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.


7. HTFAR | Boyfriend

So how do you act towards someone who has just pronounced their secret? Chances are if you’re anything like me who hasn’t experienced something like that before, you’d say: “Just act normal, Archie. Nothing has changed, he’s still the same Wyatt!” Unfortunately, those things we seem to think we’d do out of good morality isn’t the thing we always end up doing. I pictured Wyatt in a whole new light and perhaps that wasn’t the best thing for me to be doing in my situation, but it was the only thing I could.

     After that night, I started to evaluate more what it would be like if I came out to my family. Would they feel exactly the way I felt towards Wyatt? As if a new person I’ve never met before has emerged and befriended me? No, chances are they would feel worse, much worse.

     Currently, I feel like I’m stuck in a video game, and the option to come out is locked until I further progress through the levels of my life. Even after all this time searching for that epic cheat code.


The day after I found out that Wyatt was gay, I stayed in my room wondering whether it would be all right to remain friends with him. I loved him, he was my best friend but I was scared that if I stayed with him for too long, he would eventually start to intensify my signs of homosexuality. And so, day by day, the distance between each other would get further and further.

     I blamed him for causing this strain, when obviously it was my fault. The best friend relationship we’d seemed to have grown overnight also died just as fast. It was remarkable I was even able to keep it a secret from my brother and his girlfriend, I just needed something to deflect the attention away from me personally.


The day before school, me and my brother went to go visit Wyatt and Sarah, since we had not seen them for a couple of days. Noah warned me that if we ended up staying too long, to say something so we could go home. Not even on the porch to the house and I was already thinking about turning around. I couldn’t confront Wyatt, not after I’ve made it a mission to stay away from him after he’d told me his secret. I couldn’t avoid this though. If Noah saw me acting strange he’d know something was going on.

     He rang the doorbell three times and knocked after, hoping for a quick reply. We sat there for about five minutes before anyone came to the door though. Apparently, they had just gotten back from late school shopping and were getting cleaned up before tomorrow, something we should have been doing.

     Sarah invited us in, and sat us on the couch in her living room. Her parents were upstairs in their bedroom, and it was quite likely that we’d be kicked out soon because of curfew.

     “Did you miss me?” Sarah asked, giving Noah a hug and kissing him.

     “Yeah, like I was just telling Archie,” he replied.

     They both sat down, Sarah crossing her legs on top of one another. She looked at me and smiled from ear to ear, causing me to shiver.

     “You excited for high school?” She asked.

     “Yeah, can’t wait. Hopefully it’s a lot better than middle school. Couldn’t stand the people there.”

     She scoffed, “Oh trust me, it’s way better...” She finished with a laugh.

     Her gaze returned to Noah, and they talked a bit about transportation. Now that they had their own cars, they wouldn’t have to worry about taking the bus anymore. Neither did I hopefully.

     It wasn’t long until she started noticing I was lonely, looking back at me before practically jumping in her seat. “Oh my god, I have to tell Wyatt you are here, he will flip!”

     “Yeah tell him to come down here, I haven’t talked to him in forever,” Noah pressed.

     “Oh, you really don’t have to. He must be tired from shopping all day, just let him sleep,” I replied in desperation.

     “Please, Wyatt falls asleep later than all of us—Wyatt!” She shouted. My heart dropped back into my stomach, beating furiously as I prayed he wouldn’t answer. I couldn’t face Wyatt right now, not in front of Noah and Sarah. They’d certainly know something was up if I can’t find the words to speak to him.

     “Yeah?!” He replied, shouting back at her from upstairs.

     “Come down here, Archie is here!”

     “Give me a second!”

     Sarah quickly turned back to me and smiled, continuing to talk to Noah. I tapped my foot just barely so they couldn’t notice. Minutes passed and I could finally hear footsteps coming down the stairs. I took a deep breath and looked in its direction. Sure enough, it was Wyatt, fresh from the shower with pajama pants on and his torso exposed. He stared at for me a moment, emotionless, before laughing.

     “What’s up guys?” He asked.

     His body was… easily the best one I’ve seen in my life. It looked as if he worked out every day, even though it was unnoticeable when he had clothes on. I felt the need to faint, this was all too much to take in right now.

     Noah stood up and greeted him, shaking his hand, and giving him a hug. At this point, I kind of knew that it was my turn to greet him too. Scared, I stood and followed behind my brother. I greeted him, and gave him a hug that seemed like it froze time. I could smell the scented body wash he’d absorbed in his skin, and his body was just warm enough to make me want to stay forever in his arms. I sped up the hug and sat back down, unable to lower my smile.

     He sat down next to Sarah, “So what have you guys been up to?” he asked.

     “What have we been up to? What have you been up to? You’re the one that practically ditched us all summer,” Noah joked.

     “Well, yeah. I got a job now, so most of my free time is off the table. Still, if you wanted to hang out that badly you could’ve told me ahead of time,” he replied.

     I finally lowered my smile, noticing that nothing was exactly the way I pictured it to be. I thought it would be the most awkward moment in my life, but instead it felt just as it did when we hung out earlier in the summer. Like we weren’t trying to impress each other, just keeping it cool. I tilted my head, unable to stop staring at him as he talked to my brother.

     Was I really falling for Wyatt?

     I find it weird considering how I didn’t even find him boyfriend material until after he admitted his sexuality. But even I, as young as I was, was smart enough to realize I had this childlike crush only because he felt like I was good enough to confine himself in. I could hear my brothers voice muffled in the background, trying to get my attention. I quickly moved my eyes and came back to reality.

     “Archie!” He shouted.

     “What?” I quickly asked, annoyed for no reason.

     “Wyatt asked you a question.”

     I looked back at Wyatt, “Oh I’m sorry, what?”

     He laughed, “I said why haven’t you been talking to me lately, did I do something?” He asked.

     I scoffed in my head, wondering why Wyatt would have even thought to bring up a question like that in the presence of Noah. Maybe he didn’t feel the same way I did, like trying to shield myself from a disease without the antibiotics. His curiosity was sure to cause nothing but unnecessary attention towards our relationship.

     I paused, looking at Sarah who was eager to hear my answer.

     “I was just busy planning for school, thought you were too and didn’t want to bother you guys,” I lied.

     He shook his head, his expression changing to distrust.

     Luckily, he didn’t ask me for any specific details. After all, I was two seconds from having a nervous breakdown. If Noah was to find out that Wyatt was gay, he’d most likely expect a reaction out of me too. But I was a horrible actor, he’d definitely know that I already knew beforehand. And if he did, would he suspect me and Wyatt were a thing? It was all too much to process in such a short amount of time.

     “Speaking of school, me and Wyatt do have to sleep or else he’ll be tired in the morning,” Sarah said.

     “First time student in America, hope it’s not all bad…”  Wyatt replied.

     Sarah adjusted herself on the couch, “Oh shut up, France is not all that great I bet. Besides with your looks I’m sure we could probably find you a boyfriend in like two days tops. You won’t be lonely.”

     My eyes bolted open, staring at Sarah as if she’d just thrown a bomb in the room. My mind quickly told me to look at my brother, causing my head to tilt over to him. It was just as I expected. His face had turned to an expression of disgust, his eyes squinted as if he was trying to evaluate what was just said. I looked back at Wyatt, who didn’t seem to notice the shift in my brother’s mood, he just laughed at Sarah as if nothing was going to happen. But I knew what would happen… exactly what I feared would.

     Noah laughed hysterically, sitting himself up as if he was about to leave. His eyes shifted back and forth to them both, “Wait what?” He asked, pointing at Wyatt, “Boyfriend?” 

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