by Richard Norway
The morning sunlight
was still too weak to light up much of Kevin’s bedroom, but it
didn’t matter to him. He was awake and had been staring at the blank
ceiling for over an hour. He had made up his mind last week but now
that the day had arrived, he felt numb. It was that numbness that
comes over you when you’ve planned and rehearsed and there’s nothing
else to do but do it. Each time he felt this way the fear would also
return. The fear that he had lived with for so many years had become
so debilitating that his own existence was at stake. He had chosen
this day, a Saturday, to end it, because he had no school today, and
his mom and dad would both be home.
He thought back. Scenes
formed on the white motion picture screen that was the ceiling to
remind him of how he had gotten to this day. He closed his eyes.
“BANG!” The locker door
crashed with such a fury that Kevin thought his ears would burst. At
the same instant, his whole body shook as the fear rose to meet him
face to face.
“Didn’t I tell you to
keep away from me?”
Dazed by the violence
of the sounds around him, Kevin jabbed his feet into the floor to
propel himself backwards until his back hit the lockers, crashing
out a sound almost as frightening as the one Mark had made in
slamming his locker door shut. The fear gripped at his soul. He’d
been beaten before, and he knew he could take the blows. It wasn’t
the pain, but rather the humiliation burning inside of himself that
he feared the most. He felt the eyes of all 875 kids torturing him
as Mark turned and walked away leaving Kevin feeling helpless. ‘Why
did he continue to allow this to happen?’ he asked himself.
“No way. No more.”
His eyes focused on the
bathroom door on the far wall of his bedroom. It was beckoning him.
It was time to move. Slowly one leg moved out from under the sheet
followed by the other. He sat for a second and then stood on both
feet. He moved in a daze to the bathroom to get himself ready for
He turned on the hot
water of the shower and adjusted the cold to keep the mixed water as
warm as he could stand it. He’d always loved to stand under the
streams of warmth and wash all the fears off him. He closed his
“Kevin. What’s the
He knew who was
speaking but didn’t see Kelly at first. He turned completely around
to find Kelly, but all he saw was a herd of kids trampling the hall
on their way to their next class. Finally Kelly emerged from the
herd and stood looking up at him.
“Not now Kelly. Please.
I’ve got to get to class,” was all he could say. He saw the hurt in
her eyes as Kelly slowly turned and became one with the flow of
‘Kevin. You are such an
asshole. Of all people, you know that Kelly would be behind you, no
matter what. Why can’t you have the courage to talk to her? She’d
understand.‘ He wanted to run away and hide his shame. He needed
some air. Just as he was about to turn and bolt for the door, he
again, giving in to the beast within him, closed his locker door and
joined the sea on the way to his next class.
Kevin felt the water
turn colder. How long he’d been standing there, he didn’t know. He
told himself that he’d better get himself moving or else his fears
would stop him. The shampoo and soap would help keep his mind off of
it. If he thought too much, he knew that he’d lie to himself again.
‘Why am I afraid to
face it? Really, I’m just like everyone else. I breath. I learn. I
feel pain and joy. I want to find a place for myself in this world
just like everyone else. Today I'm going to be a man. Today I will
be afraid, but if I let the fear get to me, I will be nothing.’
Kevin stepped from the
shower and dried himself.
"Hey dude. What's up?"
Kevin answered as he put his books back into his locker getting
ready to go home.
"Not much. Steve and I
are going to go hang at the mall and maybe catch a movie later.
Kevin looked at Bryan
for a moment wondering how to say no. He liked Bryan, but today he
wanted to be alone.
“I don’t think so,
“I just don’t feel like
“Hey. It’ll be good for
you to get out and around people.”
“Look Bryan. Leave me
alone will you? Just go do your own thing.” Kevin slammed his locker
shut and turned to leave.
“Okay, okay, man. Don’t
bite my head off.”
As Bryan turned and
walked away, Kevin felt the churning in his stomach begin. He knew
why he didn’t want to go to the mall with Steve and Bryan, but he
couldn’t tell them the truth. Lying was such a part of him that the
truth had no life anymore, no existence. His disgust for himself
crept over him like molten lava running unstoppable over the
‘Why do we hurt the
ones we love the most?’ he asked himself. Fear is not just a lack of
courage. Fear exists unto itself. It lives and it hurts. He hated
what he had become.
Dressing quickly, Kevin
went back to the bathroom to comb his hair. There in the mirror,
that unrecognizable person that didn’t exist until a week ago,
stared back at him. Kevin smiled and the man in the mirror smiled
back. He knew then that it would be all right.
Kevin boldly turned and
left the solitude and protection of his closed bedroom and headed
downstairs. For today… this day… this was the day that would change
his life forever. He headed downstairs to tell his mother and father
that he was gay.