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.


4. HTFAR | Noah's First

    Back to the concept of time. Remember how I said that time can heal anything if you allow it to? Well, that was a lie. What time can’t heal is who you truly are, you’re stuck with yourself for as long as you live. A terrible fate only if you don’t learn how to accept who you truly are. Before we begin with the next part of the story I want you to think about something. Are you being true to yourself right now, at this very moment? Are you waking up with the intention of embracing who you are, or what other’s want you to be? The hardest part about those questions is that you never actually know the answer until it’s too late. Sure, you might want to say that you’re being true to yourself right now… but words are capable of being a lie. The lies you feed others isn’t all that important, it’s the lies you feed yourself that I’m worried about. Don’t forget there is meaning to this. There’s meaning to everything.


     It's time for part two of the worst but best day of my life. Today we aren’t moving to any point in the future, we’re continuing where we left off. With my reflection staring coldly back at me, as if unaware of who its image was. My brother had just announced that he would much rather I stay away if I come out as gay, one of my biggest fears. What could I do but stare, think out the scenarios and try to imagine how they would play out in real life.

     Eventually, I stopped staring and walked to my room. Although mother didn’t mean it to hurt me, her and my brother were getting in my head. Mother denied me breakfast because I made her angry, so was I to believe that if I don’t give her the grandchildren she wanted, she’d neglect me all my life? My mind was running a thousand miles per minute towards a destination of ruin and oppression. Inevitable, is what I called it then. And I didn’t know how right I was.

     Even though I was so sure that the younger me was full of unnecessary thoughts and actions, I can’t truthfully see him in a bad light this time. He was more than a little right, he was dead on the mark. I was going down a road of neglect because my body gave birth to a mind I didn’t want to have. I was a prisoner to myself because of God, and because of that… I grew weaker in faith and desire to live.

     I sat on my bed and locked my eyes onto the boarded-up window in front of me.


     I grew up in the church. Everything that I did was to gain respect for the unseen father. I never intended to wrong him intentionally with anything that I carried out. But, this time around… I can’t stop it. I can’t stop this desire to want to be with others like me. Is this test to prove my worth as a Christian? Why was I here? Why was I destined to live in such a situation, was this to judge my faith and my faith alone? If so, is this what you were expecting to see, Father? My will as a follower growing dimmer and dimmer in front of your sight? Have I pleased you? Have I given you a reason to laugh today? I’m afraid of your interests. I’m afraid of the one who could’ve placed a burden so heavy for me to carry alone. I’m afraid…


     I shook my head, regaining my sense of reality and sighing. I wasn’t going to cry, not when it wouldn’t help my current situation. I decided to stand up and make my way back to the door of the restroom, and this time I wouldn’t stop to stare in the mirror. I’d smile, and recognize myself for who I am. Or so I thought. Noah, was waiting for me. His wide frame blocking the entrance to the restroom, and even the mirror. His sudden presence was eerie enough, but what he said after is what caused me to shudder.

     “Can we talk man?” He asked, his tone sincere.

     I slightly widen my eyes.

     “Sure, what about?” I asked back.

     “Let’s talk in your room.”

     I watched him past my shoulder, my eyes following him while he did. Why was my brother asking to talk with me so suddenly? Did he happen to see me staring in the mirror, my tearful eyes shaking at my own image? Or did he happen to hear me behind the door while he was talking to his friend? Maybe he knew about my secret before I even had the chance to tell him… no that was impossible. Regardless, he wants to talk.

     I walked into my room and sat on my bed. He took a moment to shut the door and sat next to me. For a while there was nothing silence, as I just darting my eyes around the room to avoid eye contact. I was frightened, and part of me knew he knew that. It must’ve added on to his suspicion about my self-confidence.

     “Archie, look…”

     My heartbeat started to race.

     “I know I’ve been a jerk about it lately. The whole you not having a girlfriend thing, and I know I may be the reason you don’t like being home from school. I know I’m a sucky brother, but I don’t mean to be that way. It’s just, like, when I see you I can automatically tell that you’re going through something. I don’t know if that’s just my big brother senses or if its paranoia, but I promise you it’s the truth.”

     He paused for several seconds.

     “Like right now, I know you’re not feeling good about yourself,” he finally said.

     Who rose and gave him superpowers?

     “What makes you say that?” I replied.

     “Like I said, I don’t really know how I know. I just know.”

     I let silence invade again.

     “So here is what I wanted to say,” he started. “I am your big brother. So that means that I have to be ok with anything you do that makes you happy. If my friends don’t like it then fuck them, you’re the only one that’s important when it comes to each other. So, don’t be afraid to express who you are,” he finished.

     I squinted my eyes at him.

     “I’m not saying you don’t like girls!” he quickly said, causing us both to chuckle. “I’m just saying this for any situation where you find yourself hiding who you are because of what someone else says. Alright?” He asked, looking at my eyes.

     “Yeah, but I already knew that so…” I joked.

     He punched my shoulder and scoffed at me.

     “First try at giving brotherly advice, excuse me if I was a bit off there,” he laughed before walking back and opening the door. “If you’re hungry you can come eat breakfast, I convinced mom to make you some, you’re welcome,” he said, closing the door behind him without giving me a chance to reply.

     I smirked, looking around the room while I reconciled what he just said. He honestly took my breath away, I had never expected him to say anything like that. Of course, part of me wondered if he was lying; I couldn’t just forget what he said to his friend over the phone. But, hearing him say that gave me hope in my secret. This time he didn’t try to get an answer out of me, he just said it and left… without getting a heartfelt reply. Thank you, Noah. Thank you sincerely.

     My eyes began to get full as they turned back towards the boarded window.

     “Dumb bastard… you weren’t off at all,” I whispered under my breath.

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