Gym class; a class that mocks me in so many degrading ways I almost consider skipping and hiding as an option.
But I can’t. I’m sure to be noticed and reported back to class.
I loathe gym for two particular reasons. Reason number one; showcasing my disadvantaged athletic skills. My body lacks all the proper nutrients and training that it needs, and gym really lets me know just how terrible of shape I’m in and it sucks. My ignorant peers laugh and tease and call me, “weak.” I even get unnecessary slaps on the butt to try harder.
Really unnecessary slaps.
Reason number two; the bodies. And I’m not talking about the girls’ bodies, I’m talking about the boys’ bodies.
It’s true that I am human, and on top of being a 15 year old human, I’ve entered this stage where my body tells me exactly what I like and how it makes me feel. I make it noticeable by lurking.
Although most of the male student body are total asses towards me, I cannot lie and say that in gym, when they sweat and the glistening of their jawlines and faces and neck shimmer with the aftermath of sports play, I get excited. When the sea blue veins in their arms and biceps flex, I get excited. Toned stomachs walk by and I get excited. Muscular legs and shoulders play basketball and I get excited. My heart jumps with the rhythm of the basketball. I can’t help but satisfy myself in the smallest of ways.
But finally, all of my pain and torture is temporarily over as coach orders us to change back out in the locker rooms. Females with females and males with males.
Boys maneuver left and right with their loud voices and obnoxious cheering. Apparently our team had won the basketball game. My mind was too busy elsewhere.
“Yeah, what up man?”
“Tryin’ to stay after school for some one-on-one practice? You know you need it.”
“Damn man, tough call. I got tutorial after school today.”
“Hey, what’s the big fuss about?”
This Brandon guy is shirtless, and immediately, I’m in the danger zone.
I try not to make it obvious that my sexual preference is men, but I get curious a lot as I never really explore my sexuality. I’m closeted, and I feel safe where I am. Although most people already know, I have never confirmed anything from the core of my own mouth. It’s just been rumors and gossip and rumors. Dating Adrienne has thrown a lot of people off too, and I’m fine with that.
I stay close against my locker as my eyes trail down Brandon’s body. He is attractively fit with summer tan skin that seems to glow under the fluroscent light. His waist is slim and creates a sharp V shape going down into the waistband of his basketball shorts. His basketball shorts. They hug his lower half faultlessly. I could admire this guy all day.
If only I were built like that.
“Dude, what the hell are you doing?!”
My heart quickens as all conversation hits a dead end, and all of the attention creeps up to me and now I am the show.
“You checking me out bro?” Brandon closes in on me, face pinched and angry. “I ain’t with that gay shit dude.”
“I-I wasn’t checking you out,” I panic, stuck against my locker as I’m cornered.
“Actually, this little fag’s been checking us all out,” a deep voice slithers up my throat. A hand pushes me deep into the metal. I’m surrounded, and this nausea climbs up my stomach with rage and now I want to vomit.
“What did the fag do this time guys?”
“He was playing googly eyes with the wrong person Jeff. I ought of kick your fucking ass you cock sucker,”
His hands feel like iron tying around my neck and I can’t breathe. All of the guys are either helping in my torment or recording it for later amusement. My head jerks back against the metal and now I’m seeing stars. Literally. Blobs of faint color dot my vision and they glitter ever so slightly.
“Get him Brandon! Get him!”
“Yeah boy, that’ll teach him,”
“Sock him in the face!”
A hot flash of pain sears through my face and I’m on the verge of tears. Hands grab me all over and I don’t try to fight back.
I know I am worthless. I let them do whatever they want to me.
“Look at this piece of shit! He’s about to cry.”
“Punch him harder dude!”
I expect the impact of my doom to crush every ounce of dignity and faith I have left in me, and I expect this punch to lead to my final decision of actually ending it all when I get home. Just to leave my tormentors behind and to rest in a place that knows no harm or discrimination. Sometimes, I want to do the job they’re all too afraid to do.
Still expecting to get hit, suddenly, someone tosses me to the side and I hit the floor. I look up in horror, witnessing the scene.
“Nobody. Bother him. Anymore.”
Everyone stares at the bull as if he has horns on his head for real. My chest heaves up and down, the panic slowly dissolving into more confusion.
Brandon sizes him up, and this is a big mistake. Blake steps forward, his eyes never leaving his. At the angle I’m at, I cannot see what is in those eyes.
“Man Blake get the fuck out of here. This boy was over here oogling me and shit.”
“I’ll handle him.”
Brandon says nothing more.
It’s the fact that we all know what Blake can do. He’s a monster; a person not afraid to demand and kill if he has to. Or, at least that’s what we choose to believe.
The sound of shuffling feet and coach’s whistle makes me shut my eyes. I temporarily imagine myself on an island. Far far away where I can live in a world of peace and beauty and be who I am without all the excessive judgment. Besides, I’m a sucker for tropical environments.
When I open my eyes, Blake is at his locker, which I realize is three down from mine. He doesn’t look at me, which makes my heart race. Is he really gonna handle me the way I think he is? I look at my hands, all pale and soft but rigid with fear of using them.
At the slam of his locker, he now pin points his gaze upon me, and I turn redder than I already am. He shakes his head. I notice that he’s shirtless as well.
I don’t dare let my eyes leave his face.
There’s this killer silence that’s starting to get to me. I hear the whistle again. It’s now time for fourth block.
“Get up,” Blake says in his deep voice.
I can’t explain how flustered I am to be in Blake’s presence like this. His gaze pierces through me and I do as he says and just get my ass up.
Now my knees are making me weak.
Blake opens his locker again and it almost seems like he does it to occupy himself. He lingers in there a moment, probably searching for words. I keep a considerate distance between us, because I don’t want any “gay” altercations popping off.
Blake then shuts his locker once more. He looks at me, and his expression is less hard and more playful. He grins, shaking his head.
“Man, I wouldn’t know how to be you,” he says, a small laugh following his statement. “you put up with a lot of bullshit.”
His voice is somehow deep with a light edge. It feels rich and smooth like chocolate. But then again, everything about him is chocolate. His voice, his eyes, his body.
Don’t look there don’t look there!
As if Blake heard my mental panicking, his steps closer to me, and my eyes of course betray my will to live as they leave his face and fall down to his chest. There are scars there, and I wonder why.
All of a sudden, he forcefully pins me against the lockers. The metal is cold and solid against my body and there’s literally no space between Blake and I.
He is pressed into me. His unclothed torso is pressed against mine.
Now I don’t know where to look. I have no idea what to look at. Blake is dead smack in front of me and his stance is unflinching. I’m hot and bothered and I blush red to show just how uncomfortable this position is. The butterflies in my stomach make my heart feel like weights.
“Look at me when I’m talking to you,” he demands.
Swallowing my pride hell of hard, I look into his eyes. They are big and dark and strong. The whites are clear, making his iris appear like a large black pearl. He has two black pearls. I can’t look away from them now.
“Be honest with me,” his breath warms my face. “you’re tired of all this bullshit, right?”
His eyebrows furrow, and I try to sink into nonexistence but apparently I’m still here. Blake has this dangerous glint in his eyes, and I’m afraid of defying them.
“Um, I-I don’t know what you mean,”
I gasp when his thumb traces across my cheek, which I’m sure is hot pink by the force of Brandon’s hit. Blake’s action reminds me of what a concerned mother would do to her son. He is gentle with where he traces, and I try my hardest not to blush to death. Involuntarily, my hands grip his wrists, and this brings Blake’s eyes to mine again.
Why the HELL would you grab his wrists?
“It means,” his voice is low, looking deep into my eyes. “you need to start putting these hoes in check around here.”
Now his thumb traces around an old bruise. It’s on my collarbone.
“You let them beat up on you man. That shit ain’t cool.”
His fingers crawl up my arm and the goosebumps make me shiver. Another bruise shows itself and he soothes it like a mother. He finds a cut from a knife and he soothes it like a mother.
Eventually, he discovers all of my scars; from the lightest ones, to the ugliest ones.
Blake finally steps back from me, and the gap between us is now cold. I’m not warm anymore.
“At least I know you can take an ass whooping,” he chuckles, and this lightens the intense mood. Is this really Blake the Bull I’m talking to? Doesn’t feel like it.
Suddenly, his expression goes cold and serious again.
“I gotta head out now,” he says, his eyes never leaving mine. I have never made eye contact with anyone this long before.
I clear my throat, trying to find the right words for what just happened between us. An explanation.
“I-I, I just...”
“You must not talk much. You stutter a lot.”
This makes me blush and close my mouth.
“Is it because you feel like no one cares? You hide your voice because it ain’t that deep? Ay man, I’ll tell you what; if you want to stop getting treated like a trash can, you need to learn how to love yourself. Then, you can rule everyone else.”
“Love myself?” these words are foreign.
“Meaning, have some damn confidence. Make people fear you. Make them realize who the hell you are. And then, they’ll stop fucking with you.”
He throws on a plain white shirt and then a denim blue jacket. He gathers his things, and before leaving the locker room, he makes one last announcement towards me.
“Talk to me when you ready man. And then your shitty life can be over.”
He leaves me. I just want an explanation and his touch again.