Episode 1: His name is Zayn
A few years ago, my friend Zayn came out as gay. I never actually suspected he would be gay. He never actually acted “that way.” He loved sports, he dressed okay and he hated bright colors. I didn't know what made someone gay but I always thought I would be able to tell. After he came out, his parents were worried about his safety, most of the kids at school started to bully him so he transferred to a boarding school. My parents also asked me to stop visiting him for a while.
I still kept in touch with him at school before he left for the boarding school and I texted every day because I read somewhere that coming out was very stressful and someone could get depressed if there was not enough support. I always thought if I ever met a gay guy I would act homophobic but that wasn't the case I was actually very supportive with Zayn.
After he left for boarding school I couldn't keep in touch with him. His boarding school was very strict. A couple that lived nearby had recommended the boarding school to Zayn's parents because it was good for kids who “felt that way” they said. Classes weren't the same without him around. I almost always felt lonely like something was missing.
Zayn was such an extrovert, unlike me who was slightly reserved, he had guts. The guts to come out to everyone at such a young age. I could tell when he came out that he was sort of happier and he told me he felt some sense of relief. I admired him for that because if I was him I wouldn't have had the guts to do that.
I remember the day he came out, I was the first one he told. We met outside my house like always. He had our soccer ball and snacks and I carried our football kits, but that day something felt different. He wasn't his extroverted self anymore and he kept spacing out. I asked him what was wrong, and he said he would tell me after practice. We stayed out late that night and just before I could leave, he stopped me and said with a shaky voice.