I'm Not Gaybyblastinaglass©
In every movie, television show, or celebrity biography, you experience this obsessive compulsion with getting out of your hometown. Everyone claims that they are escaping a town where nothing happens. They are onto bigger and better things. For me, it was less of an escape from Brawnee Falls as it was an escape from the people. One person, in particular. None of the people that I went to high school with were particularly pleasant, but he was the worst. It wasn't that he was a horrible person at all. I just had to escape the all-consuming need for him, for his love. I had a crush on Bryson Ganton for what seemed like his whole life. When I think about it, it sickens me because I couldn't have been more cliché if I tried. He was my older brother's straight friend. Unlike the cliché, Bryson did, in fact, know that I existed. I even got to hang out with them on occasion. That only fueled the fire. One time, in particular, it was just Bryson and I hanging out after Dane, my older brother, bailed to go on a date.
"Alright. Bye, Bry. See you later?" I cursed myself for the disappointment and desperation that crept into my voice at the idea of him leaving.
"Where am I going? Do you have somewhere to be too? I was kind of hoping to hang out." said Bryson while leaning over to grab his soda off the table.
I was shocked. I figured that he only tolerated my presence because of my brother. I'm four years younger than them and the idea that he would ever want to hang out with me alone was preposterous. I spluttered an acceptance of his offer to hang out and plopped back down in my seat. For the next twenty minutes we sat in silence while he watched some TV show and I sat there nervously trying to think of something cool to say to my crush. I was having a little conversation with myself in my head.
Say something, anything. How about "What's up?" That's nice and neutral. Should I add a "man" to make it sound less suspicious? "What's up, man?" That sounds good. Wait though, that's more of a greeting and we've been hanging out for an hour. Maybe I should just-oh shit...
Some time during my private conversation, Bryson had taken his shirt off and I hadn't noticed until I had looked over at him in the middle of my thoughts. By the way Bryson was looking at me, he was clearly expecting something from me.
"What?" I asked.
"You just said 'Oh shit' and I asked what was up." Bryson said with a puzzled look on his face.
Oh fuck, I said it out loud. Think of something.
After staring at him blank-faced for a full ten seconds, I said, "Oh shit, it's hot. Good idea with the shirt thing. It's getting pretty warm in here." Did that sound heterosexual? Oh fuck, who knows anymore?
"Yeah, you're hot? Why don't you take off your shirt too? It's just us here anyway." said Bryson with all the confidence of a guy that looked like a Greek god with his shirt off. I could find not argument against taking my shirt off other than that I was insecure, but I was not going to admit that to Bryson. I slipped off my shirt and turned away from Bryson and back towards the TV. I'd always been small for my age. I was 16 at the time and I was 5'8'' and a scrawny 130 pounds. I had brown curly hair that I kept cut just above my ears. I had green eyes and pale skin. I had inherited everything physical from my mother, while Dane had gotten his looks from our father. I was ashamed to be shirtless next to Bryson. At the thought of him, I tilted my head slightly towards him to get a better look. At 20 years old, Bryson was a fine example of a man. He had dirty blonde hair that was cropped close to his head. He was tall at 6'3'' and built very wide and strong. He was perfect. Speaking of perfect, that day was perfect. I spent the day trying not to drool too much over Bryson. We watched TV, joked, and just talked about random topics until it got so late that we both fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up in the morning, a blanket covered me and Bryson was gone. I know it was stupid, but I couldn't help feeling like a one-night stand had just abandoned me.
From that point on, I distanced myself from Bryon. I was sick of the puppy love. I was sick of the obsession and the heartbreak. I just wanted to be normal. I had long since accepted that I was gay. By normal, I meant I wanted to be unaffected by love. I see now that there is no such thing. Being unaffected by love isn't normal. Years came and went and soon it was the day of my graduation. I looked out into the crowd and I saw my mom, my dad, Dane, and Bryson. I was ecstatic that Bryson was there. Even though I had spent upwards of two years trying to get over him, he still meant a lot to me. Then my eyes shifted to Bryson's left and I almost blacked out. He was holding hands with a beautiful girl that was practically hanging off of him. He had brought his girlfriend to my graduation. I was even more heartbroken than I thought possible. I had never felt sadder or more ridiculous in my life. He wasn't mine. He had the right to bring whoever he pleased to wherever he pleased.
After that, I moved onto college and I came back to Brawnee Falls as little as possible. My mom forced me back for the holidays, but other than that I camped out at school. I had some not so serious relationships in college once I was able to really be myself. I came out to my family during my sophomore year of college and they were upset, but eventually got used to the idea. I'm fortunate to have a loving and accepting family. I moved to Chicago after my college graduation and began working as a PR executive. I'm still there now and I'm happy with my life. I have a nice, if not a little small, apartment. I have a dog and great friends. I go on dates...well so far, I've only gone on two dates in the past two years, but I'm just really busy with work. As I said, I have a happy life...that I left to come back to Brawnee Falls. You see, Dane is getting married and I had to come back for the wedding. I'm not the best man. I mean, I can't really blame him. I haven't seen much of my family since I moved to Chicago. I didn't ask who was the best man because I didn't want to seem jealous or petty.
I pulled up in the driveway of my old house and I just sat there for a while looking at it. I haven't been there in so long it seems almost like I'm visiting a place from a distant dream. I had lived there for 18 years, but I hadn't been back there eight years and it felt like too much to just jump back in right now. I took a deep breath and built up the courage to just go knock on the door. While I was waiting for someone to answer the door, I dropped my car keys and kneeled down to pick them up. I heard the door open and then I heard a deep voice say, "Well Noah, you've definitely gotten shorter since I last saw you."
Damn, Bryson stood there looking just as sexy as he did eight years ago. In fact, he looked sexier now that he was older. I stared at him for a few seconds before I realized that I was basically kneeling in front of him with my face at crotch level. I gulped and stood to my full height, which didn't seem like much next to this giant. I had forgotten how big he was. I finally regained my composure and said, "Hello Bryson. It's nice to see you. You're doing well?"
Suddenly I felt myself being pulled into a warm, hard chest and I heard the words rumble out of his chest as he said, "So formal, Noah. We used to be friends. The least a guy should get is a hug." I thought about what he said and really couldn't believe he called us friends. It should be unacceptable for a man of 26 to get butterflies in his stomach at the mere mention of friendship, but for some reason it meant something to me that he thought we used to be friends.
"What are you doing here?" The question slipped out of my mouth before I could stop it.
"Um...I'm Dane's best man. I thought he told you." He looked almost guilty as if he was making a confession. I guess I should have guessed that Bryson would be Dane's best man, but I spent so much time avoiding the thought of Bryson that I suppose it came naturally.
"Oh that's cool! Are my parents around?" Before I even finished asking the question, I heard voices coming into the living room from the kitchen. My mom was the first to enter the living room and her face lit up when she saw me. She ran over to me and gave me a huge that lasted for a solid 15 minutes. When she pulled away, I was struck again by how much I looked like her. The same slight figure, wavy brown hair, and green eyes. I had truly missed her. And from the tears running down her face, I can tell she missed me too. It made me guilty for how long I had stayed away. I exchanged polite greetings and handshakes with my dad and brother. We all settled down then to a pleasant lunch. After that, I went up to my old room to finish unpacking. I started thinking of old memories in this old house as I put my clothes away. I was knee-deep in memories when I heard a knock on the doorframe. I turned around and saw Bryson leaning against the doorframe. It seemed like he'd been there for a while.
"Bryson!...I mean, hey what's up?" I stumbled out. It was really irritating that I was still responding to him in this way. The breathless way I had said his name at first should be enough of a tip off to him that I was still longing for him like a foolish schoolgirl.
He didn't seem to notice and, instead, just said, "Hey, Dane and I were going to go down by the fire pit and drink a little bit. Why don't you come down? We haven't seen you in a while. We miss you out here. Let's catch up a bit." He smiled afterwards and I couldn't help but wonder if he, in particular, missed me or if he was referring to everyone. I nodded, grabbed a sweatshirt, and followed him down to the fire pit in our backyard. I sat there and stared into the fire as I listened to Dane and Bryson argue about the local football team and whether they were going to make it to playoffs or not. I zoned out and focused my attention on the flame. I guess I stared at the flame for longer than I thought because, when I looked up, it was just Bryson and I at the fire pit. I looked over at Bryson and he was staring at me. My eyes connected with his and, suddenly, I was feeling heat that wasn't coming from the fire. I could feel my cock start to stir and I flushed from embarrassment and the heat of his gaze. I looked away to prevent myself any more shame.
I stood up and made to move past Bryson while saying, "Goodnight, Bryson. That was fun." As I walked by him, Bryson snagged my wrist and I came to a stop. I looked over at him, confused by his intentions. He stood up and moved in front of me. My heart was racing and I didn't know why. He stood there and just looked at me for what felt like forever. He still held my hand. He wasn't holding it very tightly or stroking it. He was just holding it loosely in his large hand.
Finally, he opened his mouth and said, "Why'd you leave, Noah?"
"What are you talking about? I went to college. You know that." I was being snappy because I had been shocked by the question. Why does he care why I left?
"Fine. Why did you stay away then? Why didn't you come home? To your family? To me?" The last part of was mumbled quietly, but I managed to make it out. I was shocked. I wasn't sure how many drinks Bryson and Dane had drank, so I didn't know whether this was just crazy drunk talk.
"Ok big guy. I'm not sure how drunk you are, but there's no need to get sentimental." I laughed it off, hoping that Bryson would follow my lead. I moved again to walk by him and he stopped me again. Only this time, it was with a gentle hand on my cheek. I snapped my eyes to his face and could tell his eyes were focused on my lips. I could smell the alcohol on his breath, so I knew that he was at least a little bit drunk. I consider myself a relatively smart individual, so I didn't know why I didn't break the contact and move away. I just stayed there, looking into his eyes until the tension was just too much and I heard myself let out a little whimper. That seemed to be too much for Bryson because I felt his lips against mine. God, it was so much better than any of my fantasies. His lips were soft. He tasted like beer, but it didn't bother me. It was a sweet, gentle, and short kiss. He pulled back and looked me in the eyes again. Inside I was a swirling mass of emotions, but the most prominent one was happiness. My high school crush had just given me the most intimate kiss I'd ever had. This had to mean something. I was feeling on top of the world.
Until Bryson dropped his hand, looked away from me, and whispered, "Please don't tell anyone that happened. I'm not gay."
My heart dropped and I walked back to my room without looking back. I felt numb. I lay in my bed for hours before the tears claimed me. I was so foolish. I resolved that night to never let anything like that happen again. I was going to avoid Bryson Ganton as if my life depended on it.