Notes: Most of this conversation actually happened. *shrugs* I just felt like putting it down on paper/aka word processor.



He shows me a picture of his first girlfriend, the one he was with before he realized he liked boys. He pulls his faded leather wallet from the back pocket of his blue jeans and flips it open with relative ease, as if he's done this a million times before.

I take a sick sort of pleasure in looking at her picture, realizing that had I met him when he believed himself to be straight, I could have had a chance. She is overweight and dumpy, certainly not an attractive girl. I try to force down the little well of conceit bubbling up in my chest. I'm prettier than this girl, I tell myself, I could have been his girlfriend.

"What happened when you came out to her?" I hand the wallet back to him, and he tucks it back into his pocket.

"She kicked me in the nuts."

"She what?!" I stare at him in utter disbelief, my jaw dropping to my knees. "She kicked you in the groin?"

"Well, she got over it, eventually," he admits, with a sheepish, easy grin. "She's one of my best friends now… She's constantly trying to set me up with this guy, and that guy…" He tilts his head and gazes at me. "I suppose it could've turned out worse…"

"Your parents could have disowned you…"

"They didn't," he points out, even though I already know this. "They had some practice with my uncles." He smirks, draping his long, cold fingers over mine.

"I guess it runs in your family," I tease.

Rob beams. "My sister's already becoming a little butch."

"How old is she?" I arch an eyebrow at him in surprise.

"She's seven, but she won't wear dresses anymore, and she beats up the boys at her elementary school… It's really quite cute," he says, with a grin and a wink.  

"When did you realize you were gay… Like, for sure, that there was no going back… You just…knew."

"Last year," he murmurs, stretching his long legs out under the rotting park bench. "I always knew I was different, but I didn't know what exactly was different until last year… Well, I mean, I had crushes and stuff on other boys when I was, like, thirteen, but I didn't realize what it all meant until last year…" He flicks a peanut shell with his thumb and forefinger.

"So, it's something you've always known?" I ask.

"Kind of… It's hard to explain… It's like…there's this cloud of doubt hanging over your head… You know something is different, but you don't exactly know what is different…Just that you're different than everyone else…"

"Not different, special."

Rob laughs. "Everyone is special, though."

"Maybe… Not Noah." I scowl out my brother's name, but Rob only laughs.

"Maybe even Noah."

"Have you had sex?" I blurt out.

Rob arches an eyebrow in my direction. "Hmm?"

"Well, have you…had sex with a girl?"

"Yeah…" Rob seems leery of where the conversation is heading, and if I were him, I would be.

"Have you had sex with a guy?"

"Yeah, been there, done that," he chuckles, lightly.

"Do you think you could find a person whose… I don't know, whose soul so matched yours, that it wouldn't matter how old he was? Or what race or nationality he was? Or what sex they were? That all of that…external stuff would cancel itself out or something?" I babble, my hands fluttering up to my neck to tangle in some non-existent pearls. "Like…you could have this amazingly intense connection with a person without… I don't know, caring about whether or not said person had a penis or a vagina?"

Rob puzzles over my recent attack of verbal diarrhea, digesting everything methodically, slowly. Finally, "I guess that's possible," he says, carefully. "I think I could see myself…so wrapped up in another person that all that stuff wouldn't matter…"

"So I'm not insane for thinking that, then?" I look up at Rob hopefully.

"I never said you weren't insane," he teases, looping an arm around my shoulders. "Just not on that…" He sighs, his breath puffing out in little white billows of smoke. "Sexuality is hard to define… It's like quicksilver, you know? The harder you try to squeeze it in your hand, the more it just slips through your fingers."

I rest my head against his shoulder. "I love you, Rob."

He tightens his arm around my shoulders. "I love you too, sweetie."


the end.

Salsa Shark