A/N- this is a true story, but it is altered slightly as one cannot recall every single detail of events, but all the situations and characters are real. I can't write anything without making it sound like a preschooler picked up a pen. So I had it edited and stuff by Levy. The plot is mine as it's my life, but the good grammar is all hers. Oh and description…. purely mine if you take my meaning. You do take my meaning, don't you? ::watches eagerly:: Good! Let's move on.
How should I begin? It's a long way from here, though there's only a short time frame between then and now. I haven't come so far. I just want to share a bit with you. I am no writer, I can give you that, but I can take to my feelings enough knowing that I can help you feel them too. I am a gay eighteen year old and like most gay eighteen year olds, I wasn't always that way.
Where to start again and bring back what used to be there?
I suppose it would make sense if I started before I made the almighty discovery that turned everything wrong and then right. I suppose a clock needs to be broken before it's fixed. I can deal with that, but how much can you break a clock before it can't be fixed anymore. I hope it's never like that with me.
I was fourteen when I realized it. My life had been simple, average and I was already growing into what the world expects of a boy. I was expected to grow into a big boy who had pulled his share of girl's pigtails and had a look at enough of those dirty magazines his father hides in the bottom drawer of his wardrobe. I was growing into that, you can be sure. I even had a girlfriend, Anna.
Now, I remember Anna real well. She was tall, slightly blossomed, brown eyes, had braces, and the cutest curly brown brush of long hair. A fourteen-year-old boy's dream of perfection was what she was. I was going out with her…who knows why I was going out with her. It was fun to say I had a girlfriend? All my other friends had one? I wanted people to stop calling me a fag at school because I didn't play any sports except a little tennis? It was all rather psychological, but who thinks that way at fourteen.
Anyway, Anna and I got on pretty well. Better than well, I guess. We had already had our first kiss over the summer. It had been a hot, airless night where the mosquitoes were in our faces as we sat by the creek. I hadn't really planned to do it, but she had some of that gross algae in her hair and I had reached up to pull it out and I suppose she had seen all the movies where what came next was supposed to come. She leaned forward as I raised my hand to her hair and I was all freaking out. I looked at her face, inches from mine, the freckles on her nose a stormy blur of nothing. Her lips were a little puckered, not ridiculously so, but enough that I got the message and I knew that she wanted me to do something. So I took a deep breath and tried to forget about that slimy green stuff sitting in her hair. It was well and truly disgusting. I had to get that alga out somehow! But, it was expected that I should focus on the task at hand, I suppose.
Our lips met and I tasted that awful lip smackers stuff. It was some kind of strawberry vanilla flavour that was made to be slimy and extra shiny. It was detestable and I pulled back quickly. She was sitting there smiling at me, thinking I was all blushed because I had kissed her or something, but I was staring at her with revulsion and wondering why kissing was such a big thrill. I was bloody well glad it was over. I let her get on home, algae and all. I was honestly hoping to myself that she was going to notice the algae. I hadn't the heart to tell her.
At that time, I was living with my dad. He looks more like me than my mum does, but it doesn't add to our relationship. He's a nice bloke; at least he was back in the day. He worked as a paramedic. His job may have seemed important, but where we live a paramedic's job is to wait for something to happen and in the suburbs during a hot, wasted summer…nothing is going to happen. Which explained what he was doing at home now.
I came home that night and found him in the living room watching the bloody telly again. That was all he did at night, watch that stupid television and yell at it. He had been like that ever since his divorce. I walked into the living room and stood beside him in his armchair. He was in his work shirt, but with shorts. His huge hairy legs were spread out before him and one arm was flung out over the side, holding a crushed beer can. His auburn mane of hair had been cut short after the eighties had rolled away and was now a crew cut and made him look all beefy. He stared blankly at the screen, his hazel eyes dull with the thrall of it. I sometimes wondered if it was just the colours he watched rather than the show. I could just see the fascination triggered in his simple mind as the colours rushed past the fuzzy screen in little tiny blots of static here and there. It was probably a magnificent life, his.
"Dad?" I entreated, after looking around at our dark, smelly living room with revulsion.
"What...?" came the answer, dull and listless.
"I went to the creek with Anna today."
His glance strayed a moment from the screen, "Girlfriend, Anna?" he grunted and I nodded. "So, what happened?" he inquired, his eyes boring down into mine under his flabby eyelids.
"I-she-we kissed," I answered simply.
A big, goofy, but still endearing grin broke out over his face. Now before you feel confused and wonder why the hell I had shared that of all things with my own father. It was something to do with his determination to make me into a true Christian Irishman. I was still at that stage where I cared what he thought. I wanted him to be happy with me. At that time, I might've joined him at his hockey matches and rugby matches all for the sake of making him proud, but there was only so much testosterone I could take.
"Atta go, laddie!" he roared and slapped his thigh.
He was proud.
I went to my room, but my spirits only lasted moments before they faded into nothing. I was soon standing in my room, my bed, and a single mattress on the floor with plain blue sheets over it and a Bordeaux red coverlet. I was dressed in a Nike t-shirt and basketball sweats and I had my hair cut into that retarded flip hairstyle that every guy had and some still have with all the hair combed to the front and the fringe gelled to point upwards like an upside down duck-ass haircut. I was like everybody else, but I knew that something was wrong.
My other friends had told me about their experiences with girls and all of them had seemed so positive. Now this…
She would go and tell all her friends that I had kissed her and I was supposed to tell my friends how suave it was. It was all some cliché madness, which called for redundant behaviour. I had to go somewhere else for a while. I just had to find my way out of it. I chose to just step outside and see where it would lead I did go out side and I was just stepping out off the duplex street when I saw Tony getting into his dad's Pontiac. He spotted me standing at my front door and waved. I waved back.
Tony was two years older than me and had been the one who I didn't talk to all that much. But he never hesitated to take me anywhere if I asked. Now, Tony was your typical Italian, a strong, sturdy, I'm-a-gonna-smash-a-your-face-in-if-I-ever-a-catch-you-a-lookin'-at-me-that way-again type of guy. He wore his expensive blue jeans and his carefully planned sleeveless black t-shirt to show off that oh-so racy tattoo on his left arm and he even had that cheesy, but breathless smile plastered on his face when he looked like he was about to knock you down. My mom and his mom had been pretty good friends until Mom moved out and the usual divorce story.
I walked over to him as he leaned over the top of the red Mustang, "What's up, little amico?"
Amico is what he called me in Italian. I think it means buddy.
"Hey, Tony, are you busy."
"I was just going over to see some friends…what's wrong?" he asked, noticing the bleak look on my face.
"I-" I didn't want to tell him what had just happened today. He'd probably laugh, "I just want to go somewhere."
"You wanna come with me?" he asked.
I changed out of my shorts and into black jeans and a dark green t-shirt, which was a little fitting, but the nicest one I could find. I checked my wallet for any sign of unspent allowance and thankfully I found a tenner. I raced downstairs and stood in the living room again beside that old, eighties armchair with the striped coating.
"I-I'm going somewhere with Tony."
"Go on, but be back by David Letterman."
That was how he told time in the evening and I could list the whole TV listings guide of the evenings in the summer of 1999 because I needed to back then to know when Wheel Of Fortune came on and it was time for supper in front of the television. It was 7:30 pm and Wheel of Fortune must have just ended or something because there was a bowl of macaroni on the floor half eaten and a new can of beer waiting to be opened.
I went outside and stared down my street. The street with all the same houses. I lived in one of those townhouses in the midst of brown and white with the same structure again and again. God, I couldn't wait to get out of here
I hopped in the passenger seat and sure enough he was dressed impeccably. I took a moment to watch him as he started up the car, his trademark black shirt without sleeves was complementing his arms once again. Even better was his hair. I should tell you now that I have a terrible psychological fixation with hair. If there's something wrong with your hair, I'll fix it, but I get ahead of myself.
His hair was black, jet-black and hung nicely in attractive curls that waved in a length over his head. I noticed all these things then, but thought nothing of them. I had never thought there was anything weird about noticing how good your friends looked. He grinned at me, his blue eyes so clear in the shade of the car. I was a little bit comforted and I smiled sheepishly back.
He turned the vehicle past the speed all up and down the drive way and left the area into the street. "So what made you crack and want to see me today?" he asked, in his own acceptably arrogant way.
I shrugged, not wanting to share the Anna experience and answered, "Just wanted to be somewhere else today."
His hand came out and gave me a friendly grip on the shoulder, "Well, little amico, you're gonna be somewhere else today whether you like it or not. I'm pretty sure you'll like it."
I laughed, not because I thought what he said was funny but because it gave me something to do as his hand rested on my shoulder for a bit longer before it slipped away back onto the steering wheel. It always made me feel accepted when he called me amico. (Come on, don't tell me you haven't ever felt that need for acceptance) He was just so suave and smooth. I wanted to be like him so badly it was almost crazy. I thought it was so neat that he could speak fluent Italian and that girls were always looking at him when we went places. Tony Jackson was one hunk of a guy and at that point I couldn't even deny it.
Tony popped in a cd and I remember commenting on how cool it was that he had a cd player installed. His car was so new!
"You like Linkin Park?" he asked, as the song, "One Step Closer" started playing.
"Yeah," I answered automatically, looking at him as he shoulder checked and changed lanes. I stared for a long time, not really knowing why. Then he glanced at me, obviously feeling my stare. He pressed the button and the windows sort of slid open and the rush of wind swept in and I looked away, feeling really thick.
"Which album's your fave?" he asked, with the tone that he didn't really care, but was trying to carry conversation. I hated that and wouldn't have cared to answer were it not that I feared what he would think if I just didn't answer.
"Er…th-this one," I answered, making a quick glance at the album cover on the floor for the title at least. I couldn't see it and I panicked for a moment. I was fortunate enough that he changed the subject with a sound of disgust.
"Jesus, it's so fucking hot!" he swore with vehemence, running one hand through his curls and pushing them back behind his ears. I watched again and I saw his eyes dart at me uneasily and I looked at my hands, kicking myself internally.
Idiot, fucking fag of an idiot! I was thinking. What are you staring for?
"S-so where are we going?" I asked.
He laughed, "Well, since I didn't plan on leavin' you to fry on the pavement, I thought I'd take you with me to Tina's."
"A girlfriend of mine-no, I mean girlfriend as in just friend," he added when he saw my surprised expression.
I nodded and looked out the window, but couldn't really because the wind was in my eyes. The window slid shut and I heard Tony laugh, but I didn't turn and look at him because I knew I wouldn't be able to stop after that.
We pulled into a driveway and a group of people were all standing around two cars, chatting with some of them smoking. Tony reached over and gave my arm a shake. He probably thought the bumpy ride had tuckered me out, but I had really just been pretending to sleep to prevent further mishaps. I sat up and glanced at him, acting like I had just been sleeping.
"You sleep like a log. I had that music blaring," he laughed. Tony laughs a lot.
The music had been loud and I felt like I would never hear properly again. I clambered out of the car and went with him to meet the others.
"Hey, guys, brought a friend along. Hope you don't mind," Tony called out to them as they all stared at me under the shade of an open garage. There were five of them. Three of them were guys and two were girls, "This is Craig, boy off my street."
They all nodded, obviously understanding Tony's monosyllabic jargon.
I allowed myself to be drawn forward like a child and I looked up at the group who seemed to tower above me like the overbearing statues at the church of the saints.
"Amico, this is Tina," he offered, nodding at the really tall red head smiling down on me. She dressed like a hippie with her dark red hair tied back in two hair sticks and her frilly skirt covered in a bell shawl. She was wearing some sort of t-shirt with a peace sign on it in tie dye. She gave me a little wave and seemed to be suppressing a squeal of complete gushiness if such a word exists. I couldn't imagine why. ::rolls eyes::
I offered a smile and looked at the rest. There was one who was leaning against a black Volvo and staring at me with something that could have been complete abandon had it not been for the complete dislike in which his expression was turned up. His hair was dyed platinum blonde and he had an eyebrow ring. I noticed his hair most and you and I both know why. It was cut sharply to only just meet the top of his cheekbones. He was thin, but tall and the way he looked just screamed "Ice Man!"
I stared at him because he was the only one that caught my attention and on the plus, he had mega nice hair!
It was a moment before I realized that Tony had been introducing the others names and I had missed them. Oh well, it wasn't as if he had expected me to remember them anyway. I was just a little bit disappointed I hadn't heard Ice man's name. (Yes, I called him Ice man in my head for a while before I figured out what his name was.)
"So you're Irish? How's that working out for you?"
That was the other girl Kathleen. She was short and had a full head of long black hair. She looked liked those porcelain dolls my Gran owned. The one's I'd always shut in the closet when I slept in her guest room 'cause they scared me so much. Her eyes were black and a bit glassy like a dolls and they seemed to roll as she looked elsewhere. She was lovely, I guess, but her prettiness could only be described as scary beautiful. I think she knew this and exploited it and got herself drunk most of the time. She was drunk right now.
We were at some place across town and I had been crushed between Tina and Kathleen in a booth while the guys went off to play pool. They were interrogating me and I felt as if I had been pulled from one side of the world to the next in a single yank. I sat there, answering in monosyllables. I felt so little and they were babying me after all. Tina had her arm around me and Kathleen was half spread over the table, giggling at everything I said and now and then saying, "Oh, he's such a cute little boy!"
I don't know about you, but I was a little annoyed. So I attempted to in some way let them know that I wasn't a nine year old. I wasn't having a lick of fun. I just kept watching Tony and the other three playing pool. I was at the moment fascinated with the Ice man. He stood there, holding his cue stick with two hands on top of it. He was sort of leaning on it with his head tilted to the side, watching the other's play blankly as he waited his turn. They weren't that far from us but from where he stood his eyes looked black, but they were suddenly narrowed and I realized that he was looking back at me.
I looked away, feeling the blood rush to my face. I made several glances at him involuntarily and with each glance I became more intrigued. His head was still tilted to the side, but he was staring at me. I don't quite remember the expression, but I think it was sort of curious in its own indifferent way. Who knows what the expression was, it was just weird.
"Cal, knock it off! You're scaring him!" I heard Tina beside me, call at him.
She had seen the whole thing happen, but what she saw was him trying to creep me out. What I saw was my having invoked his behaviour. I was bright red and I could feel it, but I still stared at him.
His dark eyes seemed to flick at her from my face and he said, without even inclining his head at her, "Don't call me that," then his eyes went back to the game.
I looked at Tina who looked back at me. I felt slightly thicker than usual as if being knocked over the head had been something of an understatement.
"What's that guy's name again?" I decided to ask so she would stop watching.
She looked back at him and frowned, "That's Calvin. Don't get him upset."
That sort of ended it for that conversation.