How to Fix a Rose

The meaning of life was mixed in the Brisbane air of Australia. For Archie, it couldn't have been a greater time to be a teenager. But when he emerges from middle school and his sexual attraction towards men starts to affect his everyday life, he looks to an overseas stranger for guidance.

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5. HTFAR | Best Friend

Well done, Noah. You managed to both make me depressed and hopeful all in one day, congratulations for being so manipulative. However, I’m not letting you off the hook just yet, not when I have so many questions I’m afraid of getting the answers to. If you’re reading this, which you will one day, are you prepared for what’s about to happen next? It’s a secret I’ve taken to my grave up until now, and I’m dying to know what you think. Because you see, I’m not that Archie anymore. I’m older, more confident, and more than willing to own up to my own decisions.

     Sorry you had to find out this way, truth be told I’m mad at myself for leaving it hidden for so long. But then again, I’m good at that, aren’t I? Forgive me for saying this when he is six feet under. I know the wound is still fresh, but I promised myself not to neglect any vital details. Even if it affects any of your memories about him.

***

“Wyatt, nice to meet you.”

     We’ve reached that point of the story where things get a little more interesting. Today, almost a month after my talk with Noah, I get the pleasure of meeting the man who would be my getaway. The overseas stranger, as you may already know. Wyatt Schmitt, who just so happened to show up with my brother’s girlfriend, Sarah, outside of my home.

     According to my brother’s girlfriend, Wyatt was an exchange student now living in her home for the upcoming school year. It was the first I’ve ever seen it happened in my neighborhood, but whatever. He wasn’t going to attend the same high school as me, but Noah thought it best that I befriend him because I didn’t have many friends.

     “Archie.” I replied with darting eyes.

     You see, he was foreign, and I had a huge problem understanding foreign English. I said only my name, trying not to make much more conversation. To others it seemed I was flustered because he was so attractive, which was not the case. I mean he was attractive, but I wasn’t flustered in the slightest. I had grown accustomed to hiding the signs of my homosexuality when others were around, this was child’s play.

     His jet-black eyes fell on mine before I quickly had the chance to move them away. I looked at my brother, as there was an awkward silence just after our introduction. I pulled on his jeans, causing him to intervene.

     “This is my little brother, he literally loves the same things you do,” Noah said.

     I sighed.

     “Celine Dion, soccer, anime, books, staying home all day doing nothing,” He finished. Wyatt started laughing which caused everyone to. My eyes for some reason couldn’t stay on his, maybe because he was a stranger…

     “Too many people can take the energy out of me,” he replied with a thick French accent.

     “He is not kidding; my parents took us to Dreamworld a couple of weeks ago and after about two hours he was ready to leave,” Sarah added.

     “No, don’t listen to that. I was tired of bumping into everyone everywhere I walked,” Wyatt countered.

     Sarah rolled her eyes, playfully pushing Wyatt and smiling.

     They weren’t lying. Wyatt was everything like me aside from our diverse backgrounds and… you know. If Noah was trying to get us to be best friends then he succeeded the moment we got to know each other.

     When the laughing settled he caught his breath and looked at me again. This time I didn’t look away, at least not right away. Then he pointed at my chest casually, letting his hand fall back down to his side.

     “They just don’t understand because they can’t entertain themselves like we can when we’re alone,” he directed towards me.

     I quickly nodded and smiled.

     That was the very first introduction in my life that had gotten me a good friend. Wyatt was years older than me, but he didn’t mind being there when I was alone in my home. Plus, he had a car, so that was a bonus.

     Weeks had pasted since then, and me and Wyatt had become more than just good friends. We’d become seriously close. Close enough to even share a secret or two.  However, my secret wasn’t the one spilled; it was his. While my brother and his girlfriend was gone away doing God knows what alone, I was in her house, with the French boy. As romantic as you may think it might have been, it was an awkward night.

     We sat on the couch which laid in the middle of the living room, watching TV on the television in front of us. I can’t really recall what was playing that day, but whatever it had caused us to start talking about religious parties.

     “So, you’re Christian?” He asked.

     “Yeah.” I replied.

     “Alright, so how do you know that your God is the one you’ll meet after you die?”

     “What do you mean?”

     He looked away to gain his thoughts, before returning to my eyes.

     “Say you die and go to Heaven or whatever. But what if you wake up to find Buddha or some other God judging you instead?” He asked.

     “That’s not really a question I can answer because I believe in only one God,” I shrugged.

     He squinted his eyes and laughed.

     “Just speak as if you did.”

     I paused a moment, rocking back and forth as I thought of the right thing to say.

     “Well, to be honest I’d be freaked out. That’s like something you don’t even want to think about,” I finally said, causing him to look sternly for some reason.

     He turned back towards the television and continued watching the movie. I didn’t say anything else after that, even though deep down I wanted to ask why he decided to ask me that.

     “Do you think different Gods judge in different ways when you die?” He kept questioning.

     I sighed, “Well yes, I mean… each religious text has its own set of rules, right? I’m pretty sure they have different Heavens too or something… why are you asking?” I finally asked.

     “Because I’m… gay, and I need to know if its ok to be,” He bluntly said.

     My heart dropped into my stomach, before my ears completely blocked out the sound of the movie. This guy just admitted to being gay and he had absolutely no problem with doing it! Meanwhile, I’m here thinking ways I can live out my life being active in the homosexual community while avoiding the possibility of my family ever knowing.

     I could feel my heart beating faster. Even though I knew that me and Wyatt would never be a thing, knowing that he was attracted to men made me more comfortable around him. Of course, since I was gay myself, I was ready to attack with a bombard of reasons why it was all right. For the sake of your eyes, I’ll simplify my response.

     “Of course, it’s ok to be. At the end of the day no one else is living your life except you, so why can’t you be happy with the time left you have on Earth? I mean sure it’s a sin but God weighs all sins the same, so why wouldn’t it be all right?”

     He took a moment, looking at my chest as if he was deep in thought. I’m not sure if it was the same for him, but I couldn’t hear anything but each other. No television, no sounds from outside, just each other.

     “Are you alright?” I asked, my eyes locked onto his.

     He peered back up to my eyes, giving a reassuring smile before shaking his head, “Would you believe me if I said I wasn’t?”

     And just like that I realized something about Wyatt. He was just like me, dreading the judgment of another. And just like me, he wasn’t completely out of the closet yet. He was my getaway, but I was his in return. Then the ugly question popped up in my head. If Wyatt learned I was gay, would I be able to lift this burden off him if even a little? Would it calm his heart to know that he isn’t the only one going through this? Maybe I should tell him after all.

     But I never did…

     I never fucking did…

 

 

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