December 1998

An eagle among penguins

My name is Derrick and I'm 20 years old. I live in the heart of the Hudson Valley in upstate NY. I've lived here all my life and sometimes I think I'll always live here, but recently those thoughts have changed.

I'm about to make a move. I've decided to move all the way to the other side of the country to San Diego, CA. I have a few reasons why I want to move and a few why I need to move.

Going back to 6th grade when I realized I was gay was the beginning of a living hell. My first crush was on a guy named Matt. He was a grade ahead of me. I used to follow him around school. I was like a panther and he was my prey and I was sneaking around waiting for the right time to go in for the kill. I never did find the right time. I was too afraid to say anything. That was just one of many who would break my heart in the coming years.

I don't think anyone had hurt me quite as much as my friend, whom we'll call Jesse for the protection of the innocent. Anyway, Jesse and I became friends when I was 16. He was a grade under me. I liked him a lot and had liked him for quite some time but never had the chance to talk to him until he landed himself in my computer class my sophomore year. I sat next to him and got talking and before I knew it we were hanging out all the time. Weekends and after school and talking on the phone all the time. He used to sleep over a lot and I would stay at his house, too.

But one night, he and I got into the topic of masturbation and I guess it sparked something in him because that night would be the first night I would be more than friends with a boy. Over the next few months, our relationship grew to something I would've never expected. We would hold each other at night and fool around whenever we were alone. My feelings for Jesse had developed from a crush into love. Real love. The kind of love that makes you feel sick to your stomach because you're so happy. I guess you could say I fell in a pile of Jesse and got love all over me.

All that time that he and I were "together," he would still talk about girls and I figured he was just doing it to keep people from nagging him or something because nobody knew what was going on. One night while his parents were away for the weekend, there was a party and he was drunk, as was almost everyone there, and I took him upstairs to his parents bedroom and we got to talking about this girl he was always talking about. He said he really liked her and wants to try and date her, and the whole time I was about the break into tears because I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I told him for the first time how I felt about him. He was surprised, and I have no idea how he didn't know, to find out I was gay. I asked him if he felt the same way for me as I felt for him and he said no. Everything thing that we had was gone instantly. Almost seemed like a waste of time. After it all ended I went into severe depression and became very suicidal. I pulled through ok, thankfully. To this day I've never felt so strongly for anyone as I did for Jesse. Even though we remained friends, things were just not the same. We drifted apart. We grew up and got on with our lives.

Jay was another heartbreaker. He had been a friend of mine since I was in 7th grade but I never really hung out with him until 9th grade. He and I were friends while I was with Jesse but not until after my loss did we become close. Jay was a mama's boy. He would never go out with his friends. He never talked to girls and never had a girlfriend. Seemed like all he did was do homework and talk to me on the phone. It was like I was the only person that could get him to leave his house. Like I made him comfortable enough to want to be around me. Again I started to develop feelings for a person that would leave me alone and crying and feeling hopeless and something less than human. After I graduated high school I wrote Jay a letter expressing my feelings to him and well...after that we never spoke again. His homophobia got the best of him I guess. Again...I went into a severe depression and got back into my old suicidal ways.

After that I slowly began to come out. My newfound friends from AOL gave me the courage to get my foot out of the closet and before I knew it I was pushing and shoving and hard as I could on that sucker so I could get the hell out, and that is where I'm at today. The people I've talked to on AOL helped me through one of the toughest things a person can go through. Coming out. I was 18. Not extremely young but young enough to fear the people in my small town and scared of what might happen to me if the wrong people heard. My friends around town were really cool. I found that they were friends with me because they thought I was a cool person. Not because they thought I was straight. Jay was the only one that ever stopped talking to me.

I started going to clubs to try to meet people. I wanted to find a person that could give me the same feelings that Jesse did. The incredible feeling of togetherness I felt. To feel the warmth of a body next to mine as we lay in bed and talk each other to sleep at night. My arm around him and my hand on his heart. My head snuggled up into his back. UHHHGGG!!!! I had to have it again. I just couldn't live without it. I met a few people and the few I dated and the few I hung out with just didn't do it for me. At this point in my life I know almost the entire gay community in my area, which really isn't that small surprisingly. There are 2 gay bars and a gay club all within 20 minutes of my house. I know what I'm looking for and it seems I'm just not going to find it.

I want true love. Want a love so strong and so unique that the depth of the love goes beyond the physical world. I want my soul mate. I want him to know what I think and feel without me having to say anything, and vice-versa. I want to finish his sentences and I want him to begin mine. I want it all so bad that I can feel tightness in my chest. This desire has consumed me for the past few years and hasn't gone away it's affected my grades when I was in school and affects everything about me.

Having the convenience of living at home and having a dad who takes good care of me and makes sure I have good food to eat and clothes on my back and a place to live no matter what the circumstances are has been nice all these years but I've taken advantage of it. I let being gay and feeling hopeless and unloved turn me into a lazy person who can't hold a job and who is somewhat incapable of being an adult.

I hope that by me moving away I'll gain the responsibility I need and at the same time I'll be meeting new people and hopefully stumble upon the person I'll spend the rest of my life with. Even if neither of those things happen at least I will have seen and lived in another part of the country and I'll have something to look back on.

Here in NY I feel trapped. The job I have gets me by from day to day. It doesn't pay enough for me to be able to save or get out on my own. My search for a soul mate seems like a worthless cause and everybody is complaining about what is wrong in their lives and what they wish they had, including me. That's why I'm doing something about it. I am an eagle among penguins and I'm learning how to fly. I'm getting out of here because if I don't I'll always be miserable.

I don't know what the future has in store for me but I'm going to follow my heart and do what I think is right for me. I'm tired of just getting through another day. I want to be able to wake up and jump out of bed and scream out to the world how much I love everyone. If ever you should hear such a scream than you will know I've found what I been looking for. Hopefully you will too, whatever that may be.


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