Copyright © 2008 by Grant Bentley.
All Rights Reserved.
My name is Chase. When this happened, it was May of my senior year in high school.
I am gay and was definitely in the closet back then. This was small-town Alberta after all. I heard the comments and saw the hassles some guys had to endure for no other reason than some jerk had decided they ‘looked’ gay. The closet seemed like a good place to be.
I’d been dying the last few months, waiting and waiting. Why does time always seem to move so slowly when you are waiting for something special to happen? Finally, it was here…..my 18th birthday. It was Friday. I was now an adult and I could go to the bar….not just any bar, but to Calgary’s Metro Boyztown! A bar where I would be surrounded by people like me…gay people and I could totally be myself.
I think I spent half the day getting ready. I wanted to look perfect. There were seven of us going into Calgary, my boyfriend and I and five of our closest friends, two other guys and three girls. A half hour drive to the city and another half hour to the bar downtown and we were standing at the door feeling very excited and more than a little nervous.
This was it! I opened the door and we walked up to the front desk, showed our id to prove we were of age and we were in. The music was pounding and the dance floor was packed. I can’t explain how it felt. It was just so good…exciting, exhilarating, scary…I don’t know how to explain it. It just was….WOW!
First stop, the bar where we all ordered a drink. I looked around. The place was packed. Guys with guys and girls with girls, talking, cuddling, kissing, and dancing. It felt like a whole different universe. Could it get any better than this?
Finally, I fit in. I didn’t have to worry about anyone from school seeing me. I was thirty miles away, in a gay bar and free to be me. I didn’t have to be careful of how I looked at my boyfriend. In fact, I could hold his hand, dance with him and even kiss him in front of 200 people and no one was going to freak out or mutter “faggot” under their breath. This night was going to be the best.
We had our drinks and now it was time to dance. Not just dance, but dance with my boyfriend, so we started towards the dance floor. That’s when I saw him. He was almost in the center of the dance floor. I was totally shocked. I wasn’t sure what to do. The last thing I expected or wanted to see was someone from school. What the hell was he doing here at Boyztown? I pointed him out to my friends and we just stared at him for a few minutes as he danced. He glanced our way for a second, smiled quickly and kept on dancing like seeing us there was no big deal. For me, however, it was a big deal, a really big deal and I wasn’t sure how to react.
After a few minutes my boyfriend took my hand and said “Come on, let’s do it.” I guess it was too late now anyway, he’d already seen us. So we hit the dance floor and started to dance. I mean, we had come here to celebrate my birthday and have the best time ever. So, yeah, “Let’s do it.” We’d worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.
We had been dancing for a while and I was really getting into it. I had almost forgotten he was here when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and he leaned towards me, smiled and wished me happy birthday. I smiled back and thanked him.
That’s when the realization hit me. If I was here dancing with my boyfriend, then he was here dancing with his boyfriend. What was I worried about? I mean, duh?
He wasn’t going to run back to school and out one of his students any more than I was going to run back to school and out my Biology teacher.