The Bartender

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Chapter Two

When I got home, I didn’t even want to speak to my mom. I had lost appetite as well. All I wanted to do was lay down on his bed. I wasn’t tired. I just couldn’t understand why Kyle said that.

“I can’t be your friend if you continue to do this”.

What did that even mean? We were both taught since childhood that it was a bad thing. And that the people who did it were the worst of bad people, and they were definitely going to hell.

“Aiden!” Mom called. “Dinner’s ready”.

Sighing, I got up from bed and headed downstairs. I didn’t want to eat but that would just get my mom worried so I went anyway. I sat opposite her, as usual. There was always silence anytime we ate. Mostly because my dad was never around, but I didn’t really mind. There was nothing to talk about. However, what happened today with Kyle flashed through my mind so then, I decided to break the silence.

“Mom?”

She looked up from her plate of chicken salad. “Yes dear?”

“Is homosexuality a sin?” I blurted before I even had the chance to think about it.

Mom choked. She coughed a couple of times and gulped a large amount of water.

“Why do you ask sweetie?”

“Oh nothing. It just occurred to me”. I paused when I saw her fidgeting with her nails. Weird. “I just wanted to know what you think”.

She looked anywhere but at me and I could tell she was very uncomfortable. I hoped it wasn’t a sensitive topic. Like how weird would that be?

“Well, the Bible says it’s wrong”.

“Mom” I groaned. “I asked what your opinion was and not what the bible says. It’s not like we go to church anyway”. That was a low blow but it’s true. It’s been years since we went to church.

“Well maybe it’s wrong. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe you should stop thinking about what people say and do what you want. Whatever the case, just leave me alone. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to hate them!” She yelled at me and went up to her room.

Okay what the heck was that? My mom never yelled at me. How sensitive was this topic? Why did she run off like that? Was she not the same person who told him some years ago that it was a sin?

I sighed when I realized no one was going to answer the many questions in my head. Maybe I was just over thinking it.

The weekend went by pretty fast for me because I wanted to see Kyle. I was a tiny bit, okay, a lot frustrated but all I wanted to do was sort things out with my best friend. I even declined going to the movies with Gabrielle. Well, I can’t say I liked it anyway.

I couldn’t also go to Kyle’s house because 1) I had no idea where it was, 2) Kyle would definitely sack me before I even got there. It was official. My best friend hated me. Although, I really hoped not. I liked him way too much and he was the only person who actually cared about me.

I know the effects of bullying. What I went through, how bad it was and why Kyle seemed so bent on making me stop made me grimace. I held my wrist and took a deep shaky breath.

“Calm down”, I said to myself. “Maybe it’s not as bad as it sounds”.

Let me say this. I was bullied when I was in middle school for being rich. But this is different. Niall is just gay. Gay. That word made me gag. Why would anyone want a cock up their arse? It was just disgusting. So what was Kyle’s problem?

I decided to make Kyle aware of how bad it was so I Googled the effects of gay sex on my way to school on Monday.

Kyle was not in my first classes so I made sure to look for him at lunch. And, oh great, he was with that little disgusting excuse of a human being. When Kyle and I made eye contact, he frowned making me wince. I knew there and then that Niall had told him what happened this morning.

It was nothing new, to be honest

I just shoved him into a locker, that was all. Nothing big right? If I could get used to it after some time, why can’t Niall get used to it too. Brushing the thought aside, I got up from my table and went over to him.

“Hey”.

“Hey”, okay someone is not excited to see me, I thought. I sighed and sat down anyway, beside Niall, of course.

Niall flinched when I sat by him, he seemed scared and frankly, I was more than satisfied.

“What do you want?” Kyle asked.

“Do I need a reason to talk to my best friend now?”

“If you have agreed to do what I asked, no problem. Be my guest.”

I frowned. “You’re still on that?”

“Actually, yes”.

I took a deep breath, got up and went to my usual table. The actual nerve! Who did Kyle think he was, to come and lecture me on how to live my life? I sat down, still frowning.

“What’s bugging you mate?” Andrew asked.

“Nothing. Just nothing. At all”.

I had been worried the entire week. I couldn’t go through any day without thinking about how much Kyle hated me. We had been best friends since we were kids and Kyle had helped me through the bad times.

On Wednesday, I walked through the hallway trying to get to my locker before the bell rang with my head hung low. I was annoyed, angry and sad, all in one. I wanted the pain to go away. But I was fine, very fine, until someone bumped into me.

“I- I’m sorry” the boy said. It was more like a whisper but I heard it. I looked up with a frown.

“Why can’t you just watch where you’re going?” I asked rubbing my eyes. When I noticed it was Niall, I grabbed his collar and shoved him into a locker. It was more like a reflex action. “Look here fag, I’ve had it with you okay. It’s enough that you’ve made my friend hate me. You don’t have to make my life any worse, got that?!”

“I’m s-so s-so-sorry Aiden” Niall whimpered as the back of his head hit the locker. He cried in pain.

“Fuck! Don’t even mention my name. Just go. Leave before I get infected, you piece of shit”.

I pushed Niall away and started walking over to my locker. I stopped in my tracks when I saw Kyle staring at me. He might have seen me when I was “talking” to Niall. Maybe he didn’t see. I hoped for the latter because I couldn’t deal with this. Worst of all, I wasn’t going to apologize to Niall like Kyle wanted. I didn’t do anything wrong, I said to himself.

I cringed a bit when Kyle walked past me, intentionally bumping our shoulders. It seemed that Kyle had been waiting for me, because where he stood was in front of my locker. What if he wanted to talk? What if he had realized what Niall is? I asked himself.

“Fuck” I cursed. That definitely couldn’t have been the reason. He had seen, and most probably, heard the little encounter. I was torn. What was Kyle’s deal with Niall? Why did he seem to care so much about him?

The rest of the day went by uneventfully and I was just my grumpy self. Andrew and Gabrielle had asked if I was okay but I just told them I was fine. They didn’t really seem to care though, because they just let it go.

It was no different at home. I locked himself up in my room trying to figure out why Kyle was acting that way.

“It’s probably because you keep hurting the poor kid, dumbass!” My inner self retorted.

I might just go right ahead and say this. The thing is, anytime I bullied Niall, I knew exactly what I was doing. It wasn’t just because Niall was gay. Of course not. It’s true, yes, I fucking hate gays and don’t want anything to do with them. I think what they do is disgusting and even animalistic. That’s my opinion anyway, but let’s face it. Is that a valid reason to always beat someone up? I always remembered middle school whenever I met Niall. He was very timid, laid back, respectful, everything that I was back in middle school. But back then, whenever I got beat up, whenever I got shoved into lockers, whenever my head was pushed down the toilet, I went home with tears in my eyes and slept with a bloody wrist.

This should give me no reason to hurt someone else, but I couldn’t get over the fact that no one went through what I went through. I lost a whole year of school for fuck’s sake. So for me, it was more like revenge.

Thursday was no different. I tried avoiding them, them being Kyle and Niall but when lunch rolled in, there was no way that was going to happen. They actually sat right where my eyes could see them. Opposite me. My heart hurt when Kyle would laugh and smile with Niall but not with him. I was very jealous.

Friday was the same. I actually left school after lunch, after faking an illness, because I couldn’t take it anymore. When I got home, mom told me that I had a package and that it was on my bed. Rushing upstairs, I hurriedly opened my door to see what it was. Who would’ve sent me a package? Dad normally would but that was during the end of the month, if he wasn’t around that is. So who?

I picked up the box from my bed and opened it even before I put my back pack down. I groaned when there was another box to be opened. What kinda sick game was that? I sighed. The box happened to be very light, as though there were nothing in it. As I sat down on my bed, a note fell out from the box. I picked it up and read,

“Before you open this box, think about what would’ve happened if it were you.

x”

There was no name. And what kind of message was that? I asked myself. I opened the box anyway, quite frantically though. When I looked, my heart skipped a beat. I immediately pushed it away from me. Why would anyone send him that? I tucked it away in the far end of my closet.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I kept having nightmares of my time in middle school, of the times when I bled to sleep and when Kyle said he couldn’t be my friend. I got up from bed, sweating and panting, after what could have been the third nightmare in one night, in a long time.

I sat on my bed as the cold weather entered my body making shivers run through my spine. I was not cold though. I was anything but cold. In fact, I was sweating. I stared at my closet for such a long time and before I knew it, I was in my bathroom, cleaning blood away from my wrist, for the first time, in three years of being clean.

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