I have a few things that I would like to get off my chest, but I can't tell anyone. The main problem is that I'm gay (as in I like boys, not that I'm very happy and giddy.) Nobody knows that, not even my close friend Sarah who I've known since preschool. It's kind of sad that I haven't told anyone yet, but I'm so afraid of what people might think.
"Hey, Earnie, eat your breakfast, it's going to get cold," my mom says to me.
"Yeah, you're always staring at your food like you're contemplating all your life choices or something," my sister Rain adds, putting a fourth piece of bacon in her mouth and chugging it down with orange juice.
"I don't need to be commented from a kid who's not even in high school yet," I reply, pushing up the new round glasses I just bought from Warby Parker.
"Hey, I'm already in eighth grade!" Rain shouts across the table. "I'm almost in high school anyway!"
My dad stands up from the table and sips the rest of his coffee from a "Best dad ever" cup and throws it into the sink, the loud clattering sound it makes silencing the argument between Rain and I. "I should be off to work now," he says while straightening his suit.
"I should also get going to school now," I say, standing up. I’m desperate to get out of the house.
My mom stands up to wish us both goodbye as I grab my bag and walk out the door. I'm wearing the usual, a button-up flannel shirt with sleeves that I rolled up. I always leave the top two buttons unbuttoned but only because it gets really hot in the spring. Not because I want to be revealing or flashy or anything like that. I'm actually the opposite of that, a very timid, shy, and nerdy high schooler. I wouldn't say I fit the typical nerd stereotype, except for the glasses. So no, I don't have curly hair or freckles (or really look like a nerd at all.) I have dark brown hair and light tan skin and one of the taller kids in my grade.
I walk through the doors and into the crowded school hallway. Everyone is minding their own businesses, not even looking at me. "Good morning," I say, smiling, as one of my teachers pass by. She doesn't say a word to me, and my face drops. I know I shouldn't be too sad since this is normal for me, but it's hard.
There's a tap on my right shoulder, and I turn my head right to see who's behind me, but there's no one there. I feel another tap on my left shoulder, and I look left. Nobody. A tap on my right shoulder, but this time I look left, and I see my friend, Sarah.
"Hey Earnest," she says, a wide smile on her face. Even though we are the total opposites in personality, she's still a good friend. "That always gets you every time," she continues. "I can't believe you haven't learned yet."
"Hi, Sarah," I reply, rotating myself so I can put my stuff in my locker. "Whatcha been up to?"
"Nothing much," she says. "I just got here."
I open up my bag and put all my books inside the metal locker. "We should probably get to math," I say, shutting my locker. We start walking to class, walking against the traffic of all the students who are walking to breakfast in the cafeteria. "It sucks that we have a class so early."
"Yeah, I know," she replies as we walk through the doorway. We sit next to each other in math class, and it's the only class we share.
"Okay students, time for class!" the teacher shouted as I sat down. "We'll continue with the calculus lessons that we didn't finish yesterday."
Halfway through our class, I saw Sarah take out a pack of sticky notes. I know what this means. She scribbles something on it and pulls one of the papers off of the pad. Looking at the teacher to make sure she isn't caught, she hands it to me under the table, her fingers touching my sweaty palm for a quick second. The post-it reads:
i don't understand any of this. do u?
I look from the paper at her, and she stares at me, waiting for a response. I huff and write something under it.
Yeah, I get it. Do you need anything?
I hand it under the desk back to Sarah, and she writes on the back of the baby blue piece of paper in her purple pen.
i need help.
Understandable. She's not really a math person, and it's kind of complicated even for me. I write back:
I'll try my best. After school?
When I handed back the sticky note, she mouthed "I guess so". I nodded at her and then turned to the teacher again.
When I got home, I found myself looking through my old middle school yearbook, (for nostalgia or something) and I also found myself staring at all the boys, particularly the ones on the sports teams. They're all really good-looking, which I'm not sure I understand. It's like sports does something to the physical appearance of people. I turned a page, and I saw Alexander Wilson, pretty much the most popular kid in my middle school as well as the most handsome. What I'm doing isn't weird, is it? Swooning over photos from four years ago?
"What're you doing?" Rain asks, opening the door to my room.
"Whatever happened to knocking?" I tell her, closing the book.
Rain sees what I just closed and smiled. "Oh, I see. Looking at all the girls that you had a crush on in middle school that didn't accept your confession?"
My face twists into disgust. "Ew, no," I say truthfully.
"But I mean, c'mon. You must be looking for someone who loves you," Rain says, walking in and sitting on the chair near my desk.
I look at my yearbook and say, "Yeah, I am."
She thinks for a second. "Don't you have your friend Sarah?"
"No, she's a close friend, and I can't think of her in any other way."
"Are you sure?" Rain asks, lifting one eyebrow.
"Get out of my room," I reply, pushing her off the chair. She gets up. "I don't know why you're still here."
"What? It was a legitimate question!" Rain protests. I shut the door behind her when I successfully pushed her out.
Even today, I feel like everyone makes assumptions about other people's sexuality. I know that most of the world is straight, (statistically, I looked it up to see how alone I was) but I think all parents should just not assume anything so their child has nothing to be afraid about. Recently, I've had a stronger feeling that I have to tell someone my secret, and the only person I can trust is Sarah.
That's when I made the plan to tell her tomorrow.
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