Conflicted Affection

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The Beginnings Part 2

Now 8th grade starts and puberty hits many--especially the girls. The boys talk about the girls boobs and asses and become more superficial than ever.

But at least we become more attractive! Some of us, at least.

I began to develop some kind of attractiveness, and so did the rest of my friends.

The end of summer begins seconds ago as the bell rings. Our yearly bullying for Ryland hasn't stopped and isn't planning to.

This year Ryland has grown up and dressed a lot differently.

"Oh, look whose trying to look all cute for the boys!" Michael mocks to him, followed by laughs from all of us, but I can't manage a real one today for some reason, "Brian was gone two years ago, sweetheart."

Ryland stays quiet, as usual. But he isn't the same timid kid, none of us are.

His jaw line defined, his hair is a darker color, his eyes more visible due to a different hair cut, and more normal and fashionable clothes.

He tends to clench his jaw more too, I suppose to be attractive? Many girls find it attractive in our school apparently.

He looks different, I can't put my finger on it. Sure, I can name the differences, but something else is there.

"You'll never fit in." Alex--the new kid from last year--says getting close to him and towering over him.

All I can do is stand there. I know it's childish and stupid, but my behavior is confusing. I'm used to this stuff by now. Sure, I always feel bad, but something is just really...really off.

I mean, he was already changing since 7th grade. I had some odd feelings, but my mom said it was just hormones.

I've already had these feelings of nervousness and fuzziness inside me when I saw him one day in 7th grade where he was just smiling.

I can never admit I'm questioning, though, that means it will show. That'll lead to Michael kicking my ass if he finds out.

This type of feeling is different. I feel sick, but it isn't a bad type of sick. My body is heating, fuzzy feelings everywhere, and I can't stop looking at every movement he makes.

When he drops his head, even in sadness, and clenches his jaw, my body reacts.

I can't explain the feeling, but I know something isn't normal.

Even then, I tell myself it is only hormones, and I convince myself that's true. It must be.

I'm not gay, I know I'm not. Yet, each time I watch him look up, look down, clench his jaw, anything at all I find the odd feelings growing stronger.

For the rest of my middle school months, this drives me insane. I can't take it anymore, I need to get away from him. But I also need to be accepted by everyone, which means I have to be mean to him, which includes being around him.

Each day never fails to make it worse. I want to violently bang my head against a wall.

In order to stop all this, I'll have to force myself to be more mean to him--have reasons to hate him. I can't like him, not even a bit, not even as a classmate or even coexist with him.

I have to fucking hate him and I don't care how long it takes.

Lets just say, I've never been happier for summer in my entire life. That means less stress, less confusion, and less of an urge to scream and act like crack head at school.

It is all ok until high school begins, and it all starts in a cycle once again.

Except this time, Michael is no where to be seen and the world pretty much neglects Ryland.

No one bullies him, talks to him, or really even looks at him unless they absolutely have to.

Only his friends that are basically like family are there for him. These people are; Sean the jokester, Lela the silent ghostly girlfriend of Sean, and Max the infamous, violent man whore.

Other than that, he is pretty much invisible.

But somehow, I never overlook him. I always wish for it to stop, but it never does.

After Michael left, I just chose ignore it, not even trying to stop it even though I despise it.

Sometimes, I fear I don't mind these feelings at all.

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