It’s Friday night and I’m going to bed soon, but I wanted to write some things down first. It’s going to be a busy week, so I might as well get some of it out of the way early so I won’t have to do it all Thursday night. What’s really weird is when I started keeping this thing, I couldn’t think of enough things to write about. Now I could probably write a book in one week. My life is really changing and that’s a good thing- I guess.
I’ve met Perry, and that is definitely a good thing. I see him every day. We sit together on the bus on the way to school and on the way home. Elizabeth is a little jealous because I used to sit with her a lot and we’d talk about school. Perry and I talk about things other than school. He’s even gotten me interested in the kind of music he likes. Mom actually hollered up the stairs last night and told me to turn the volume down on my computer. I was listening to a band that Perry said is his favorite. I kind of like it now. He also had me open up a chat account so we can chat at night. It’s so cool. I know it’s a lot easier for Perry to talk to me like that because we can chat without him worrying about stuttering. He even mentioned it the other day, but I told him it doesn’t bother me. I even confessed that I thought it was kind of cute. I’m glad we were chatting because I got really really embarrassed when I told him that. He told me he thought it was cute the way I look at the curl that falls down across his forehead and it looks like I want to push it back. We giggled and I told him I really do want to. He told me I could, so coming home from school tonight I actually did it. We both got embarrassed when Elizabeth hollered out and told us to ‘get a room.’ It’s a good thing that the other kids on the bus didn’t have a clue what she was talking about.
I’m excited about Perry coming here Sunday, but I’m still worried that Mom and Mrs. Morgan are going to embarrass us. It’s a good thing Dad is staying out of it. I think he’s more upset that we’re having company and he won’t be able to work on his book on Sunday like he usually does. It’s not uncommon for him to get up at 6 in the morning and stay in his office past midnight. It’s about the only time he really has time. He said something about it last night at the dinner table but Mom told him he was being selfish and he should be more interested in his son. I kind of felt bad when she said it because he really is a good father. Maybe we don’t have a close father-son relationship, but I always know that he’s there if I really need him. He’s never ever raised his voice to me and I can’t remember a time we argued about anything- well except me getting my license, but even then I more or less whine while he pretends to ignore me. So if I get a chance, I’m going to tell him that Mom was wrong saying what she said.
Okay, so where was I? Let me reread what I wrote. Okay. Like I said, I’m excited about Perry coming Sunday. I think he is too. I also think he’s a lot like me. He told me on the phone that he doesn’t have a lot of friends which is kind of strange since he’s really cute. But Beverly told me he’s self -conscious about stuttering so he doesn’t really talk to a lot of people and stays by himself most of the time. She also told me that I’m the first person she’s ever seen him really get close to. I guess he’s talked to her a lot about me, but she won’t tell me what he says. When I ask, she just tells me I’ll have to ask Perry. But I can’t because I know he won’t tell me either. I know he’s gay and that he likes me, but I’m trying to find out if he really likes me and would want to us to be boyfriends.
I can’t believe I’m talking about having a boyfriend. It’s been my big dream for several years, but it’s just been that- a dream. It’s hard for me to really believe that my dream can actually become a reality. Then when I think about it, I get worried. But I said I wasn’t going to do that anymore, but I can’t help it. What if I really fall in love with Perry and then find out he doesn’t feel the same way about me? I can’t believe I just wrote the word love. I meant what if I like him a lot and he doesn’t like me a lot. Okay. Now I said I wasn’t going to do this. But what if I fall in love with him and he doesn’t love me back? There I said it. Like Cory is always saying, I’m keeping it real. I thought that it sounds corny when he says it, but now I understand. Keeping it real. Facing the truth, right? So I’m only sixteen, but I can fall in love, right? I mean, is there an age where you are too young to fall in love? Do you just like someone until you’re 18, and then you can fall in love with them? Okay. I’m getting really really confused by all this talk about love. I always wanted a boyfriend, but I never thought about the love part. I just thought we’d be good friends and maybe after a while we might do something. Okay. Right now I’m not even go there. But the more time I spend with Perry, I feel this thing inside me. It’s like a little pain in my heart because I want more than just friendship. And I’m not talking about doing IT. Although, I’m not ruling that out. But when we’re together, I just want to touch him, like I do when I put my hand on his leg when he starts to stutter when we’re at the lunch table. And this may sound really really strange, but I want to hold his hand. Sometimes when we’re on the bus and we’re working on his homework and I’m looking at his hand, I want to reach out and hold it. I was going to the other day, but I chickened out. What if I grab it and he pulls it away? I don’t even know how I would react to that. I just don’t know what to do. If I only had some experience in this, but I don’t. So everything I do is like for the first time. I wish I could talk to someone about this, but I’d feel stupid being 16 and not knowing what to do. So I’m a little bit scared because I really don’t want to get hurt, I guess. For the first time in my life, I’m beginning to actually realize that life does exist. I guess I’m getting older and I’m experiencing things that someday I was supposed to experience. This is going to sound really stupid, but it’s like someone opened a door and let me see what is behind it. I just don’t want to go back to sitting at my bedroom window and waiting for deer to appear in the backyard any more.
I’m going to bed now. I’ve kind of gotten depressed a little bit. I was excited about Perry coming here Sunday. Now I’m worried about it because what if it doesn’t turn out like I want it to? I don’t really know what I expect, but I was hoping that we could get to know each other better. But maybe I’m hoping too much. I don’t know.
BEHIND MY SMILE IS EVERYTHING YOU’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND
It’s after 2 in the morning Saturday night, or I guess I should say Sunday morning. I came home from the crisis center and went to bed, but I tossed and turned so much I thought I’d get up a while and write what happened since I can’t sleep anyways. Robert called and I think I know who he is. At least Mavis is pretty sure who he is but I don’t know if I should say anything to Cory. Okay. I need to slow down because I’m tired but I can’t sleep because of what I know.
Let me just say it first, then I’ll go back and explain. Mavis thinks that Robert is her cousin Jayson, who is also Cory’s older brother. I can’t even begin to explain what I’m feeling. It’s like I’ve gotten caught up in this really really big mess. I was afraid this would happen when I started volunteering at the crisis center. I just knew something bad was going to happen, and it did tonight.
Let me explain what happened. I get to the crisis center and Mrs. Armstrong has me working with Mavis again. It was kind of a slow night until about 10:30. I had been helping her again with a government assignment and we were getting ready to pack up to go home when the phone rings. It’s Melissa again and she’s having trouble with her mother. It was something about the outfit she was going to wear to the mall. Her mother thought it made her look like a slut and told her to change her clothes. Wait a minute. This isn’t important. Well, I guess it was to Melissa, but it’s gotten me off track. So anyway, Mavis is talking to Melissa and my phone lights up. I pick it up and no one speaks at first, so I think it’s probably Robert since that’s the way he always calls. He waits a few seconds to make sure it’s me he’s talking to. Anyway, tonight he’s kind of crying and talking all crazy. I immediately realize he’s been drinking because he’s slurry his words really bad. So I ask him if he’s okay, and he tells me he isn’t. He cries and tells me he’s tired of living. Okay. Now red warning lights go off in my head and I motion for Mrs. Armstrong to listen to the call, but she already is. So I ask him where he is because that’s what we’re supposed to do in case we have to call the cops or an ambulance in case he tries to hurt himself.
I get this feeling that he really wants to talk tonight. Even though the training sessions were boring, we were told that sometimes people who want to commit suicide will want to talk about it first to someone. I don’t expect him to tell me anything, but suddenly he starts making this wailing sound like an animal that has been hit by a car. So I start to panic and I ask him if he’s okay, and he screams at me and says, “No dammit, I’m not okay!” So I ask him what’s wrong and he says, “You wouldn’t understand.” So I start to tell him I would, but then Mavis pushes on my shoulder and almost knocks me off my seat. She has her hand over her mouth and she has a really surprised look on her face. I guess she had finished talking to Melissa so she was monitoring my call. So I cover the phone and ask her what’s wrong and she whispers that I’m talking to Jayson. So I ask her who Jayson is and she whispers back, “My cousin, Jayson.” So I sit there and it takes about ten seconds for it to sink in that Mavis is Cory’s cousin, so that means that Jayson is Cory’s big brother.
Then Robert, or Jayson, asks me if I’m still there. I tell Mavis to take the call because she’s his cousin, but she shakes her head and tells me to keep talking to him. By now Mrs. Armstrong has come out of her office to see what is going on. Mavis gets up and they move across the room so they can talk without Robert, or Jayson, hearing them. So I tell him I’m still here and he says he thought I’d hung up on him. I told him no, and I ask him again what is wrong. By now Mavis is sitting beside me listening and Mrs. Armstrong is back in her office listening. So anyway, he kind of laughs and asks me if I have an hour. I look at the clock and it’s 11:47. I was going to tell him I had 13 minutes before I had to leave, but I didn’t. I guess if he wanted to talk, then whoever was picking me up would wait. Mavis writes on a piece of paper to ask him again where he is. I think she wanted to know so she could go be with him. At first he pauses, and I can hear him taking a drink. Then he laughs and says, “Let me see.” Then he says, “Oh, yeah. I’m at the stadium. I’m sitting on the bleachers.” Then he laughs and says, “Hold on, I gotta take a piss.” So a few seconds later I can hear it hitting the ground. So while he’s doing that, Mavis is telling me she can’t believe I’m talking to her cousin. She’s been crying and it’s obvious she’s very worried about him. I ask her what should I do, but before she can tell me, Jayson is back on the phone asking me if I was still there. So I tell him I am, and I ask him again what is wrong. So he starts to ramble about going out on a date tonight but he didn’t have fun. Then something about the girl wanting to have sex but he didn’t want to. Then it got really strange because he started talking about a guy named Jeffrey. He talks about how good a receiver he is, and he wanted Jayson to go out with him tonight, but Paula the girl I guess he finally went out with wanted him to go out with her. So I remembered what I thought last week about Robert. He might be gay because he said some things that I could identify with about people not being able to understand. Then it kind of all came together. I looked over at Mavis and I didn’t know if I should start asking him questions that might make him say he is. I’m thinking he wanted to go out with Jeffrey tonight, but Paula forced him to go with her. She wanted to have sex, but he didn’t, probably because he is gay. That made him rambling about Jeffrey make sense. He would rather have gone out with Jeffrey and probably have sex with him. But if I started asking him questions about it, then I’d out him to his cousin and I felt that would be the wrong thing to do. If he wanted to come out to me because he trusted me, then that was fine. But it was wrong that Mavis was listening and he didn’t know it. So I reached over and yanked her earplug from her head. She looked surprised and asked me, “What?” I quickly jotted down that she shouldn’t be listening to this. And she mouthed, “Why?” So I wrote down, ‘trust me, okay?’ I think she kind of got the idea what I was talking about, so she nodded her head and sat back and crossed her arms. I stared at her until she got up and moved across the room to sit beside Elizabeth. She kept staring at me because she really wanted to know what was going on, but I think she trusted me enough by now to know that I should talk to Jayson alone, even though Mrs. Armstrong was still monitoring the call.
So I asked him to tell me more about Jeffrey. Mrs. Armstrong tapped lightly on the window and held up a piece of paper that read, ‘What are you doing?’ I turned my head and ignored her. A few seconds later, Jayson sighed and said, “You wouldn’t understand.” So I said, “Yes, I do.” And I think at that moment he maybe realized that I was gay. So he says, “Okay. Maybe you do, but I gotta get home now.” I try to keep him talking, but he says it’s getting late and he’ll get punished if he comes home after curfew. So I’m relieved that he’s talking about going home instead of hurting himself until I realize he’s been drinking and he’s probably going to drive home alone. I look at the clock and it’s after 11, so I tell him I can come get him if he wants to tell me where he is. He laughs and says, “Reggie, you’ve done more tonight than you realize. Thanks, anyway.” And he hung up.
Then Mavis got up and rushed over to me. She was kind of acting hysterical, but I don’t know why though because she told me once she didn’t like Jayson. Then Mrs. Armstrong comes out and we talk about what has happened. As we talk, everyone else leaves because it is after 11. Mavis said she was going to go right over to Jayson’s house to make sure he’s all right, but Mrs. Armstrong and I convince her that she shouldn’t. She reminded Mavis that all calls are confidential and she’d be breaking a trust to talk about something like this. So reluctantly, Mavis agreed but she said she didn’t like it. I guess right now she’s like me, worried about Jayson.
This is probably about the biggest thing that has ever happened to me. It’s like I know this really HUGE secret and I can’t tell anyone what I know. I mean when people found out I was gay, that was bad enough but it involved me, so I could handle that. But this is about Jayson, my friend’s brother. I don’t even know how I’m going to be able to look at him Monday knowing what I know. And he’ll wonder what is wrong if I try to avoid him at school. And I can’t even imagine what Jayson is going through. He’s like this really really hot athlete. Guys like him aren’t gay. Guys like me are gay, right? He’s a star football and basketball player. I’ve never seen him play, but I’ve heard others talk about him. Pictures of him are always in the school newspaper. He was even voted king of the Homecoming Dance. Cory told me his family made him go and he hated it because Jayson was so arrogant about being king. He even joked about Cory calling him Sire at home. I won’t say what Cory said he wanted to call him, but it wasn’t a very nice word.
So now it’s almost 3:30 and I’m wide awake. I still don’t know what to do. I mean, should I just walk up to Jayson in school and tell him I’m the Reggie he talked to on the phone? He might just hit me. But he sounds really desperate to talk to someone and I think he likes talking to me. I guess I’ll just have to wait until Wednesday to see if he calls back. By then Mavis may have said something to him and he’ll never talk to me again. I knew something like this was going to happen when I volunteered to do this. Things were going good and now this happens. I’m going back to bed, but I know I won’t get any sleep. And Perry and his family are coming for lunch tomorrow.
I’M THE AUTHOR OF MY LIFE. UNFORTUNATELY, I’M WRITING WITH A PEN SO I CAN’T ERASE MY MISTAKES
Perry kissed me!!!!!!!!! I’m twirling around my bedroom and pretending like I’m dancing with him. Okay. That sounds kind of girlish, doesn’t it? But he did kiss me. Let me explain if I can. I’m so excited so this might sound crazy. Perry kissed me!!!!!!!
He and his parents get here around 12:30. I like his mother a lot. She’s really nice. You can tell she’s an elementary teacher because she’s always talking to you like she’d talk to a child, kind of like my mother talks to me sometimes which can be annoying. I haven’t decided if I like his dad yet, but I probably will. I know Dad didn’t care too much for him. He’s a car salesman, and I’ve heard Dad mention that there’s nothing worse than politicians and car salesmen. Besides, Dad spent most of the afternoon upset that he couldn’t go into his office and work on his book. So at lunch, Mom and Perry’s mom did most of the talking. I was glad because I was afraid Dad might mention his theory on politicians and car salesmen. The meal was really good. She fixed lasagna, fresh green beans and homemade bread. Well, not actually homemade. She bought it at a bakery, but it still said it was homemade. Perry’s mother embarrassed him by telling stories about when he was a little boy. I laughed so hard when she told about him getting one of her bras out of her dresser on a winter day and going outside with them on his head thinking they were earmuffs. I could tell he wanted to get up from the table and run out the door. Mom tried to tell some funny stories about me, but there really aren’t too many. I guess I had a normal childhood. I got embarrassed when she started talking about how smart I am and the grades I make in school. Normally, it wouldn’t have bothered me, but it did when she said it in front of Perry. I don’t want him to think I’m this really geeky kid. I mean it’s okay if he knows I’m smart. I just don’t want him to know I’m really smart. I don’t usually think of myself that way because I’ve always been isolated from other students since the first grade. But hearing Mom talk about me, I kind of wished I was just a normal kid.
After we ate, Mom told me to show Perry my room. She kind of wiggled her eyebrows which embarrassed me. I looked to see if Perry saw her do it, but he didn’t. So we go up to my room and when I open the door I kind of stopped and thought about not having him go in. You have to understand, my room doesn’t look like a typical teenage boy’s room. It’s not cluttered with dirty underwear on the floor and pictures of skate boarders on the wall. It’s neat. I make my bed every morning and I put dirty clothes in the laundry room downstairs. I have a giant bookshelf that covers up one side of the room, and all the books are arranged alphabetically, like in a library. My computer desk is neat. Above my desk is a picture of The Scream by Edvard Munch. I saw a copy in an art gallery at the mall and begged my parents for it for Christmas two years ago. It was kind of like how I felt then, but not so much anymore. I may take it down and put something else in its place.
So anyway, Perry walks around the room and keeps saying ‘Cool,’ at things. I don’t really think he thought things were cool, but he was being polite. Then he saw a video game my parents bought me two years ago on the bookshelf, so he asks me if I want to play. So I say okay, and we start playing it. I was having fun because it was the first time I’d actually played the game with someone else instead of just by myself. Perry is really good, so I think he knew I wasn’t and he kind of didn’t play his best. I could tell he was really struggling not to do too good, and I really liked him for that. We played for about a half hour and it was the best time I’d ever had. Then I can tell he’s starting to get bored, so I asked him if he brought any homework with him so we could work on it. He said he had to write a report in his literature class and he asked me if I would help him. I told him I would, so he said it was in the car and he’d have to go get it. He leaves and I go over to the window so I can watch him as he gets it from his car. By now I’m really excited because we had just had a good time together and I want it to last.
He comes back to my room and his face is all flushed from running up the stairs. He looked really cute with his cheeks all red. So I asked him if he needed to use my computer, but he says he’s already done the work and written a rough draft, but he wanted me to read it and help him with his mistakes. So I go over to the bed and sit down, and he sits down beside me. I start to read what he wrote and I can tell by the way he’s kind of bouncing his leg he’s nervous about me reading it. It wasn’t written like I would write it, but it was okay for someone in a normal class. Okay, I guess that sounded kind of condescending, didn’t it? But that’s not what I want to write about. So I’m reading it and he says his back is starting to hurt a little, and he asks if he can lay down across my bed. It’s only a twin bed, so if he lays across it, there won’t be much room for me, but I tell him okay. So he toes off his shoes and lays across the bed and lets out a really cute sigh. So I continue reading and he’s watching me. After about five minutes, he asked me if I’d be more comfortable if I laid down beside him. So I say sure, and I toe off my shoes and lay down beside him. So he presses his body next to mine and suddenly I can’t concentrate on what I’m reading anymore. Then Little Reggie starts to wake up and I’m becoming even more uncomfortable because he’s poking into the bed and if I try to fix him, Perry will definitely notice. So I pretend like I’m reading his report, and he’s pretending to read his report. Then he asks me if he misspelled a word and he reaches across and points to the word. When he does, I turn my head toward him and his is just inches from mine. Then he closed his eyes, and he kissed me!!!!!!!!!! He just leaned in and gave me the cutest sweetest kiss. His lips were so soft. I hope he thought my lips were soft too. Then he asked me if I was upset because he kissed me and I told him no, that I liked it. So he kissed me again!!!!!!! This time it was longer and Little Reggie definitely woke up. I kind of had to raise up a little to release the pressure he was causing. Perry saw me do it and he started giggling and raised up too. He said he had the same problem, so we both laughed. Just then Mom hollered up the stairs that it was time for Perry to go home. So we rolled over and I fixed Little Reggie and he fixed Little Perry, although it didn’t look like it was too little. We got up and by the time he put his papers in his book bag, I think Little Reggie and Little Perry were going back to sleep. Before he left the room, he gave me another quick kiss before opening the door. I walked him to his car and told him I’d see him tomorrow. When his dad backed the car out of the driveway, he gave me a cute little wave.
So right now I’m really really excited because Perry kissed me, not once but three times. So I guess this means he really likes me because I really really like him. I’m kind of glad I’m writing all this down, because years from now when I’m old, like 35 or 40, I’m going to reread this and remember what I felt like when I got my first kiss from a boy. So now I’m going to go take a shower.
I HATE IT WHEN I WISH ON A STAR ONLY TO FIND OUT LATER I WISHED ON AN AIRPLANE
It’s Tuesday night and I have enough words for this week, but since Thursday is Thanksgiving we have to show Mr. Byrd our journals tomorrow. Okay, this is a really big event. I got my learner’s permit today!!!! It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was about 10. My driver’s instructor took three of us to take our exam. I was really worried, but I don’t know why. I knew the material because I’d read the driver’s manual about a hundred times. But after I took the test, I knew I had passed. The woman who gave me my permit said I scored 100% on it. I was hoping that Mr. Dunham, my driver’s teacher, would let me drive back to the driving school, but he let Wanda drive. I think he let her drive because she’s cute and he’s been kind of flirting with her for the past few weeks. She’s 22 and he’s old, like around 35. I was surprised when Dad picked me up and handed me the keys when I showed him my permit. I didn’t even have to beg him. He said I did really well for my first time. I almost slipped and told him Grandmother had already let me drive her car, but I caught myself before I said it. Now all I have to do is get enough experience so I can take my driver’s test and get my real license. I figure with the time I’ll be driving with my instructor, and if Dad or Mom takes me out to drive a few hours on the weekends, then I should have my license early next year. Then I can start working on Dad to let me buy a car. I know he’ll tell me I need more money, which means I may have to find a part-time job after school. Abe’s uncle owns two grocery stores, so I’m going to ask Abe if he thinks his uncle will hire me as a bag boy. I won’t make much money, but it will at least show Dad I’m being responsible.
Perry wasn’t on the bus this morning so I was worried about him. I asked Beverly at lunch where is was and she giggled and asked me why. My face turned red and I think she knows about Perry kissing me Sunday. She told me once that he talks to her a lot. She later told me in Ms. Neuman’s class that he had a morning appointment with his speech therapist and his mother didn’t see any sense in bringing him to school when he would miss his first four periods. I’ve been waiting for him to call me, but he hasn’t yet. It’s still early. If he doesn’t call by 8, then I’ll call him and see if he’s okay.
It’s been really awkward being around Cory all week. Every time I see him which is like every ten minutes, I think about his brother Jayson. I want to tell him that his brother is having personal problems, but I’m not sure he’d care very much. Cory knows I’m gay and it doesn’t bother him. I don’t think he’d hate his brother either, and he could actually help him since one of his friends is gay. But he dislikes Jayson so much, he might even be happy to see him suffering. I can’t say I blame him, though. I’ve seen how Jayson treats him in the hallway sometimes. And Cory says he can really be cruel at home. I guess he’s a real jerk sometimes. I was walking behind Jayson yesterday in the hall and he kind of looked sad. He was by himself, and then a few of his friends walked up beside him and he didn’t even say anything to them. I wonder if I am the only person in the world who knows what’s going on. I want to walk up to him and tell him I’m Reggie, the guy at the crisis center. But I’m really afraid he might hit me if I did since I’m the only one who knows his secret. I volunteer tomorrow night, so I have to think what I’m going to say to him if he does call. There really should be a book that tries to help people deal with this sort of thing.
IT’S SO SIMPLE TO BE WISE. JUST THINK OF SOMETHING STUPID TO SAY AND SAY THE OPPOSITE.