Sophomore Year

Chapter Six

By Grant Bentley

If any nice person, nasty person, place, event, happening, thing, or sport, seems familiar, it is purely coincidental.

The next morning after we met up with Craig, Jeff looked at me and said, “Didn’t Jamie say Scott was gay?”

“Why are you bringing that up?” I asked.

“Well, if he and Aaron were together sharing one banana split and one shake, do you think they’re together…I mean like together-together?” he questioned.

“I don’t know. Maybe. You should ask them,” I said with a grin.

“Uh, I don’t think so,” he replied, laughing.

Later, at lunch break, Adam, Greg, Pete and Ari were waiting just down the hall from the cafeteria. As we approached them, I laced my fingers through Craig’s and smiled at them. I don’t think I’ve seen four bigger grins in my life. Adam immediately laced his fingers through Greg’s and Ari laced his through Pete’s and the six of us walked proudly into the cafeteria. Once again, the room fell silent immediately. We just ignored the stares, got our food and made our way over to the table that Carol, Jeff, and the guys were sitting at. After we pulled another table up to give us more room, I introduced everyone and we quickly settled into eating whatever it was we were served. I had forgotten to look at the menu board, so I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to be.

“So are you guys into forming a GSA?” Adam asked us.

“What’s a GSA?” Jeff asked them in return.

“It means Gay Straight Alliance,” Adam answered. “It’s like a club for gays and their straight friends, or straight people who support gays.”

“Oh,” Jeff responded. “Count me in then.”

“Yeah, me too,” Carol added.

We got the same response from Randy, Martin, Jamie and the rest of the guys, which made me laugh because, at this point, if we did decide to form a GSA, we would have more straight members than gay members.

“Awesome,” Adam responded with far too much enthusiasm. “Our first straight members.”

“You’re getting ahead of yourself again,” I said grinning. “We didn’t answer your question yet.”

“You’re in,” Ari said. “You gotta be. We can’t do it without you.”

“Don’t underestimate yourselves, yes you can,” Craig responded. “But, yeah, we’re in.”

“Yes!” Adam exclaimed, once again focusing everyone’s attention on us.

As soon as lunch was over, we headed for our first class. As we walked down the hall, I remembered that Mr. Jameson had been positive in his attitude towards us. As soon as we walked in the door, I walked over to him.

“Mr. Jameson?” I said.

“Yes Steven?” he questioned.

“Some of us were talking and we wondered what you thought of us starting a GSA here at school,” I said.

He looked at me for a few seconds before smiling and saying he thought that it would be a great idea.

“Would you be our staff facilitator?” I asked.

“How did I not see that coming?” he asked himself.

“Just think about it, okay?” I asked.

“Okay, ask me again tomorrow,” he replied with a grin.

“Thanks,” I responded as I turned and headed for my desk. Once again, I paid close attention and had an excellent set of notes on DNA replication and transcription when the class was over. Somehow, I managed to live through the last class of the day. I’m convinced my hearing is going to be damaged if I have to listen to Mrs. Lawson's voice until the semester is over in another three months.

As soon as we walked out of class, Adam and the boys were waiting for us.

“So. How do we get started?” Ali asked.

“Well first, we need a staff facilitator,” I replied. “Craig and I are working on that now.”

“Who?” Greg asked.

“I’m not saying anything until I know for sure,” I responded. “They may say no.”

“Okay,” he said. “In the meantime, Adam and I are going to check out the websites given on Codey’s World and kinda get a head start.”

“That’s a great idea,” I said.

“Yeah, then we will have some ideas for when we have our first meeting,” Ari said.

“Well, first we need a staff facilitator, and then permission from Mr. Ross, the principal,” I warned. “There’s no point getting too far ahead of ourselves.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Adam replied, “but it’ll happen, I know it will.”

“I think so too,” Craig said.

“We’ll know more tomorrow,” I told them and they were off to start their research.

“There’s nothing like four overly-zealous freshmen,” I said, laughing as Craig and I left the school.

As we were walking across the parking lot, Aaron Smyth caught up to us. “I hear you guys are starting a GSA,” he said.

“Well sort of,” I replied. “It’s just in the really early preplanning stage right now.”

“Well, when you’re ready to go, count me in,” he said. “And probably Jas and half a dozen other guys from the team, too.”

I looked kind of surprised, and said, “Awesome, thanks Aaron.”

“They’re not gay,” he said with a grin, “but they’re supportive. You’ve already met some of them.”

“Yeah, they were with you when you saved our asses the other day,” I replied.

“That’s them. Anyway, catch ya later,” he said as he walked over to his car.

“Holy shit,” Craig exclaimed. “We already have almost half the football team committed to joining and we haven’t even started it yet.”

“Yeah, that is so cool. Getting guys from the football team will go a long way in making it acceptable to everyone else,” I remarked. “And you realize, if we started today, the straight members would outnumber the gay members two to one.”

“That’s really exciting when you think about it,” Craig responded with a smile. “If we have that much support already, who knows. I’m really starting to feel good about this.”

“Me too,” I replied as we turned up our front walk. “It’s gonna be great.”

This time, we weren’t late getting home. Dad was just getting home himself. As he was about to look for something for dinner, Craig and I told him to relax, and that we would get dinner tonight. “Well thank you,” he said as he turned and headed for the living room to watch some TV. Craig and I busied ourselves for the next hour. When we were done, we had medium rare barbequed steaks, scalloped potatoes, corn on the cob, and a garden salad set up on the deck. When we called Dad to dinner, he was all smiles.

“That looks amazing,” he said as he looked over the table.

“Thanks,” we both said.

“We haven’t eaten out here for ages,” he said as we were dishing up our food. “We used to always eat out here. Why did we let that change?”

“I guess when our schedules got in the way of us eating together,” I replied.

“You’re right,” he said with a slightly sad tone. “You grew up on me.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I responded, “but we should try to do this more often. There are lots of days when we’re both home early.”

“You’re right, we should,” he said.

Within minutes, we all had our plates full and were sitting around the table. Dad looked at Craig and me for a minute and smiled.

“God, I can’t believe you have a boyfriend. It seems like just yesterday you were chasing frogs and thought girls were icky… Oh, wait a minute, you still think girls are icky,” he said, laughing.

“I don’t think girls are icky,” I said with a grin. “They just don’t have anything I want to play with.”

Dad actually blushed and Craig nearly fell off his chair, he was laughing so hard. It was hilarious.

“So, how’s school?” Dad asked, quickly changing the subject.

“It’s school,” I said.

“We might be starting a GSA,” Craig announced. “Some of the guys approached us and asked us to work with them on it.”

“A GSA?” Dad questioned.

“Gay Straight Alliance,” Craig said. “Like a club for gay kids, their straight friends and people who are supportive of gays. It’s a way of promoting acceptance and understanding within the school.”

“That sounds like a great idea,” Dad responded. “It’s too bad they didn’t have things like that when I was in school. Maybe we would have a lot less hate and bigotry today if we had.”

“That’s what we’re hoping for, for tomorrow,” Craig said. “Maybe our kids won’t have to live in fear.”

“Your kids?” Dad asked.

“Why not?” I asked. “We can adopt. You can still be a grandpa.”

“You’re right, why not?” Dad said with a smile before adding, “I hope you know I’m really proud of you two. It’s good to see you’re willing to step up and do something like that. I hope you have a lot of success with the GSA. You may just save a life if you can give other gay kids the message that they’re not alone, or maybe change one homophobic mind.”

“Thanks,” we both said.

I really hadn’t thought about the GSA saving a life. I just thought of it as a recreational club that would be fun. Give gay kids a chance to meet other gay kids, and stuff like that. But when I thought about what Craig and Dad said, it gave me a whole different outlook on the importance of getting a GSA going.

As soon as we finished eating, Dad went in to watch the news. Craig and I cleaned up, did the dishes, and put everything away. We did our homework and spent the rest of the evening either making out or playing video games. At 10:00, I walked Craig home. After we said goodnight, I ran most of the way back with a huge smile on my face. First, I was in love. That, in itself, is a feeling that can’t be described. Second, Dad had gone from ‘I was hoping for more from you’ to ‘I’m proud of you’. Life was very, very good.