Chapter 23 – Leaping
Thursday, January 19th, 2017
I watch as Dr. Delgado rummages through a cabinet to find my files. He seems unfocused and I totally understand why. It’s a miracle in itself he agreed to see me today. It’s only been a week and a half since Calo attempted suicide and as far as Seino keeps me up to date, he is now in a mental facility where he is monitored 24/7.
And he’s not doing great at all. He’s no longer having an episode, but he’s not the regular cheerful person he is in between his episodes.
“Can’t we just sit without the file?” I suggest, as he obviously isn’t capable of locating it right now.
He turns around to look at me, as if he’s in deep thought.
“I just want to talk… not make steps. I’m not in the right mindset to find ways to get rid of the compulsions.”
“Okay, just talk.” He nods and sits down with an empty piece of paper and a notebook. “What is it you want to talk about?”
“I…” I take in a deep breath, now nervous all of the sudden. “Calo.”
Dr. Delgado visibly swallows, visibly already getting a bit emotional. “I don’t think I’m the right person to talk…”
“You are.” I cut his objection short. “You know him, and you know me. But there’s something I think you don’t know and that’s exactly what’s bothering me.”
He seems doubtful, even biting his lip nervously. He’s a mess, I can tell. There’s a reason I had to see him at his own house instead of his regular office; he’s not working at the moment. “Your parents told me things are getting worse with you. That’s why I agreed to see you right now. But you have to understand that I can’t discuss my own son with you.”
“Then discuss my best friend with me.” I close my eyes shortly, simply because I don’t have the courage to look at him as I prepare myself to tell him what’s going on. “Tell me how to deal with the feelings I have for my best friend. Because I can’t… I don’t know… I’ve never fell in love before. And he’s a guy…”
“You’re in love with Calo,” he repeats my words, obviously surprised by my revelations. But he didn’t sound disgusted or as if it’s wrong. “Is that what is bothering you? The fact you think you’re homosexual?”
I nod and open my eyes to look at him. “I don’t care about him being a guy. I don’t care about being gay or whatever. It’s that I have these feelings and I feel all giddy and happy when I’m with him. But they’re unanswered and now he doesn’t even want to see me anymore and I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel empty, I feel defeated, depressed. I don’t want to do anything because if he’s not my friend, then I’m back to being alone and I can’t be alone anymore.”
“Did Calo tell you he doesn’t like you? Or is it the fact Calo doesn’t accept his own sexuality?”
And that statement surprises me, causing my jaw to drop slightly.
“I know my son is struggling because he’s gay and he thinks it’s wrong. He is my son. Parents know such things.”
“I don’t think my parents know about me.”
“If they saw you and Calo together, I think they know.”
“Why is that?”
“Because that’s how I knew for sure about Calo. Which is why I wonder if he told you your feelings aren’t mutual.”
“He told me it’s wrong and I should fight them.”
“I can’t help but wonder if it’s the reason you two ended up fighting during Christmas break.”
“It is, yes. I told him if he couldn’t accept that part in me, I didn’t want to be friends anymore. But that pushed him over the edge, huh? I let him down and he needed me, but I acted cold…”
“Don’t blame yourself for his… situation. It’s not your fault. Calo has always struggled with his mental health, even before you guys met. Even when everything is fine, Calo isn’t always fine himself. You know that. So don’t blame this on you.”
“But now he doesn’t want to see me, and I so badly want to see him and tell him sorry for fighting and not supporting him and…” Tears ruin things and I really didn’t want to cry anymore, since I’ve been crying for days already and my head still hurts because of the many crying.
“Then visit him.”
“He won’t see me.”
“I think if you show up, he’ll agree to see you. He probably refuses to see you because he thinks you don’t want to see him and this way he’ll feel in control about yes or no seeing you again.”
“I don’t know…”
“Why don’t you ride with Seino and Harper? They’re leaving in half an hour to visit him.” He suggests, looking at the clock shortly. “Show him you’re still his friend.”
“Maybe…” I shrug, not entirely sure if I can handle him rejecting my visit right now. “Can I ask you something different? More… personal?”
Again, there’s a bit of doubt, before he nods.
“Why don’t you try to help Calo? You’re the best around here. Even Calo says it and he never says anything positive about you. He wants you to help him.”
He instantly takes in a tired breath. “I’m too emotionally involved in Calo, and I don’t think it’ll help either of us. So far, he refuses to tell me much about himself and he walks away whenever I ask him how he’s feeling.”
“Then maybe you should take your own advice and show Calo that you’re still there for him. Show him that you won’t reject him and give him the choice. He probably refuses to talk to you for the same reason he refuses to see me if you’re right about that.”
Dr. Delgado shows a small amused smile, before he chuckles shortly. “You’re a smart kid, Neo.”
“Go and visit Calo. And I’ll promise I will do everything in my power to help him, once he’s home again.”
* * * * *
Seino and Harper left me in the waiting room, while they went to see if Calo would be willing to see me. Seino also promised, if Calo would accept seeing me, that they would offer us some privacy – as I told Seino I wanted to talk to Calo about my feelings too.
He instantly understood Harper couldn’t be there since she doesn’t know about his sexuality and he might refuse to talk with her present in the room.
And now I’ve been in here for about twenty minutes, nervous – nauseas even – while I’m unsure if I came all the way over here for nothing.
But I just want to see Calo again. I want to be close to him, I need to.
And I’m currently watching the arms of the clock slowly move as each second passes. I long realised I haven’t been in the same building as Calo for days in a row and I haven’t seen his smile in nearly a month.
I look up as Seino and Harper walk into the waiting room, Harper with a careful smile, Seino smirking.
“We got him to agree to listen to you,” he tells me, gesturing towards the hallway. “I’ll bring you to him. But don’t expect a happy reunion.”
I nod, get up, and follow him down the hall and to a door. He simply knocks and smiles to me.
“Harper and I will wait for you in the waiting room.”
“Thanks for helping me.”
“No problem. Just stay calm and do your thing.”
I nod again, and enter the room.
I find Calo seated in a chair, staring out of the window. He’s wearing a grey sweatpants and hoodie with the hood pulled over his head.
There’s two beds in the room, but one seems unused, while the other is obviously Calo’s bed right now.
“Hey…” My greeting did not come out as strong as I wanted it. It actually came out with a nervous and squeaky tone.
He doesn’t really turn around but en profile I can tell his eyes turned towards me shortly.
“Cay…” I sigh, slumping down in the free chair next to him. “I’m so sorry for acting like a bitch.”
“You had the right,” he answers with a hoarse voice, as if crying or screaming damaged his vocal cords.
“But I should’ve been there… If I wouldn’t be angry, I could’ve supported you.”
“Don’t blame my attempt on your behaviour.” He tells me angrily, though his voice is still weak. “That’s all on me and my sick… mind.” The last word is a mere whisper, hardly loud enough to hear.
“Cay, I’m here because I need to tell you the truth.”
Now he turns to look at me and I notice scratches on the left side of his face. And when he lifts his glass to take a sip, I notice there’s bandage on his left wrist too as his sleeve slides down a bit.
“I tried… I couldn’t…” He stammers as he noticed me staring at it, covering it up with his sleeve again. “I thought I ruined our friendship…” He cries out, as his eyes water and he looks at me with a desperate look in them.
“You didn’t.” I scoot my chair closer, pulling him in my arms to comfort him. “You never… I just, I focused on the fact you didn’t accept me. I should’ve focused on the fact you don’t even accept yourself. And I don’t understand why.”
“Because all my life I’ve heard, over and over again, how it’s bad, how it’s a sin… and then I started getting feelings for a guy and I felt disgusted because all I wanted was to kiss him instead of my girlfriend.”
“And you did, and you can’t tell me it didn’t feel great. Because when I kissed you, it was the best feeling ever.”
“I don’t want to be gay, Nee.” He whispers, still fighting the tears that are threatening to roll down. “I don’t want to be defined by my sexuality. I don’t want to be bullied for it again. I don’t want people to think I’m not a real guy because I happen to like guys.”
And I thought about that too and no, it doesn’t sound easy to be gay in a world where so many people think it’s wrong. “But when I’m with you, I don’t care what others say. When I’m with you, all I care about is the fact I am happy with you and I just wish you would feel the same.”
“I do…” He groans, rolling his eyes, wiping away an escaped tear while he pulls away from me, getting up from his seat and laying down on his bed with his back turned to me. “But I don’t want to. I want to go back in time, where I didn’t know about these feelings and forget I ever had them.”
“We could do this together, Cay.” I stand up too, walking around the bed to look at him again. “I just know I don’t want to lose what we have. Because I can’t go back to what I had before I met you. I had nothing, and then I felt like I had everything simply because I had you as a friend. And I like you, a lot. I fell for you and I know you feel the same. And if any of those shitheads is going to bully us for it, I’ll just beat them up again.”
“Again?” Calo frowns, pushing himself up a bit to look at me.
“I’m suspended for beating up Luke. Broke his nose and jaw.”
“Why did you do that? What if they’ll take revenge? I’m not there, I can’t protect you…”
“They said awful things about you and I just… I couldn’t let them insult you. So, I gave them a clear warning not to mess with my best friend.”
“You did that because of me?”
“Off course I did.” I chuckle, sitting down on the bed as soon as he scooted aside a bit to offer me some space. “I’d do anything to see you smile, to make you happy… the way you make me happy.”
“See, you’re stronger then I am.” Calo grumbles and I chuckle as I lean against him. He puts an arm around me while sighing deeply. “I really like you too, Neo. But I’m too afraid for reactions. What if mom and dad think it’s wrong…”
“They already know. You dad said he knew for a while already but seeing us together made him sure it was true. He doesn’t hate you for it. He just wants you to accept yourself and be happy.”
“How can you act like it’s nothing!?” He grabs both of my shoulders to shake me a bit. “How do you do it?”
“What? Allow myself to be happy?” I roll my eyes and send him an unimpressed look. “I hate every part about me. I just don’t hate the part about me that fell for the greatest, cutest, sweetest guy I’ve ever met because it shows that there’s at least some sanity left in me.”
Now he rolls his eyes and right before he’s able to speak up again, I lean forwards to kiss him on the lips. It’s a quick kiss, and I do not pull back far, just enough to speak again. “Don’t tell me you don’t like it, and don’t tell me you don’t want more.”
He stares me in the eye in silence for a while, his hands still on my shoulders and mine still on his chest.
“I dare you to deny it.” I whisper with a smirk, and then I let him pull me in for another kiss.
It’s hesitantly from his side, but as I don’t pull back, he turns his head, deepening the kiss.
I’m on cloud nine, with his arms around me, his fingers in my hair, his lips on mine and our tongues battling for space, and maybe a bit for control.
What can I say? I’m a control freak.
My head feels fuzzy, my stomach is about to explode with all these giddy feelings and my skin is tingling.
And I want to stay here forever. Just like this, with Calo holding me, protecting me from all the bad in the world.
And the only time we break the kiss, is to stare at each other, catching our breaths. But for a while, it’s all we do; kiss and stare.
“I hate you,” he breaths out with a tone that tells me he doesn’t really hate me.
“Because I made you feel this way?”
“Yeah, and for accepting it so easily while I’ve been struggling for the past three years.”
“Maybe I’m just worth accepting it?” I smirk, snuggling closer to him because I simply don’t want to leave him. I want to feel his warmth, his body against mine. “Maybe you just needed someone to tell you that you were just being stupid.”
“I wasn’t being stupid, I’m still not. There’s tons of people who will condemn us for it. Doesn’t that bother you?”
“I’ve been judged upon, condemned, called crazy or a freak, for years. I think I don’t really find it in me to care what they think about me being gay. I care about the fact I’m happier then any other moment when I’m with you.”
“That’s sweet, but…”
“No but’s. All my life, I’ve been executing tons of compulsions and 90% of them is because I try to keep others safe, please them, give them a good life. For once, I want to do something that feels good for me. That makes me happy and that makes me feel safe.”
“Fair enough. I just don’t get why it’s me you like.”
“Because you’re you. You can be funny, you can be grumpy – which can be annoying but sometimes it’s cute – and you’re never afraid to show how you feel. Maybe you’re not always happy with who you are, but I promise you I’ll love you just that little bit extra to fill up that lack of love in yourself.”
“Where is this going, Neo?” Calo cups my face with one hand.
“I… eh…” I take in the deepest breath I ever took. “DoyouwannabemyboyfriendIpromisetomakehappy.”
He stares at me in confusion for a while, and then I realise I never took a breath or a break in between words and he must have not caught more then half of the words.
“Cay, do you want to be my boyfriend?” God, I can’t believe I’m the one actually asking this. I never pictured myself asking anyone out, let alone to be with me in a relationship.
He bites his lip, leaving me hanging for way too long. But then he smiles and nods. “Yes, mister Favre. I’ll be your boyfriend. But you have got to give me time to come out proudly and accept all of this. I’m not denying my feelings, I’m just not quite yet there being happy with it.”
“I’ll wait, as long as we get to be together in private and you’ll talk to me when something is bothering you.”
“I promise, I will try to be as open as possible.”
And that’s all I need. Him, and a shot to grow together.