The cool air of the night blew my hair lightly as I looked for Will's truck on the porch of my house. I walked down the left side of the street in haste searching for the vehicle. The slight crunch of rocks and dirt on the street as I walked stirred some pets in neighboring houses. I nearly fainted when the loud barks of 2 giant Rottweilers blared in my ears as they were, to my surprise, at least 10 feet away from me. Their forceful pounding on the fence scared the absolute shit out of me. The saving sound of Will's horn pulled me to his truck down the other side of the street in front of a giant Suburban.
I ran to the driver side of the truck. "Hey...sorry it-"
"Hurry up! Get in."
I did as I was told and climbed into the passenger seat. We sped off from the spot and hit the road.
He asked annoyed, "What the hell happened? Why did it take so goddamn long, Justin? I almost left."
"I'm sorry...a few obstacles got in the way of getting out. I'm sorry..."
Sinking himself deeper into the seat he let out a mixture of a loud sigh and deep grunt irritated with my excuse.
"You smell good. Did you shower before you left or something?"
There were moments of silence then.
"So what happened to Jake? Where is he...?"
"I...I don't know...there was a little incident at home..."
"He came out to mom and dad. It didn't go over to well..."
"Oh...", I pushed myself back into my seat.
"Yeah...they didn't like the news too much.", he joked to lighten the mood. "They had always been accepting of all kinds of people. They taught us that. Both my parents even have a close gay friend that they hang out with. It just didn't make any sense. I guess they just didn't want their son, their little baby, their little star to be like that..."
"Oh...", I went even deeper in the seat.
"Words were exchanged between all of us. There was so much yelling...he just stormed out. The first time I had ever seen him cry. We thought he just went out to calm down... After half an hour he never came back and he wasn't anywhere outside or near the house...We searched everywhere..."
I sat deep in the seat listening to the words. Watching the road. Each street light, counting the speed signs, the restaurants, the people out and about on this Monday night. Just sitting there listening and watching. I never looked at Will. I sat frozen.
"My parents told me to go out and look for him. We know each other pretty well so they knew I could find him. I called him at least 30 times. You two have become pretty good friends recently so I stopped by to see if you could help..." I felt him look at me. He was ready, whether I was or not, to tell the most important part of the story. "He said something before he left...he didn't care how we felt about it...what he said..." I felt the look again. "You know what it was...?" He knew I couldn't answer if I wanted to. "'I love Justin.'"
I fell completely through the chair and on to the truck floor at the words. My heart stopped again for the last time. It was weak. It was done. It couldn't take everything that I was giving it. All thoughts that crossed my mind during that ride stopped and went away. I was blinded with images in my own mind in that moment that seemed like an eternity. Those words began a movie in my mind. That day at school when he looked at me for the first time. When he came into the bathroom and kissed me. Our "date" at Whataburger. When I was caressed in his arms in his bed. His face. His eyes.
My soul picked itself from off of the truck floor, fell back into my body, and stared out the window. The wild wind blew my face and mussed my hair. I cried. The wind wasn't to blame. I should have kissed Jake in the middle of the hallway today. I shouldn't have cared. I should have expelled my love for him the moment he called my name. The tears flowed, but their was no sound or movement of my body. I cried like never before as the wind pressed the tears into my face.
"I'm so proud of Jake, Justin. If I was gay I don't know if I would be able to gain the courage to actually come out."
Confused and frustrated by that statement I cried even harder.
The abrupt stop of the truck was the only thing to stop the tears.
Will politely kept his eyes forward as I wiped the tears from my face as to not look like a clown. "This is Sam's house. He's Jake's closest friend.", Will informed me as he dialed Sam's number in his phone.
"Wake up! Yeah, Sam. It's Will. I know, I know, I know, but there's a problem...Jake's gone. Yeah...he and my parents...you saw? Yeah, I did, I did. No do you think? Oh...alright. We're out here. Okay."
"What happened?", I asked, my voice weaker than it had ever been in my entire life.
"He's coming with us."
I turned my head back out the window and let the sound and gentle vibrations of the truck and its motor calm me.
Sam finally made it to the truck and got in the back seat.
"Hey, Will. So where are we off to now?"
"I don't know...I really thought he would be here...", the statement dull and empty.
"Where else have you been?"
"Well, no where other than here and Justin's house.", he gestured towards me as Sam finally acknowledged my existence.
"So you're Justin..."
"Yeah", I uttered still weak. Will turned around to him, but I couldn't see the expression on his or Sam's face.
It was kind of funny and a little depressing that Sam didn't know who I was until now. I had a couple of classes with him this year and quite a few last year. Around school Sam was known as kind of a "horn dog". He was always having sex or talking about having sex anywhere and everywhere. It was mostly always true (I learned through confirmation of others) except for his sometimes magnified imagination which added a little flair and dazzle to his stories. He was a really handsome young man. One of the oldest in our class, I guess that's why he had the sexual maturity to go out there and do it with all those who wanted it. He had a really nice tan and muscular body. You could tell he was a surfer and really into sports. His hair was short, his eyes brown, and his voice was velvety with a tinge of stupidity. It was kind of cute though, I guess. Everyone loved him. EVERYONE. He and Jake were the two guys that ruled our class. They were to take over the throne when the seniors would leave. Sam was too cool for peer opinions. He never cared what anyone thought of him. He did what he wanted. More specifically what I am trying to get at is that his sexuality is undefined. He didn't care who or what you were, as long as you met his criteria for attraction you got the golden ticket. Sometimes I would dream of being him. Cool enough to do what ever you want and everyone else just having to deal with it. That's just being Sam. On the other hand, it also made me kind of sick to my stomach that he just went out in the world and did whatever. He'll get what's coming to him soon enough. Hopefully...
I finally turned to look at Sam as we pulled away from his house and onto the road. His eyes were incisive as they examined me. They looked into me. He deeply indulged me. I didn't say a word, just turned back in my seat and kept my eyes forward.
He had questions. "So you guys are good friends now...?"
"Uh, yeah- well...I wouldn't say-", I staggered.
"Jake says so."
"I'm gonna try the high school now. He might be at the field or something...", Will interrupted at the most opportune moment.
"Yeah! He might be there! That's good!", I chimed in.
The attention was off of Sam for too long, "So, my boy Jake is gay, is he? Huh. Never tried anything on me...", he said unsatisfactory with the concept. We reached a stop light and the truck was silent.
"Justin.", Sam said with power and annoyance in his voice.
Jumping with fear and presenting myself as an even weaker human being, "Yea-"
"When did you and Jake start hooking up?"
"What? No- we're just friends..."
"Oh, yeah." Sarcastically, "I forgot."
"Where do you think I should pull in?", Will asked still focused on finding Jake, the actual task at hand.
"Did he 'come out' because of yo-", Sam inquired, the annoyance and irritation growing more prominent in his inquiries.
"Probably right up there, Will!", I interrupted loudly and finally regaining some confidence.
"You guys must be some good friends for him to just come out of the closet, conveniently when you two had just grown so close."
Will pulled into the parking lot and grabbed the keys from the ignition. "Alright, I'll look on the outside and near the front and you guys split up and look around the inside and back since you know the place better." He then unbuckled his seat belt and bolted for his expedition. Sam slammed the back door and left for the field and I for the field house.
The sounds of buzzing insects and lights, a barking dog, police sirens, and speeding vehicles kept me on my toes as I crept all the way over to the field house, far away from my closest human contact. I called Jake's name softly as I tipped around the area. I knew that he wasn't here, but wanted to get away from Sam desperately.
I finally made it into the field house. There was only one faint and barely sustainable light that lit the entire building in this eternity of darkness. The air inside was cool and stale. I breathed in slowly and moved in slower.
"Jaaaakkkeee...Jake..." "JAAAAKEEE...", this time a louder whisper.
There was a scuttle in the back near a cage.
"Jake...? Is that you. If it is, please stop the dramatics! I am about to shit my pants right here. Please come out...", I whispered loud enough to be considered a speaking voice approaching the continuing scuttle sounds. "Jake plea-"
The biggest raccoon that I had ever seen in my entire life, forty feet tall and 30 tons in weight, jumped out and hissed at me. For about 10 seconds as it approached I screamed at the top of my lungs. Finally gaining control over my brain I made my legs move as they made for the exit tripping over balls, nets, chairs, stools, and squishing a cockroach or two. Making it to the outside of the field house, I stood back to the wall breathing hard and crying. Just then the racoon and its litter of 9 came parading out, not even seeing me, too busy on their journey to scare some other innocent teenager.
All I could do was laugh. The whole situation was ridiculous. I laughed at the racoons , I laughed at the tears, I laughed at myself. I got up from the wall and walked back towards the stadium and Will's truck.
Finally calm and making it to the end of the long wall, Sam approached coming from the right side. All I could produce was a gasp and a another stop of the heart. We crossed paths at exactly the same time he with a crude grin and I with a running tear.
I found myself again, back to the cold and rough wall. Sam grabbed my forearms and pushed me deeper into the wall, his grin turning more unnerving.
He held me like this for a while. The wind began blowing wilder now. It blew my shirt upwards and his short hair to his forehead. His clutch was warm and tight and the wall cold. A faint light on a nearby telephone pole illuminated his face. His beautiful tan skin looked so warm , his brown eyes pierced through to my soul and his grin turned into a neutral expression tinged with anger.
"Cut the shit, Justin. I know who you are, I know what's going on between you two. I know. He tells me. And do you think I want to hear it coming from my best friend."
"We're just frien-"
Grasping my arms tighter causing pain, "Shut the fuck up." He held me silent again for more moments of stillness.
Breaking the long quiet, "I see it now..."
"What...?", I dared to utter.
Slowly and softly, "You are kind of cute..." He moved his hands down to clasp mine, pulling them up leveled to my shoulders. He leaned his head downward into mine looking into my face. I could only stare at his eyes frozen.
With his lips nearly touching mine, Will called for us.
"Hey guys! He's not here, let's get out of here! It's creepy!"
Sam let out a sigh of annoyance and I felt his warm and fresh breath on my face. He dropped my arms forcefully and ran off toward Will.
"Didn't see him there, Will.", Sam called out.
I still felt the tight grip of his grasp on my arms as I walked over to join them.
I found myself in the back of the truck when we returned. I sat quietly as we finished our expedition around town. I was nearly asleep the rest of the trip and couldn't remember at all where we were or where we went.
Waking myself up with a forceful snore, I began to laugh. Quietly at first as not to attract attention, then louder and louder drawing both of their eyes toward me.
"What the hell is so funny?", Sam asked.
Not completely in conciseness and not knowing to whom I was speaking I answered, "In the...the...field house, their was this raccoon-", breaking to laugh my ass off. "this raccoon with a bunch of little-", taking another break. "bunch of little babies and they were-"
"We're here.", Will interrupted my babble assuring me that I had no audience.
In a daze, I woke and recognized my house. I pulled myself out of the truck and walked towards the house without giving goodbyes.
"Hey, Justin!", Will called.
"Keep calling his phone. Talk to whoever you can to find him."
"Will do, Will", I giggled more.
"Bye, Justin.", Will chuckled too at my stupidity.
"Bye, Justin. See ya tomorrow.", Sam chimed in dryly.
I waved my hand as they drove off down the street. I tried jumping up and down and shaking myself to wake up completely.
Certain I was ready for the difficult task of breaking back into the house, I ran to the back. The window near the kitchen was always partially open so I tried my best to push it up and climb through it. Coming through the window, not in the least bit concealed, I knocked over a plant and hopped back up shaking the excess dirt under a rug. Hearing the extra loud snores of my parents in their room I had the assurance that they were asleep as I ran through the dining room, the living room, up the stairs and into my bedroom.
I shut the door louder than expected, clicked off the light, and fell onto the bed with all my clothes on. With my window open, the sound of chirping crickets and the cool breeze of the wind, I fell deep into slumber.