June 1998

I run for the bathroom as quickly as my feet will take me. I raise the lid as I bow before the porcelain goddess. In one violent wave I see every dream I've ever had go into that white basin. Then I do something very stupid -- I jiggle the little silver handle and watch everything I've ever wanted out of life go down the toilet.

As you might imagine from what I've written above, I've had one hell of a day. The paragraph above is a metaphoric summary of my year. Today is the day I lost all hope and jiggled that silver handle. You're about to be taken into a place I've never taken anyone else before. This is a place of chaos and tragedy, welcome inside my mind.

Let me take you back to the beginning of my sad story. It starts half way through my sixth grade year.

I step into the hallway of my new school, and see my new life begin. My mind goes back to St. Petersburg (Florida not Russia) and J, the only true friend I'd ever had up to that point in my life. Halfway through my sixth grade year we made the big move -- St. Pete to Orlando -- because my mom needed a new start; unknown to her, so did I.

My first day in school in Orlando, I see Evan and realize I like the way he looks -- I didn't give this observation a second thought.

I made it through the year with little difficulty. The summer was dull and passed slowly. August came and it was time to start seventh grade.

Throughout the year one thing ran through my mind, one person actually. I didn't really love Eddie, but I lusted for him the entire year. That year drew to a close, and I still didn't think anything to be strange about my apparent attraction with guys. I often gave my self the classic "This is just a phase I'm going through" excuse. Most of the summer dragged out as did the last. Toward the end of the summer, my grandmother and I went on vacation to California. The vacation gave my mind a freedom it needed, because I finally started to question my sexual orientation. Denial eats at you in a way you could never imagine. We got back from the vacation and I was still piecing everything together.

I felt guilty because I had known for about a month that my grandmother had cancer, but I was too tangled in my own problems to feel bad for her. August 3, 1997 -- a day I will never be able to forget. That day I made my myself admit to my sexual orientation. "I'm gay" I heard myself say aloud. My cat, my hamster, and myself were the only ones home to bear witness to my declaration. The moment my brain registered what I had just said I collapsed onto my bed and cried into my pillow. I don't know exactly when it happened, but my tears ran dry and I slept.

A few weeks later, I started my eighth grade school year. My first day back was a blur. I was still in shock from what had happened to me a few weeks earlier. In a couple weeks time my perception of life managed to change so much. My views of the world were all so different than they were before August 3rd. The second day I saw HIM. I learned his name to be Matt. Never had I seen anyone so beautiful. Every day I learned more about him, and every day I fell deeper in love. His imperfections made him even more perfect than before.

I had been afraid to speak to Matt, because I didn't know if he was gay or not. One day my hopes soared as I witnessed something that I can recall as the best day I'd had all year. It was the day before we got out for our spring break, and we were all in English socializing before the teacher entered the room. I, as usual, tried to look in Matt's direction without being detected. One of Matt's friends, I think he's Matt's best friend, told someone else nearby that Matt is gay. His reaction was along the lines of "nahh, Matt can't be gay. Matt isn't gay. Are you Matt????". Matt replied by shaking his head in a clear yes as he turned bright red. Needless to say, that ran through my mind for all of spring break. Since then I've her many friends tease him about being gay.

I've found that I'm allergic to people I'm in love with. This allergies symptoms are as follows: brain starts functioning slowly, my lips and tongue go numb, and my eyes are forced in another direction. These symptoms are commonly misdiagnosed as I-am-not-interested-in-you-disease or Anti-socialism.

One day Matt came out of the locker room after dressing back in from P.E. Normally, he'll walk up to his friends and talk to them, but today he ignored his usual ritual. Instead, he stood a couple yards away from where I stood waiting to be dismissed. I found this very odd. When we were dismissed I walked slowly allowing him plenty of time to catch up, if he so desired. Sure enough, on the way to the main building he caught up and began to have a conversation with me. During this conversation he asked me things that someone who knows me as little as he does normally wouldn't care about. Also, during the course of the conversation I managed to make him laugh, and give me that smile that would like to drop me to my knees.

The next day came and he stood in the same place as the day before. We were dismissed, but instead of catching up he walked several feet behind me. I had to wonder if this was a test to see if I would start a conversation with him this time. My brain sent a signal to turn around, smile slightly, and say "Hey Matt", but my body interpreted this as Look away and keep walking. If I had the strength to do anything more than cry, when I got home, I would have smacked myself. Could it be that he is making attempts to get to know me better, and all that I have to offer is a cold shoulder.

And now on to today (5/13/98). I will remember this day for a long time to come as the worst day of my life. Matt (first period) was it's usual dull hour, nothing extraordinary occurred. History was dull, but I did spend a lot of time trying to untie the knot in my stomach. I had commissioned a friend to tell Matt I was gay, and this was the period she was in his class. I wouldn't find out what happened until after fifth period. Third period (P.E.) was typical -- I sat on the bleachers in the gym and watched the basketball game Matt was playing in. Fourth period (English) is always my favorite. I love the teacher (not like how I love Matt or anything), and that is the one class of the day I have with Matt (we have different coaches for P.E. so I don't always get to see him). We finished reading Night by Elie Weisel -- the account of a Holocaust survivor. As the teacher read it I was amazed at how much the torture he went through reminded me of my life, it is sad to think I can compare my life with that of those who went through the Holocaust. Fifth period was dull (Science- sex ed unit), we read all period. After class I found out what happened that day in second period when Lauren, my friend in charge of rumor spreading, told Matt I was gay.

Matt's alleged reaction to the news that I was gay was, "I don't care." The wrath of God, Hitler, Satan, and the IRS combined could not compare to how I felt at that moment, but I managed to keep all of my emotions internal and hidden from view (a skill I've perfected to an art).

I don't know how I ever made it through sixth period, but I did. The walk home was Hell. The days events rolled through my mind as events from earlier in the year taunted at me as well. I did everything I could to prevent myself from breaking down into tears, which included not talking -- even when concerned friends were asking me what happened. I was almost home, but between the heat, my troubling thoughts of Matt and suicide, and the empty space my heart once occupied I was miserable. I wanted to collapse onto the ground and spontaneously combust, but I made it home.

Like when I admitted to myself I was gay, I cried into my pillow, but this time I was crying so hard I could hardly breathe and it felt like me face was about to implode.

I have many Christian bigots telling me I'm damned to hell for being gay, What they fail to realize is I'm already there.


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