn boys in school, and I'm going to completely reinvent myself from the floor up! And DAMN the gods if they disagree!!! DAMN THEM ALL!!!

That was the first time I saw him. It was that exact moment that he walked right into my life for the first time. He was maybe a year or two older than I was, cute, thin, blond hair and blue eyes. He was definitely a surprise. I had never seen him in that school before, not that I really knew everybody, but I could easily recognize all of the familiar faces that I ran into on a daily basis, and this kid wasn't one of them. It was like he appeared out of nowhere, a self assured, almost cocky stride in his walk. But that's not what intrigued me the most. What really got to me was the fact that he was looking DIRECTLY at me! Without flinching at all. His eyes pierced right through mine, and a sly smile broke out on his face. Did he catch me looking? Does he know about me? I couldn't put my finger on it, but it 'felt' as though he could read my thoughts. As though he had heard my new resolution, and held the answers in the palm of his hand. Those few quick seconds that we passed each other in the hallway seemed to last an eternity. As if all time had suddenly switched into slow motion, infinity compressed into a single second, five times over. The look in his eyes...it was magic. They held all of the world's beauty and all of its horror in their gaze. His stare seemed to lock onto my soul and not let go, not allowing me to look away, not allowing me to think of anything else but him...for that one brief moment, everything else in existence melted away. All of the sounds around me, all of the other kids, colors, motion, time, space, everything....faded away into oblivion. It was an uneasy feeling. It made me feel so small, as though the darkness around me would cause me to fade away too if I didn't desperately hold onto what little light I had left in my heart. I found myself clutching on to my reality for fear that I would simply disappear in his presence. But something about his eyes held me there. They kept me 'real'. It was frightening and comforting at the same time. And then...the moment was over, and he walked passed me.

The sudden jolt back to reality was alarming. Time sped back up to it's normal pace all of the sudden, the voices around me kicked into full volume, and the world came rushing back at me in vivid color all at once. I gasped at the startling crash landing back into the real world, and stopped walking. Someone bumped into me from behind, a few people wormed around me on both sides, but I couldn't move. I had to readjust my mind for a second and figure out what the hell just happened. I spun around to see if I could catch a glimpse of him, but he was already gone. It was the weirdest thing, but it almost felt like he walked right through me. Everything about me felt different, and I couldn't understand why. I heard the bell ring, and I was going to be late for my next class. So I shook it off and kept walking. This has been the strangest damn day, I swear, I must have woken up in the working class suburb of the Twilight Zone.