Granted, I took my time with it at first, out of fear. Since I went to Catholic school, I kinda figured if people knew, they'd be lined up at the bus after school, waiting for me, pitchforks in hand.
But it didn't go down like that at all.
I told my best friend Karen first. She reacted as if I'd informed her that the cat she'd known and loved all her life had, in fact, a full coat of silky fur.
"Yeah, I know," she said.
"Of course. Everyone knows."
I blinked. "They do?"
She nodded. "Yup. In fact, we even talked about it. We were all like, one day, Evan's gonna be all 'I'm gay', and we'll just be like, 'Yeah, no shit dude, pass me that slice of pizza, please.'"
I laughed, but I gotta admit, I was kinda taken aback. I mean, you spend a lot of time planning this big, dramatic reveal, and you get that response? A little underwhelming.
But time went on. Eventually, I told the rest of my friends (who had much the same reaction). And at this point, just like Karen said, everyone knows. They even know about my boyfriend who goes to another school (who, unfortunately, did not have as comfortable a time with his big reveal, and puts up with an unfortunate amount of shit).
Of course you have your standard assholes, those dicks that stand in the hall and mumble "fag" as you walk by, giggling to their idiot friends as if they've invented the first joke the world's ever heard. But they're easy enough to ignore when you've got friends like I do.
And then there's Gwen.
I'm sure she told you about me. Probably gave you that bullshit story about how we only dated so I could "prove I'm not gay" or whatever. I bet she didn't tell you the part about how she came on to me first. Of course she didn't, why would she? That wouldn't fit in with her whole woe-is-me, never-been-kissed, always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride victim tale she's got going on in her head. The one about how she's never been with a guy she actually wanted to date.
It was before I officially came out, early junior year. She had her friend Lace investigate for her. You know Lace, the blonde, pretty one? That girl's got the most amazing hair...if I were a chick I'd want that hair.
Lace approached me after drama one day, and with minimal fanfare, said: "Hey Evan, are you dating anyone?"
No one had ever asked me such a direct question about my relationship status. I had to take a few beats to answer. "Uh. No?"
"Cool, because I have this friend who's totally into you." She smiled and bit the cap of her pen.
I've known about the whole have-your-friend-ask-him thing with girls. And honestly, I totally get it. Some guys are just so hot that you assume there's no way you'd be able to get the words out yourself. And what if you did get the words out, and he laughed in your face or something? It's way easier to have someone else dip their toe in and test the waters for you, that way if the answer is no, at least you're spared some awful embarrassment.
I get it. I'd just never had it happen to me before. And such was the level of flattery at someone actually taking enough interest in me to have their friend check me out first, I couldn't help myself. I said yes. I said yes not because I had anything to prove, not because I wasn't positive if I liked guys, not because I was "just making sure" or anything like that. I said yes because...well...it was such an honor to be asked first.
And I'd known Gwen for a while, she's a really sweet girl.
We had a good time for a few weeks, me and Gwen. I tried my best to be a good boyfriend for her. I did everything my mom had ever told me to do: Hold the door open. Pick up the tab. Tell her she looks nice. Don't argue. Don't hit.
Above all, respect her.
About a month in, though, she noticed I respected her a little too much.
"Evan," she finally said one afternoon, while we were watching a rerun of Buffy, the one where Xander and Anya almost get married, but then that demon guy tricks Xander into leaving her. "I think...maybe we made a mistake?"
She was giving me an out, and I really should have taken it. But I didn't want to hurt her. And I didn't want to lose that magic of someone wanting me.
So I said, "What do you mean?"
"I mean, you never want to go any further than kissing."
I shrugged. "I respect you."
But we both knew that wasn't true.
I had no idea why I was so nervous then. I knew the break up was happening, right there, right then, on my living room couch. On TV, Anya walked down the aisle, too exhausted to cry, a pitiful wedding march playing as she went. And I knew that this girl on my couch wasn't my one, I knew she wasn't what I wanted, but...
"I think you're into guys," she said.
I shrugged again. What do you say to that? When it comes out of the mouth of the girl for whom you've spent the past month trying to be perfect?
"Honestly, I'm kinda surprised I didn't notice sooner," she continued. "So I think we should...you know."
I nodded. That was that. We finished the episode, she went home, and the next day we were just friends.
I guess it wasn't that big a deal, in the grand scheme of things. But it wasn't that small a deal, either. Whatever it meant, it still meant something. I tried really hard, even though I knew in the back of my mind it was pointless.
So when I hear how she describes it to other people...like it was all my fault...like I added to the wreckage that is her love life...I won't lie to you, it stings a little.
She started it. She ended it. And I was sorta stuck in the middle, caught on her line, letting her run the show.
Don't let her fool you.
This is a work of fiction, continued from last week's entry, though ideally this entry can stand on its own.