Zombie

Going Out on Halloween

A Coming of Age Story by Altimexis

Posted October 26, 2013

 

‘October 31, 2013,’ I read at the top of the newspaper as I pulled it out of the plastic wrap and opened it up. Yeah, my mom still subscribed to the print edition, and I actually read it every morning before going to school. Most of my friends wouldn’t have known what a newspaper was if it hit them in the face. Mom’s been calling me precocious ever since I can remember and, when I looked up the meaning of the word when I was seven, I had to agree.

Pouring a cup of coffee - I’ve been drinking the stuff ever since I started middle school - and fixing myself a bowl of cereal, I sat down at the kitchen table and started scanning the headlines. Yeah, the country was still a mess. The Democrats and Republicans were still duking it out with each other, and nothing was getting done in Washington. The economy was still in the toilet, crime was getting worse, and there’d been yet another suicide bombing in the Middle East.

My mind was on other things, however, as today was my birthday. Today I was officially a teenager. Yeah, I was born on Halloween in 2000. I was a millennial baby, born two months before the end of the twentieth century. I know - I know, most kids think the twenty-first century began in 2000 but, like I said, I’m precocious. I’m precocious in other ways too. I had my first wet dream when I was barely eleven and I’ve been jerking off ever since.

The thing is, my wet dreams never involved girls and I don’t think about girls when I jerk off, either. That’s right, little Billy Watson is gay, and he has a major crush on his best friend, Carl, but Carl hasn’t a clue. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure Carl is straight. He’s been crushing on Jennifer Blake since we were in the sixth grade together, but she fancies Blake Simonson, who’s going out with Carrie Hampton. What can I say - middle school romance is a bitch.

Quickly skimming my way through the rest of the front section as I drained my cereal bowl and sipped the last of my coffee, I folded the paper back up for my mom to read. She works the ‘PM’ shift at Saint Vincent’s Hospital and wouldn’t be getting out of bed for several hours. There’s no dad in the picture - he took off the moment Mom told him she was pregnant. They were both teenagers at the time and I guess he wasn’t ready to be a father - not that Mom was either, but she didn’t exactly have of a choice. Placing my dishes in the dishwasher and putting the rest of the coffee in the fridge for Mom to nuke for herself later, I headed back to the bathroom to get dressed for school.

This was my last year in middle school and, so, probably the last year I would be dressing up for Halloween. I certainly didn’t expect to go Trick-or-Treating after this year, nor would I ever again have to dress in costumes for school. All of my friends are already thirteen and most of them have been thirteen since last year. Because I was so precocious, my mom fought to get me into kindergarten when I was only four. Now, since I was still in middle school, I was dressing up for Halloween.

Because this was the last time I’d be dressing up for Halloween in school, I wanted to make this time special. I wanted to wear a costume the other kids would talk about and remember. That meant it had to be home-made and not rented or store-bought. But what in the world could I dress up as that hadn’t already been done? Everyone famous had already been used before, as had every well-known fictional character, but if I dressed up as someone obscure - some sort of historical figure like, say, Socrates - no one would have any idea who I was trying to be.

Then I had a really scary thought. What if I used this opportunity to come out? What a crazy idea! Except that I wasn’t planning to come out for a long time, if ever. No one knew I was gay - not even Mom. Not that I was in the least bit ashamed of being gay, but I didn’t particularly like the idea of getting my ass kicked all over the place for the next five years. I wasn’t exactly athletic and, although I could hold my own in a fight, what if the bullies ganged up on me? I didn’t think I could handle that.

Then I came across a link to a New York Times Magazine article on coming out in middle school, from 2009. There were hundreds of sites that linked to the article and thousands of first-hand accounts on-line from kids who’d come out, some of them when they were even younger than I was. It was a real eye-opener. The bottom line was that most kids who came out were bullied, some physically, but the overwhelming majority were much happier since coming out. Although a lot of the kids had regrets about coming out, most of them were adamant that they would not want to go back in the closet, even if it were possible.

Some of the comments really hit home about how the kids felt like they were carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders before they came out. It sure felt that way to me. Being able to rid myself of that burden was certainly appealing, but did I have the courage to do it? Not to mention the fact that so many teens who came out, or were outed against their will, ended up committing suicide. I couldn’t conceive of ever feeling that desperate, but there were stories on-line of kids all turning against their friends after they came out. I was confident my closest friends would never do that, but could I be sure?

In the end, I decided to call the Trevor Project hotline, just to get advice before making such a life-altering decision. Of course the person I spoke to couldn’t tell me what to do, but they did give me some great advice that helped me make up my mind. I decided I was going to come out.

My mom was the one wild card in the equation. I could handle losing my friends as long as I had my mom, but what if even she turned against me? I seriously doubted she would since some of the other nurses she worked with were gay, but what if she did? That was truly the worst-case scenario. Might I actually end up homeless, living on the street, selling my body to survive? I knew there was a gay youth crisis center in town, so I looked it up and I called their hotline. The bottom line was that if my mom did throw me out of the house, or if I felt unsafe at home, they would take me in, no questions asked, and find me a place to stay. They even figured out which buses I could take to get there and told me that if I took a cab, they’d pay the fare when I arrived.

So I was ready to come out, and Halloween seemed to be a great time to do it, too. Because everyone else would be in costume, it would help diffuse the shock of seeing me dressed up as, well, someone gay. People might even wonder if I really was gay or just dressing up that way for shock value. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do this.

But whom could I dress up as that would be obviously gay? I thought about going in drag, but for that I would have needed Mom’s help and that would have raised questions from her that I didn’t want to have to answer until after the fact. Even more than my fear of coming out to her, I knew she’d try to talk me out of it. I was psyched. No way I was going to back out now. Besides which, the last thing I wanted to do was wear high heels all day and maybe sprain an ankle, and I sure as fuck didn’t want to take a chance on straight guys hitting on me.

It was funny, but I could think of several out and proud lesbian celebrities that would be instantly recognizable, but that didn’t help me one bit. I thought about going as Elton John - most kids, even at our age, would at least know who he was - but then they’d probably think I was just dressing up as someone famous and not as someone gay. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided to dress up as Kurt Hummel, an openly gay character on the Fox hit show, Glee. I knew that a lot of kids had at least watched Glee with their families at some point, and since Kurt was one of the main characters, most of them would at least be familiar with him and that he was gay. Besides which, he was funny as hell.

Thank God I didn’t have to dye my hair! My natural hair color was close enough, although it took me a while to get the style just right.  My face was the right shape too, or I could have never pulled it off. Just as the character on the show, I put on a dress shirt with a vest over it, and even wore a narrow tie. My outfit was definitely a bit over the top but at the same time, it didn’t scream ‘gay’. It was just the look I was going for - a kid trying too hard to be stylish.

Completing the costume was the hardest part - I had to adopt the character’s voice and mannerisms. For the past couple of years I’d been doing everything I could to appear as straight and masculine as could be. Kurt Hummel, on the other hand, was effeminate and a bit snobbish. He didn’t wear a rainbow flag or anything, but there was no way anyone would take him for being straight. Acting that way without cracking up was going to be a real challenge, and I wasn’t sure how I was gonna take it if anyone asked me why I was acting so gay or, worse still, like a fag.

Satisfied that I was as ready as I could be, I walked out the door and locked it behind me. Carl was already waiting at the bus stop, dressed rather lamely as Tom Hanks, and I couldn’t resist taking a jab at him for dressing in such an obvious costume.

“At least you recognized me,” came his retort. “So who in the fuck are you supposed to be?”

“You mean you don’t recognize me?” I responded, doing what I thought was a pretty good imitation of my character. Good enough that Carl picked up on it right away.

“I don’t have any idea,” he replied, “but why the fuck are you pretending to be someone gay?”

Swallowing hard, I knew this was it. The whole purpose of dressing up as a gay character was so I could come out, but fuck, this was scary! What if I lost my best friend? Could I really go through with this?

As I was thinking these thoughts, the lack of a response was just as significant as if I’d told him directly. Staring at me, he spoke so softly that I could barely hear him. “No way . . . no way you could be gay.” Then he hastened to add, “Not that it would matter to me if you were, Billy. When I say I’m your best friend, that doesn’t mean you’re only my best friend if you’re straight but, damn, there’s no way I would have ever thought you’re gay!”

Breathing a sigh of relief that he seemed to be accepting it, I responded, “But I am, Carl. I’m gay.” There, I’d said it!

“And you’re coming out . . . in middle school? Are you nuts?”

“Probably,” I answered, “but I’m tired of trying to hide it, you know? Not that I want to get my ass kicked or anything, but I don’t want to pretend to be something I’m not. Do you have any idea how many times we talk about girls at school? Do you know what it’s like to pretend to be interested when you’re not? Do you know what it’s like to have to monitor each and every thing you say and do to make sure you don’t accidentally show you like boys?”

“Fuck, I never thought about it like that,” Carl replied. “And as far as getting your ass kicked, I’ve got your back, man. If anyone gives you a hard time, I’ll be there, by your side.”

“You realize people will think you’re gay too,” I pointed out.

“Doesn’t matter,” Carl replied. “Our friendship comes first. Our friendship means much more to me than what people think. Besides, a little detention for PDA in the halls should squelch any rumors.”

“You have anyone in mind?” I chided Carl.

“You know very well who,” he answered.

“Fat chance of getting your tongue in her mouth,” I replied, “but I’m sure Sam would go for a little public display of affection.” I kinda regretted saying it right after I said it. Sam, or Samantha, was seriously overweight, but I really liked her. Well obviously not that way, but she was the kind of girl I thought would make a good friend and maybe even a good girlfriend for Carl.

Scowling, as if reading my thoughts, Carl said, “That was a really shitty thing to say. I like Sam. When you get past her being fat, she’s actually very attractive. More than that, however, she’s one of the nicest girls in our school.”

“So why don’t you ask her out?” I asked.

After a brief pause, Carl smiled and responded, “You know, I think I will.” It was no wonder I had a crush on Carl. He’d never admit it, but he was one of the nicest boys in the school.

Then, getting a thoughtful look on his face, Carl smiled at me and asked, “So who do you like?”

“Carl, I can’t tell you that!” I replied in a near panic.

“Why the fuck not?” he asked.

“’Cause it’s embarrassing!”

“What could be embarrassing about liking some boy?” he asked, but when I didn’t answer, he added, “Unless . . . you don’t mean me, do you?”

Still, I didn’t answer, but my face felt like it was on fire, making it hard to hide how I was feeling.”

“Oh shit, man,” Carl responded. “You do realize I’m straight, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I know,” I answered quietly, and then I added, “I hope it doesn’t freak you out.”

“Actually, I think it’s kinda cool,” Carl replied with a smirk. “Although I’m not sure I even want to think about what you’d like to do with me. Just the thought of kissing you is, well, ewwww, gross. I’d have to be pretty desperate to go out with you.”

“What do you mean, ‘desperate’?” I responded. “I’ll have you know I’m a prime catch!” I chided back as I gave him a little shove.

“Prime my ass,” he countered with a shove of his own, and pretty soon we were involved in a shoving match. It was then that a few other kids finally joined us, just as the bus pulled up, thank God. I knew they’d find out about me soon enough, but they were sixth and seventh graders and I really didn’t want to have to deal with them just yet.

Carl and I sat together on the bus and talked about other things, so I didn’t have any trouble until I got to school. Carl and I didn’t have the same homeroom or morning classes, and our lockers weren’t even in the same hallway. We wouldn’t see each other again until lunch.

The first inkling that there could be trouble came as I was taking books out of my backpack and stuffing them into my locker.

“Who the fuck are you supposed to be?” a rather menacing pirate asked me from a few lockers away. It was Keith Mellman, a real asshole who’d been giving me a hard time for the past two years. He liked to bully smaller kids, and he was always calling me ‘faggot’ this and ‘faggot’ that, even without knowing I was gay.

Rather than answer him, I slammed my locker shut and started to walk away, but he just spun me around and shouted, “I asked you who you are, faggot, so answer me!”

“I’m Kurt Hummel, a character in Glee,” I answered, not thinking to tone down my characterization of him until after it was too late.

Shoving me hard against the lockers, Mellman responded, “I don’t watch fag shows, but I always knew you’re a faggot, Watson. All I’ve got to say is, ‘Watch your back!’” Giving me another shove, he stormed off, leaving me to wonder if coming out was such a wise idea after all.

I practically had tears in my eyes when I felt a hand on my shoulder, and looked up into the red eyes of a very cute vampire. It was Scott Miller, a kid I knew who was in my homeroom and several of my classes, but, because we came from different elementary schools and had different friends, we’d never gotten to know each other very well.

“You OK, Billy?” Scott asked as he looked into my eyes.

“Yeah, I’m OK . . . just shaken up a bit,” I replied. “I guess I knew I’d get reactions like that when I chose to dress up as a gay guy, but I didn’t realize how much it would bother me, you know?”

“Man, I’d never have the balls to do what you’re doing,” he responded, then cocking his head, he added, “Let’s go.”

As we walked toward our homeroom, which was down the next corridor, I couldn’t help but wonder if Scott meant what he said in the hypothetical sense, or if he meant it personally. I was way too chicken to ask, and so I waited for him to say something instead, which he did.

“So I take it this is your way of coming out?” he asked.

Rather than say anything else, I simply nodded my head.

“I have to say . . . it’s an . . . interesting way of coming out. No straight boy would dress up as someone gay, so you can be sure the word’ll be all over school by second period,” he added with a smile. “My boyfriend and I hadn’t planned to come out until high school at the earliest . . .”

“You have a boyfriend?” I asked in surprise, both excited at the thought of having a boyfriend but, at the same time disappointed that Scott was already taken.

Smiling, and blushing a little, Scott responded, “Yeah, but I can’t tell you who it is unless he agrees. Anyway, if he’s willing, maybe we could come out too, so you wouldn’t be the only one.”

At that moment we passed through the door and I immediately went to take my seat. As I did so, Scott said, “I’ll get back to you ’bout what we said, ’K?”

“Sure,” I replied, still wondering who Scott’s boyfriend could be.

Scott sat down in his usual seat and immediately started talking to the guy in front of him, Jeff Wheeler, a kid I didn’t really know at all. Jeff was a star athlete - a linebacker on the football team - just the sort of kid I steered clear of for obvious reasons. As far as I was concerned, football players were all bullies and I wanted nothing to do with them. As I watched Scott talking to Jeff, and then saw the two of them looking over at me, I couldn’t help but get the feeling I was being set up. Scott seemed too nice to do that to me but, still, it left me with an uneasy feeling.

When homeroom ended ten minutes later, fearing the worst, I tried to make a quick getaway, but someone stuck out their leg and tripped me on the way out, causing me to fly out the door, landing hard in the middle of the hallway, my backpack flying over my head and hitting the lockers across the way. Word had gotten around fast, but rather than wait around to see what might happen next, I picked myself off the floor before anyone could trip over me, grabbed my backpack, and practically ran to my next class, ignoring Scott’s call for me to wait up.

By the time I reached my first period class, all thoughts of trying to act like Kurt Hummel were gone. I knew that it was now inevitable that word would spread, but the last thing I wanted to do was reinforce the stereotype my character portrayed. How could I have been so stupid? In trying to make it obvious that I was gay, I’d chosen one of the most stereotypically gay characters on TV. I should have been Elton John after all. Why didn’t I choose to be him?

Fortunately, nothing else happened after the homeroom incident and, other than the way everyone was staring at me, nothing unusual happened until lunch. As I stood in line to buy the slop they serve as an excuse for lunch, a girl behind me that I didn’t even really know asked, “So is it true that you’re gay? You look just like Kurt Hummel and he’s sooo cute. It’s really cool that you came out. Don’t you think Kurt is cute? It was really sad when he and Blaine broke up, doncha think? He has a great singing voice, though. I think the actor that plays him . . . Chris something . . . I think . . . I think he’s gonna go far, you know. Maybe he’ll be the next DiCaprio or something . . .” Jees, she just didn’t stop, and so I basically ignored her, nodding my head from time to time, just to be polite. But DiCaprio? Who was she kidding?

By the time I got to the cashier, I didn’t even know what I’d put on my tray and frowned when I looked down and saw a slice of cardboard covered with tomato sauce - what they tried to call pizza - a bowl of wilted lettuce and a plate of soggy fries. Making my way to our usual table, I joined Carl and some of our other friends, thankful that I didn’t have to listen to that girl anymore.

“You sure you want to sit here?” Lance Gerard asked, causing me to pause as I pulled out my chair. Fuck, I didn’t need this.

“’Course he can sit here,” Carl challenged. “Just because he’s gay, doesn’t mean he’s not still our friend.”

“But what if people think we’re gay?” Frank Rollins asked.

“So what if they do?” Carl replied. “Unless maybe your really are, Frank, and don’t want people to know . . .”

“I ain’t gay!” Frank interrupted.

“So then why should it bother you?” Carl asked. “If you’re not gay, you’re not gay and it doesn’t really matter what others think. What matters is what you think . . . what we think. And friendship. Friendship matters. How would you feel if we all abandoned you, just ’cause of something insignificant . . . something unimportant.”

“But it is important!” Lance countered.

“Yeah, it is,” Carl responded, “Which is why it’s even more important that we stick together and be there for Billy. After all, it’s not like it’s his fault or anything. He’s still the same Billy who’s eaten lunch with us every day since the sixth grade . . . since the first grade for some of us.”

Throughout the whole discussion, I’d been standing there in limbo, holding my tray in mid-air, not quite sure what to do. If I didn’t sit at my regular table, everyone would know that my friends had rejected me. I would be an outcast.

Then when no one said anything else, Carl stood up and grabbed his tray and said, “Come on, Billy. Let’s go sit somewhere where friendship means something, even if it means sitting by ourselves.”

Before we could leave, however, Lance said, “I’m sorry, Carl,” and then he looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, Billy. It’s just that it’s all over the school, you know? But Carl’s right . . . you’re still our friend.”

“Yeah, same goes for me,” Frank added as the rest of the guys nodded their heads.

Just as we were sitting down, I noticed Scott and Jeff coming our way. Fuck, that was all I needed. I was convinced they were coming to hurt me or something but, when they reached our table, Jeff asked, “Mind if we sit here?”

To say everyone was shocked was an understatement, so no one answered. Jeff always ate with the jocks and Scott always ate with his own friends, so no one knew what to make of the situation.

“Well if you’d rather we didn’t . . .” Scott interjected.

“No, it’s OK,” Carl answered, “It’s just that you usually eat . . .”

“At one of the jock tables?” Jeff asked.

“Yeah,” Frank replied.

After they sat down, Scott turned to me and explained, “Like I said this morning, I had to talk to my boyfriend before deciding how we could help you.”

“And I agreed that we needed to help you,” Jeff added.

“But what about your boyfriend?” I asked Scott - I might be precocious, but sometimes I was pretty dense.

Rather than say anything, Jeff cleared his throat and smiled.

Realization suddenly dawned on me and I exclaimed, “YOU?” I could tell from the looks around the table that everyone was shocked that Jeff was gay.

“As of today, out and proud,” Jeff confirmed.

“But what about the other jocks?” I asked.

“Guess I’ll find out at practice,” Jeff answered with a smirk. “I told them I was eating with you guys today, ’cause I needed to stand up for a fellow gay kid. Didn’t give them a chance to respond, though. They did look pretty shocked.”

“Man,” Frank said, more to himself, quietly.

“I wonder how many others there are?” Carl asked.

“Supposedly ten percent,” Josh Goldberg answered.

“Well at this table it’s thirty percent,” Frank replied.

“Forty percent,” Josh interjected.

All heads turned toward Josh as we realized he’d just outed himself. Fuck! I think Carl said something like, “Welcome to the first meeting of the Tilden Middle School GSA,” but my thoughts were elsewhere. Although Josh wasn’t my best friend, we’d been close since kindergarten. He had always been among my circle of close friends, even as others came and went. He had curly, dirty blond hair and deep blue eyes, and, man, was he ever cute. When he smiled, his dimples could melt any girl’s heart . . . or mine. Never in a million years would I have thought he was gay.

Today he was dressed, I guess, as a Greek god or something. He was wearing a toga draped over one shoulder, his skin was covered in white makeup and his hair was powdered white. It looked like his toga had slipped a bit as part of his chest that wasn’t white was showing, and his right nipple was visible. The exposed shoulder and nipple made him look incredibly sexy - so much so that I was going to have to wait a while before I could stand up.

“So we have a plan,” Carl said, bringing me back to reality.

“Huh?” I asked.

“Where have you been?” Carl asked, and then he saw where I was looking, looked at Josh, then back at me and winked. “Anyway, we all thought it really would be a good idea to form a GSA, so we’re gonna make an appointment to see Mr. Caruthers next week and, in the meantime, we’re gonna look on-line to see how to do it, so we’ll be prepared.” The fact that my friends were willing to do this for me and Josh, and Scott and Jeff, nearly brought me to tears.

The remainder of the school day went without incident, and Keith Mellman even came up to me and apologized - apologized - for shoving me into my locker. Only later would I find out that Jeff and some of his teammates had had a little talk with Keith.

Trick-or-Treating that night was totally cool. Me and my friends went from house to house as a group. Apparently word had gotten around, thanks to all the families in the neighborhood that had kids in middle school. Although some of the neighbors we visited were rather distant, quite a few of them invited us inside and told me how proud they were of me for coming out. Wow, I wasn’t expecting that!

It sure made an impression on Josh too, seeing how so many were supportive. So much so that by the end of the evening, Josh was telling everyone we visited that he was my boyfriend. Sure as the sun would rise in the morning, it would be all over the school tomorrow. My boyfriend. I really liked the sound of that.

Later, we all gathered at my house to celebrate my birthday. Because it was a school night, we would wait until the weekend to have a real party with gifts and everything, but Mom always made it a point to take off work for my birthday, and even though we’d collected a few pounds of sugar, each, she always made me a home-made carrot cake. Carrot cake was my absolute favorite.

As we all gathered, still in our costumes, Mom just had to embarrass me by taking pictures and commenting on how cute we all looked. Of course I was back to playing the role of Kurt Hummel, and so I was acting a bit over-the-top when Mom got a funny look on her face, and then nodded as if she’d resolved something. It suddenly dawned on me that I was out to everyone - but my mom! Realizing she probably recognized the character I was dressed as, and summoning all my courage, I said, “Mom, I know you probably recognize that I’m dressed up as Kurt Hummel.”

“Yes, and you’ve done a very good job at it, dear,” she replied. “It’s not just the costume either. You’ve really got the part down. You look and act like Kurt Hummel.”

Swallowing hard, I said, “There’s a reason I chose to dress up as Kurt Hummel.”

Smiling and almost laughing, Mom replied, “I figured as much. I just didn’t expect you to come out so soon . . .”

“You knew?” I practically shouted.

“Mothers always know,” Mom replied.

“They do?” Josh exclaimed.

This time she really did laugh as she said, “Joshie, I’ve known you since you and Billy were toddlers. Amanda and I have been working the same shift at Saint Vincent’s for almost as long.” Amanda was Josh’s mom. “We talk about these things. For the past four or five years, we’ve been talking about the likelihood that we both had gay sons, and how to prepare for it.”

Stunned, Josh plopped down into one of the kitchen chairs and said, just under his breath, “Holy fuck!”

Mom obviously heard it, however, as she said, “Joshie?”

“Oh yeah, sorry,” he replied, but then added, “but shit! I mean, holy fuck! You’ve known we were gay since we were, like, eight?

“Suspected,” Mom elaborated, and then added, “and I’ll let the language slide this time. I can imagine how much of a shock this must be.”

“To us too,” Carl interjected, and then added, “not that there’s anything wrong with it.”

“Yeah, it’s cool,” Frank agreed.

“But man, since they were eight?” Lance asked. “Even now, I woulda never suspected.”

That’s because you’re not a mother,” Mom answered.

“God, I hope not!” Lance replied.

“Oh and Joshie,” Mom went on, “Just as I still love Billy, your mother adores you, even knowing you’re probably gay.”

“Guess I better tell her,” Josh added, “’Cause I’ve been tellin’ everyone tonight that I’m Billy’s boyfriend.” God, he was really blushing. He was adorable.

“Everyone but me, that is,” I interjected. How the fuck did he think he could get away with calling me his boyfriend without even asking me if I wanted to be his?

Blushing even more deeply, if that were possible, with a shy smile he asked me, “Billy, would you be my boyfriend?”

The thought of it made my heart flutter but I couldn’t let him off so easily, so I answered, “Maybe,” but I was grinning from ear to ear.

Anyway, we did end up forming a GSA, although it took a lot of convincing to get the administration to recognize that kids as young as eleven could struggle with their sexuality, and Josh and I did end up becoming boyfriends. By the time we graduated middle school, the GSA had more than fifty members, twelve of whom were out and proud, including a couple of sixth-graders.

Scott and Jeff became good friends of ours, and often sat with us at lunch. Sometimes we were even joined by some of Jeff's teammates and sometimes Josh and I even sat with Scott and Jeff at one of the jock tables. Rather than being bullies, the members of the football team made it clear they wouldn't put up with bullying from anyone. It completely changed my perspective of jocks.

As the school year came to a close, we all looked forward with anticipation to moving up to the high school next year, but also with a bit of trepidation. It would be a whole new experience with a lot of new faces and only time would tell if we would find acceptance there. At least we knew we would not be alone.

However, first there was the summer. Man, were Josh and I looking forward to the summer! We had plans to do a lot of stuff together with all the guys, but the thing I was looking forward to the most was a camping trip with Josh - just the two of us. We’d already gotten permission from both our moms and we’d made our reservations. Yeah, it was gonna be quite a summer.


The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope in editing and Low Flyer in proofreading my stories, as well as Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Nifty for hosting them.