This book talks about some of the experiences that people living in the Caribbean might go through. There will be mentions of homophobia, abuse of alcohol, drugs and suicide. I’ll make sure to write which triggers are mentioned per chapter.
I knew that the moment I was invited to Ian’s party that I could not say no. I was eager for a little taste of freedom. Even if it was for a short period of time, I wanted to take any chance I could get to not be around my parents. For me, home isn't where the heart is. It hasn’t been for a long time.
The only person in my life that has shown me unconditional love has been my little sister and she’s barely home since she basically lives at the hospital. It has been hard for me, but I’ve been coping.
I set my beer bottle down on the wooden table I was sitting at for the past hour. A gloomy feeling slowly crept upon me and it made me uneasy. I usually felt that way at home and I didn’t like that the feeling was following me around.
"Kim invited me to her house last week," Ian said to all the boys around the table. There were bottles littered around and the ashtray was nearly full.
"Did you smash?" Ben asked, his shoulders perking up.
"Of course I did and we did it with her parents right downstairs. She is such a freak,” as he burst out laughing, which caused the other boys to join him.
I sipped my beer watching them with a scowl, but I said nothing.
"If she wasn't so easy I'd definitely wife her," Ben continued. “I could never bring a girl like her home. My mother would never accept that. What's the craziest thing a girl ever asked you to do, Kasper?” Ben asked while everyone’s attention turned to me.
Upon hearing my name I instantly sobered up. Annoyance washed over me like a wave. I'd been sitting there for about an hour not even looking in their direction. So I didn’t understand how I got involved in the conversation.
"See how long he's taking to answer? Poor Kasper never got any," Ben speculated. That was enough for the rest of them to start laughing all over again. "You're not gay right?”
I tried to not react to their words. I stayed quiet knowing that I’d freak out if I opened my mouth so I just shrugged my shoulders and made nonexistent eye contact with the bottle in my hand.
"I'm telling you though, Kasper. When you do start to smash, you won't ever go back." Ben declared as if he was saying something thought-provoking as the rest of the guys agreed with him.
I nodded my head, grabbed the beer bottle and quickly walked to another part of the house. On my way to the kitchen, there were a few of my classmates passed out on the floor. It boggles my mind how these same students were always present at school, while I could barely handle my liqueur. I thought it was so funny as I poured myself a cup of vodka and soda. After taking a sip, I added more vodka.
There was never too much vodka.
I was going to be so screwed tomorrow.
I looked all over the house for an empty seat. The only available one was next to a couple that was making out on a love seat. It was either them or the boys in the front, so I picked the former and sat beside them.
After glancing at how wrapped up they were in each other I thought that maybe kissing a girl shouldn’t be so hard. All I had to do was find the right one.
The girl that was kissing her boyfriend noticed me watching them and pulled away. “You’re weird. Why would you stare at us like that?” she asked pulling her boyfriend away who didn’t give me any attention.
Even when I’m not trying to be weird, I end up doing just that.
At least I had the entire loveseat for myself now. “Kasper!” was shouted as I felt the wind being knocked out of me. I jumped nearly knocking the drink down. I steadied it on my lap and looked up at the person invading my personal space.
"Hi, guys. Didn't know you were coming," I lied knowing that they were. I just thought that I would've been gone before I saw them. My logic made me wonder how I even had friends in the first place
Mila stood up and went over to Luisa’s side who was beside Asia and Asia’s boyfriend. I noticed that Iris was missing from their group.
"We've been here for a while," Mila said sitting on my lap, giving me a proper hug. "Are you with someone?"
"You're my only friends, who else would I be with?" Lying had become natural to me. I wasn’t sure if I would remember all the lies that I told and I hoped they never caught up to me.
"At least you can admit it. Mila still thinks that she has other friends beside us," Luisa snickers flicking Mila’s forehead.
"Shut up," Mila muttered standing up and shoving her hands into the pockets of her jacket.
Luisa’s words always had a negative effect on people. Most of the time she got into fights with me because of her lack of filter. In other words, I thought that Luisa was mean and I couldn’t stand her half the time.
"Where's Iris?" I asked hoping that she was around.
They looked between each other which caused me to become suspicious. Asia rolled his eyes. “She wasn’t invited. Ian said she’s too boring.”
“How could you guys come to a party of a guy who dissed our friend?" I asked in confusion. If I had known, I would not have come.
How much was I missing by isolating myself from them?
Ian didn’t have to invite Iris to his party. It was his choice. My main issue was the fact that he called her a name and our friends knew and didn’t do anything about it. They always agreed to defend and protect each other, but that rule was always flexible when it came to Iris.
"It's not like he was lying. She is boring." Luisa piped in. I wanted to snarl at her.
Iris was a shy person but she was kind and friendly and very funny. Just because she wasn’t loud and attention-seeking doesn't mean she is boring.
"You know what. I’m so sick of you Luisa, " I retaliated with a scoff. “Nobody asked for your comment. She’s our friend.”
"Do you want me to lie and say she’s cool? I wouldn’t want to party with Iris. That’s life.”
Before I could answer, Asia butted in. "Please don’t do this. We’re supposed to be having fun. We can talk about this later.”
“I’m leaving,” I said pushing Mila off of me.
"But we just met up with each other; you have to stay a little longer. We haven't hung out together outside of school in such a long time," Asia said hugging me. Usually, when Asia tried giving me physical affection I pushed him away. I couldn’t allow myself to enjoy it too much, but today was different. Instead of automatically pushing him away, I closed my eyes and leaned into Asia’s hug enjoying the warmth. I knew I shouldn’t feel this way, but I couldn’t help it.
Asia squished my cheeks between his hands which caused me to smile.
“Ahh, there’s the smile. Stop being so grumpy,” he said.
Our moment was short-lived when I caught Harry, Asia’s boyfriend giving me a death glare. I pushed Asia off of me and looked away. Asia didn’t seem to mind it as he took Luisa’s hand.
"I need a beer," he said, pulling Luisa away with him as Harry followed behind.
Mila took a seat beside me and glanced at me with a raised eyebrow. We’ve known each other the longest out of our little bunch. Since our parents were friends, we automatically became friends. The biggest difference between my parents and Mila’s parents is that her parents were so understanding and respectful. Especially when it came to them accepting her boyfriend.
"You showed up here in hopes that you wouldn't see us, huh?"
Mila always knew where to hit me where it hurts.
"Not this again,” I quickly denied. “It really slipped my mind.”
"You know that I'm here for you. We're here for you. We love you and support you and whatever you're dealing with, know that you don't have to deal with it alone. If there was something bothering you, you'd tell me right?"
I could only nod, not trusting my voice. The lies were becoming too tiring, but I couldn’t stop. Opening up was a fear I didn’t want to live through. How could I admit to my friends that I hate myself? It has gotten so bad that I feel like a walking corpse most of the time.
Then there’s the gay thing. If it was a gay thing. I wasn’t really sure what it was, but I didn’t like it. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal since Asia is gay, but it is.
It’s a big deal.
I knew my friends would support me. Well, I’d hope so, but my parents would disown me for even having those thoughts. My life would be ruined. As tough as I tried to project, I knew I couldn’t handle not seeing my little sister again. I honestly had so much respect for Asia, while still feeling so jealous of him.
"You always acted like an antisocial douche but now you just seem so sad. It breaks my heart,” Mila noted with a frown.
"I'm not sad. I'm okay,” I lied once again and gave her a forced smile. “I promise.”
But I wasn't. I was sad and scared. I was so so scared
While I sat there having a mini breakdown Mila averted her gaze to a new guest.
Her boyfriend, Nick.
“Baby,” she squealed and jumped into his arms. “You’re late,” she whined to him as I was easily forgotten.
She acted so differently around Nick. The same way Asia acted with Harry.
“Sorry, we had an emergency meeting with the basketball team and we hung out a bit afterwards,” he replied as he kissed her. “You look beautiful, as always my princess.”
Mila gushed and wrapped her arms around him, deepening, their kiss. I was used to being a third-wheel, but this was a bit excessive.
I am not jealous of her.
I am happy for her.
“Um... I’m going to check on Asia,” I blurted out.
“Okay,” Mila replied as Nick set her on the couch as they continued their heated make-out session.
I did not go looking for Asia. Instead, I opened the back door and went to the hopefully vacant backyard. In such a short period of time, I felt overwhelmed. Usually, I could settle with the thoughts, but I’ve never been called out on my behaviour and this immense feeling didn’t mix well with the alcohol.
I took a seat on a large bench hanging from a mango tree. There were a few mangoes on the ground and I cringed.
Who wastes mangoes.
I picked up a few and set them on my lap. I downed the last contents in my cup and set it beside me. I should be at home. It didn’t make any sense of staying here when it wasn’t fun anymore, yet the unbearable reality of going home bothered me.
The mango seemed so interesting all of a sudden. I bit into it, closing my eyes ecstasy. Today wasn’t so bad. As I continued eating, I didn’t hear the backdoor open or notice the stranger watching me in amusement.
“Taste’s good huh?”