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This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The young boy opened his eyes. Although he was lying in bed, snuggled deeply into the soft warmth of his down comforter, he wasn't sleeping. Not tonight. Tonight he had a mission.
He quietly extracted himself from his cocoon, sitting up on the edge of his bed. Planting his bare feet on the soft fibers of the carpet, he wiggled his toes in the dense fibers for a second. Placing his hands on the edge of the bed, he pushed himself into a standing position. He took a look around his room. Although the lights were out, the silvery moonlight pushed away the darkness enough for him to see. He made a beeline for his oak dresser and the large mirror above it.
When he approached the dresser, he looked into the mirror at himself. The moonlight reflecting on his skin made him seem almost ghostly. Ghostly pallor aside, he thought that he wasn't a bad looking kid, but he didn't consider himself a knock-out or anything, even though most girls at his school did. For fourteen years old, his body was in good shape. He wasn't into sports but he did enjoy skateboarding and he did it religiously. That and a lack of junk food around the house is what mainly contributed to his decent body. His hair was about as close to jet black as you can get, but in the moons glow it appeared almost blueish. He shook his head from side to side letting the long curls brush against his shoulders. He laughed a little, thinking he looked like something out of the X-Men in this light. He stared at himself closer. His eyes. His eyes, he thought, were his best quality. They were about the only thing about himself that he did like. Emerald green. They almost had a glow about them and most people seemed to fixate on them.
He shook his head to clear it a bit, breaking eye contact with himself. 'I have things to do ... and miles to go before I sleep.' He thought, extracting a short silent laugh from him. He began to get dressed, taking his time, thoughts flowing through his head as he did.
'I just don't get it. I don't get why they hate me. Why they can't look at me. Why my friends ditched me. Dean and Jeff stuck by me at first...but even they left me behind when the pressure got to be too much. Can't really blame them. Who wants to be known as the faggot's friend.' He thought to himself as he pulled a pair of burgundy striped board shorts on over his boxers.
He reached in another drawer and pulled out a t-shirt. It happened to be a favorite of his. An old Misfits tee, that he got a year ago for Christmas. When things were normal and the world was right. He pulled it over his head. It was getting a bit tight but he didn't care. Not tonight anyway.
'How can I help being what I am? It's not like I had a choice. If I did, I would choose to be straight. Normal. Like everyone else. I tried dating girls. It was like going out with a really annoying friend. It doesn't matter now though. Now everyone knows. Goddammit, how could I have let this happen. He was just soooo hot! I couldn't help staring at him. He was new in school and it took me by surprise! But they noticed. They noticed and they got me in the locker room and beat me till I confessed. That was the beginning of my hell.'
He sat down on the edge of his bed, pulling on his socks and then reaching for his shoes. 'Why, why, why?? I'm still me. I'm not a different person. I don't have the plague. Why do they all hate me. Even my parents.' That was what hurt him the most. His parents would barely look at him. They treated him like a stranger. They never yelled or screamed, but it was like they just wanted to act like nothing happened. Like he was still their 'boy'. He would grow up, get married, and have a hundred children.
He could take losing friends. He could take being harassed at school, even being beat up. What he couldn't take was losing his parents. They were the ones, he thought would be there for him forever. He was wrong. They loathed him. He could tell.
'Fuck it.' He thought as he grabbed his skateboard and his hoodie and headed quietly down the stairs. It was almost one am now, and he was sure his parents had been asleep long enough now for him to sneak out. As he got near the bottom of the stairs, he stopped short, navigating past the second to last step. That one had been creaking for years. His dad said that it was because his Uncle Earl always stood there at Christmas to make his famous "Christmas Speech." His dad always laughed when telling that story. Uncle Earl was about four hundred pounds dry. Toss a bunch of Christmas alcohol in and you got a very embarrassing speech that was more slurred than spoken ... and you got a creaky step from the wood straining against the weight of the drunken behemoth.
He hasn't heard his dad laugh in a long time.
He knew it was his fault.
He reached the front door without being apprehended and reached for the knob. He carefully flicked the little lever to unlock the door and opened it very slowly, listening intently for any signs of life in the house. Nothing. Good. He exited the house, closing the door just as softly as he opened it. He left his house key sitting on the table beside the door untouched.
He walked down the small brick path, flanked by perfectly maintained posies, until he reached the gate that would spit him out onto the sidewalk in front of his house. He took one last look at his house, a single tear forming in his eye that he immediately wiped away. 'Hell no. I will NOT cry.'
Out on the sidewalk, he turned to the left and started walking. When he was half a block from home he dropped his board on the smooth black surface of the street and began to ride, kicking off a few times to gain some speed. Most of the trip he was taking was downhill, so he was able to use his initial momentum to keep him going as his mind began to open up to him again.
'People hate me. Those who don't hate me outright just choose to not give me the time of day. Like I'm an un-person. Like I don't exist or I don't matter. Who knows, maybe they are right. Maybe I'm no good because I like boys. Maybe I'm sick in the head. I mean it's not natural after all. That's what everyone says. They must be right because I never met anyone like me. I'm sure there’s other ones out there but not around here. I'm an anomaly, a disease in this town.'
After a few blocks he turned to the right, heading for the pier. The pier was his favorite place in the whole world. His thinking spot. He would sit near the bank just to the right of the pier. There was a stone wall there overlooking the ocean and the rocky surf below. It was a special place for him. It was the only place that made him feel at peace.
'I mean, I never did anything to anyone. I just looked at a guy! I didn't touch anyone or come on to anyone or anything like that. I kept all that to myself. So why hate me? Because I'm different? Because I'm sick? I'm a good friend. Or I was when I had friends. There's nothing I wouldn't do for someone. I guess no one wants a fag to do anything for them though. Are they afraid if they hang out with me or even talk to me, they will suddenly get insatiably hungry for a dick or something?'
He could see the pier coming into view as he rounded the final corner that would lead him to the wall where he had spent many hours sitting and thinking. Usually, just the sight of the pier and the sound of the waves crashing against the rocky beach below was enough to bring a smile to his face. Not tonight though. Tonight it only brought deeper sadness.
>'And my parents. They had always been great. Supporting. They always laughed and smiled. Not now though. Now it's like living with aliens. Pod people from that one movie. Maybe queer boys turned people into pod people.' He laughed involuntarily at that thought. 'What a movie that would make! A faggot like me moves into town and all the people become pod people because they can't handle a sissy queer being anywhere near them. Just like his parents. Yell at me. Call me a fag. Tell me you hate me. Do anything! But don't just sit there and act like you are ignoring everything.'
He rolled to a stop at the rock wall and sat his board on it face down and then climbed on it himself. He sat there, his legs dangling off the side, as he took in the view. The moon's rays were dancing off the churning surf as it hit the pile of rocks below. The sound was like an orchestra being led by Poseidon himself. The sound lulled him into deeper thoughts.
'I can't be a no one. I can't have a life with no friends. No parents. No one who will talk to me. No one who will tell me that it's going to be OK even if it isn't. Who can live like that? Who can even call that life? I am scorned and ignored. The only attention I get is when people want to pick on me or hurt me. That is a life worse than death.' He thought to himself as he looked down one more time at the churning foam beating against the rocks far below him.
"It's time to get up!!" She screamed up the stairs for the third or fourth time. "He is going to be the death of me!" She said to no one in particular as she made her way back to the kitchen to finish making breakfast.
"Mornin', hon." Her husband said as he walked in the kitchen, pausing to turn the small TV on to the local news station. "Where is he?"
"Still sleeping. I called out to him a few times but he really must be out of it." She said, slightly exasperated.
"I can't blame him. Look what he has gone through recently. I don't know what to say to him either. I look at him and just feel guilty. It's gotten to the point where I just have a hard time meeting his eyes." Her husband said, choking up slightly near the end.
...according to the radar. So be prepared for sunny skies this morning, but look for clouds and a chance of rain near rush hour this evening...
"I know." She said, ignoring the news going on in the background. "I love him so much, but I just don't know what to say to him. I don't know what to do. I know I can't change him, but I don't know how to help him. I feel useless." Tears began to flow down her cheeks. Using her apron, she dabbed at them as she looked back at her husband.
"We have to do something. This has been going on too long. We have to talk to him, hon. We need to tell him we love him and accept him no matter what. I don't care if he turns green with pink polka dots tomorrow! He is my SON and I have got to get past my own fears about this and tell him how I feel. I want him to know I love him, I support him, and I'm here for him now and forever." He said, sounding more and more sure of himself as he spoke.
...the stock market came dropping down yesterday at closing, hitting an all time low. Investors are weary and believe it may be some time before...
The lady rushed to her husband and threw her arms around him. "Yes, baby yes! Oh God, please let's talk to him. We have to. I have been so afraid too. I just don't know what to say, but saying SOMETHING has to be better than saying nothing. I love him so much and it's killing me not knowing what to say or how to say it!"
"Let's not wait any longer. As soon as he comes down we'll talk. I don't care of it takes all day. Work isn't as important as he is to me. To us."
"I'll holler for him again!" She said as she ran off to the bottom of the stairs.
...and in other news, the body of a teenage boy was found washed up onto the rocks by Scenic Beach this morning, the victim of an apparent suicide. The boy's identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin...
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"Who could be at the door this early?" She said as she approached the front door. Looking through the side window, she saw a police car. As she opened the door she wondered what they wanted with her. "Can I help you Officer's?"
This story has been in my head for awhile. It's been battling with me, trying to force me to let it out. Obviously it finally won. The boy in the story has no written name. Some people may ask why. It's simple really; the boy doesn't have 'a' name because he has too many names to list. He is your friend, your neighbor, your paperboy, your son's friend, maybe even your daughter's boyfriend. He is the boy you see on the street who just doesn't look 'quite right' for some reason. He is the boy who never smiles, never laughs, and never feels love.
If you are a parent, if you know other parents, if you know any other adults, please...talk to them. Tell them to never be afraid to talk to US! When we hurt, we need you the most. Even if you don't see the hurt or you think it's minor. Please. TALK. If you don't say something, we assume the worst. Maybe it's awkward, yes. But a little awkwardness is worth a better outcome than this story had. And trust me, the story is real. One hundred percent. Maybe not the pier, maybe not the skateboard. Maybe it was a bicycle and a bridge, a closet and a piece of rope, a gun and a well placed bullet … no matter the means, the end is all the same.
Be proactive, not only with your kids, but others as well. Look for the signs. You will know them when you see them.
Thanks for listening,
SurfGrommett did the most amazing job here. There's really not much we can add to what he has already said. This short story is so true to life, and we hope a lot of people take heed to its warning.
Sometimes it is too late. Don't let that happen to you. Say something Now - tomorrow may be too late, as SG shows us.
Both D&B and I feel very honored to have been asked to help edit this story, and it was one of the more difficult ones to edit as it really was so emotional. Hats off to Surf for again putting out one heck of a heart wrenching story!!!
Hugs to ALL! Boxerdude and D&B