Speak & Listen

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Some people search for love.

We, teenagers, know this love as only romance.

The brain-sick attraction toward your significant other.

The patterns of agony and the supplicated bruises tattooed all over our skin, the fights and the never-ending tantrums are all predicaments of love, we think. We think the feeling of being disrespected and being abused in relationships is actually just ‘one of the phases’ people who love each other go through.

But love is everywhere and everything.

Maybe, love, is the turmoil and love is the peaceful silence we get when we fall asleep. Or maybe, love is the anxiety that cripples our minds before we close our eyes in the dark. Maybe love is materialistic, may be conditional, or perhaps irrevocable like Romeo and Juliet.

Maybe...love is not supposed to hurt. Love should heal and bless.

Love should be safe, should be lilies and cherries and thyme in a beautiful garden illuminated with sunlight. Love should not be conditional, but eternal. Also rational...by that I mean, love should never make you feel confined, hurt or stranded. It should make sense...in here.

But what would I know? I was just a pathetic romantic who fit neither in Romeo nor Juliet’s fan-fics. I was a ‘contrast in nature’. But dad would always say I judged myself too much and no one really cared about who I date or fuck. I may not be the perfect fit for Juliet, but if I can’t find pleasure and joy with Romeo, then where exactly do I belong?

I guess I’m trying to say that my story doesn’t make sense at all, not even to me. I am not the protagonist of own my story too. I’m just a supporting actor in my story directed by my very own insecurities and dubiety. Nothing, at all, in my head made sense.

Perhaps it’s because I have been hurt a lot. That’s what happens when you finally become yourself, not because you chose to, but because the body one day gets tired of wearing all the facades and it deserts you with nothing but deep sadness and pain. It was the day I came out that changed everything...that left me deserted friendless and familyless. Ever since I had been living with a body controlled by a mind that isn’t so mine anymore.

But love can be anything. It can be a friend, a brother, a stranger, a place, a material, the universe, the air you breathe, yourself. It only takes one person to change everything, yourself included. You can be love. Because without love, without you, everything is different.

It was one particular evening. The moon that night was wide and white, gleaming into the dark shadows of the night and into the dark sorrows of my eyes, making my eyes tenderly squint towards it. I was in the backyard, finishing a cigarette, while these existential thoughts ruminated in my head. When I could feel the unpleasant cold wind smacking against my naked forearms, I walked back inside the house, disposing the depleted cigarette.

I walked up to my room. I was nervous, for some reason, for my junior year and the new faces I might meet. It’d be a little logical if I was starting off at a new school, but I’ve been in Clever Cats High School for years. Most of the kids I schooled with in elementary school were in Clever Cats.

I went into my walk-in closet, where I usually hid what I called ‘the bin’. Truly, judging from the name, I’d think sometimes that it’s just a cluster of waste material, but it keeps me aware of my very own thoughts. So yes, I kept a chest with a bunch of letters devoted to myself about my crushes on the top shelf of my closet that I usually hid so far from sight, that sometimes I’d even forget about it until I write another letter again.

I placed the last letter for my sophomore year. It was Craig’s. Sometimes my feelings failed to accept boundaries, and only the letters were the anchor to the truth.

I dated Alan in freshman year, up to the beginning of the sophomore year, the year I came out. He was a junior by then. That meant we were two grades apart. Months later, I dated Sebastian who was also a junior. They were both from Clever Cats.

Why did we break up? Well, let’s just say I can be a hard one. Alan couldn’t bare my ′issues’ and one day, it became too much for him. He dumped me. Regardless, I believed he was a good person. The rumours about his infidelity drifted us more and more apart. There’s more to the story.

Sebastian sympathized with me after I came out. We never even spoke about dating, but we assumed a kiss meant we were dating. He, on the other hand, was more tolerant and supportive...but I should have known that all men were the same. Later on, he called me boring and dumped me for Kate, who dumped him for his closeted ex. Fun world we live in, isn’t it?

So I’ve been trivialized and hurt, partly the reason why I’m very wary of my feelings. I’m afraid to give in overmuch to someone who wouldn’t dare do the same. I’m afraid I might ruin relationships and drive people away from me.

Everyone knew I was gay, but my elusiveness confounded people even more. Even Sophia would think that I was ′no longer gay’. That was because I lived in abstinence. I was okay with fantasizing because it would hurt less, but that was it. I didn’t see myself getting into a relationship with a man in my life anytime soon. Or ever again.

I had dreams. I’d see most of them doing exactly what I want. They are all there; from fourth grade to recent. It would be like a harem of men, Elijah from fourth grade would feed me grapes, and Mason from sixth grade would give me neck kisses. I’d cuddle some nights with William from fifth grade and if not him, it would be Sam from my sophomore year. Some and most of them I knew from elementary school.

Funny thing was; I now had twenty-one crushes altogether and they, most of them, hated me. Some of them were my bullies, some probably didn’t even know me, some of them just hated my guts. Or probably hated the fact that I was...homosexual.

If only they knew it wasn’t such a thing to be fond about. If you ask me...it’s a curse.

I buried the chest in my closet again and went straight to bed. And the dreams started again.

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