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Love is not easy. Many stories are about a guy who has a crush on a girl. Typically, the guy is afraid to talk the girl, which makes it harder for him to tell her how he feels. There are many ways this can turn out. He tells her how he feels and she rejects him, he tells her how he feels and she likes him back, or he may not tell her at all. This is the typical love story. It's cute, a common story. It's the common "Romeo and Juliet" without death (most of the time). What many don't expect in a story like is a guy who infatuates over another guy.
There are many struggles to being gay, especially as a teenager. Lots of people assume that a teen's problems are not real problems. For teens, there can be a lot of serious issues. In this case, the issue is having trouble understanding one's sexuality. It took me a long time to realize that I was gay. I felt that I had to stay hidden. As I kept this secret, I felt like I was hiding myself. Based on an environment, being a part of the LGBTQ+ community is not easy. There are many fears. Some regard not "being out" to your family, fear of being treated differently, and telling someone of the same gender how you truly feel about them.
In high school, I sort of had a "Romeo and Juliet" experience. For me, it was more of the not so common "Romeo and Mercutio" experience. You see, it was sophomore year. I was at a new school with a very friendly environment. People I had not seen in years went to this school, even a girl from elementary school. It was good to see her again. However, who I didn't remember from elementary school was her older brother.
From sophomore to senior year, I was more comfortable with my sexuality (more comfortable meaning I did not yet identify as gay). I told my very first friend, Yoshi, that I identified as bisexual. I made it very obvious that I'm attracted to men. I felt a little better after telling her; "telling her" meaning she asked "are you bi" and me replying "yeah." I started telling more people I was bisexual. I never randomly said, "I'm bi." I only said stuff like that whenever I couldn't resist talking about how attractive some of the guys in a few of my classes were. Eventually, I developed an interest in one guy. His name was Malcolm.
Malcolm was a grade a head of me. His sister thought he was ugly and a dork, but I thought him being a dork was cute. He was super friendly with everyone around him, but at the same time, he kept to himself. I had never met someone who was popular and yet timid at the same time. Every time he was in my proximity, I would become flustered. He was pretty skinny, but also well built in strength. Malcolm always seemed unbothered by the world, and I envied that. We liked talking to each other about random things. It was nice until one of our school's monthly half days.
One Friday afternoon, Malcolm, his sister, Yoshi, and I were sitting outside after school. When we were out there, we had a conversation with many random topics. The subject of sexuality came up. Normally, I was okay with the topic. For some reason, that comfort went away when Malcolm asked if I "was straight." I didn't say yes, but I didn't say I was bisexual either. I told him I was "confused." The first time I said that, he thought I wanted him to rephrase the question. I put more emphasis and said, "no, I mean I'm really confused." He still didn't understand, but as cliche as it sounds, the third time was the charm. He finally realized what I was trying to say. After that, he looked down, rotated his head 90 degrees left, and said "oh." The awkward silence didn't last too long. He was very nice and accepting about it, and I felt less scared. I was still lying to myself, but at least the guy I was crushing on didn't hate me for having an interest in guys; even if he was one of them.
Malcolm realized I felt some attraction to him, but not the amount of attraction he thought. What he also didn't know was that my feelings for him were finding their way to the surface. I told Yoshi, and other friends about how I felt about Malcolm. They thought it was cute that I had a crush on another boy. At first, I thought nothing of it, but time went on, and nothing turned to something. As my feelings increased, as did my fear. Learning to tell a straight guy, how attractive they are to there face is one thing. For me, that wasn't the stressful part. However, telling a straight guy that you like them beyond their appearance was beyond my ability.
I wanted to tell Malcolm how I truly felt. My friends would tell me to "just do it," but I was scared of rumors spreading around. After all, this was high school. Malcolm didn't seem like the type to start drama or want anything to do with it, but I wasn't taking any chances. I didn't know what to do. My feelings for him wouldn't change. The longer they last, the more envious I had gotten.
Another friend of mine, Nice (like the French city), came up to me and told me that Malcolm was hugging another guy. That guy was also one of my friends, and straight. He actually hugged him twice. I was upset, not because Malcolm hugged him, but because he displayed his affection for people from time to time. It felt like I was always missing my turn. Was I jealous? Of course! I felt like I was constantly being passed over. It was like he was on a dating app. He would metaphorically "swipe right" on everyone else and "swipe left" on just me. I thought about him a lot. Nothing could distract me from thinking about him, not even life-threatening issues that I dealt with.
The year before, I was diagnosed with CKD(Chronic Kidney Disease). My kidney function was getting worst. There were many talks on reversing the bad effects, but there were also many hospital meetings with doctors who believed otherwise. Leading to the end of my 10th-grade year, there was another hospital meeting. This meeting was about life without a kidney transplant, dialysis treatment to be more specific. The thought of feeling weak, tubes inside of me, constant hospital visits was terrifying for me. It felt like I was losing my independence. After that meeting, I felt alone and upset. All of my friends were still in class. I couldn't talk to them. Then, I thought of Malcolm. I thought maybe he could talk. I didn't have his number, but I could still direct message him through Instagram. When I did, I started off by saying "hi," then apologizing (in case he was in the middle of something), and said, "I really needed someone to talk to." He didn't answer right away, but he got back to me. When he read what I sent, I guess he disagreed.
When I saw that Malcolm had replied back, I was elated. I thought he was going to say "what's up, are you okay" or something cute and stupid. It was quite the opposite. He didn't even say "hi." Instead, he said, "don't take this the wrong way, but you only do things for attention." At the time, I didn't understand what that meant, but somehow, I was hurt by it. I showed it to Yoshi and Nice. Based on their reaction, I realized I was not overreacting. I felt like I could shake it off, but subconsciously, I was devastated. I didn't want to associate with anyone. I didn't want to be in the presence of Malcolm ever again.
That message Malcolm sent was a dagger, but it was what I needed to end my feelings for him. My hate for him grew, but that only meant I could go back to focusing on other things in my life, such as failing in my chemistry class. Even though we still went to the same school, I felt free. I knew it wasn't in love. I understood that he was not some one that I could've been with. Though I learned more about how to tell an infatuation from love, my conflict with men, my sexuality, and desperation were far from over. My crush on Malcolm was nothing compared to this new infatuation. That one, I carried around like an overstuffed brief "case."
To be continued...