January 1999

I've wanted to write for Oasis for a while, but I never had the time until now. I am gay, and have known my status since the eighth grade. It took me a year to accept this fact, and another two years to become active in the gay lifestyle.

This year, my senior year, has been a year of revelations for me. I auditioned for my school play, and won the lead role. I had never done anything with drama before in my life, and there I was, on the top of a group that had been doing plays for 2 or three years.

Being involved with the play was a liberating experience for me. I often found myself playing 'queer' to get laughs. The group of actors all took it as a joke, but sometimes I didn't mean it as a joke. I am fairly certain that many of them have assumed that I am gay, and that doesn't bother me at all.

If they have assumed that I'm gay, it hasn't changed their attitude toward me. The biggest revelation I've had this year is that a friend I've had since the beginning of junior year, who I'll call Rich, came out to me. I had suspected him since junior year, but I wasn't sure enough to ask him. Lo and Behold, he and I were put into the same class again senior year. I sometimes joked around with him, acted like a flamer, to see how he would react. He never reacted badly, just laughed or played along. That had me pretty certain. What had me confused was that Rich was a VERY religious person. He brought up religious matters on an almost daily basis and always had a bible and a rosary on his person. That really threw off my usually flawless gaydar.

Then I met a friend of Rich's, who I'll call Andrew. Andrew was very obviously gay. His clothing style, his speaking style, his mannerisms, all gave him away. I saw Rich and Andrew together almost always. So once again, I was fairly certain that Rich was gay.

One day, I went to the culinary arts kitchen at school to get a prop for the play. Both Andrew and Rich were there as well, since they both took the class. I had to wait for the chef to arrive to get my prop, so I sat down with the two and we talked. I didn't have to guide the conversation at all, but within a minute it had turned to issues of homosexuality. Andrew asked Rich, "Remember yesterday you were telling me that you thought Patrick was gay?" I found that very interesting. Rich was obviously very upset by this statement. I tried to calm Rich down, by just shrugging it off and telling him not to worry about it. Andrew then asked me, "Are you?"

I just laughed. I didn't want to answer, because I wasn't ready to tell them I was gay, and I didn't want to lie and say no. But Andrew asked again and I said, "No, I'm not."

Andrew then asked Rich, "Wasn't there something you wanted to tell Patrick?"

Rich was once again very upset by this. He said, "Shut up, Andrew."

I was certain. They had obviously been discussing me. Rich was obviously uncomfortable with what Andrew had been saying. I didn't want to pursue the matter just then, so when the chef arrived I got my prop and left.

The next day in class, Rich seemed uncomfortable around me. He must have thought that I now thought he was gay. He sat right in front of me, so I nudged his bottom with my foot. When he looked back, I smiled at him, and he smiled back. I wrote a note to the effect of, "Rick, regarding our conversation yesterday, are you? Please be honest, you can trust me. I'm your friend." I gave him the note as we left class.

He read it and laughed. I urged him to be honest, that I was and always would be his friend. "You really want to know?" he asked.

I nodded.

"Yes." He said.

My heart skipped a beat. "You are?"

"Yes, I am. But you and Andrew are the only ones who know so don't tell anyone."

I stopped him where he was and I hugged him. "You're not alone." I told him.

"You're gay?" he asked.

"Yes." I told him.

Finally, Rich and I knew each other's deepest secret. I felt closer to him than I ever had before. I was not prepared, however, for the web of love, deception and lies that I would be dragged into over the next month.

To Be Continued...

My name is Patrick. I am a 17 year old high school senior in Alexandria, Virginia. Currently, I am unemployed but I work each summer at a summer camp and have worked for a little over a year at Small's Formalwear. My e-mail address is danny59831@aol.com

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