AS MY LEGS stuck to the leather seat, I looked around the car. It was small, cramped, and filled with luggage from a three and a half hour ride from Metro Detroit to Love Haven (about twenty minutes north of Grand Rapids). I looked out at the warm late summer evening sky in the horizon as we drove past the endless miles of grain, corn, and sugar beet crops occasionally having to slow down for the rural life surrounding us. Getting sick of playing I-Spy and the license plate game by myself in my head, twiddling my thumbs even got pretty boring after a while. I decided to pull out my ipod and count the number of dashed lines between Lansing and Grand Rapids. I put the device on shuffle and the first song that came up was Highway to Hell by AC/DC and I thought that that was just kind of funny and ironic, seeing as how where we were going was most the most religious place in the world besides Vatican City anyways. The shiny metallic cross hanging from the rearview mirror was shining right in my eyes and was starting to give me a headache so I looked away even further and eventually found a place for myself back home where mom was cooking and dad wasn’t home, hearing nothing but the sound of steak sizzling on the grill, the birds in the trees singing a wonderful hymn of happiness and sadness at the same time. The grass was freshly mowed, the garden was well pruned, and the stargazer lilies were especially bright for this time of year. I walked into the house gave my mother a hug and kiss and asked her if she needed anything.
“A million bucks would be nice.” She said with her usual subtle sarcasm, while I laughed. I went up stairs and laid down in bed pulled out a book by John Steinbeck called Of Mice and Men that we had to read for school, turned on the radio next to me and gently went to sleep listening to the sweet harmonies of Queen. Next thing I know my dad ripped out my ear bud, slapped the back of my head and started screaming something. I didn’t quite catch on until the curse words started coming out.
“How the hell you just gonna sit there and not say a damn word the whole ride? Huh? C’mon, I’m askin’ you a question.” My father said his deep low old man voice still lingering, vibrating in my chest. “Maybe if you weren’t listenin’ to that loud screamin’ shit you call music, then maybe you’d be able ta hear me every once in a while.”
“Maybe it’s ‘cause you’re such a pleasure to talk to.” I said with as much sarcasm and smart assiness as I could come up on such short notice “How much longer ‘til we get to grandma’s place?”
“I don’t know how much longer you gonna be an asshole to me?”
“I’m just pitchin’ what I’m given.” After that comment my dad sighed looked away and drove as angrily and aggressively as he spoke. So I sunk back into my musical cocoon, and ignored all the ignorant words that poured out of his old hushed up mouth.
When my father was a child his mother loved him very much but to the point of where he was not disciplined, except in school or when his father grabbed a hold of a bottle which is what made him what he is today. He went to the same catholic high school that I will soon be attending for my sophomore year, back in the sixty’s and seventy’s the teachers were allowed to use corporal punishment and would often physically abuse children on more than one occasion I was pretty sure that that was used on my father. Since then not many things have changed many old teachers still keep their old leather straps in the top drawer of their desk but it hasn’t been touched in at least a decade. When my father would get home he would not let his father see the pain or else he “Would give him something to cry about” which never made any sense to me because obviously he was already crying about something. As soon as he was out of sight of his father he would cry and tend the wounds himself in the washroom with some of the first-aid kit supplies. When the supplies were gone he would tell his mother that he cut himself playing baseball with the guys, she would ask his father for three dollars to go up to town with and she would be back in an hour with the supplies. She new full well what was going on at that school but in the catholic system women had little to no say in anything. So she would comfort him until he graduated third in his class, moved to the city got a job as a low paying mechanic at one of the car companies and he’s done that ever since, I mean he’s gotten promotions and all that, but he had to work from the bottom up.
Since my mother passed my father has not drunk a drop of liquor and I don’t think he plans to anytime soon. He loved her and I think he sees a lot of her in me so at times I think that he wishes that I would have died instead of her in that car crash.
I WAS SITTING in shotgun, my mom’s driving singing along to Twist and Shout by the Beatles, when suddenly out of nowhere comes a truck and it slams into us from the driver's side. My head hits the dashboard, my dad’s voice saying something.
“Wake up…hey, wake up,” He said in a desperate attempt to wake me up. “Wake up, get your ass outta my car and kiss your grandmother, now!”
“Alright, alright. Don’t get your panties in a bunch now.”
I see an elderly lady walking across a nicely mown diamond formation lawn and seems not to care that the slight drag of her left foot is ruining the pattern. First she goes and kisses her eldest son then she starts towards me. I didn’t know if I should run away from her, accept my loss and kiss her, or I could slowly plot my revenge against them both. I think both choices two and three will work. I let the old woman walk around the car before I got out, as I got out about fifty pounds of empty candy wrappers fell out with the warm midsummer Michigan breeze carrying them down the street and out of sight. I wished so much to be them. I felt the elderly, wrinkled, semi-wet lips of my grandmother plant square on the side of my face. It took about ten seconds afterwards for the smell of the twenty pounds of perfume she puts on to bury itself in my nostrils.
“How have you been?” She asked and starting up again not wanting an answer, for fear that she would forget what she was going to say next. “I haven’t seen since you were this tall.” making a hand gesture by hanging her hand parallel to the ground right in front of her bosom.
“Nice to see you too, grandma,” I said trying hard not to sound fake. “How have you been lately?” I knew as soon as I said that, that that was a terrible mistake because she would go on and on about…god knows what because no one listens to her. Luckily my dad caught my mistake and told her that I had to unload the car. I mouthed a “thank you” in his direction and he simply nodded grabbing a couple of his things and taking them to the door.
“Take your stuff up the stairs and the last door on the left will be your room. Okay.” Grandma said.
“Yes ma’am.” I said as politely as I could looking over at my father waiting for his approval but he simply laughed when his brother who lives next door through a football hitting him square in the side of the face.
“I’m gonna kick your as-butt.” looked over at his mother, and let out a sigh of relief when he noticed she wasn’t looking. “I’m gonna kill you.”
As I grabbed my stereo, four speakers, one of my suit cases and a few lost pieces of clothing and started for the door and laughed my ass off when Uncle Rob hit my dad in the face with the ball. After that I walked upstairs turned right at the top and went to the last door on the left opened the door and absolutely fell in love with my new room.
My room was huge; it had a queen sized bed in the corner, an armoire and a short dresser with a vanity mirror on it across from the bed. I had my own bathroom with a beautiful marble counter, and everything I would ever need in it. All I wanted to do was paint the room and get a new bed spread to match. My dad yelled for me to come down stairs, so I followed the command. As I walked down the hallway I realized how crazy my family really is. Pictures of Jesus, Mary, and a bunch of people that I don’t really know that well. The entire house is primed white like someone at one point thought about painting it but changed their mind. I walked down the stairs and saw pictures of everyone I’m related to dead or alive. My mother was on the wall with a note written on it from my father. I couldn’t quite read it but it was long and ended with I love you. When I got down stairs I saw my dad and Uncle Rob cracking jokes and laughing. They’re standing next to a couple kids who looked a couple years apart and younger than me. One was a boy wearing a baseball cap, a t-shirt and a pair of gym shorts. The girl who looked at least two years younger than her brother was wearing a jean skirt with shorts attached, a polo shirt and a cute little pair of brown and pink boots. They were both wearing a crucifix with Jesus nailed to it around their necks.
“Do you remember your cousins Joshua and Joanna?” My dad asked me in a tone like he was talking to a little kid.
“Sure, they grew a little bit since I last saw ‘em.” I said when honestly I had no clue who these kids in front of me were. They were both really cute though. The girl’s hair was obviously braided by one of her friends the night before because the waves were a little messy. The boy although he looked athletic when actually the only work outs he gets his thumbs on the joystick of an x-box controller and the occasional trip to the fridge or bathroom. Honestly I’m not one for video games they’re just too violent, or explicit.
After I met them and we all talked in the living room for a while, I got bored and started to look around the plain white room where the only decorations were that of religious or pictures of friends and family. I have not seen one picture of me yet.
“Where’d you get those clothes you got there,” Uncle Rob asked acting like he was going to laugh. “F-A-G’s-R-Us?”
“Ha, ha, ha you’re hilarious,” I said relatively sarcastically. “No I got ‘em at yourastuckupa**hole.com ever heard of it.”
“Na, I’ve never heard of it but if you use that language with me again I will put hand print on the side of your face so fast.”
“What language I was speaking English…it’s a real website…it’s all about you.”
Walking out of the room claiming my victory, trying to get a better look at the picture of my mom but the glass was just too dusty. I climbed the stairs, turned the corner and walked to my room; I shut the door on my way in.
When I got in my room safe from everything I turned around and saw a full body mirror. I looked at my self, saw my tidy light brown hair with a hint of blond from the summer sun, saw the skinny jeans, tight shirt, and studded belt. I looked passed all that and saw a young man getting ready to face a long journey that he might not be ready for.
I laid down in my bed, turned to the ceiling and cried. I don’t know why I cried or for how long I cried, but I cried and it was the first time I cried since my mother’s funeral. I laid there and shed out all of the evils in me, I shed out all of the weakness in me, and most of all I cried for all the times I’ve had and all the times I will have that I won’t or didn’t have the privilege to cry so I let it all out then and there. This will be the last time I cry for a very long time.
I WOKE UP the next morning my eyes dry and my cheeks crisp from the many tears shed last night. I went to the bathroom took my pants and shirt off looking in the mirror sucking in my stomach and then letting it out, imagining myself with a lean body.
“Alright this is a new area, new people, I’m a new person. I can be anyone I want to be. I’m gonna get a job at a local restaurant, dye my hair and get new glasses. This will be easy, I’ve done harder things than this. Remember when you moved to the ghetto and almost got shot, that was great but when some kid comes by and says the ‘N’ word right behind you, there’s not many things you can do. Good thing that job didn’t last very long.” I turned the water on and just kept encouraging myself that this will be easy. Even though I knew that this would be the hardest thing I will ever have to go through in my entire life.
After I got done taking my shower I put on a pair of shorts that would accommodate great for running and all that good exercise stuff. I slipped into a thin cotton t-shirt that was very faded out. I went down stairs to eat the breakfast that I smelled cooking since I woke up about forty-five minutes ago. When I walked into the kitchen I noticed that it was just as plain as the rest of the house. My grandmother was cooking breakfast and when I walked in and said good morning she said nothing I sat down in a chair that had a few pieces of rubbery bacon on the plate, two eggs over easy, a piece of buttered toast and a glass of milk. It wasn’t exactly my favorite meal in the world but I forgot to eat dinner last night and I was starving. I dug right in and it was absolutely delicious. The bacon was salty and fatty; the eggs still had the flavor of the butter in them. As I dunked the half eaten piece of toast into the second yolk my dad walked in with a news paper under his right arm, a cup of steaming coffee in his left and just kind of looked at me for a second.
“I found someone else that likes your cooking mom.” He said as he sat down in the empty seat across from me.
“Yeah I do. Grandma this is probably one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in my life.” I said with a mouthful of food. I got up from the table and said “Excuse me but I’m finished I’ll just rinse these in the sink and I’m going to check out the neighborhood. Thanks for the delicious breakfast.” I gave my grandmother a hug and a kiss. My dad nodded in approval, meaning that he liked the fact that I ate the breakfast, gave her a kiss, and that I could go out for a while all in one nod.
I ran up the stairs grabbed my running shoes; I slipped the shoes on, tied them and ran down the stairs and out the door. The warm humid Michigan air made it hard to breathe at first but then I got used to it. I passed Uncle Rob’s house and never looked at it once, I just ran. I didn’t have any idea on where I was going to run to, or how far I was going to run or anything like that. All I knew was that I was out of the house and that meant I had a few moments of freedom. I passed the church about half a mile down the road, looked for traffic, there was none so I crossed the road. I gave the church a long good look, it was very modernized, the building itself couldn’t have been any older than ten years old. The high school was right across the street, it didn’t look any different than a public high school other that the huge painted picture of Jesus on the front of the school. I ran passed the school and saw the football field, track, and bleachers on both sides. I ran another half mile up that road and got to a nice little family restaurant with a help wanted sign in the window, and I got excited. I ran about another mile got tired and went back the way I came and went back home passed the diner, passed the high school, passed the church, passed Uncle Rob’s House and into the drive way. When I looked up from panting I saw a moving truck next door and saw people moving furniture into the house. I saw a teenaged boy helping his parent move the stuff into the house. He looked over at me and smiled. I smiled back and waved. When I heard his parent yell for him I found out that he was from the United Kingdom and that he acted a bit like me. I think I found myself a friend.
I saw that the boy was having some trouble with carrying a rocking chair, so I went over and asked if he needed some help.
“Sure,” the young man said with what seems to be a Liverpool accent. “If you feel like carrying a s*** loada ‘eavy things that is.”
“I think I’ll handle it…so is that a Liverpool accent you’ve got there?” I asked thinking it was a suitable question.
“Pretty much, I’m from a small town just a bit out side of Liverpool.”
“Sounds like fun, was it any different than this neighborhood?”
“Not really except everyone there ‘ad an accent and drove on the left side of the road. It’s just as quiet and only has one school in it just like it does here.” I got used to the accent pretty fast and understood almost everything that he said.
“Kris, who’s your new friend?” the boy’s mother asked him.
“Umm, eh…what’s your name?” Kris asked me.
“Gabe.” I said, kind of embarrassed that I didn’t introduce myself to him at first.
“’Is name’s Gabe, mum”
“Well ask ‘im if ‘e’d a cup a tea.”
“You like tea?” Kris asked
“I love tea” I said
“Kris come ‘ere with your friend and sit down at the table.”
“Mum, we’ve got a lot of things to get outta bloody trailer still.”
“That’s why we ‘ave people who are paid to do it.” Kris sat down and told me to sit across from him. Kris’ mother brought over two cups of tea and sat them on the table. “So Gabe ‘ow long ‘ave you lived ‘ere in Love ‘Aven is it?”
“Actually it’s funny you ask that, ‘cause me and my dad are moving in with my grandmother right next door. And we just got here yesterday.”
“Kris it looks like you guys won’t be goin’ to a new school alone, eh.” she said looking at both us and seeing that we had an immediate friendship.
We talked for about a half an hour trying to outdo the other by carrying in the heavier object, we both lost when the last object was a huge couch with a steel frame. It was around noon and I invited him over to my house to meet my father and grandmother. So I walked Kris over to my house, we walked through the front door and walked in on my grandmother and my father talking.
“Yeah, we’re pretty sure about it but he hasn’t said anything about It.” my dad said quickly looking over at Kris and I in the doorway. He changed the subject sharply. “No mom I’m not gonna let you pay for Gabriel’s tuition.”
“Okay we’re not gonna go over this anymore, I’m too old for this. I have way too much money from your father and everything else. I don’t need the money so I’m gonna pay for my grandson to get the same education I got and all my children got. End of story and nobody can change my mind.”
“Who you got their son?” my father asked me.
“One of the new neighbors, Dad this is Kris Love. Kris this is Mr. Cooper.”
“’Ello Mr. Cooper ‘ow are you?” Kris said with his heavy British accent
“Oh, wow! I never would have guessed you were British.” my dad said surprised.
“Yes sir, I was born and raised there.” After the introduction I asked my grandmother what kind of food we had for lunches.
“Son, you will soon learn that whatever kinda you want…it can be found in this house.” my grandmother said almost as if she were to go on but forgot what she was going to say.
“You want anything?” I asked Kris
“I’m not picky I’ll ‘ave whatever you ‘ave.”
So as I made Kris and I a lunch that consisted of turkey, lettuce, honey mustard, and a slice of cheese. I asked Kris if he wanted chips and he looked puzzled. “Are you gonna fry ‘em up right now.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked as I grabbed a half eaten crinkled bag of Lay’s potato chips and set them in front of him.
“Back home we call those crisps.” Kris said laughing.
“You Brits are freakin’ weird.”
“Umm, excuse me. Your language originated back there so you “Yanks” are the weird ones.” Kris and I went back and forth about stupid little dialect things. Neither was right but neither was wrong. We went onto the back deck and spoke about life until things started to get really personal. We felt close enough that we could ask about our deceased parents, and other things. I found out that we both liked to cook, work in the yard, and music. There were also a lot of things that we couldn’t agree on like the Americans had the right to fight against England in the American Revolution. Okay I guess it wasn’t a lot of things but the only things we couldn’t agree on were how to say certain words. We talked passed dinner and well into the night before Kris’ mother called him back home. We said bye, peace, deuces, and many other sayings almost everyday for three weeks before school started.
I WOKE UP early Monday morning, the second of September, not only so I could take my daily shower or so I could catch a warm breakfast but because it was the first day of school. I looked in the mirror and saw exactly what I wanted to see, a lean, muscular body, with fiery icy blue eyes, dark brown hair spiked and at the tips of the Mini Mountains of hair were bleach blonde slopes. I walked over to my closet and pulled out the uniform for my new school. Navy blue pants and jacket and a white button up shirt. The uniform was so boring I had to put the tips in or else I would feel naked. I don’t think I could go one day without being myself.
After I was dressed I went down stairs and for the first time ever, my grandmother was not standing at the counter making breakfast. So I walked to the pantry grabbed a Poptart and walked out the door and went over to Kris’ house. I knocked on the door three times. Mrs. Love opened the door.
“I thought by now you would know just to walk in.” Mrs. Love said
“The time I do that is the time you don’t want me to.” I said walking through the door kicking off my shoes and gave the woman a hug. “Good morning.” Kris walked down the stairs and into the brightly lit kitchen where his mother and I were having a conversation over a cup of tea.
“Gabe…” Kris said as he walks into the kitchen laughing. “I swear you’re over ‘ere more than you’re at your house.”
“What can I say…your mom makes good tea.” Seeing as how every time I was over I would have tea because it reminded me of my own mother’s tea.
“Alright, I’ll grab a piece of toast and we’ll be on our way.” Kris said innocently enough.
“Like ‘ell you will get over ‘ere and eat some breakfast,” Mrs. Love said in a commanding voice. “Now!” Kris walked over to the table, as he did so I realized that he must have dyed his hair last night also.
“Kris did you dye your hair?” I asked him
“Yeah, like it?”
“Well with these freakin’ ugly uniforms did expect me to just sit there not be myself.” When Kris said that I was even surprised by how much alike we were. After Kris inhaled his breakfast we were off for school. A new school where we knew absolutely nobody, the only person we knew was Father Jerry who was debatably one of the most amazing people on the face of the planet. Father Jerry was also the principle of the high school.
As Kris and I walked into the school with nothing more than empty backpacks with only a couple of pens and pencils, we saw Father Jerry. We walked towards the priest, pulled out the folded pieces of paper out of our jackets and asked him where each class was. Kris and I never once compared our schedules but coincidentally we ha the same exact schedule even though it wasn’t that amazing seeing as how there were only ten teachers for tenth graders.
“Well isn’t it my favorite outta town boys.” Father Jerry said with his witty sense of humor. “How can I help you boys today?”
“Well father I was wondering if you could possibly show us where our classes are located.” Kris said trying to dampen his accent a little bit.
“Of course I can so where’s your first class?” The Father asked
“Umm, B10.” Kris said not really knowing what that meant.
“Well follow me.” Father Jerry walked in line with us trying to have a simple conversation with us. But after that he had to warn us. “Tomorrow try to come maybe ten minutes earlier okay.”
“Sorry Father.” Kris and I both said at the same time.
“Kris may I see your schedule for a moment?” asked Father Jerry very politely. “Okay so you guys spend about half of each day in this room here.” Father Jerry said suddenly stopping at a wooden door. “This is Brother Jim’s room, he teaches English, mathematics, and something else, but anyways you will be spending a lot of time with this man okay.” Father Jerry said not too excited about what he was saying to us. The priest opened the door and let us through first then he stepped in. “Brother these are Kris Love and Gabriel Cooper they are new to the area so please excuse their tardiness.” The Father Jerry looked at us with his nice bright hazel eyes. “I’ll be right outside the door when class is over.”
As I looked around the room at the twenty-three unfamiliar faces I got nervous like something bad was going to happen. “Take those two seats at the back of the room.” Brother Jim said to Kris and me. As we walked down the narrow isle Kris leading, myself in the back two kids with crew cuts stuck their feet out and tripped us, we both fell flat on our faces. Brother Jim did nothing about it, except for telling us not to make a scene in his class room ever again.
Ten minutes after the embarrassment in Brother Jim’s classroom the bell rang. Kris and I walked out of the room and saw Father Jerry standing outside the door just like he promised. As the priest walked Kris and me to our classes we got closer and closer not physically but emotionally. Between the embarrassments, the jokes about our hair, Kris’ accent, and the way I talk was apparently different. As we walked into our last class of the day which was Brother Jim’s class again a hefty boy with a flattop haircut was making really rude comments to everyone in the class. When the boy turned towards Kris he said “Hey f****t, have you sucked that blonde d*** yet.”
“I don’t know, ‘ave you found yours yet fat ass.” Kris’ come back hit the hefty boy like a bolt of lightning. The boy never said another word to us again. Kris looked back at me and I smiled, he smiled back and looked to the front. When the last bell finally rang we realized that it was only noon, it felt more like seven o’ clock at night. Kris and I picked up our bags which were now filled with papers telling us what to bring to each class each day.
Kris walked next to me but about half a step ahead, we both walked in step. Kris opened up the door to his house and slammed the door behind me.
“Bad day sweetie?” Mrs. Love said not even looking up from her cutting board, where she was cutting up vegetables, and lettuce for salads.
“I guess to guys can’t be good friends and ‘ave dyed hair without being gay with each other.” Kris said in a very angry but subtle tone, with each word there was an accent at the beginning syllable and with a quite crescendo at the end. “Guess ‘ow many times we got called gay…guess? Thirty-seven bloody times in a ‘alf bloody day.”
“Calm down it’s alright. They’re just immature and you know that.” Mrs. Love said in a calm relaxing reassuring voice. “You do know that if you were gay I would still love you right?”
“Yeah mum, I know that.” Kris said with a hint of a tear in his eye.
“Now come ‘ere an’ give a bloody hug,” she said sticking her arms out. “Both of you.” I walked over to Kris’ mother and gave her a long lasting hug along side her own son. Kris’ mother was the closest female I had to a mother of my own and she loved me like I was her son. “I think you guys could use some tea.” That was very emotional moment for all three of us and I don’t think any of us would ever forget that moment.
I WAS IN the back yard of my house, sweat running down my face as I pulled out weed after weed, in an herb garden used to spice meat and flavor sauces. My mouth was dry and with each breath got drier so I walked in the house through the sliding glass door in the rear of the house. I went over to a cabinet and grabbed a huge twenty ounce glass. I filled it to the brim with freezing ice water. I poured the thirst quenching liquid down my throat rehydrating my pallet, a thin stream of cold water leaked out of my mouth but was caught by the small canyons of dry skin on my lips. When I looked next to me my mother asked me if I would like to go to the store with her and get some food for dinner. As we drove down the road we sang to Twist and Shout by The Beatles and every once in a while adding an object or two to a list sitting between us.
“How about we get some tea?” my mother asked me as we drove through an intersection where a semi truck who couldn’t stop in time blew its fog horn and hit the broadside of the drivers side of our car. Everything went black, and when I tried to open my eyes only my right eye would open. My forehead hurt along with both of my legs, in both of my legs it felt like someone took a piece of rope and tied off my legs because with each beat of my heart I could feel it in my legs more than I could in my chest. When I looked down the pain was caused by the dashboard flexing downward and pinching my legs between itself and the seat. My mother was not moving, she was still breathing though so I knew she was alive. A shattered piece of glass was stuck in her arm from the window. There were people all around the car on their cell phones either on hold from the police or talking to the spouses thanking god that it wasn’t them in the terrible accident. I want to scream through the broken window and tell one of them to help my mother and me out of the car but I couldn’t speak. I tapped my mother on the shoulder wanting her to wake up and look at me so that I knew that she would be okay. She would not wake up no matter how hard I tapped her, matter how hard I screamed, no matter how hard I cried she wouldn’t move she would just lay there over the steering wheel and breathe. When the fire trucks finally got to the mangled car and cut me then my mother out of the wreckage they told me I was lucky to be alive. The paramedics rushed my mother to the ambulance and I told them I was going with them and that was final. As I sat in the back of the ambulance and watched one of the young men care for a couple of my mother’s less serious wounds I realized that I might be lucky to be alive but I wouldn’t want to be if I had to sit here and watch this man try to revive a woman who he knew nothing about that he did not care or love for and if she died it would not effect him, it would just be a bad day at work. At the hospital the doctors and nurses split us up and put us in two different rooms. As I sat on the bed in my room the nurse took all kinds of tests, she tested my reaction time, she checked out my swollen left eye, and a bunch of other standard tests.
“Okay, you’re done. Now can I see my mom?” I asked the nurse.
“I don’t know yet.” The Nurse said as she came and sat next to me on the uncomfortable hospital bed. Suddenly another nurse came through the door.
“Gabriel Cooper your mother wants to see you before we put her under for surgery.” I shot up so fast and ran out the door to my room and ran down the hallway. “Room E 47.” The second Nurse yelled down the hallway. I weaved in and out of people, gurneys, doctors, nurses, and equipment. I had no idea where I was going I just kind of ran and turned corners when I saw room E 47. I opened up the door, saw my mother and started to cry when I saw her attached to an IV and a monitor that showed her heart rate. I gave my mother a hug and kiss.
“Gabe…Gabe look at me.” My mother said in a soft airy tone. I looked up at her blue eyes that were full of love and fear. “I want you to know…” She had to take a breath between every few words. “That I love you…and that no matter what happens…I will always look over you…and I want you to…never be afraid to be yourself.” Those were the last words that ever came out of her mouth. I will never forget the high pitch of the monitor after she closed her eyes one last time.
“No, no mom come back don’t leave me. Don’t leave me the doctors will be here any second to take you into surgery and save you. Don’t leave me.” I cried and sat in the chair as two doctors and three nurses rushed through the door to try and save her. The nurse that was in my room with me walked over and held me and comforted me as I cried. She told me everything was alright and that I would be fine and that my dad was on his way.
I sat up in my bed my pillow case, blankets, and sheets were drenched in sweat and tears. That was the first time I dreamt about what had happened the day my mother died since it happened. It was Sunday morning, so I had to take my shower and dress at least half descent. After I got ready and made sure that I was showing no signs of weakness for either my dad or Uncle Rob to pounce on I went down stairs. When I walked in the kitchen my grandmother was in the kitchen making her usual breakfast consisting of eggs, sausage or bacon, and toast. Uncle Rob and my father were sitting at the table having a conversation about who should run for the republican side of the next presidential campaign.
“Who’s that one guy? You know that one guy that um, ran for office a few years ago that was from around here. What in the hell was his name?” Uncle Rob said actually thinking hard about something.
“I don’t know probably Dick seeing as how every other republican’s name is Dick.” I said laughing while I said it. I sat down and ate the breakfast that was sitting in my usual spot. Uncle Rob and my father went on with their conversations until it was time to go to church. As we walked to the church getting ready for my weekly mass I heard Kris and his mother walking behind us so I dropped back and walked with them. “So how was your morning so far?” I asked Kris.
“It was alright until I ‘ad to wake up for this thing on my weekend.” Kris said as his mother slapped him in the back of his head.
“Behave you know better than that. I swear you’re gonna go to ‘ell if you don’t watch out.” Mrs. Love said directing that comment at both Kris and I.
“You gotta believe in ‘ell to go there.” Kris whispered to me as he looked back at his mother making sure that she didn’t here him.
“Agreed.” I said giving Kris a high five. Kris’ mother, Kris, and I walked the quarter mile from their house to the church. “Kris how do you picture hell?”
“You don’t think ‘at this world isn’t ‘ell enough?” Kris replied.
“Whatcha mean?” I asked sort of puzzled.
“I mean this world we live on is bad enough in my eyes to be considered ‘ell, but like I said to call anything ‘ell you got to believe in damn place first.” Kris said actually sounding like he knew what he was talking about for a change.
“Okay, oh yeah um…Kris I have to talk to you later on about this dream I had last night.”
“Alright,” Kris said knowing that it would be important if I wanted to take time out of my day to talk about something that happened to me while I was unconscious. “Right after church in my back yard.”
“Sounds like a deal.” I said kind of nervous, and just realizing what day it was and just realizing why I had that dream last night. It was the two year anniversary of my mother’s death.
As I sat through church listening to Father Jerry ramble on about Jesus and all of his difficulties I wondered what was different between the problems Jesus had way back then and the problems I have now. I thought about my father being such a jerk all the time, I thought about my grandmother saying she missed me and she loved me but had not one picture of me in her house, I thought about my mother dieing, and I thought about a few other things that were on my mind.
After church let out I told my father that I was going to stay at Kris’ house for a while. When I walked out the huge doors of the church which were almost always open I looked around for Kris and his mother. I saw young men and women in polo’s, dresses, suits, and other assorted apparel, and then I saw Kris in his tight pants and white sweat shirt made out of t-shirt material. I ran through the crowd of people that were rushing out of the church to go home, when I finally caught up to Kris and his mother I put my arms around both of their shoulders and walked with them back to their house.
Kris and I were in his back yard both eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and drinking soda provided by his mother. I looked around at the landscape that sat before me; I looked at all of the plants that were dying back along with the warmth of the summer. It was now October and the air was crisp and full of the scent of burning dry leaves. When we finished our sandwiches we walked down a path that lead to a small opening in the middle of the woods behind his house. In the small gathering area there were benches surrounding a fire pit that was filled with dead dry wood. We sat down on a bench and immediately shot back up because the bench was soaking wet from the rain that we got two days prior, so Kris and I walked over to a bench that was covered with a tarp because it has a cushion attached to it. Kris sat down first, then I sat down making sure my butt wasn’t going to get anymore wet than it already was.
“So what ‘appened last night.” Kris asked in a very concerned voice. So I told him about it all, I told him that I sat there next to my mother and watched her die and did absolutely nothing about it. As I told him everything I cried, I cried so much that my eyes ached. Kris put his arm around me and tried to calm me. Then Kris told me about when his father died.
“Two years ago when I was fourteen my dad wanted to take to see a football game (soccer) an’ I went ‘cause my mom said it would be good for us. See me and my dad, we weren’t that close. So I went with ‘im to the game. We both had fun cheerin, and screamin an’ actin like a coupla handicaps. After the game was over we went to go get in our car an’ a bloody ‘omeless man comes up to my dad and says ‘Gimme your f***in’ money’ an’ dad said ‘We don’t got any’ the man said ‘Bull’ the man stabbed my dad in the stomach three times took his wallet and ran off. I screamed for help, I fell to my knees and held my dad ripping off my shirt and putting it over my dad’s wounds. He said to me ‘Kris I want you to know I always have loved you, always, an’ I always will. An’ I wan’ you to be exactly who you wanna be an’ nobody else. Jus’ be you an’ people will love for who you are.’ My dad died lying down on his fourteen year old son’s lap.” Kris was crying along with me now, we were both holding each other now that’s when I realized that Kris liked me more than just a friend and I was fine with that but I didn’t know if I liked him more than a friend. As Kris laid his head on my chest and cried, his thin streams of tears soaking into my shirt and skin, I held him close to me not sure if I ever wanted to let go of him. He looked up at my eyes and just stared at them for about five minutes until he was finished crying. I stared back at his dark brown eyes, and saw fear, love, sadness, and a young man that has seen too much of how cruel this world can be. Kris looked like he was thinking deeply about something when randomly he sat right up next to me and gave me a kiss right on the lips. I kissed him back and he was almost shocked, his mouth was slightly open. We kissed for about two minutes before it started to rain so we stopped looked at each other gave each other one smaller kiss and ran inside. We were soaked and we walked right in and asked Kris’s mother for a couple of towels. We figured that we had to tell her about us, but we were nervous about the neighborhood and my dad. For the first time I thought I was actually in love.
KRIS AND I were having a conversation with his mother and then she asked us in her calm, casual, nice, beautiful voice if we were both homosexuals and we answered her honestly and said “yes” she was totally fine with it.
“Are you guys sure about this I mean you’re gonna go through ‘ell at church, school, and just around town.” Mrs. Love asked both Kris and me.
“Mum your makin’ it sound like it was a bloody decision.” Kris said sounding kind of annoyed with his mother for her last statement. “Well I’ll tell…we’ll tell you right now that it’s not a decision and honestly we would never ‘ave wished it on ourselves or anybody else in the world. But shit ‘appens mum and you that. “When life gives you lemons make lemonade” just like dad always used to say.” Kris said grasping my hand tighter with each word before his mother said something.
“Well it looks like you guys really know what you’re doin’ so I’ll let you do whatever you want and remember I love you…both of you and I wish you both luck. I will pray for both of you every night.” Mrs. Love said choking up as if she was going to cry.
“Kris now it’s time to tell my dad.” I said kind of nervously, hinting that I didn’t want to tell him.
“Well we best get it outta the way, right.” Kris said as optimistically as he could. “Let's go!” We walked over to my house and saw my dad’s car in the driveway.
“He’s home.” I said. “You know we don’t have to do this.”
“Yeah we do…’cause if we can’t even tell your dad how are we gonna tell the rest of everybody.” Kris said making a great point. Kris opened the door and let me come in first. I almost forgot that it was raining outside, so when I walked in I told Kris to take off his shoes and come up to my room to put some dry, warm clothes on. As we walked into my bedroom that was fresh with a brand new paint job. The room was an off white and the carpet was red so when light hit the carpet it would reflect on to the walls and make them look pink. I walked into my closet and grabbed a pair of pants and a t-shirt and handed them to Kris.
“Put ‘em on.” I said. So Kris took off his shirt and pants, for the first time I noticed the tattoo of a peace sign on his left chest over his heart. I took off my clothes and put on a pair of baggy jeans and a t-shirt with John Lennon on it.
“I have his name tattooed on my back.” Kris said.
“Who?” I asked Kris
“John Lennon, he’s kinda my hero.”
“No way, well he’s my hero so you can have one of the other three…how ‘bout Paul.”
When we were both dressed we went downstairs and turned the corner into the family room. There my father was sitting reading the newspaper and listening George Winston’s album Autumn.
“Dad we have something to tell you…” I said, my heart beating a million miles a minute.
“Okay, I’m listening.” He said not looking up from the paper once.
“Dad please look at me…DAD!” I yelled starting to get frustrated.
“No, now! The newspaper isn’t going anywhere and it isn’t gonna change.” I said finally getting his full attention. “Okay now that we finally have your attention we have to tell you something important.” I was so nervous to tell him about Kris and myself that even though it was fifty degrees in the house I was sweating. “Dad I’m…I’m…I’m…gay.” As soon as I said that he blew up, he wasn’t yelling at me but he was almost blaming it on himself.
“I knew it, I fu…I knew that you were. why the hell didn’t you tell me earlier, before we moved here.” That’s when I found out that he wasn’t going to disown me and make me live on the streets.
“So you're not gonna kill me or kick me out onto the streets.” I asked my father.
“No…I’m not gonna kill you or make you live on the streets. You’re my son and I know I don’t tell you this enough but I do love you no matter how much I yell, swear, or do anything like that. I’m not happy though because now if anybody finds out they’ll laugh at me and say ‘well look and John over there obviously he doesn’t know how to raise a boy ‘cause his boy turned out to be a f**.” The last statement that my father said to me really hurt me. He was embarrassed to have me as a son. Kris saw that that hurt my feelings so he grabbed my hand and locked his fingers between mine. “He is too, that’s just great. does your mother know.”
“Actually, we just told ‘er.” Kris said
“So you two are…and there are…two…what the hell has this damn world come to. Get the hell outta my face, now.” My father said. Kris and I walked out of the house and over to Kris’ house stopping to look at the rainbow. I didn’t even realize that we were still holding hands until I heard some people from the neighborhood say things behind us.”
“What the hell’s goin’ on?” One man said with a heavy smoker’s voice.
“Who let f******s in this town.” I heard another man say.
“Get the f*** outta here.” Some teenage boys in a car screamed as they drove by. So I reached up and stroked my fingers through his semi-long dark brown hair with his light highlights in it. Kris grabbed my butt as we walked in and we laughed.
“Ugh, this is gonna be rough.” I said
“That should be the worst thing that we ‘ave to go through.” Kris assured me. I still felt that worse things would happen.
“Are you sure?”
“Positive.” Kris said leaning over and giving me a long slow kis
IT WAS MONDAY morning and it was the first day of school since Kris and I have "come out of the closet" and told the world that we were gay. The best part about this whole situation was that I was not going in alone. Most people in the world that are homosexual and start coming out usually go in alone but not us. I took my average morning shower and did my hair, I got dressed in the boring uniform that was required at Sacred Heart Catholic High School. When I went down stairs there was something unusual, there was no one there. So I grabbed another poptart and walked out the door over to Kris’ house. I walked right through the door and gave Kris’ mother a hug and kiss as usual.
“Hey sweetie, how are you doing this wonderful morning?” Mrs. Love asked me
“I’m doing fine, but it was weird everyone was gone even grandma.” I said.
“Well the adults all got up early and went to the church for a meeting.”
“A meeting, concerning you and Kris.”
“What in the blue hell, excuse my language, do they have to say about me and Kris. I bet if it was two girls none of the guys in the neighborhood would say a damn word. Sick bastards.”
“You’re probably right but does it really matter?”
“It doesn’t matter at all.” Kris said coming down the stairs first giving his mother a hug and kiss, then me.
“Almost ready?” I asked Kris
“Almost, I just need to eat a little breakfast.” Kris said pouring himself a bowl of cereal and devouring it in seconds. Both Kris and myself told his mother that we would see her after school.
Kris and I walked shoulder to shoulder nervous that someone might try to do or say something rude or obnoxious. The closer we got to the church the louder the peaceful town became, and the closer we got to the church the tighter our hands got. When we stood outside the church waiting to cross the street we heard someone yell, “Everybody shut up, shut up it’s them.” Neither of us looked back once as we crossed the street, now Kris was about a step and a half ahead of me. When we walked into the school nobody was there except Father Jerry with his black shirt, black pants, and his half loosened roman collar.
“Boys can I speak to you about something?” Father Jerry asked Kris and me, signaling that the priest wanted both of us to go into his office.
“Yeah sure.” Both Kris and I said at the same time and walking toward his office and finally letting go of each others’ hand.
“So boys I hear that you are both, eh how should I put his?” Father Jerry said.
“Gay.” Kris said. “Yeah that’s true.”
“Well I totally support you and everything you boys are doing. And just so you know if you ever need anybody to just talk to as a friend not just a priest; I’m here for both of you.” Kris and I were shocked to hear these words come out of anybody’s mouth other than Kris’ mother. “This world is tough but it was easy I know that it wouldn’t be near as fun or worth living. There is also some good in this world and I know that you boys will go through some rough times in this town but they will soon adapt to you and who you are, trust me.” The Priest said looking passed our clothes, our skin, and our sexuality but at what kind of person we were on the inside at the person we would be in ten, twenty, or even thirty years that all the hard times we endure on this journey through life would be set there for us. The school suddenly got loud with teenagers and their profanities. “I want you boys to be good and stay outta trouble, got me.”
“Loud and clear Father.” Kris and I both said at the same time again. The priest opened up the door to his office and let us out. The hallways all of a sudden got so quiet that I could almost hear my own heart beat. Father Jerry came on over the P.A. and told everybody to get to their first hour class and that because school started an hour late that we would end an hour late. Kris grabbed my hand again and we walked to class passed all of the staring eyes, and down to Brother Jim’s classroom. When Kris and I walked into the classroom holding hands our classmates didn’t say a word but they didn’t have to say anything because their facial expressions spoke for them. Kris and I sat in our usual seats, when the bell rang Brother Jim walked into the room and shut the door behind him.
“So guys have you heard about those two kids that think that they can move in here and ruin the entire system that we had in this little town. Do we have any comments that subject?” A football player said knowing well that both Kris and I were sitting in the back of the classroom.
“Yeah,” Kris said shooting his entire body right up out of his seat. “I think that you’re a royal prick.” Brother Jim did nothing he simply sat at his desk a looked out the window.
“What did you just say to me you little f*****?”
“Oh I’m sorry I must’ve stuttered I said you’re a royal prick.”
“I’ll make sure that you won’t get anywhere in life.”
“At least I’m not wasting my entire life to one day get caught molesting little boys like you do.” The entire class was quiet and content on wanting to see the outcome of this verbal battle between a social outcast and a much hated tight-end for a terrible football team.
“I’ma kill you, you little f piece’a s***.” Brother Jerry said hurrying to the back of the classroom. Kris stood his ground, while three football players stood up and stopped Brother Jerry from losing his job.
“Killing’s a sin Brother.” Kris said. Then the bell rang and Brother Jim just sat behind his desk with his face in his hands. “I’ll see ya tomorrow Brother.” Kris and I walked side by side and hand in hand to gym second hour. When we got dressed all the rest of the guys went clear to the other side of the locker room.
“Kris can you believe this?” I asked.
“At least it’s not as hot over here anymore.” Kris said. We played dodge ball in gym and all of the guys on our team and their team were aiming for Kris and I. Then Kris caught a ball and immediately whipped it back and hit a kid square in the side of the face and knocked him down.
“Kris go get dressed.” The Teacher said.
“That’s so ignorant.” I said
“Cooper you can follow him.”
“I’m sure he’s used to that.” I heard someone say behind me as I walked to the locker room. So I stuck my middle finger up at whoever said it. I walked into the locker room and sat down on the bench took my shoes off and looked over at Kris.
“Everything’ll be better huh?” I said sarcastically, looking over at Kris standing over at his locker. I looked at his thin lean body and the tattoo of John Lennon’s name in cursive on his back. Below John Lennon it said “Imagine” and “Give Peace a Chance”. “Has anyone ever told you that you have a great ass?”
“You’re the first guy.” Kris said looking back at me smiling.
“I take pride in that fact.”
As the rest of the day went on nothing got any better, but nothing got any worse. One class after another made fun of us, discriminated against us, and hated us for exactly who we were. I thought that people wouldn’t be this bad about it, I mean I swear it’s almost like we were two black kids going to an all white school in the 1960’s and I hated every minute of it. I think I took everything a little bit worse than Kris did.
Kris and I left school an hour early just because we were sick of everybody’s bull. We walked out of school at two thirty and walked home, on the way home we were holding hands well aware of all the gossiping by the stay at home moms and the laid-off dads. When we got home Kris’ mother was still at work so I decided to stay over at his house because I felt safe there. Honestly anytime that I was in Kris’ presence I felt safe, I don’t know why. Early that day one kid asked us “Which one’s the bitch” and I think he meant between Kris and I which one was the more dominant and which one wasn’t.
“I’m sick of everybody and their G**damn….” Kris said, finally letting out how he was feeling.
“I know I think we all are babe. So if we all just calm down I think eventually…” I said trying to be rational about everything that was going on.
“No! Okay no…people in this town will not get used to us. And do you know what the worst thing is?”
“What?” I asked Kris back watching him twirl his hair around his finger.
“I guarantee you that there are more gay kids at that school than just us, they’re just too damn scared to come out and…don’t blame them ‘cause this is some scary s***. I mean I never know if someone, when I stand up for myself like I did in Brother Jim’s classroom, will come up and stab me or hit me and honestly I’m scared to death.” Kris said with a face that was full of fear, terror, and love. I don’t think I remember ever once seeing Kris’ face being angry, no matter how upset Kris was he never looked angry or hateful and I think that was what made fall in love with him.
“How do you know that there are more gay kids at that school?” I asked Kris, kind of wondering how he would come up with that assumption.
“C’mon Gabe, honestly, there are roughly a thousand kids that go to that school. They come from all over the area. No matter ‘ow poor there family is, they’re willing to pay the tuition just so their kids can get a bigoted catholic education.”
“Kris you know what?”
“I’ve known you for how long now, and I still haven’t seen your room?” I asked Kris. I was always wondering what his room looked like, I think it’s because a person’s room directly reflects who that person is.
“Right this way.” Kris said pointing up the stairs.
“How ‘bout you show me where it is.” I said, following Kris up the stairs and turning left at the top of the stairs and walking to the end of the hallway.
“’Ere it is, this is my room.” Kris said opening up the door and letting me in. This was my first step to try and get into Kris’ mind and figure out what was going on up there. “It’s nothin’ special.” I walked right in and looked at all of the paintings, sketchings, and posters of British Punk bands.
“Did you draw all these?” I asked Kris, looking over at him.
“Yeah.” Kris said kind of embarrassed that I noticed them.
“They’re really good.” I said both reassuring him and telling him the truth. I walked over to Kris’ bed and sat down on it. When I laid down it felt like I was lying on a cloud, Kris came over and laid down next to me. We were lying on an angle with our heads touching and our legs hanging off the end of the bed. When I looked I saw a huge sketching on the ceiling of hearts. On the top of the paper in big capital letters was the word “LOVE”, there were blue and pink hearts there were two sets of blue hearts together and two sets pink hearts together. There was a big heart right in the middle that was both blue and pink, (the paper itself was blue on one side and pink on the other), there were also two hearts that were alone one was blue on the pink side of the paper and the other was pink on the blue side of the paper. The hearts that were together the most were blue and pink. “I freakin’ love that sketching.”
“’Ave it.” Kris said.
“Thanks,” I said rolling over and giving him a small kiss. Kris rolled over and gave me another small kiss that was a little bit bigger than mine, and I did the same. We went back and forth until we were kissing open mouthed on his bed. We took our shirts off and kissed a little bit more and Kris gave me a hickey on my neck and another one on my chest. Then we both felt like we weren’t ready to go any further than that. So we put our clothes back on and watched some TV. I left about a half an hour after that, and went home. When I walked through the door of my house my dad asked me where I’ve been.
“What do you mean?” I asked him back.
“I haven’t seen you in like two days.” My father said.
“It’s ‘cause you’re either at work or church.” I said walking away and going to my room.
“No it’s ‘cause you’re always hanging out doing god knows what with that f****t next door.”
“You know what dad?” I said turning around half way up the stairs. “You’re exactly right that’s exactly what I’m doing. We bring in a bunch gay man whores and black drug dealers and illegal aliens from Mexico and’ anyone else that people discriminate against ‘cause we can.”
I went upstairs to get away from my father and all his ignorance. On my way up I stopped and looked at the picture frame with my mother in it. I reached over and grabbed it, leaving a clean white rectangle on the wall where the frame had been for seventeen and a half years. My mother was wearing her wedding dress and smiling at the camera, only thinking of how happy her new husband and herself would be together. There is a note that my father wrote on the picture “Hey baby, I just want you to know that I will always take care of our son and you are the only woman in the world for me, and I love you”. Obviously my father wrote this note after my mother passed, there was a tear in the corner of my eye.
IT HAS BEEN a week since I yelled back at my father, and he was just then accepting the fact that I’m gay. I figured I would start my day out like every other day and take my morning shower, eat breakfast, and go over to Kris' house. And that's exactly what I did. I walked into the bathroom and looked at the young unfamiliar man staring back at me, and wondered what had changed me so much. Was it that I finally had the balls to stand up for myself and everything I believe in, or was it just that I was actually happy. I didn't know, but what I did know is that I wanted to see Kris.
I turned the hot water on in the shower, and waited to let the room fill up with steam. I wasn't intentionally trying to strike a pose but it was just how I stood and I knew I had to take a picture of it. I was shirtless and only in my tight boxer briefs, which made my stuff look well proportioned. I grabbed my phone and took the picture. The picture revealed my slim body and every definition of muscle. The steam added a really nice affect. I sent the picture to Kris. A couple seconds later I got a text back saying "SEXY!". I blushed, but I was happy no one could see. I stepped in the shower and immediately stepped out...the water was scoldingly hot. I turned it down a little bit and then stepped back in. It was much better that time. I let the water run down the front and back of me as it hit the back of my neck and chose which path it would take. I took the bar soap and lathered it all over my body; under my arms, on my chest, on my neck, my stomach, and groin. I turned around and let the hot water rinse the white foamy soap off my body. I shampooed and conditioned my hair and got out.
I got grabbed a horizontally thick striped black and blue long sleeved shirt and a pair of tight pants. I ran down stairs and ate some of my grandmother's delicious breakfasts. When I walked into the kitchen to get my food my dad was sitting at the table with his reading glasses sitting halfway down his nose writing checks for his bills.
“Hey Gabe, c’mere I’ve got something I’ve got to talk to you about.” Dad said this in a very monotone angry way. It scared me when he spoke like that. I walked over and put my hand on his shoulder anyways.
“Yeah?” I said as innocently as possible.” He turned around so fast that my hand that was on his shoulder was still sitting in that same spot in mid air when his face came around and hit it before I could pull it away.
“What the hell is this?” He had two pieces of paper in his hands, one was a bill and the other was my report card.
“Idunno,” I mumbled. His eyes were furious brown flames that had a hint sorrow in them somewhere way deep inside.
“Bulls***, you don’t know what this is?…it’s your report card.” He stuck his right hand out in front of me and handed me a piece of paper that had three crisp folds and a crinkled corner where my father had been holding it. I grabbed the semi-wrinkled piece of paper out of his hand and read it. I had one B, two C’s, and three failing grades. I wasn’t totally shocked by this because I had been spending a lot of time with Kris lately. "So do you have anything to say?" He seemed pretty serious.
"Nah, don't think so...I mean than I suck and I could do better, but other than that...no don't think so." Dad had one of those "you smart ass" looks on his face, I didn't blame him though because I was being a smart ass, but I didn't really know why. "Do you need anything else from me?" I Don't know why I said that but I did and I regret it.
"Yeah...I think you should stay in the house today...you know what? I think maybe for a few days."
"What? You can't do this...c'mon dad I have to work on a project with Kris."
"Sucks for you then, 'cause you're stuck here...You get to do nothing except go to school and specific places you ask me about...And you don't get to see your little... friend." Dad was still awkward thinking of me liking guys. I don't really blame him, because if I was like him I would probably feel the same way if my son told me he was gay.
I stormed up stairs to my room and slammed the door. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and texted Kris and told him what happened. He understood, but not really. So I sat in my room thinking of what I should do. I had a huge backpack filled with unfinished homework and garbage. I had clothes that needed to be washed that were sitting on the floor waiting for the attention they need. There was my bathroom which was trashed beyond belief. I looked out the window to see my backyard. it was snowing and raining at the same time, the ground looked pretty nasty, and the sky was so dark that, even though it was eleven o' clock, it looked like it was seven o' clock at night. There was no hope out the window of anything positive and there was no hope in the house. I looked over at Kris' house and noticed how warm and inviting it looked. I looked in Kris' yard and saw him down there battling with a tarp that was frozen to the ground and covered with snow. It stopped raining and just snowed enough to compensate for the rain. It always drove me crazy how Kris would go outside in the cold without a jacket. I kept telling him that he was going to catch pneumonia, but he never listened. Kris was wearing a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, I could see the small clouds of fog billowing out of his lungs. He gave up and slowly walked inside and came out a minute or two later with a pan that was steaming with hot water. He threw the water on the tarp, most of the water splashed back on him and I think I saw him say a few profanities. Then Kris pulled the tarp out and dragged