Another Writing Group writing assignment, (love my writing group!) This one I’ll be submitting (to be considered) for publication in a periodical / gay lit. mag., so any critiques would help!
Against the onslaught of frenetic beams of colored light, a mass of people gyrated in silhouette to a tribal beat enhanced by synthesizers. The deafening music left no room for thought, only feeling, and that feeling was elation. Young and full of life, in the warm press of bodies they shared this in bumps and grinds.
In the shadows, I stood alone, sipping my drink. A girl said “hi”, placing her hand on the high-top table. With one look, I deemed her unworthy. I wasn’t sure what I looked for but whatever ‘it’ was, she didn’t have it. I knew what she liked, my eyes, I have ‘bedroom eyes’. Otherwise, I was average, or even less than.
“Why are you all by yourself?” she asked, her hand moving to my shoulder.
“I’m here with friends.”
“Yeah? And where are they?” As her hand travelled across my back like a tarantula, she moved in closer. She reeked of, what’s that scent? Vanilla with spice and a hint of boiled cabbage . . . oh, that’s it, desperation.
“Good question. I guess I should go find them, thanks.” I gave her my best insincere grin.
“Whatever,” she said, rolling her eyes as she left.
I lost track of my other friends, but didn’t lose track of Justin. His fair skin glowed in the black light as did his bright white t-shirt and pale blue jeans. The rest of us had to dress up in pants, shirts, and even jackets, the proper plumage for the mating dance. Justin could dress down and still look good. The boy next door, he wasn’t exactly handsome, maybe cute with his bulbous nose and wide ears, but he had ‘it’ to the point it was blinding; like staring into the sun, nothing in periphery mattered. A Goth-girl wanna be eclipsed him, drawn to him like a moth to a flame.
Careful little girl, I thought, you might get burned. I grew tense and more and more so until the others came to me, ready to go. They asked me where Justin was, since we were typically inseparable. I made a bee-line to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and told him. He needed a minute. “For what?” I asked, giving the girl my best ‘eat shit’ look.
We all waited ten minutes, and then I told him again, pleading. After ten minutes more, I told him again, forcefully. The next time, I yanked him off the floor by his belt, breaking him away from the girl before she kissed him.
“She liked me,” he said in my ear, over the din of the music. “She gave me her number.”
“I’m sure she gives lots of guys her number.”
“You’re just jealous.” He shoved me away a little forcibly.
I backhanded his chest. “I could care less. You could hang out with her all night if we didn’t have to go.”
“Where is everybody?” His glare, white hot, burned.
“They were here a minute ago.” The room now spinning in silence, I’d lost track of them again. “Maybe they got tired of waiting . . .”
“Son of a . . .”
He was drowned out as my head collided with a wall. The shoving would’ve been the end of it, if security hadn’t spotted us and thrown us out. In a tangled mess, we struggled, limbs flailing. By the time the others found us, I was on top, holding him down. Something I’d enjoyed, something I should’ve enjoyed, now it made me uncomfortable, feeling his anger rise. I hopped up and tried to put some distance between us but the others had to hold Justin back as he raged.
“Tell them!” he yelled, “Tell them what you told me last night!”
He broke away, his fist coming right at me. I parried the blow, twisted his arm behind him, and knocked his legs out from under him. He yelled as his knees ground against the concrete, ripping his jeans and abrading him.
“Chill the fuck out!” I pulled his arm up until it was too painful for him to struggle and then a bit more.
This would turn out badly, but how badly hadn’t been decided. I looked to the drawn faces of the others; they were as scared as I was, but not for the same reason. I couldn’t hurt him like that, even though he could hurt me, but I had to do something.
I forced him down to whisper in his ear. “You promised . . .”
Through clenched teeth he muttered, “Fuck you faggot.”
I shoved him hard and stormed off, for the first time, alone.
The night before, the ‘last night’ Justin referred to, he and I had had yet another talk about how I’m too affectionate, and we’re getting to old for that, and people make comments, and, “Are you sure you’re not gay?”
Outing someone while driving down dark, winding roads at fifty miles per hour isn’t the best idea, as in that moment my life flashed before my eyes, childhood sleepovers, the high school locker room, how Amy, Carla, and Vickie paled in comparison to Tom, Dick, and Harry, and yes, Justin, especially after ‘the incident’. I managed to stay on the road and replied, “Maybe.” This was the first time I hadn’t vehemently denied it.
“That would explain everything,” he said, patting me on the back, “but no poopy-dick for me.”
“Whatever,” I said, swallowing my heart.
In consideration, he nodded. “I’m happy for you, now you can start living your life, and I’ll be there for you.”
“You won’t tell anybody?” I asked, now scared of the reactions I’d get.
“I won’t say anything ‘til you’re ready, I promise.”
I quickly leaned in and pecked his cheek, which he rubbed sorrowfully with a ‘yuck’. He let me kiss him again when I dropped him off at home, for me to feel what it was like. He was that good of a friend.
Justin told the others after I’d stormed off, but I didn’t know it then. It remained a big secret until I was ready to tell them, which, after what had happened, wasn’t for a long, long time.