“I worry about that kid sometimes,” Evan said.
Friday, June 1, 2012
The Family in the Window- pt 4a Tristan, Friends Are For
The school day had been long, full of moments when all Tristan could think about was his date the night before and when he would get to do it again and under what circumstances. He wanted Mark to call him. He wanted to call Mark. But all the speeches of television characters went through his head as he thought about it. Even just a text might be too much. Give it time, he told himself.
Mark was everything he could want in a date: physically, emotionally, and personality. He was confident, sure, and capable. He felt like they had connected on the date and it was worth a second date but it felt too formal. When did dating end and a relationship begin?
The day was long and to make it worse he had a meeting with the Gay, Straight Alliance after school and that meant Evan would be there. Tristan had wanted to run the group like A.A. where you got up stated your name, your sexuality and/or your gender identity but the by-laws forbid ‘peer pressure identity’ as a part of the ethical code to resist assumed identity and allow for self-identification. It didn’t matter much anyway as there were only three other active members: Emily, Justin and Evan.
They had one ‘straight ally’ named Dean who was also a part of the Christian Youth Club but he didn’t participate much in the meetings. The four of them had met in a secret meeting after he joined and they debated about kicking him out of the group or otherwise shunning him because he could have been a spy.
He could have been gay, straight, bisexual, or maybe he was try-sexual. Tristan couldn’t help but forgive him because of his stylish clothes, pouty lips, soft, kissable lips. Besides who volunteers to join the group? That was like putting a ‘kick me’ sign on your back.
But he was also the one that Tristan wanted to get to admit something. He would settle for bisexual at least or curious maybe, some inclination of feeling that he wasn’t really a spy or that he was like them. Straight was nice but it felt unsafe in what was supposed to be a ‘safe space’. He was putting his own life on the line as a gay boy so it should mean something to say it.
Everyone in the school knew about Emily and Justin as well. Emily was an out and proud lesbian, a militant vegan who also believed in conservation and rode her bicycle to school. Justin, well Justin was just obviously gay. Tristan felt proud to take the freshman under his wing as it were, to give him a place to go though the boy didn’t seem to need any protection because he was full of energy and always the optimist.
His energy at times pained Evan who was the opposite of the spectrum. Evan wore black clothes, painted his fingernails black, wore combat boots. He wore a stud in his eyebrow, one in his nose, and ear. He always seemed to be on his last breath. It was all of that which attracted Tristan to him and all of that which caused them to break up.
For thirty minutes Tristan forgot about his other problems as they talked through the their plans for the rest of the year. They debated the value and response to having a fundraising table during lunch after the New Year as it was almost Christmas break and they had already spent their money for the AIDS Walk. They decided to table the discussion, which meant if anyone was passionate about it, wanted to put themselves at risk, then they would have to take the initiative.
“Well that’s it,” Tristan said looking to the clock on the wall.
“Great,” Emily said.
“Thanks guys,” Dean said before slipping out of his desk and out of the door.
They got to their feet and began to rearrange the furniture.
“He’s still a weird guy,” Justin said.
“So are you,” Evan replied.
“Look who’s talking,” Tristan said.
They laughed a little, more false than real.
“So how’d your date go stud?” Evan asked.
He had told Evan two days before his date was to happen. It was an impulsive feeling that he partially regretted because he didn’t want him to be jealous but he had to tell someone else about it.
“A date?” Justin asked. “When did this happen? Is he from school?”
“No, he doesn’t go to school here.” Tristan pushed the chair the rest of the way and slung his back pack over one shoulder.
“And just where does he go?” Evan asked. He already knew the answer.
“State school,” Tristan said.
“He’s in college?” Justin said.
“A college boy,” Emily said. “Was it a nice date?”
“Yeah, it was.”
“Well, let’s hear the details,” Emily said.
Tristan told them the basics of his date: where they went, who drove, how he looked, how they were dressed, and how his parents felt about it. He didn’t mention that they had kissed or the lies he had told.
“Sounds nice,” Emily said. “Well I have to get going.” She held her books against her chest and walked out leaving the three boys to follow her quietly.
Out in the hallway a new silence fell upon them one where they didn’t want anyone else to overhear them. It was one thing to be gay and a member of the GSA but it was another to be sexual. They walked to Justin’s locker.
“Hey I’m giving him a ride home. Do you want to come along with us?” Evan asked.
Tristan looked to both of them then down the hallway. He could have walked home, taken the shortcuts, tried to avoid any of the other kids hanging around the streets. He could have called his mother and rode home in silence, which he did sometimes if he didn’t want to deal with the kids who sometimes threw eggs at him from behind their house as he passed by.
“Yeah sure,” he said.
“Hey did you guys watch TV last night?” Justin asked. “Modern Family was on and it was pretty funny. The guys on the Swish Edition don’t think they’re very cute but I kind of like the redhead.”
“Uh, you like them older, a real daddy complex.”
“Shut up,” Justin said closing his locker.
“I’m just saying. Besides when they’re older they have more money to spend on the young ones. The young, dumb, and full of cum.”
Justin laughed a little then closed his locker and fastened the combination lock. They walked down the hallway and out to the car in silence. Tristan held the passenger seat for Justin to climb into the back the got in himself. Evan lit a cigarette from the pack he kept in the glove compartment and started the car.
“I’ve been waiting all day for this,” he said. He pulled his MP3 player from his pocket and connected it to the auxiliary line. “You have to hear this one.”
“What is it?” Justin asked kicking trash in the footwell.
“Ministry’s ‘Everyday is Halloween’,” Evan said.
“Turn it up,” Justin said.
Evan turned the volume high and drove out of the parking lot. They didn’t talk as one song turned into two and eventually they reached Justin’s house. Evan pulled into the driveway and waited for him to exit then Tristan to get back into the passenger seat before he lowered the volume. Together they watched Justin go inside his home then Evan began to drive again.
“I worry about that kid sometimes,” Evan said.
“Why? He knows how to take care of himself.”
“I know but still. It’s not like you or me. I mean I got one more year in this hell and you got like six months then it’s off to college. He doesn’t know how to play it cool like we did. It’s different. In just two years things have changed. There’s television shows and everything that makes being gay look cool and easy.”
Tristan looked to Evan with a deep sarcastic but serious face.
“You know what I mean.”
Tristan put his hand out of the window to feel the wind then asked why it wasn’t easy to be gay.
“It’s hard man. I mean we get our asses kicked and somehow we deserved it. All this bullshit about gay marriage and repealing things. It’s just like they can take it away any moment. Kick our asses and that’s it. And it’s not like TV makes it easy. Everyone has to be cute and hung and have muscles.”
“You’re just jealous,” Tristan said. “Have another cigarette.”