The Chipper Cast recording room is clean and professional. I sit comfortably on a leather chair, a pair of large black headphones encompassing my ears, and a rather large microphone in front of me. The podcast anchor, Catie Goldsmith, shoots me a grin before asking, "Ready to begin?"
I nod, maybe a little too quickly because of nerves. I'm nervous, that's new. From the control room, someone counts down. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and the signature Chipper Cast tune plays in my ears. The woman in front of me leans forward into her microphone and speaks in an animated yet calming tone, "Hello listeners, new and old, I'm Catie Goldsmith, and welcome to Chipper Cast. The podcast where we hear personal stories from people of all walks of life. Today, on this very special episode, I'm joined by quite the celebrity," I catch her smiling eyes watching as she introduces me, "Liam Malach. Liam is, of course, most well known for his role as the superhero, Electric Pheonix in the hit movie franchise, but since that series's conclusion, he's been in some other films as well. Liam, why don't you tell us a little about your recent work?"
I lean into the microphone and begin on a drabble about the recent films I've been in. It's just scripted advertisement that my manager insisted I include. Catie nods meaningfully and asks all the right questions but I'm relieved when my reel is over. Now onto the important stuff.
"Liam isn't just here to talk about his career, however. He's also come to share a story with us. I understand this is the first time you've ever shared this story publically in detail?"
"Yes, that's correct. In the past, I released some statements on the matter but, well, I was a kid back then. I didn't know how to talk about it publically."
Catie nods knowingly, "We're honored you chose this platform to share your story."
"Well, I respect this podcast and understand it's been an accepting place for members of the lgbtq+ community to share their stories."
"It means a lot to hear that. Now, if you could give a brief preface for the listeners about the story you're about to share with us?"
I smile, finally, "Of course. This is the story of how I met and fell in love with a boy over the course of one fateful summer."
Catie smiles back at me, "And all this took place a little over five years ago when you were only seventeen?"
"That's right. It was during the filming of the second Electric Pheonix movie, five years ago." I peer down at the table where my hands are clasped together nervously, It's been a while since I've felt this way.
"Go ahead and begin whenever you're ready. For the most part, I'll remain silent aside from the occasional question."
I nod, taking in a shaky breath and transport my mind back to five years ago, to a fateful summer in some random New Jersey suburbs. I put myself back into the mind of that, arrogant, anxious, and overwhelmed seventeen-year-old boy, and begin my story.