Speak & Listen

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I showed a smile. “Okay, Sophia. I have something that’ll make you feel better.”

Nooo, what are you doing?

“Really?” Her eyes glinted.

The doorbell rang. I bet it was the pizza guy.

“You get the door, I’ll get the thing."

Her smile made me happy again. She was delirious and to me, it was a heavy price to pay. But I trusted Sophia. If she trusted me with her insecurities and battles, why should I have ever doubted her? We’ve been friends for almost ten years.

I stood in front of the closet, smiling at the chest that was now in my hands.

You’re making a huge mistake, Adrian. Since when do you trust anyone? Since when do you trust her? What about Brandon? Chris? Your bully Cain from sophomore year? And you trust her with that? She’s too negligent. Listen to me Adrian, this will not end ...

“...Adrian?! Are you still coming with it?” She yelled.


I ran downstairs with the chest in my hands. She looked at me as I sat on the floor with her. “And where the hell did you get a chest?”

“Honey, I keep my things safe.” I impersonated.

We giggled for a while. Yes! She was starting to feel much better!

“Doesn’t it need a key?” She picked it up to look for the keyhole.

I kept the key as my neck chain. I took it everywhere I went. I took it out and unlocked it.

“Now you have to promise that this will stay between us.”

“You have my word.” She smiled sincerely.

Okay, at least we’re getting somewhere. I pushed the lid up and...there they were. Twenty-one letters I kept from the third grade until now.

“What are these?”

“All the letters I have written for my crushes since fourth grade.”

Sophia and I met in third grade, so she probably knew every single person on those letters. Each of them calculatedly sealed in a small envelope, with an address on top, except a few.

She gasped as soon as she saw Jasper’s name, my second crush from fourth grade. The letter was just a thank you. He had given me lunch after Cain, the school’s bully, had taken mine. It was usual now. At first, I outsmarted him until I noticed he wanted ALL my lunch and didn’t want just a share. Jasper would share his lunch with me. This continued until high school. Like the rest...he abandoned me. This was all said in the letter.

She scanned through to Chris and Brandon from sophomore year and Ben was on the list as well, but not Gabriel. They were also my bullies from last year.

Sophia’s face changed. She looked at me with a look that accused me of being a sociopath. “I don’t understand. You crushed on men that bullied you?”

“That was before they started bullying me. I didn’t want to erase the memory anyway.”

“Your current crush is...Craig?” Her eyebrow furrowed. “I don’t know how you guys worked well as friends. He never smiles. That’s creepy. I mean, do you even know the colour of his teeth?”

“No...just most recent. I’m not even crushing on them anymore.” I lied. “And Craig isn’t that bad.”

“Oh my word...Elijah, William, Mason? This is such a comprehensive list!”

She scanned through them. Something told me she was looking for Ryan Hunter, but I’d be damned.

“Why isn’t Ryan on the list?”

She’s so predictable.

“I was never into your ex, Sophia.” My eyes rolled.

“He’s hot.” She shrugged.

I looked at her. “He’s a jerk.”

She gave up. She squinted for a while. She usually did that under the deepest thoughts. I collected all the letters before she thought of something imprudent.

“I don’t get this...I mean, most of the men here are hot...”

"Straight hot, Sophia. We don’t all have the same opportunities.”

She saddened a little bit. “But you never know, Adrian. Probably your confession is all it will take to fulfil your fantasies. You can do what you always wanted to do on a light skin man.”


“Lie facewards on his thighs.” We laughed. That was actually true. “You even mentioned Daniel as to wanting to get to know him.”

I looked at her and smiled. Daniel has been the only guy who defended me from bullies. The only person I wouldn’t mind having conversations with for the rest of my life. Now that Ben and Gabriel were gone, I literally had absolutely nothing to talk about with him, except a cold stare at him. I’d see him around the school. His eyes would say something to me like ‘come and talk to me’ but I never did.

Daniel had been a friend of mine since fifth grade until our natures contrasted. We reunited after the freshman party, after years of senselessly avoiding each other. Even went to Lake Smith together with Sebastian and the rest. More to that later.

“Daniel is sweet, Adrian. You’re limiting your own opportunities. I’ve seen the way he looks at you. His eyes gleam.” She added melodrama in her emphasis.

My heart began boiling behind my chest. I hated this conversation. “So? Still doesn’t change the fact that he’s straight...”

“You never know until you’ve tried at least one of them out. You’re really just being selfish to them for doing this.” She narrowed her eyes at me. I felt confronted.

My eyes narrowed. “Selfish? If they were interested in me as much as I was, they would’ve approached me a long time ago, Sophia.”

“Adrian...” She sighed.

O-kay, now I began losing it. If I acknowledged that I was ‘losing it’, why didn’t I stop talking? “No, you don’t get it, Sophia. I’m not a girl that can just sway her hips and flick her hair and every man in the room glares. I’m at fault here for disrespecting their sexual orientations. It even took mom a long while to accept me. All these men? I kept them in a letter as a reminder that I should never entertain my thoughts. My thoughts got me hurt and rejected. My very own thoughts gave me a bruise every day. They’re not approaching me because I’m gay and they’re straight. Wherever they are, they probably never think of me! They probably hate me!”

She surrendered. “Okay Adrian, I’m so sorry. I wouldn’t have known this if you hadn’t voiced it out.”

I grabbed my blanket. We were to sleep on the lounge’s floor that night. Wow, what a way to kill a slumber party. “Some things are redundant to express...Goodnight Sophia.”

Her eyes widened, but she let it go. “Goodnight Bestie.”

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