NOTE: If you haven't read "My Island With Kyle" in the August 1999 issue of Oasis under the Arts & Entertainment section, I suggest you do, while it's not integral to this story, it still compliments it and there are a lot of references and similarities between these stories I wrote. Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org... Enjoy!!
Love and dating to me always seemed like a high fence that I was never able to jump. I was able to hear people on the other side, even peek through cracks at times and experience a small bit of that mysterious affection, but generally I was cut off and blocked from a portion of life that I missed terribly, even though I had never known it in the first place.
I always knew I was different, when friends talked about the girls they were dating or romancing, chasing or screwing, I would be uninterested. I was more interested in the girls when they were talking about things they liked in guys, and got along with some better because of it. I was a junior in high school, a boy acting like a man, or practicing to be one, and my name was, still is, Jack. I was so normal you could pin me up as the poster child for your typical teenage uninteresting guy. I had a few things special about me, and had an average amount of friends, an average school record, an average look. The only thing really that I didn't have was an average girlfriend. I know a lot of guys don't have girlfriends anyway, but I wasn't even looking. Friends asked me from time to time why I wasn't jumping on this girl they heard liked me, or why we ended up just becoming friends and nothing more. I replied I wasn't interested, I didn't need the stress of a girl in my life, or I had a very particular taste and she didn't fit it. That at least was true, not many girls, if any, fit my taste. Seventeen and never even been kissed, other than a peck or two back in junior high. It was hard to turn that part of my life off, but when everything else in your life is going pretty well, you can't be satisfied, you have to try to find a problem to fix, I had nothing else to focus on and so I focused on what I was missing in life. Unfortunately, this wasn't something so easily fixed. I was confused about my myself, didn't know what I wanted, and really thought there was something wrong with me. I didn't dare talk with anyone about it, for being known as different or standing out for a "bad" reason was something I was deathly afraid of. I fit in, but not really. My true self, or at least a part of it, sat behind the curtain of my eyes, peeking through every now and then when they stared too long or showed no interest in something they should have acted like. You can fake a voice, you can fake a laugh, an eyebrow or smile, but you can't fake your eyes, I've heard they are the windows to the soul. And I know you can't fool your soul, heart, your core. It's you.
Problem was even I wasn't accepting myself. I wasn't trying to destroy myself, but I wasn't trying to help myself either. I was just living. I was living lies, living normal, just living. I wasn't living for anything at all, I was just living. I was a walking body, a model one, but still a shell of a person. I still had the workings inside, the feelings, but I shut them away, I through them down to my feet and tried to shake them off like mud or filth. But I kept getting dirty. I couldn't see it as anything but dirt, everyone thought it was, my church, my friends, my school, so who was I to tell myself I was different than what they said? Needless to say this left me distant and depressed after awhile. I began to hate myself, and I tried to change myself, to step on clean ground instead of stepping in the feelings that came natural to me. But I kept falling and slipping in my own personal filth or feelings. I'd notice a great body, a good smile, a nice ass. Then I began to feel towards guys, to feel an attraction towards minds and attitudes, to feel en emotional filth as much as a physical filth. I was drenched in mud, I was mud.
I had come to the conclusion there was nothing to do but cleanse myself one last time. I had nothing to live for, so I had no reason to live. I wanted to die, to take my life and rid my self of the mud and shove it in others faces, see, I was what you hated, but you didn't hate me, but now that you will you can't because I'm not here for you anymore. I had it planned, I had a date, I had a method.
I worked at a cafe, and one day said I was going upstairs to take a cigarette break. I smoked, yeah, one thing that may not be typical teenage like, but so do a lot of teens. Not a pack a day, more like a pack every two weeks, just on a break or at night. Social smoker. But that night I didn't take my cigarettes. I went up to the fourth floor (this cafe was downtown and therefore part of many multi-floored buildings) and walked out on the fire escape. I looked down, the alley was deserted and the air cold. My feet took me forward and my hands grabbed me to the rail. I stepped up on the bar. A breeze chilled me and I began to sob, I wasn't going to live like this anymore, I couldn't take it, living a life unlike all others, alone in a world where basic feelings of love are hated, it was a world I couldn't survive in. I pushed myself, and started to fall over. The world went blue. My stomach winced in pain as two hands jerked my body in a fold and pulled me hard back to the fire escape.
"JACK, what the hell, you were gonna fall!" I heard a familiar voice shriek, my friend Scott.
I started to cry uncontrollably and curl up, Scott pulled me up and close and started to ask me what was wrong.
"Jesus, what were you doing, were you trying to jump? What the fuck are you doing, are you trying to die? Talk to me, Jack, why are you crying?" He started to sap up, and his eyes were wide with fear.
"I- d-don't' know, I d-don't want to live any-m-more, I can't take it, why didn't y-you let me j- jump?" I was shivering, it was freezing and I was only wearing a T-shirt. We sat there for awhile, Scott didn't let me go, he just held on until he was sure I would walk with him out to his car and we would talk. I held my head down as he escorted me out of the building past hushed mouths and staring eyes. He told my boss I was done for the night, and I was still sobbing a little and the attention was making it worse. We got out to his car, he opened the door and ushered me in, closed it and got in on the other side. He started the car and the Goo Goo Dolls song "Black Balloon" was playing. That soothed me some, music was always a therapy for me. I was half-dreaming this, it didn't seem real, I had taken the final step to destroy myself and stop living, but I was still living, I half hated Scott for what he did, but I also was relieved and felt love for him at the same time. I was beginning to come back to reality though, and knew I that after this night was over my life would be different in his eyes, and in mine, too.
The pavement sparkled wet from a rain that previous day. I put down the window and smelled the cold, raw rainy air. It was refreshing, but my face turned cold; itself still wet and raw from my tears. Scott drove in silence. He turned down the road leading to the city park, stopped the car near some benches and turned it off. He got out and came to my side. I was kind of annoyed at his sudden babying of me, but I understood why, too. I got out and he shut the door. It was dark, and a purple blue starlight broke through the overhead trees, illuminating certain parts of the ground, I could see leaves stuck wet to the ground. We walked over to one of the benches and sat down. It was cold, but not wet because it was under a half roof. It swung back and forth when we sat, I stared at my feet, I could feel his eyes on me.
"So, where do you wanna start? Just so you know I'm not giving up until I find out why you could do something so horrible like that. I care too much." His tone was straight and yet the last words were so gentle my eyes began to tear up again.
"I can't... don't wanna talk about it." I choked the words out.
"Why, Jack, why won't you tell me what's making you like this, we're best friends, have been forever now. We tell each other everything."
"Right, so tell me then, what is it?"
I put my head up and stared at the stars again. They were all out tonight, and they shone brightly like specs of white dust on black surface. Some were brighter than others, they stood out against the dimmed distant ones. They were so far from the others, like they were shunned from the other stars but made to shine brighter than those that shoved them away.
"Talk, Jack, I'm not letting you go silent tonight!" Scott screamed me out of my space out.
"You couldn't possibly understand or sympathize, so what's the point?!" I lashed back, annoyed at being yelled at, hadn't I been through enough that night?
"Alright, look, I'm sorry, but I wouldn't get mad if you didn't freak me out so much, I can't stand to think that just a few minutes ago if could've been impossible for you to sit here with me. Try me, I'll make myself understand." He calmed down, took a softer voice.
"Ok.," I took a deep breath, "Scott, you know how I've been talking about missing that part of my life lately? That thing I want so bad but can't seem to have any luck with?"
"Yeah, kinda, what was it? Oh, yeah, I think it was a girlfriend."
"Not exactly, more like love, dating, flirting, anything to do with that whole relationship stuff. I have nothing."
"I know, I've always wondered why not, I know a couple of girls you could out with on a date right now, they may not be up to your standards, but if you lowered them, maybe..."
"No, I couldn't, they won't meet up, I know it, no girl does, I can't be that way with them."
"Jack, man, c'mon, you can, you're a flirt, not everyone can reject you, you just haven't found the right girl yet, I mean if you wou-"
"NO! You don't get it!" I barked out, and put my face in my hands.
"Jack, what the hell is wrong, why are you crying?"
"Scott, no girl fits my taste. NO girl."
"Wait, wait a minute, Jack, what are you saying? I think I know, but I don't... I-"
"Jack, I'm not like you, I don't see girls the same way you. I see guys that way." I took my face out of my hands and looked at him. He stared and looked away.
The silence was deafening. I heard crickets and a distant horn. I couldn't believe what I had just said, I just admitted the only thing in my life that made me wrong, that made me different. Now someone knew, and others would know, and I was done for. But then a funny thing happened, I looked over and heard a short cut off breathe, Scott was crying.
"I'm sorry I didn't see it before, but it's ok, Jack, I don't hate you."
He looked at me and his face scrunched up.
"I'm sorry, I am so sorry, all those things I've said about gays and all that bull I said before about everything, all that time I was insulting and making the only person I've cared about as much as my own family feel like a loser. I'm so freaking sorry, Jack, I'll accept you for whatever you are, I'll be your friend no matter what."
Now it was my turn, I broke down and grabbed his shoulder for support. He hugged me, and I felt a feeling so perfect, so at peace, I shuddered. I had no feelings for Scott whatsoever, except those one feels for a brother. I felt like I hadn't seen him for a long time, that he was just coming home from a long trip, or, no, it was me coming home. I had been away from him ever since I had denied him what he had given me all his life, pure and unaltered honesty. We were friends as far as you could take the word, beyond the word. I knew I would never try anything like what I did tonight, now I had someone to talk to, someone to share my pain and feelings of love, for whoever they may be, female or male. I had always had someone, but was too rapped up in fear and I stuffed my friend into the category of a homophobic, I had neglected to see that friendship went much higher than opinion, however against a person may be what you are, if your true friends with them, they'll forget it and either accept it or you change their opinion because you influenced them. They see that they've known you forever and not had a problem with you, so why would they start now when you've always been like this anyway? I breathed and shuddered again, I felt like a giant chain had been cut in half and taken by Scott, now two to pull this boulder up a hill called life. Put simply: I was relieved.
We talked for a little while longer, I answered a few questions about it, Scott sort of tip toeing around the subject, which I understood, I had known he was completely straight since around twelve, and he had never met another like me. I imagined it to be pretty strange for him. Eventually we got back in his car and cruised awhile, I went into the cafe and told my boss it was problems with a girlfriend, and talked to some other people before heading home. Immediately I got on the Internet and E-mailed all of my net friends about my experience. It was amazing! I felt tired soon, though, and decided to retire for the night. My life may not have gained that part that was missing from it, but that part now was less a burden; my life had definitely gotten easier.
I woke up the next morning with a kinda high. I was feeling good, even though not much had changed in my love life. I got up, earlier than usual, put on some clothes, and went downstairs. I kissed my mom good morning and said hi to my dad.
"Hey, somebody's in a good mood this morning, usually you don't so much as look at us." My dad said from behind his paper.
"Yeah, well, I just feel good this morning, that's all." I got some cereal and a bowl and headed for the milk.
"It's probably a girl, that's what it is, isn't it, you met someone." My mom smiled and joined my father at the table.
I had a temporary relapse of pain, they had no idea. But then again they shouldn't, and it means that I was doing a good job of hiding it. I lost the relapse and mumbled something. I wasn't going to let myself bring myself down this morning. I poured my milk went to the family room for some cartoons. I watched whatever was on, ate and acted normal again. It was like nothing ever happened, and I was a little happier than usual. It's hard to believe I almost killed myself last ni-. No, I wasn't going to think about it. I'm not going to do that, I'm not going to think about it, I'm better, and as far as I'm concerned, it didn't happen. I finished my cereal and morning thought and got the urge to call a friend or two and go out to lunch. So I called Scott first, of course, and we decided to go out to subway around noon. He said he was going to bring along this new girl he dated last night before he found me, then asked if it was ok, yadda yadda, I said fine, I'd been with him and his dates before and we always got along. We hung up and I headed for the shower.
Before getting in the shower I took a look at myself, would other guys find me attractive? I was under six foot, blond hair parted in the middle and short, a small build; I wasn't muscular. I certainly wasn't fat, either. I had tight features and greenish-blue eyes. I always thought my ears were too small, kinda annoying. I started to pick at my face, there was a pimple just behind the crease on the side of my nose, gross. I usually had a pretty clear face. I wondered what a guy I fell for would look like. Would he look like me, be similar to me? Would he be the opposite of the things I didn't like about myself? Would he be better than me, would I make him look bad? How would I even find someone like me, I mean the gay part, and if I did, was I stuck with whatever I could find? Would I have the same problems with people just wanting sex or things like that? Would I ever stop questioning everything? I realized I had been standing naked in front of the shower for the past ten minutes, and we didn't have locks on our doors. Whoa, I didn't want to give anyone a show, whether it be mom, my sister or one of her annoying friends. I jumped in and started washing. When I got out, I felt refreshed, normal again. It was amazing the effect and sheer sense of acceptance I was feeling from only one person knowing. That person was a little more important then others, but oh well. I went back to my room in a robe, and dressed, just casual jeans and a dark blue T-shirt. I put on my hat and glanced at the clock, 11:30. I was supposed to meet Scott at noon, I had a half-hour to drive around. I went outside and the day was beautiful, fall leaves tumbling, the oranges and yellows dotting the gray pavement. It was warm, not hot, and the clouds floated fast in the sky. Their traveling reminded me of a childhood memory, I used to think clouds were formed from big machines, machines that made clouds. My childhood was great, I had no problems. I only heard the word of the domestic situations from other families and friends. I was a contradiction to the norm, people always say the gays and lesbians had some early trauma or sexual abuse from someone of the same sex. Well, not me. I was exposed to the same as Scott was, we just turned out differently.
I walked over to my car, an older mustang convertible, and got in. My Uncle sold his to us when he decided to buy a newer one, and I just kinda got it when I got my license, my mom drove our van all the time and my father had a company car. I put the top down and pulled out of the driveway, the radio was playing that kid rock song it was always stuck on, "Cowboy". I liked it even though they overplayed it, I listened to my CD player most of the time anyway.
Driving down the road, I waved at people I knew, stopped to talk to one, and drove around cruising the rest of the time. Fun way to spend a half-hour, right? It was a slow day, but I didn't mind.
At noon I pulled into subway. Scott's car was already there. I shut off my engine and got out of the car. I looked in subway, Scott and this girl with him were already ordering. They greeted me casually when I walked in. The girl Scott with was like most of the others ones, her name was Misty, she was peppy, blond, and a freshmen. Scott and I being juniors I often made fun of him by telling him he was always hitting the cradle for dates. The truth though was there were an awful lot of freshmen I looked at with those same eyes he had for that girl. I liked the younger ones, too, I guess. We got our food, well, me and Scott, the already extremely thin Misty just got a water. Better watch those calories, you won't make your hundred pound limit, girl. We talked and had fun like normal, but something was different. I was being cut off more, and trying to hard to get attention. I was half being ignored, and I understood why, Scott was more interested in his girl than his friend, it had happened before, but this time it hurt. Not because I was jealous for either of them, but I think I was jealous of them. It hurt to see them flirting, to see them being so close, so intimate. I felt left out, but rather out of a whole picture. It was coming back again, I wasn't out of my problems in a day, I was just detoured. Today was a good day, but I was still missing something. I knew what it was, I wanted that intimate feeling still. I knew it this morning, but I thought I needed it less than before. I was wrong. Now that Scott knew, I felt and overwhelming urge to find someone, that it was ok and I could do it, I had support. Only there was no one, no one I knew. I was helpless, and I couldn't get out of that mood. I started drooping, and Scott didn't notice this time, he was too involved. It didn't matter, there was nothing he could do, I wanted something he couldn't help with. I finished my food and got up from the table.
"Hey, I'm going over to the CD store, okay?" I threw my trash away.
"Ok, we'll be over in a minute. Wait for us." Scott went back to his freshmen and I left.
As I entered the music store, I walked over to the rock section and started browsing. I saw the new Live Cd and grabbed for it. Another grabbed at the same time and we touched hands. I was still holding onto his hand on the cd when I looked over. There standing next to me was the most perfect boy I had ever seen. He was smaller than me, but taller than five foot, I think. He had blue eyes and light brown hair, combed forward and shorter than mine. It had gel in it and kind of sparkled. His eyebrows were raised and his eyes were looking into mine fully, I saw something, some glint of personality I liked, I didn't know what, but I felt something more for this kid than just his looks, I was mesmerized.
"Hey, you gonna let me have my hand back or what? I'll take the next copy." He smiled and kinda gave me this odd look. I realized what I was doing and let go, instantly blushing.
"No, go ahead, it's yours." I stepped back after quietly letting out those words, and he took the next copy.
"I love this new song, "The Dolphins Cry", I'm buying the whole thing for it, hope this rest it decent. You heard that song yet?" He raised his brows again in question.
"Yeah, that's the same reason I'm buying it. Great song. So, umm, haven't seen you out before, what's your name, you live here?" I picked up the second copy and cringed at the seventeen dollar price.
"I go to school here, I've seen you before, but I'm only going to be a sophomore, I just got back from vacation a few days ago." He stopped talking then lit up again:
"Oh, yeah, my names Kyle.... Kyle Rusnick."
-To Be Continued in part 2 of Chapter 3 next month!
Afterword for Part 1: Ok, in case some of you haven't noticed, the kid at the end of this story is the Kyle of the last story, duh. I didn't want to make a sequel because I couldn't think of any conflict between our two original boys other than a long distance relationship, something I know zero about and couldn't make a good story from. This is in a way a sequel, it still tells what happens to Kyle after the island, from a different point of view, yes, but the first one wasn't from Kyle's POV either. This didn't need Kyle to be it's own story, but I got such a large response from my first story, I decided this would be a cool way to tribute to those readers who had replied to me. Plus, it saves me some character development. Part 2 is already in the works, this is actually just a good spot I thought to split it up, because I wasn't going to be finished for November with the whole thing, and I wanted to get it out. So next month will come part 2 of chapter three and the remaining chapters I believe. Please send any responses or suggestions to email@example.com please. I welcome feedback and will respond to any letter I receive, promise. Thanks and check out my poem that's also in this issue!