My old friend from school

(Part 1 from 2)

I've known I was gay since I was a freshman in high school. Though I've never actually been in a relationship with a guy, I've always fantasized about relationships and sex with one. Wondering what it would feel like to press my body on someone else's. Wondering what sex itself felt like. I was still a virgin. But I did have girlfriends. I enjoyed their company, and didn't mind hugging them or being close to their bodies. I just was never attracted to them in a sexual way.

I came out to my mom, dad, stepmom, and aunt and uncle; all of whom I was and still am close with. They're all understanding and still love me. But my grandparents don't know, because I fear that I would lose my relationship with them. Also I never told my friends in high school because I knew they would judge me, and I would push them further away. I had already pushed them away, when they found out about my depression and suicidal tendencies. I went through a really tough period all throughout my teenage years.

But I eventually pushed through high school, having to make trips to some mental hospitals for help with depression. I went to the same college that my mom went to, and graduated, not having any lasting relationships from it. In fact I only kept a few friends from my childhood, but I could feel my relationships with them slipping away. They were moving on with their lives, and here I was, in a shitty apartment in Brooklyn, trying to pick up a singing career.

***

One day, I was walking down the sidewalk, on my way home from my job, waiting tables. I stood tall above the traffic of people making their way through the city. I've always been tall. Many adults have commented on my good looks, and even some girls in college. My mom always told me that blue shirts made my blue eyes look even brighter. I have thick brown hair that always frustrated me because I could never get it to look right.

So I walked, looking exactly like this, down the street in Brooklyn. Thinking that I was going home from work. I was studying a really hot blonde guy on the other side of the road, when I heard a familiar voice behind me.

"Parker?"
I stopped in my tracks, paralyzed. 'Not him', I said to myself. I turned around. It was Matthew. A guy I've known since the first grade.
"Matthew?" I was honestly surprised and happy to see him.
"Holy shit! How long has it been?"
"10 years I think." I pretended to not remember exactly how long, but I knew exactly when I saw him last. At the end of senior year of high school.
"Wow. That long?" He seemed really happy to see me, which made me feel warm inside. I could feel my face getting red, and I didn't know why. He stepped forward and gave me a big hug, which I returned.
"Jeez. You've changed." He said to me, while pushing off my hard chest with his fists. "You really buffed up."


I was chunky for a long time. Always embarrassed about the way I looked.
"Yeah, I did a lot of training, and lost weight."
"You didn't just lose weight.", he said while pushing off of me again, this time with his open hands. "You got ripped." He smiled, making my stomach do a somersault.
"Hey, I was just about to go get a drink at my favorite bar. Want to come with?", he asked me, grinning while he did. I had nothing else to do, and I didn't have to work the next day, so I agreed.

We walked a couple blocks down and turned a corner. I followed him into a sports bar. There were a couple dozen tables and at least fifteen booths. The host recognized Matthew right away, and she showed us to the best booth. We sat down, and she asked what we wanted to drink. "Goose Island", Matthew said. She turned to me. I leaned over and studied the bar, then turned to her and said, "I'll have a fat tire please." She smiled and said, "Coming right up." I turned and looked at Matthew. He was looking at me and smiling. I was surprised to see that he shaved his faint mustache that he was so proud of. He had big brown eyes, that seemed to be staring into your soul every time he looked at you. Big lips, but not too big. And a nose that seemed to be made up of two shapes. It was a big, but attractive nose. His jet black hair always stood up perfectly, and had slight curls. I remember I talked to him about his heritage in the eighth grade. He said that he was half Italian, and half Hispanic. So his skin was almost a caramel color.

"So... Fill me in. What's happened in the ten years?", he asked.
"Well I went to Fredonia, in upstate NY for five years. Then I moved to the city, and have been trying to get popular as a singer."
"Oh, a singer huh?", he asked.
"Yeah." I wanted to stop talking about me. "What have you been doing?", I asked him.
"I graduated from an arts school, then moved here and opened a gallery. It doesn't pay much, but it's enough." I could tell that he wanted to keep talking about me.

We engaged in a long conversation, which let me think about how our relationship had been in middle and high school. Matthew was always there for me when I went through trouble. I was grateful for that, but at the same time I hated him. He always did everything better than me. I did good in art, but he was better. He got all A's, but I was all A's and B's. I talked to my old girlfriend about him one time, and she said he was too fake. But I thought the exact opposite. He was too real.

"So, are there any lady friends in your life?", he asked me.
"Nope," I said, trying to suppress a smile. "What about you?"
"Same answer.", he said, then took a drink of his beer. So did I. We talked for hours, laughed, and went over old stories bringing back so many memories, then laughed some more. It was almost dark outside when a band started to set up.

"Mmmm! I love this band.", he said through a mouthful of beer. They were pretty good. We listened to a couple of songs then the lead singer said,"If anyone wants to come up and sing, they'd be welcome because I need to pee." Matthew looked at me and raised his eyebrows.
"No. Absolutely not.", I said.
"If I remember correctly, you were an alright singer back in the day." This made me blush.
"What was our song?", he asked. He obviously knew what it was, but he was playing with me, trying to get me to say the song.
"Don't Stop Believing.", I replied through a smile.
"Get up there and sing.", he said. We were both a little drunk. I got up and walked to the stage. A guitar player asked me what song and I told him "Don't Stop Believing." The piano started playing, and eventually I was singing, and everyone was cheering, and so was Matthew. I didn't think I'd be able to remember the lyrics, but it all came rushing back to me. By the end of the song, I was almost crying as everyone in the place cheered. I didn't let it show until I got back to the table, but I didn't sob. Only a couple tears ran down my cheeks.

Matthew just smiled at me and said, "That was great. Don't be upset." I sniffled and chuckled. "Do you remember Evan?", I asked. Evan was and still is one of my best friends. "Who could forget Evan?", he said back. I laughed. "Why?", he asked.
"He told me, when we were freshmen, that you thought that I hated you."
"I think I did say that. Yeah.", he said, as his smile dissolved.
"The thing is, I did hate you." He just looked at me. Not angry, but he was studying my face, waiting for me to go on.
"I hated you because you were so perfect." He laughed. "What do you mean by perfect?"
"You were better than me with everything. So much more attractive than me. Everyone like you so much and I just pushed everyone away."
"Nobody hates you, Parker.", he said to me.
"It's funny. I remember you told me that years ago."

"I remember that too.", he said back. I yawned and he could tell that it was time to leave. We got up and walked towards the door. He told the hostess to put it on his tab. "Wait let me give you my half.", I said.
"No it's fine.", he said back.
"No, really.", I said as I pulled out my wallet.
"PARKER.", he said firmly, grabbing the hand holding my wallet. I raised my head and looked him in the eye.
"Let me pay.", he said quietly as he pushed my hand back down, still looking at my eyes.
"Do you need a ride home?", he asked.
"That'd be great.", I said as we walked outside into the cool evening air. I followed him a few blocks to a parking lot where he had the same car that he owned in high school. When I saw it I laughed. He chuckled in return.

I gave Matthew directions to my apartment. We drove a short ways and stopped in front of my building.
"Why don't I give you my new number.", he told me. I put it in my phone.
"I want you to text me when you get in so I know you're alright. I won't leave if you don't.", he said.
"Ok.", I replied, grinning. It made me feel good, the way he showed that he cared about me.
"Let's do it again sometime.", he said as I stepped out of the car.
"Definitely." I walked towards the building with a spring in my step. I practically ran up the stairs, two steps at a time. I eventually got to the fourth floor. My door was all the way at the end of the hallway. I could see there was a sign on my door.
"Eviction Notice. Occupant has exactly two weeks to remove their belongings." I just stood there and gazed at the paper with big red letters. I didn't want to go in. The place made me feel sick, and the thought of me having to leave so quickly made my head spin.

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