My Best Friend

by Victor Thomas

Chapter 9

I walked away from Allison's doorway, back to Kolton's house where I'd left my car. The reality of who and what I was dropped on me like a stack of boulders. I'd set out to prove I was attracted to girls; to prove that I wasn't attracted to Todd. Instead, I'd proved that girls did nothing for me and that the only way I could get a hard on with a female was to fantasize about another boy. True, she had made me hard, but I had to admit to myself that anyone touching me like that would've aroused me. I wanted it to mean something, but it just didn't.

I was in such a daze that I was unaware of my surroundings until I found myself standing beside my car. I climbed in and turned on the ignition key. The engine fired up and I pulled away from the curb. I just drove around town for a while, aimlessly. I saw all the high school kids sitting on their cars in the park, or driving around cruising; cute boys strutting their stuff for cute girls, beautiful girls casting their spell on hormone-controlled boys. For the first time ever, I realized I was really and truly different. I wasn't like everyone else. I was one of those boys that everyone talked about, one of the despised and ridiculed.

I seriously considered ramming my car into a tree and ending it all right then and there. It would look good in the paper. 'Local Football Player Killed in Accident.' It would be a dramatic end. Everyone would be talking about me. A lot of the kids from school would be crying at my funeral. No one would ever know about me.

I was thinking crazy. I was being stupid and selfish. I couldn't leave mom and dad like that. I couldn't hurt them or my friends. Suicide was never the answer. It brought too much pain to too many people. It was the cowardly way out. I was no coward. I knew I had the balls to withstand whatever might come.

When I finally made it home, I didn't go inside. Instead, I went for a walk. As I walked down the street, I thought about Todd. Why did he always haunt my thoughts? I walked on, turning left at the corner to walk around the block.

I'd been lying to myself. I'd known that all along. How could I not have known? The one person I couldn't fool was myself. I'd done a fair job of it, I guess. My denial, my anger, all that and more was just smoke and mirrors; an illusion I used to trick myself, at least for a little while. It was an illusion I'd used to hide the unthinkable, to keep myself from discovering my darkest secret, a secret that would change my entire life.

A tear ran down my cheek. I'd failed. I'd ignored reality for as long as I could. I'd held it back, fought it off. I'd tried to alter it, make myself something other than what I was, but I'd failed. I was out of tricks, out of illusions, out of hope. I had to face what I was and deny it no more. I felt like my life was over. Why did this have to happen to me? I hadn't asked for it, didn't want it. Why me?

As I continued walking, I turned all that had happened over and over in my mind. I was afraid, ill at ease, and yet a kind of calm descended upon me. At least now I knew for sure. I'd tried it with a girl. I'd dated, kissed, and had sex. I knew what waited for me in that direction, and I knew I didn't want it. I no longer had to struggle against what I was. I no longer had to fight myself. The terrible battle within me had ended. I felt like I'd lost.

I found myself at the park. I walked toward one of the picnic tables and sat down. I continued to think about my best friend. For the very first time ever, I let myself feel for him, without fighting it, without pushing it away, without denying it. I loved him. I loved him more than I loved anyone.

I sat there and explored who I was. I felt like I was getting to know someone I'd just met. I guess I was really. There were so many things I'd never allowed myself to feel, so many thoughts I'd never allowed myself to think. Yes, such feelings and thoughts tried to force their way to the surface and break through, but I'd battled them, beat them into submission. I'd ignored the real me as best I could. I'd hidden myself from myself. At last, I could get to know me and feel the emotions that flowed through me naturally. I found that I liked me.

A smile crossed my lips. I loved Todd. It felt good to love someone. I had never really loved anyone before, other than my parents, but this was different. I loved Todd so much it hurt. I loved him with all my heart. I loved him as a friend, yes, but there was so much more. I wanted to be with him, be at his side every moment. I wanted to do everything with him, share his life. I wanted to sleep with him, make love with him.

I thought of his body, of it's smoothness and firmness. I thought of his full red lips. I yearned to kiss him, to touch him. I yearned to make love to him. I didn't want just sex with him, I wanted love. My desire for him was intensified a hundred-fold because of the way I felt about him.

I thought of the other boys that surrounded me every day. I thought of how I'd looked at them, noticed them. Yes, there was no doubt about what I was. Of all those beautiful boys, Todd was the most beautiful of all, at least to me. There were many just as attractive as him, several more attractive I guessed. To me, however, none of them were the equal of Todd. I saw him not only with my eyes, but also with my heart. I loved him. I was in love with him.

I wondered how long I'd been in love with him. When had it happened? When had the love of friendship crossed the line and became something far greater? How had I hidden it from myself? How could I not have known? How was I going to bear the pain of the knowledge I so suddenly possessed?

I looked over at the river. The moonlight reflected off the water, making it look like a million shimmering diamonds. It was a beautiful sight. Trees filled the park across the river. Their leaves were a deep, dark green, nearly blue in the moonlight. The park and the river were a place of beauty. I found myself wishing that Todd was at my side, sharing the beauty of it all. I wanted to share everything with him. I wanted to share my life with him.

I guess that was just another fantasy. There was just no way he could possibly share my feelings. One in ten is what they say, right? There was only a ten percent chance he was into guys like me. Even if he was one of the minorities, that didn't mean he'd love me. I knew it was a vain hope. He couldn't possibly feel the same way about me that I did about him. We were good, close friends, but I was sure that was as far as it went for him. I think he loved me, but as a friend only. When he looked at me, the same feelings were not inspired that were aroused in me when I gazed upon him.

A deep sadness descended upon me. I felt isolated, alone. I was in love with him, but all I wanted could not be. I could never tell him how I felt. To do so would have been to risk losing him. I couldn't bear the thought of that. I couldn't live without him in my life, even if he was only a friend and nothing more. Our friendship was dear to me, a thing precious beyond calculation. He could never love me as I loved him and I'd never tell him. I'd never share my feelings. I felt so alone.

My heart ached. A sob welled in my chest and forced it's way up. I bowed my head and cried. I cried for what I was and for the life I'd never have. I cried for the one I loved, who could not love me back. I felt cursed. What had I done to deserve this? What kind of cruelty made me love someone I could never have? I felt that I must have done something horrible beyond thinking to deserver my fate. I cried until I was exhausted, my mind numb with sorrow and grief.

I arose and walked back the way I'd come, seeing nothing, feeling only sadness. If I could've willed myself dead, I would have done so, just to escape. At that moment I felt completely isolated, as if I were outside, looking in on the rest of the world sharing life and love. I was the only gay boy in a straight world. My life was over.

It was late when I returned home. Mom and dad were already in bed. I pulled off my clothes, fell onto my mattress and cried myself to sleep. My only hope was that I'd never wake up.

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