I was now a high school student and the world was new. Six months had passed since that disasterous night at Sarah’s house. At first some people gave me shit but that didn’t last long. Mostly I just stayed home for a while and heard what people said through Casey. Tori had spread some shit about me, like that I had a really small dick and that I came the second she put her mouth around me, but I didn’t care much. Three weeks after the incident Brian tried fucking a girl in the ass and got shit all over his dick. Everyone forgot about me and Tori overnight and moved on.
I, of course, didn’t forget and decided to remove some people from my life. Tori and Sarah were at the top of my “couldn’t give a fuck about you” list and ignoring them wasn’t difficult. For the most part I just went on with my life. I was open with my sexuality around school. I didn’t flaunt it but I didn’t seek to hide it. I’ll be honest. I was always pretty distant from the ideal of masculinity so I was picked on by some of the older guys but it was mostly “Hey fag.” Nobody dared make it physical.
That was, until somebody did.
It was just after first block on a Tuesday when it happened. I didn’t even know who he was at the time. He was a year older than me and took my gayness as an affront to his, apparently very thin-skinned, deity. I was walking to my next class in the main hallway when it happened.
This again? You’d think they would learn some material. Hurr durr, call him a faggot. That’ll make him cry I bet. I ignored him and kept walking.
Just keep walking. He’ll get bored and leave.
“I’m talking to you faggot.”
He was right behind me. Keep walking.
He grabbed my shoulder and stopped me. Shit. People around us had stopped to watch. I turned and looked at him. I had to look up at him since he was easily a foot taller than me. Being short can be such a bitch sometimes. He looked like he could probably throw me at least a couple feet too. Overall, he looked like a good southern boy. A good southern boy who was pissed. Well, maybe this wasn’t going to go as well as I’d hoped.
He looked down at me. I waited.
“You got anything to say for yourself you filthy little cocksucker?”
With each word drops of spit sprayed from his mouth. He looked, and spoke, unreasonably angry for someone who didn’t even know me. I kept my face as blank as I could and tried to remain calm while being scared shitless. It was a wonder I hadn’t peed my pants yet. Answering him would only make him worse I thought. I kept silent.
“God hears you even if I can’t.”
“Let him judge me you then.”
“Shut your fucking mouth!” he screamed at me.
If anyone had been trying to ignore what was going on they couldn’t avoid looking now. I looked around for help but it wasn’t coming. A second later I saw a fist zooming towards my face and a split-second later I felt the impact against the left side of my face.
The students who had been gathered around us backed up to give us more room as I fell to the ground. When I’d looked around I didn’t see anyone I knew. And nobody rushed to my aid now that I’d been hit. Nobody tried to stop him. I hit the ground hard and grasped at my throbbing face as though the rest of me didn’t hurt. The impact knocked the air out of me and my face hurt like a bitch. I was crying and I didn’t care.
“You’re gonna burn in Hell you fucking faggot!”
I felt his shoe crash into my stomach. The pain was unbearable. I thought I was done. This was how I was going to die.
“Enough!” came a shout. It sounded like the school resource officer.
I was saved!
Another kick. I grunted this time. He’d hit higher up. Fuck!
“I said ‘Enough’!”
I heard a ruckus that turned out to be him subduing my attacker. Someone helped me up. My chest felt like it was throbbing and it hurt to breathe. Slowly my white knight helped me to the nurse’s office. We had to stop every couple feet so I could catch myself from falling. Maybe I would still die. The nurse was pretty sure I had broken or bruised a rib, she wasn’t sure which, but couldn’t rule out a concussion since I couldn’t remember if I’d hit my head. The decision was that my mom would come and take me to the hospital since my mom didn’t think an ambulance was necessary. Not that I wanted my mom involved in this shit but arguing was too difficult.
While I was waiting the principal came in and asked me what happened. Between breaths and gasps of pain I explained what happened. She sat for a minute, as if to collect her thoughts, then asked the question that I knew was coming. She just had to ask it.
“And are you a… “ she cleared her throat “a homosexual?”
“Not that *gasp* it matters but *wince* yes.”
There wasn’t much point in lying. It wouldn’t get me anywhere.
She pursed her lips.
“I see. We’ll look into what happened.”
She didn’t exactly look thrilled at having to deal with a bullied gay kid who was being sent to the hospital. Oh, look, an inconvenience.
“That’s fine.” I managed “I’ll make *breath* sure to *wince* talk to the *gasp* police.”
“Oh, that won’t be necessary. We’ll make sure everything is taken care of.”
“You do what *wince* you want. *breath* I’ll do *gasp* what I have to.”
I got the distinct impression that she didn’t care about me one bit. Maybe she even agreed with my attacker. I really didn’t care and she left a minute later anyway. Soon my mom got there and took me to the hospital. I had a bruised rib and a black eye but no concussion. I was going to be fine. They gave me some pain meds, a script for more, and told me to rest and take it easy for a couple weeks.
We were in the car when my mom finally brought it up. I sat in the middle of the back seat to avoid any shoulder straps that would injure me further.
“The school told me you were in a fight. That doesn’t sound like you.”
I could see her looking at me in the rear-view mirror.
“It wasn’t so much a fight as a massacre.”
“Who started it.”
I laughed and then winced at the pain.
“He started it, was it, and finished it. I was just the punching bag.”
“Can we talk about it later?”
She looked back at me again. I knew she was worried about me. And I knew she loved me too. But this wasn’t going to be easy. If I told her what had happened, as I was going to have to do, I was going to have to come out. I wasn’t sure I was ready yet.
I’d thought about this day countless times. Not about getting the crap beat out of me, but coming out to my parents. I’d thought about what I would say and how I would turn out. But in my head it was always my way, on my terms. I held some of the power. I guess I’d have the pity card in my hand. I had just been hate crimed after all.
Mom helped me up to my room and left me alone for much of the day as I lay around and watched TV. After school Casey came by. He’d been nice enough to stop by my classes and get all of my homework for me. He asked for my side of the story and then told me what he’d heard from some people who’d seen it go down. It didn’t sound like people were stepping forward to defend me but nobody was ok with what had been done to me either. It seemed they weren’t thrilled with me being gay but since I didn’t flaunt it nobody really cared and didn’t think it was a problem.
A while after Casey left, and dad had finished making sure I was ok after getting home from work, a cop showed up to take my statement. The resource officer had made a statement so I needed to tell my story I guess. He set my attacker had been detained for now. He also said that the school had declined to comment and had no interest in pursuing any actions against my attacker. His name was Kirk I learned. I tried to laugh but the pain stopped me. The meds were good but could have been better.
I told them my side of the story and about my conversation with the principal. I kept making sideways glances at my parents. If my dad was feeling any emotions he was putting on his best poker face. My mom had tears in her eyes. The cop asked me some questions and answered them as best as I could. I also gave him the names of the people that Casey mentioned as having seen what happened and suggested he might get more information out of them.
It wasn’t until the question about seeking charges on my attacker that my parents spoke up.
“No,” my father replied matter of factly.
My mother looked appalled.
“No? Of course we will. Why wouldn’t we?” She gave my father a pleading look. “He’s our son and he was just… he got the crap beat out of him for no damned reason.”
My mother didn’t curse. She never cursed. But she was angry and upset. Mother bear mode activated.
“Don’t talk about me like I’m not here” I said. “I’m the one with the bruised rib. I want something to be done.”
“Fine” my father muttered before wandering into the kitchen.
We filled out some paperwork and the cop left. My mom and I sat there in silence. I knew the question that she wanted to ask. I had skipped over my answer to the principal’s question about whether or not I was gay but the answer was obvious.
I had to do it.
“Mom… I’m gay.”
There it was out there. She knew but it was as if the small amount of uncertainty she had been in was the brink and my coming out had pushed her over the edge. She was crying more deeply now. She was softly sobbing and I didn’t know what to do.
“I… I’m sorry…”
I looked down at my hands.
I wasn’t sorry that I was gay. I was sorry that I hadn’t told her yet. I was sorry it took this to make me tell her who I was. I was sorry that I could cause her this pain with such a simple word.
“I didn’t want to te-“
“You shouldn’t be sorry. I’m not.”
My mom was still crying but it had slowed down. She scooted closer to me on the couch and hugged me. I gasped from the pain and she let out a short laugh before loosening her grip on me.
“I love you and I always will.”
I started to tear up like I was my mom’s baby again.
“I love you too mom.”
If I thought I’d been happy when I came out to Casey and he accepted me I was now on cloud nine. I was crying from the sheer happiness of knowing that my mom accepted me as who I am. There is nothing more a boy could ask for.
“I love you too…” I repeated.
We sat there just basking in the moment for a little while. Our crying stopped and we were able to talk. My dad was still in the kitchen but I’m sure he could hear us. She said that she’d suspected for a while. She told me about finding gay porn in the internet history a couple times which made me blush more than I’d thought possible. She admitted that she’d even though Case and I might be lovers for a bit. She said that her and my dad had discussed the possibility more than once.
When she’d first approached my dad about her suspicions he’d denied the possibility of any son of his being gay. But each time she brought something new up, more gay porn or a note to Casey, it became more difficult for him to ignore. He got angry for a while which, looking back, was pretty obvious if I think about his behavior in the previous year. She made sure that I understood that he loved me. He loved me but it was real for him now and he wasn’t happy with it. He’d come around eventually, she promised.
Dinner was awkward but I didn’t care. I was happy to finally be honest with my parents. At least I had their support, if grudgingly, behind me. And they’d be there if something like the attack happened again.
I went back to school the next day. The entire school knew what happened and gave me a little room to walk. There were plenty of stares and whispers. Some teachers were nicer to me. Some were rude. I didn’t care. If they graded me differently it would be a problem. Otherwise, fuck them. So far that motto had sustained a big dent but dents could be fixed. I figured it was worth it to keep using it.
My attacker pled guilty to basic assault & battery and was sentenced to six months’ probation and fifty hours of community service. He also had to pay a $500 fine and pay my hospital bills. I heard he got it just as bad from his dad. I can’t say I pitied him. He was still able to roam the same halls as me but he kept his distance from me now and everyone watched him when I was nearby.
My relationship with my mom only got better after that day. We could be more open with each other. She never again asked me if I had a girlfriend yet which was a big plus though she never asked me if I had a boyfriend either. My dad distanced himself from me a bit. My mom said he had a hard time accepting that his only son was gay. He’d come around, she promised again.
And fun times were had by all. I just wished there was another openly gay guy in my town. Just one.