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"I say my hell is the closet I'm stuck inside." -Dave Matthews Band

Closet Cases: The Morning After

by Patrick

Some mornings are just absolutely perfect. You wake up to a warm morning sun outside your window after sleeping late without guilt. You slink out of bed in all your morning-breathed, matted-haired glory, into a warm, steaming shower with pleasant memories of the previous evening's activities.

Then, sometimes, you make your way downstairs to find a enjoyable surprise, like good news in the newspaper for a change. A impeccable breakfast is next, a magnificent omelet scrambled just right, or piles of pancakes with gratuitous amounts of maple syrup, all in place of your usual bowl of soggy Corn Flakes.

On those kind of mornings, it seems like nothing can go wrong. They really are perfect.

Imagine one of those wonderful mornings. Now imagine the exact opposite. That was my morning.

No warming sun, no hot water, and no nice breakfast. And certainly no pleasant memories of the preceding night, because it was a total disaster.

What a horrid evening! As soon as I had my suspicions that Sarah had more in mind than just two friends going to the movies, I should have canceled, because, of course, she had more in mind than just friendship. A lot more.

Now, Sarah isn't a bad looking young lady. She's about 5'7", I'd guess, and skinny but not anorexic. She has a very nice face, a trendy hair cut (the one everyone in America has: the Jennifer Aniston/Teri Hatcher hybrid), and nice greenish eyes. I guess that she's every high school boy's fantasy date, and I'm the one who scored that "date". Too bad I wasn't interesting.

I still wonder what this attractive young woman wanted to do with me, a nobody new kid with no life and hardly any friends, who certainly is not that attractive. She could have most any guy in the school. Why did she pick me, probably the only one who wouldn't want her?

I met Sarah in a Study Hall. She was very outgoing and nice to me, and we became fast friends. This was my first year at a new school and I was fairly lonely, so I took friendliness where ever I could get it. When she suggested that we catch the new Liam Neeson film, I thought nothing of it. It was a fairly innocent request and much better than sitting home alone on a Saturday night, so I accepted enthusiastically.

I started to have my doubts when Sarah acted differently around me. Slight differences, almost as if she was flirting with me. The talk around school was that I was her latest boyfriend. I didn't think mush about it. Soon, the big night arrived.

She showed up at my doorstep earlier than I had planned, almost thirty minutes before the set time. Unfortunately, I had just gotten out of the shower and was in the middle of shaving when I heard the bell ring. I had to answer the door in a towel. How embarrassing!

So there I was in nothing but a towel and shaving cream, and there she was, all dressed up with no one to-- naw, I won't go there. We exchanged our greeting and she apologized about being so early. It was snowing outside and very cold, so I led her into the foyer and she took off her coat. As if being in a towel wasn't awkward enough, she decided to squeeze my biceps a few times and checked me out rather obviously. "You have a nice body," she commented. "You must work out."

"Um... actually, no," I shyly replied. "I used to, quite a bit. I haven't since I moved her."

I brought her to the living room and I sat her down on the couch. I took my leave of her and quickly retreated back to the bathroom. Around this time, as I was finishing my shaving hastily, I thought that I should just throw her out of my house, call the whole thing off. She obviously thought this night was going to be one to remember. Too bad I didn't agree.

It was like a strange role reversal. Isn't it the guy who's supposed to pick up the girl, check him out, and make his intentions obviously known? I felt so embarrassed, so I did what I always do when I'm nervous-- I acted like a total fool.

By this time, I was dressed and ready to go. I went out in the living room, and she wasn't there! "Oh, shit!" I thought, because I figured that I knew where she had gone. I ran up the stairs up to my bedroom, half expecting to see her undressed and spread out on my bed. Much to my relief, she wasn't there.

I flew down the stairs and found her in the kitchen, helping herself to a glass of water. Okay, so not only was she a slut, she was rude. She acted so different at school.

I made my way back upstairs to get dressed, half-expecting her to follow me up. I quickly threw on my outfit for the evening and we left for the movie theatre.

It was Saturday night at the cinema and the place was packed. The line for tickets extended outside of the lobby, to the bitter cold weather and still falling snow. She said that we should just leave. I asked what we could do, and she replied, "I'm sure we can think of something..."

Trying to think of a retort that wouldn't make me sound queer, I said, "Come on, Sarah. I really want to see this movie. It won't take that long." I could have left it at that, but, stupidly, I had to add, "They'll be plenty of time afterwards."

I wanted to kick myself. It was like, "Open mouth, insert foot." What the hell was I thinking? Why did I say that? Was I crazy?

So, we went into the theatre for Michael Collins about five minutes before show time. Much to my dismay, there were all of three other people in there. Jesus, we were basically alone, in the dark, in a big theatre. I cursed my luck, and my stupidity.

She choose our seats over to the side, isolated from everyone else. The movie started, about four other people came in during the previews, but still, we were alone.

About halfway through the terribly boring movie, I was shocked when she put her head on my shoulder. My face must have been quite a sight!

I let her keep it there for a while. I soon realized that I had slowly inched away from her. I was almost pushed against the arm rest opposite her and my legs were almost in the aisle. My palms were sweaty and I just felt generally terrible. This was the first girl I've gone out with since coming to the conclusion that I was gay. Why did she have to be a slut?

Then, shortly after that, I felt her hand on my thigh. I wanted to scream and run out the theatre when she did that. She whispered, "Your legs are so strong." I remained silent. What was I going to do?

So, she continued to massage my thigh and she made her way up, to my inner thigh... I tried to stay focused on the movie, but it was so boring. When she inched her hand higher, too high, to a place where her hands shouldn't have been, I leapt up and explained that I had to go to the bathroom.

The minutes ticked by that I hit in the bathroom. I got a few strange looks from other guys that came in and out. I must have been a sight. I stayed in there for probably ten minutes, wondering what Sarah was thinking. Did she think I was in there jerking off? Did she realize how awkward and uncomfortable she made me? Did she think I was gay, because certainly, this wasn't normal behavior for any of the other guys she's done that to? I could see the surprise on her face when I leapt up. It was classic.

I left the bathroom and she was waiting outside in the lobby for me. "God..." I whispered to myself.

We both pretty much said that we were sorry at the same time. I was like, "I guess I just wasn't expecting that, Sarah." And she was like, "I'm sorry, Patrick. I don't know what came over me. You're just... you're so... you're not like other guys, are you? I like that."

With the "not like other guys" comment, my heart leapt up in my throat. I asked her what she meant. She said that all the other guys she'd "dated" all expected more from her. She had to act like a slut, she said. I didn't know what to say.

We went back to the movie and then to a coffee shop for a few hours. It was fun. She didn't try anything else and we really had a good time. We talked and had fun and I wasn't nervous anymore.

The shop closed at one o'clock, so we had to leave and she brought me back home, after a slow ride around town. It was nice. No pressure. No nervousness. Just friends. Or so I thought.

She brought me home and we sat in the car for a minute. Then it got awkward again. I tried small talk but she just stared at me. I tried not to make eye contact, but that was impossible. Our eyes locked and she moved closer. I froze.

Then, she kissed me, or at least, she tried to kiss me. I was completely dumbfounded. I just remained in my spot, a stupid look stuck on my face. I could think of nothing to say or do. I was in shock. I finally mustered up something and my tactful retort was, "Uh..."

A heartbeat later, I blurted out, "Bye," and leapt from the car, rushing into my house.

Sleep did not come easily that night. When it finally did, I discovered that Sarah had invaded my dreams as well. She was there, in my mind, chasing me, revealing me to everyone... Continued in Part Two... "White Lies, Black Lies"

About the Author:

"I wish everyone else could know the Patrick that I know, the one who is clever and funny but misunderstood and struggling to keep his head above water in a world that seems hell-bent on destroying him."

A friend of mind described me that way once. It was such a poetic, flattering, wonderful thing for him to say that it has stayed forever etched in my memory.

"I feel so privileged," he continued, "because I'm the only person in the world so far who's had the opportunity to see the beauty that's really within your heart. So lucky to be on the receiving end of open, honest affection that you're giving for the first time ever. I'm getting to see your heart waking up and releasing feelings that have been locked away for so many years."


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