Mr. Byrd is out today, so he didn’t check our journals. The sub came around and made sure we completed it, but she really didn’t look at anything but the last page where we put how many words our entry contains. I think she noticed my big letters because she kind of smiled when she scanned mine. She told us to complete an assignment we started yesterday, but since I finished it last night I’m going to do some writing. I know I wrote some on the bus, but this is a new entry. Maybe I won’t have to jot something down at the last minute like I did this morning.
Abe is trying to make up with me. He kind of came up to me when I was at my locker. James was there, and he pretended to talk to him, but occasionally he’d look over at me. I guess he’s getting tired of people ignoring him because of the way he treated me. Right now, he just looked over and gave me this goofy smile. It used to always make me laugh, but if I laugh, he’ll think I’m not mad at him. I’m not really, but I don’t want him to know it. Maybe the next time he’ll think about it before he opens up his mouth. Besides, we still have to share classes for the next three years. It would seem pretty childish to keep this thing going on forever. I guess everybody is allowed to act like a jerk at least once in their lifetime. He’s used his up, so he better be good until we graduate. Okay, I just returned his goofy look and he smiled. I think we’re going to go back to being friends again.
A FRIEND WILL HELP YOU MOVE. A GOOD FRIEND WILL HELP YOU MOVE THE BODY.
I think I’m going to write about this week’s prompt. I usually answer it last when I need more words. The substitute wrote it on the board for us: Have you ever made a serious mistake that had bad consequences? What did you learn from this mistake? I’m 15 going on 16, my life is full of mistakes. It’s what we do best, right? To hear Mom talk, I can’t do anything right. When are you going to clean your room? When are you going to mow the yard? How many times do I have to tell you to clean out the cat’s litter box? I’m glad I’m gay, because I would hate to marry a woman who nags me like Mom does. I wonder if guys act the same way? I know I won’t. I don’t think so anyway.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. The prompt. One big mistake I made that had a bad consequence. Abe just looked over, made a goofy face again and then started laughing. I tried to ignore him, but he was so funny I started giggling anyway. Sarah gave him a dirty look, so he stopped. I’m glad I’m gay. Okay, now focus Reggie. Big mistake? This is hard because all my mistakes are little ones. You’d probably laugh if I wrote about one of them. Let me give this some thought and I’ll write more tonight.
NO ONE IS PERFECT. THAT’S WHY PENCILS HAVE ERASERS
It’s Tuesday 5th period and something really really awful happened at lunch. My hand is shaking so badly and I’m sure you can’t read this, but I have to write about it. Mrs. Griffin told me to put my head down and try to relax, but I can’t. I also have to keep this cold compress pressed to my face. Oh, right. You don’t know what happened. Let me explain. I was sitting in the cafeteria with my friends eating lunch. Cory, James and Abe were with me. Abe is trying to make up, so he sat with us today instead of Sarah and Stephanie. But I’m getting off the subject. Anyway, when the bell rang and we got up, I walked over to throw my trash in the container. This other student came up behind me and pushed me into the container and I fell to the floor. He started laughing and called me a homo in front of everyone. I didn’t even know him. I’ve seen him in the hall, but that’s all. Cory and Abe were going to fight him, but a teacher stopped them. I’m glad because the guy who pushed me was a big brute. He would have hurt them. I didn’t know the teacher, but he had all of us go to the principal’s office. I’ve never been so scared in my life. It was my first time ever being sent to the principal’s office, and I didn’t even do anything. I managed to squeak out what happened. I know Mr. Bowers thought I was some kind of wimp. It took everything for me not to start crying. The big brute denied doing it and calling me a homo, but Cory and Abe heard him. His name is Lloyd Meredith, and it seems like he’s the school’s official bully. Mr. Bowers had a stack of referrals on him. Anyway, it appears like he’s going to use this incident to finally expel Lloyd from school. When he told Lloyd he was going to get expelled, he went into a rage. He started cussing and kicking chairs. He then picked up a big dictionary off Mr. Bower’s desk and threw it at me. It hit the side of my left cheek and made a big bruise. That’s why I have this cold compress pressed against my face.
Mr. Bowers called for a security officer, and Lloyd was handcuffed. Handcuffed! In school! They finally took them off when his dad arrived about a half hour later. Mr. Bowers sent Abe and Cory to class, and he had me go to the nurse’s office to see how bad my bruise was. She said it would be dark and sore for a few days. Right now I feel like I’ve been hit by a semi. When I returned back to the office, Mr. Bowers told me that I had to be present at a hearing tomorrow after school. I had to explain what happened in the cafeteria. He also told me he called Dad at his office, and he or Mom has to be present with me.
So right now I’m really scared. I know I’m not in any trouble, but I feel like I am. Dad is going to ask me why Lloyd called me a homo and pushed me into the trash container. I don’t know what to say because I don’t even know myself. Until today, I didn’t even know Lloyd Meredith. But why would he push me and call me a homo? But the thing that has me really scared is, what if Dad asks me if I am gay? Maybe he’ll think I’m some kind of sissy who everyone at school knows about. Why else would another boy for no reason push someone into a trash container and call him a homo? I wish today had never happened. I wish I’d never been born.
No. I didn’t mean that last sentence. This is bad, but I’ll get past it, right? I know this is one of those life-changing events, but I’ll face it like a man. A man? I’m only 15 going on 16. I don’t know what to do right now. I think I may have to come out to Mom and Dad. I really, really, really don’t want to, but I may have to. I was hoping I could delay the inevitable until at least I graduated and went off to college. I was planning on telling them then. At least I wouldn’t be around to see the sadness in their eyes when they find out that their only child is gay. I was going to tell them when I was getting ready to go back to school after a Christmas break. Then I wouldn’t see them again until school was out in May. That would give them five months to talk about it. But now I’ve been forced to alter my plans. I may have to sit down at dinner and tell them. I’m sure Lloyd will say something about me being gay. I could probably convince my parents that he’s just a bully, and he does that to everyone. But still, they may wonder if he called me a homo for a reason. Then years from now, when I do tell them, they may be hurt because I wasn’t honest with them now. Does any of this make sense, because I’m really trying to convince myself that coming out to them at dinner tonight is the right thing to do. If it isn’t, then I’ve made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Isn’t that what our prompt is? A big mistake that has consequences? I don’t even want to think of the consequences if this whole thing backfires and Mom and Dad can’t accept me as I am. Now I’m starting to cry and Mrs. Griffin noticed. She has called me to her desk. Just great. I’ll write more later.
Okay, I’m back. The bell is getting ready to ring, but I wanted to finish what I was saying while it is still fresh in my mind. When I left the room, I went to the bathroom and kind of broke down. I’m not really used to losing control of my emotions, but too much happened today, and the day still isn’t over. I’m 15, going on 16. I don’t have control of my emotions anymore. I used to. Until I had to start keeping this stupid journal, nothing bothered me. But this stupid thing is causing a lot of problems. I know it has nothing to do with me being gay, or Lloyd pushing me into the trash container. But things don’t seem the same anymore.
I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY MR BYRD. THIS JOURNAL IS RUINING MY LIFE
Anyway, I was in the bathroom and crying when the door opened. I turned and pretended not to be crying. But then I heard Cory’s voice. He asked me if I was all right. I was surprised when Abe asked if there was anything he could do. I didn’t mean to, but I kind of broke down again. They were just being too nice to me and I couldn’t handle it. Just yesterday, Abe acted like he couldn’t stand me. In the bathroom, it looked like he was going to cry too when he saw me crying. Cory put his hand on my back and told me things would get better. I really wanted to believe him, but at the moment I can’t see anything about my present situation getting any better. I cried a few more minutes and then realized I looked like some geek, so I blew my nose on a paper towel and wiped my eyes dry. I felt better when Cory told me I looked like his cocker spaniel. So now I’m back in class and Abe keeps looking over at me. I’ve also decided that I’ll definitely tell Mom and Dad at dinner. Keep your fingers crossed.
LIFE IS A GRINDSTONE. WHETHER IT GRINDS ME DOWN OR POLISHES ME UP DEPENDS ON ME
I’m in my room. I came straight here after Dad picked me up from school. He called me 6th period and told me to meet him at the street when school let out. The last time he picked me up was last year when I was sent home with pink eye. He kind of winced when I got in the car and he saw my eye. It’s kind of dark and bruised. The cold compress helped keep down the swelling though. When he asked if I was all right, I nodded my head and looked out the window. He then asked me if I wanted to talk about what happened and I told him I’d tell him and Mom at dinner. So right now I keep getting up and pacing around the room. I can’t even sit still long enough at the window to watch for deer to come creeping into the backyard. It’s now 4 and we eat around 5:30. I’ve got an hour and a half to decide what I’m going to say. I was just going to come out to them and tell them I’m gay, but that might be too sudden for them to handle. I can drop subtle hints, but I don’t know what to say. There really should be a book written for gay kids in situations like this. I googled a few websites, but some of the stories about a few gay kids scared me. One told how his family rejected him after he came out to them. He said things got so bad he had to go live with a friend until he graduated. He’s doing better now. He’s in a community college trying to get a degree in nursing. A few others were bad, but most of them tried to make it sound okay. One thing I did learn was I have to give my parents time to accept the idea. I can’t just expect them to sit back and tell me it’s all right. They may say it, but they won’t mean it. One kid even said it’s like losing a family pet. Everyone is kind of sad for a little while, but then as the days go by, it gets easier to deal with. I think I can understand that. One thing in my favor, though, is that I accept myself being gay. I don’t have any conflicts with that. If my parents can see that I am happy being me, then it will be easier for them. Being gay is just part of me. I’m happy being Reggie. I’m happy being me. Now I just wish I could convince my parents of that fact. Right now I’m going to go do some homework. I may be too upset after dinner to do it.
WHEN ITS DARKEST YOU CAN SEE THE STARS
Okay. I’m back for a few minutes. I worked on some chemistry problems, but I couldn’t concentrate. I probably have all the wrong answers. I’ll check Elizabeth’s homework tomorrow. I think I’ve peed about 50 times. I’ve worn out the rug to the bathroom. This is really scary, but now that it’s getting closer, I’m kind of getting excited. I realized earlier when I was looking out the window that this is one of the first really big decisions I’ve made in my almost 16 years on earth. I’m proud that I’m not trying to talk myself out of doing it. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I think I’m ready to do this. I know if I can’t do it now, then I may never get up the courage to do it again. Wish me luck. I’ll be back later- I hope.
LIFE IS JUST A PHASE I’M GOING THROUGH, I’LL GET OVER IT
I’m back. I’m not sure what I’m feeling right now, so I’m not going to write anything. I’ll try and get some sleep tonight and then write about what happened maybe tomorrow.
Okay, I’m back. It’s fifth period and Mrs. Griffin gave us the last 15 minutes to just chat. But since I’m kind of angry at myself right now, I don’t feel like just chatting. In fact, I’m really, really angry at myself. I had a chance to do something for myself this one time, and I chickened out. I couldn’t do it. I started to about 15 times, but the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth. My mother kept saying how angry she was because Lloyd bruised the side of my face. She even started to cry once. Dad was upset and kept saying that he was going to go to the law department at his university and talk to a good friend. He thought that we should sue the school for negligence because they didn’t provide for my safety. I kept telling him that kids at school fight all the time, but he said that the ‘special’ students should be protected. It kind of made me feel weird the way he said special students. I had to look down to make sure I didn’t have a pocket protector. And the ‘H’ word was never mentioned, not once. They didn’t once ask me why Lloyd called me a homo and pushed me into the trash container. I was hoping they would because it would have given me the opportunity to tell them that maybe he did it because I AM gay. But they didn’t, not even once. And I couldn’t find a way to steer the conversation in that direction. So I feel pretty mad at myself right now. I chickened out, and it’s not a nice feeling. I’ll write more tonight when I get home. I still have to go to the meeting for Lloyd. I think Dad will be there, I’m not sure. They were discussing it when I got up and left the dinner table.
MAYBE I SHOULD GO HOME. I’M NOT WEARING MY LUCKY UNDERWEAR.
I pull this journal out at some of the craziest times anymore. It’s becoming like an obsession. Okay, I’m sitting in the principal’s outer office. I got tired of staring at his secretary, so I thought I’d do a little writing. I’ll put it away when Dad arrives. Lloyd and his father haven’t arrived either. So I guess it’s just me right now. Cory is a good friend. He walked with me after school to my locker and then walked with me to the office. He knows I’m upset and there is really nothing he or anyone else can do about it. One thing that has come of this is just how much my classmates care about me. I know we’ve been like one big family since we started school, but sometimes I tend to forget that. I see them at school, but that’s about it. But everyone has been really concerned about me. They keep looking at my bruise and asking me if it hurts. Of course it hurts. I had a Webster’s dictionary thrown into my face. But I’m still overwhelmed by their concern. Even my teachers are being extra nice to me. In first period, Mr. Byrd asked me if I wanted another student to go to the cafeteria to get me some ice. I told him the swelling had gone down and now I just had to wait for the bruise to go away. He told me if there was anything he could do, don’t be afraid to ask. I nodded my head and took my seat. He’s now becoming one of my favorite teachers, even if he does make me keep this stupid journal.
I guess I shouldn’t call it a stupid journal. It’s become like my best friend. Everyone has a best friend they tell all their secrets to. They are supposed to be HUMAN friends, but since I don’t have any real friends, then the journal has become like a confidante. When I get nervous about things, like I am now, I grab it and start writing. I can almost feel my frustrations melt away as I write. I wonder what Mr. Byrd would say if I told him that. And for some odd reason, I don’t feel alone when I’m writing now. It’s almost like I have this imaginary friend I’m talking to. It’s a friend I can tell anything to and they don’t judge me like a real friend might do. I thought about burning this journal when we don’t have to keep it anymore, but I don’t think I will. I’m going to hide it in a safe place, and years from now when I’m an old man, I’m going to pull it out and read it again. I’ll probably laugh at some of the wild things I’ve said, but then again, some things may just make me cry. I just hope life isn’t always this complicated. If it is, I may have to keep a journal for a very long time.
Lloyd and his dad just showed up. Lloyd looks really mad. I was afraid to make eye contact with him. If I do, he may just hit me again. What does he have to lose? Mr. Bowers is already going to expel him. I should feel sorry for him, but I don’t. He’s kind of a creep, and he scares me. He looks like a mass murderer, or what I’d think a mass murderer would look like since I’ve never really seen one. I hope he doesn’t come back to school sometime and get revenge for what’s going to happen in a little while. So that’s just great. Now I have something else to worry about, like I don’t already have enough things. Now I have to keep watching my back to make sure Lloyd isn’t going to creep up on me and do something that will be on the front page of the paper the next day.
Okay, I see Dad coming down the hall. I’ve got to go. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m really, really scared.
Okay, I have to write this down before I go crazy. Dad knows I’m gay! He’s downstairs right now, and I’m pretty sure he’s probably telling Mom. It kind of slipped out at the meeting earlier. I didn’t mean to say it, but after I did, I felt this weight leave my shoulders. Let me explain. We were in Mr. Bower’s office. It was Lloyd, his dad, my dad, me and some other school official who I didn’t know. I think he may have been an attorney representing the school. I’m not sure. Oh yeah, and then there was Mr. Bower’s secretary, the one I didn’t want to sit and stare at. Anyway, Mr. Bower’s starts off by reading the list of charges against Lloyd. He’s been suspended seven times! Seven times! His GPA was also in the toilet. I didn’t know they could be that low. Mine’s like a 4.20. His is just the reverse, something like a 0.24. I don’t know how he’s managed to stay in school. That’s like failing every subject since the 9th grade. So then Mr. Bowers reads over all the things he’s suspended him for the past few years. Some were pretty major, like he hit the drafting teacher last year. He got ten days for doing that. Of course, Lloyd is blaming everyone but himself for his behavior. Then Mr. Bowers read the incidences against me, and Lloyd started ranting about me being a faggot. He doesn’t even know me, but he calls me a faggot right in front of Dad and Mr. Bowers. I don’t know what came over me, but I stood and faced him and shouted, “So what if I am gay. It doesn’t give you any right to hit me.” I was so emotional that I didn’t even think about what I was saying. As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew I’d outed myself to Dad. I quickly looked over at him, and he was just staring at me. It was kind of a weird look, I can’t really describe it. Anyway, Mr. Bower quickly changed the subject back to Lloyd’s behavior and they argued for about another ten minutes. I just sat with my head down. I was afraid to look over at Dad. I guess Mr. Bowers got tired of listening to Lloyd’s mouth, so he told him he was expelled and to leave his office. His dad started yelling about Lloyd’s rights. The school secretary left the room, and a few minutes later the school security officer entered the room and escorted Lloyd and his father from Mr. Bower’s office. Mr. Bowers thanked me for being present at the meeting. I really didn’t say anything other than announcing that I was gay. I should have just sat and kept my mouth shut. But I knew I couldn’t just listen to him berate me like he was doing. I had to stand up for myself, and I feel pretty good about that. I just wish I had talked to Dad and Mom last night. It probably would have been better than hear me yell it at some big brute who wasn’t even worth it.
When we left Mr. Bower’s office, I trailed behind Dad as we went to his car. He didn’t say anything on the way home. I’m beginning to wonder if he really understood what I said. Maybe he thinks I was speaking hypothetically. He does it all the time. I’ve heard him say it hundreds of times that he’s speaking hypothetically about something. But when we got home, he told me to go to my room and close the door. He then told my mother he wanted to see her in their bedroom, so I’m pretty sure they’re downstairs discussing me right now. I guess I’ll find out at dinner. I think I’m going to try and get my chemistry homework done. I just hope I can concentrate on it long enough.
I had to write this down before dinner. It’s almost 5:30 and I can smell the aroma of the fried chicken coming upstairs. Mom makes good fried chicken. There I go, getting off the subject again. What I wanted to say was that Abe called me a few minutes ago. He said that Cory just left his house and they were worried about me. He wanted me to call Cory after I finished talking to him, but I don’t know what to tell him. I don’t even know myself what is going on. I gave Abe a brief description of what happened at the meeting. I didn’t want to tell him I outed myself to Dad, because I remembered that I really haven’t officially come out to Abe yet. He knows I’m gay, because I’m pretty sure Elizabeth or Cory told him. But I want to tell him. That way I can kind of judge by his reaction just how accepting he is. If he starts getting all nervous and makes an excuse to leave, then I’ll know he’s having trouble accepting it. I don’t think that will happen, though. I don’t think he would have started talking to me again if he didn’t accept it.
I’ve been giving the prompt question a lot of thought, since I had trouble answering it. However, the events of the past day have given me a better perspective of things. I think the thing that I fear the most is uncertainty. I know that’s kind of abstract, but it is a real fear. Not knowing something. I didn’t know why Lloyd singled me out for a confrontation. Then when he did, I wasn’t sure what I should do. I wanted to tell Dad and Mom, but then I wasn’t sure how they would react. And like right now, I’m not sure how Abe will react when he hears the words come out of my own mouth. But you know what, I’m going to stand up to it. I’m tired of feeling uncertain. I’ll be right back. I got something to do that’s really important to me.
HE WHO FEARS SOMETHING GIVES IT POWER OVER HIM.
I’m back. I called Abe back and we talked for a little while about school. I pretended that I didn’t understand a chemistry problem, but Abe is too smart for that. He then asked me the real reason I called, and I told him. I told him I was gay. I got kind of scared when he didn’t say anything right away, but then he asked me if I wanted to talk about it. I told him no, that I was okay being gay. I just wanted him to know because I considered him a friend. He was silent for a long fifteen seconds, then he just said, “Okay,” and he asked me if I was writing all this down in my journal. I started laughing and made a joke about really being in trouble if someone reads this stupid thing. He laughed and said his mother would kill him if she got a hold of his and read his. When I joked about him not doing anything that would make her that mad, he laughed kind of nervously and said, “Don’t be too sure about that.” I asked him what he could possibly do that his mother would kill him, and he tried to quickly change the subject. Then a light bulb lit up and I asked him if he and Sarah were doing IT. When he shouted and told me to shut up, I knew they were. I could almost see him looking around his room to see if anyone heard me. After an awkward few seconds, he made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone. Of course being 15 almost 16, I wanted more information. Abe was the first of us that I knew was having sex with someone. I’m sure a few others probably are, but Abe was the first to admit it. So I became like a journalist: when? where? how? Although, I didn’t really need to know the last one. Hehe. I could almost see him blushing when he said the first time was at the movies two weeks ago. They didn’t really have sex, but she did IT to him, and he did IT to her. Of course I was getting excited, if you know what I mean, so I kept pressuring him to tell me more. He said the first time they really did it, was last week when he walked her home and her parents weren’t in from work. He said both of them were really scared, and they felt a little guilty when it was over. He said he hoped he didn’t make a big mistake by not waiting a little while longer. When I asked him if he used protection, he said he did. He said he found a condom in his older brother’s dresser a few weeks ago and was keeping it in his wallet just in case. He asked me if I was still a virgin, and I confessed I was. He made me promise, though, that when I do IT with someone, I have to tell him first since he told me. I reluctantly told him I would. I don’t know if I will, but maybe by then I’ll need someone to talk to about it like Abe did tonight. But right now, dinner will be ready in about 10 minutes and I’m kind of excited about thinking about Abe and Sarah doing IT. I really, really hope Mr. Byrd or anyone else never, ever reads this journal. If you are, all the things in this journal are fiction because my life is really, really boring and I have to fill it with something.
Hey! It’s only Wednesday and I already have enough words for this week. Maybe I’ll start tomorrow writing in it for next week.
YOU’RE JUST JEALOUS BECAUSE THE VOICES ONLY TALK TO ME