Copyright © 2012 by BlindEagle. All rights reserved.
Have you ever thought to yourself what it would be like to be someone else for a change… I mean really, if you were given the opportunity to instantly be whatever you wanted to be, to be whomever you wanted to be, what choice would you make? Even if you chose to remain being who you are, would you decide to change the color of your hair or the color of your skin and eyes? Ethan is about to experience major changes in his life that will take him beyond his wildest dreams.
I sat in my dad’s old beat up minivan that he now used to haul junk and bulk trash to the dump. The van still runs, but the paint has long since faded, and the body received more than its share of bangs, bumps and knocks over the years. As long as I have been here, this van has been here. I remember it being in better shape then it is now. When dad use to take me and my friends to our Cub Scout meetings, the van never complained or asked for a new paint job, for which it was desperately in need. Now, since it was rarely used for anything but hauling trash and junk, it remained the way it was and I’m sure it would until it reached the end of its long journey to the crusher.
Looking at the house, I noticed that the downspout attached to the far right corner of the gutter had leaves and debris from the big oak tree that grew along that side. I’m sure they better do what they had been created to do assuming they were clean enough to allow for the overflow of rain water to pass through. I wondered if dad remembered to clean the gutters and downspouts, and when was the last time they had been cleaned.
Looking around I picked up on more, like the mailbox that Mom backed into about four months ago. I know she was hurrying to pick me up from my appointment with my Counselor; I was fine, I just had a rough time in school that day; let me explain what happened.
The day had started out ok… I woke up as I usually did; wearing just my boxer briefs to bed was the norm. I developed a habit of sleeping covered up from head to toe. It must have been from all the mummy and zombie videos I watched as a kid. I’m not afraid of them now, but I think old habits are hard to break. Anyway, Kobe, my yellow lab, was at his usual spot at the foot of my bed patiently waiting for me to get up. The usual morning situation us boys deal with every morning was waiting to get the attention it needed, so reluctantly I dragged my butt to the bathroom for relief. Staring at my body in the mirror told me it needed all the help it could get. I had auburn color hair that seemed like it had seen its worse days; going in every direction possible. My green eyes were not happy that they had to open to guide me around, so they refused to show me the rest of my body, yet, it was what I was. Following the automated directions of my brain, I turned on the shower as I removed my boxer briefs to step in and bring this rebellious body back to life. After taking care of my routine shower I shaved the light peach fuzz off of my chin then got dressed. I grabbed my book bag and sprayed on a little Curve on the way out of the door.
I made my way down to the breakfast table where my mom, dad, and twin four year old brothers Ronnie and Tommy were yapping and chomping as usual. Slipping into my seat, Mom got up from the table to fix my plate of mixed fruit, toasted multigrain bread, and a strawberry protein drink. I don’t eat meat of any kind; I never did even as a baby. Mom told me that whenever she tried to give me baby food with meat I would spit it out and cry and fuss, but when she feed me veggies or apple sauce I became quiet and ate it all.
I eat pretty well for being a full vegetarian. I’m not as thin as you would think. I am fifteen and a half years old, five feet six inches tall, and weigh about one hundred and seventy pounds. That is mostly because I love fries. I mean, I can eat two super large orders of fries at one sitting. Potato chips are another of my weaknesses. I can empty a large family bag in less time than it takes two YouTube videos to finish.
For the past three weeks my dad has been taking me with him to Fitness Zone, and he’s convinced me that losing a few pounds would be in my best interest. I was quite happy with how I looked… that is until I started noticing the rolls on my waist getting bigger and the fat building up on my chest made me feel uncomfortable, especially in the locker room, where we absolutely have to shower after PE since that’s my second period class of the day.
After finishing breakfast my dad had slipped me a five spot for lunch and got ready to drive my twin brothers off to Pre-K on his way to work. Mom worked out of the house for a medical supply company as a district manager, doing everything via computer.
For me, walking to the corner to catch the school bus is the norm. Sammy, Doug and Paul were standing waiting for me to show up. We call Paul “Pretty Boy” because he spends more time in front of a mirror doing up his long blond hair then his five sisters and mom combined.
For some reason or another I always ended up being the last to arrive, just minutes before the bus arrived. After the usual morning slap, claps and knuckle taps, the big cheese turned the corner, opened the door, and welcomed us to yet another repeat of the previous school day.
The next to the last seat on the bus was my spot. I was my usual self, the same as I am every morning. That is, until the bus made it’s first of eight stops between where it picked me up and depositing us in front of the high school. At that first of those stops a new kid got on the bus.
Now, I’m usually not the type to lock my eyes onto anyone longer than necessary, but this kid… my god, who is he… what is he? I mean, I had never before felt the feelings I was having when I looked at another boy.
The new boy glanced around to find a seat, and appeared to find one. He gradually walked towards the back of the bus, and sat in the isle seat right next to me. As he sat down, placing his book bag on the floor between the two of us, I caught wind of the same Curve spray cologne I used. He looked to be about my age, with medium length jet black hair, and the deepest darkest blue eyes I had ever seen in my life. He wore a diamond stud in his left ear, which when hit by the sun rays, gave him a stunning appearance. He looked like he weighed about fifteen to twenty pounds less than me; and his skin had a nice tan. He wore a blue shirt that matched his eyes and a pair of blue Dockers, with blue and white New Balance sneakers.
I’m usually not the shy type, so I reached out my hand and introduced myself to him. “Hi, how are you doing, my… umm name is… Ethan.”
His smile was breathtaking, and I literally had to take a second or two to get my brain back in gear. As he seemed to be boring right into my green eyes he said, “Hey, my name is Cru.”
Staring into his blue eyes I suddenly became aware that I had been holding onto his hand a little longer then I should. Quickly pulling back my hand, embarrassingly, I said,
“Um… ah , are you new? I haven’t seen you on this bus before.”
He kept looking at me with that awesome smile. “I just moved here from Wisconsin.” He looked around at the other kids on the bus, then back at me. “My dad got transferred to Raleigh to start up a new branch for the company he works for.”
Wanting to carry on the conversation, I said, “What company does your dad work for?
“Well,” Cru said, “have you ever heard of Macintosh?”
Wide eyed I said, “Man, everybody’s heard of Apple.”
“Yeah,” he said with a grin, “but he works for the Macintosh division and they make Apple products.”
Smiling at Cru I said, “Cool, does he have any openings?”
Cru didn’t appear to expect that question, and stumbled his words as he tried to answer said, “Uh, …well, …I’m sure he will be hiring staff after…”
I interrupted, shaking my head from side to side and laughing. “Hey, I was just pulling your leg. I’m way too young to work for your dad, and besides, I’m more into art and design. I plan to be an architect after I graduate from college.”
”Cool,” Cru replied, “I plan to follow my dad into computer design and programming. Maybe I’ll even take over his position some day.”
I was curious. “What position does your dad have?”
Cru smiled. “My dad is production director over all of the Macintosh factories and Apple stores from the Midwest and east to the Atlantic.”
I was surprised to hear that, and looked at Cru amazed knowing that his dad was a very important man with the company.
While Cru and I had been talking, the bus driver had picked up the rest of the students at the other stops and pulled up in front of the school. Everyone got off the bus and headed to their destinations.
I turned to look at Cru and asked, “Do you have your class schedule yet?”
“Yes, I do. My Dad brought me out here yesterday to take care of all that, so I’m good.”
“Cool. You mind if I take a look?”
Cru shook his head and handed me his schedule I looked it over then smiled.
“Cool! We have a few classes together this afternoon, and your home room is right down the hall from mine.”
Cru looked at me and smiled. I hoped that he liked what he heard. He put his schedule away and pulled his book bag over his shoulders just as the home room bell went off.
“Our homerooms are this way,” I told him, and led him directly to his homeroom.
“I’ll see you later, Cru.”
Cru smiled and replied, “See you!”
I practically had to run to my homeroom a few doors down to make it before the final bell rang.
My second period PE went on as usual until I saw Cru run into the gym. I was surprised to see him there. I walked over to where he was standing.
“I didn’t know you had PE this period, Cru. In fact, I didn’t see it on your schedule at all.”
Cru was catching his breath from running into the gym late. “I know. As I headed to my second period English II class, I met Mrs. Hall, my counselor, and she checked my schedule. She told me they found a mistake and changed English II to this afternoon instead of Study Hall because they had to add PE, so here I am.”
I noticed that even when catching his breath, Cru was able to flash that bright happy smile. As I looked at him, I thought to myself, ‘He really is a nice guy, and I don’t think that he has any Idea what a nice smile he has.’
I brought Cru up to date on what we were doing in PE, that is until Mr. Jones, our PE teacher, called us too attention by blowing his whistle.
“Okay, everyone, line up for your exercises.”
Mr. Jones saw that Cru wasn’t dressed out for PE. “And who are you?”
“My name is Cru Lomeli. I’m new, and this is my first day.”
“Okay, you don’t have your PE uniform, so you can sit out for now. I’ll get back to you in a few minutes.”
As Mr. Jones walked away, I whispered to Cru, “I’ll see you after PE.”
Mr. Jones got the rest of us started with our warm up exercises. I did the twenty five jumping jacks, twenty five toe touches, and twenty five tip-toe stretches, I kept glancing where Cru was standing. I could hear him talking to Mr. Jones who was obtaining the information he needed from Cru, telling him the rules and regulations every student had to know about the PE program, and making sure that Cru understood and agreed to all of them before he could participate in any activities in the PE class.
Only because Cru was new was he excused for not being dressed out for PE, but Mr. Jones informed him that from now on he would be required to wear his PE uniform. It’s the typical sort of yada-yada-yada the rest of us heard at the beginning of the school year, and would hear again at the beginning of each school year in the future.
At the end of PE I usually try to get in and out of the shower and get dressed as fast as I can. However, there is always a jerk in every PE class, no matter what, and they are usually loud and obnoxious; I think they are like that so they won’t have any attention drawn to them, not any positive attention anyway. Chris, who is about six feet tall and weighs about one hundred and eighty five pounds, is that obnoxious guy in my second period PE class. Unlike me, his body is all muscle and more muscle. He’s not the body builder type, just that all of his muscles are expertly toned and well-proportioned in every way. One of the reasons I agreed to go to the fitness zone with my dad was because of Chris. Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand the loud mouth bastard. But instead of just knowing that he looks great and loves to flaunt it, I decided to use him as a model it to encourage me to lose my unwanted weight to look good, feel better, and do better where working out was concerned.
After showering Chris grabbed my towel away from me just as I was reaching up to take hold of it. Knowing what was about to happen, I looked at Chris like I was going to rip his head off.
Not backing down to him worked for me because the last time he confronted me was in middle school, where he was still the same kind of obnoxious jerk as he is now, though now he’s an even bigger jerk. Well, here’s the story about that.
The first time boys ever undress and shower in front of other boys their age happens in middle school. And that is where Chris and I got into our first and last fight. I had just gotten out of the shower and stood in front of my locker drying off. Chris, getting the idea to show off in front of everyone, decided to give me a wedgie. Stepping into my boxer briefs and bending down to pull them up, Chris rushed me from behind and grabbing the back of my boxer briefs tried to yank them up between my butt cheeks. I don’t know what happen, but before I knew it, I had slammed him into the lockers behind me. The next thing I knew, Chris looked like he was out cold lying on the floor. I was both scared and shocked at what had happen. I quickly got dressed and left the locker room as the rest of the students looked on with fear and shock.
It must have been the shock of his life because ever since that time Chris has been cautious around me. However, I knew that he still would push the envelope if he felt he could get away with it.
This time I had no defense, no way to cover myself or protect myself from what I knew would be welts the size of bee stings. All he had to do was get the rest of the guys to start playing around and it would give him the opportunity to pop me and get others to follow him. Standing still and staring at him without a smile or facial expression was all I had. It must have worked because the look I saw in his eyes was those of fear?... doubt?... insecurity?
Stepping into his space I reached for my towel, taking it out of his hands. I wrapped it around my waist and walked away to my locker leaving him staring at me.
Meeting Cru outside the gym was our plan after I finished showering and getting dressed, so I did just that.
Coming through the gym doors into the hallway is where the now contagious smile on Cru’s face took away all of the frustration I just experienced back in the locker room.
Smiling at Cru I said, “Did you miss me?”
Cru answered with a grin on his face, “I don’t know, was I suppose to?”
Falling into Cru’s playful mood and continuing on, I frowned like a spoiled brat and said, “And here I thought we were best friends.”
At that moment I thought I had done something or said something wrong. For the first time I saw a look on Cru’s face that I hadn’t seen there before.
“Are you ok?” I asked.
There was a sad and concerned look on Cru’s face and he was looking down.
”Have I said or done anything wrong?”
I had met Cru less than four hours earlier, and in that short time I had felt as if I knew him much longer than that. However, I realized that I really didn’t know Cru the way I really wanted to yet.
“Hey Cru, I know we really don’t know each other like best friends, and we just met a few hours ago, but I think you are cool. For some reason it seems like I’ve always known you… I can’t explain it, I don’t know how to explain it.”
Cru looked up into my eyes. I hoped that he saw another teen who seemed to really care.
Cru said, “Hey, Ethan, I’m ok. It’s just that my dad and I move around every few years, then as soon as another location is fully staffed, up and running, we are off to some other state and city.”
Cru stared into my eyes. His stared so intensely that I could feel his loneliness and hurt through them. Not wanting to make matters worse but knowing I had to do something, I looked at him and said, “Umm… Cru? …I have Computer Lab for my seventh period, and I noticed on your schedule you also have Computer Lab then. If you want maybe we can use that time to get to know each other a little better?”
Cru smiled. “That’s a good idea. I’ll see you during Computer Lab, then.”
That returned my smile.
The rest of my morning was uneventful. The bell would ending fourth period would ring in a few minutes, and already I missed Cru and his bright smile.
Cru and I had different lunch periods. Cru had lunch fourth period following PE. I had lunch fifth period. Both Cru had English II sixth period, and we both had Computer Lab seventh period so it wouldn’t be too long before I would see him again.
After picking up my lunch, consisting of a veggie sub, a bag of chips, and a bottle of water and paying for my food, I noticed Paul sitting with his usual group of girls who faithfully followed him around the school, even to the lunch table. Paul winked at me as I passed by, and I rolled my eyes in return and grinned. I went to sit with two of my best friends, Sam and Doug at our usual table. As I set my tray on the table I saw Paul coming to join us, escaping from his freshman girl groupies.
Sam, who always seemed to have something to say, smiled like a Cheshire cat at Paul who took a seat next to me.
“You finally found time for your bro’s after all, huh?”
“I can’t help it if half the babes find me irresistibly the hottest guy in school,” Paul replied as he reached over to try to snatch a fry from Sam’s tray.
“Ahhhh,” Sam said, slapping Paul’s hand away from his fries. “You’re a total trip Paul. We all know truth about why the girls flock around you.”
Paul, raising his eyebrows and showing us his famous taunting grin, said, “And just what would that be, Sammy boy?”
“It’s because of your long pretty girly hair. Those girls are jealous and want to make you president of their Pretty Girls Hair Club.”
Busting out in laughter, Doug, Sam, and I ran our fingers through our hair to show why we would be ineligible for such a Club. Both Doug and Sam had their hair cut short, while I kept mine cut just below my ears.
Paul shook his head and ignored the teasing of his best friends. He grinned and responded, “Well, at least I have a group of cute girls dying to be with me instead of walking around all day with three hard-up teen males.”
As members of our little Brotherhood, as we liked to call ourselves, we were always teasing each other. However, we were quick to back each other should one of us find himself in a tight situation that might turn into a fight.
While chatting about their day so far, I noticed Doug kept looking across the lunch table at me. Finally, he asked, “So, Ethan, when were you going to tell us about that new kid on the bus?”
“Yeah,” Paul said, “once he got on the bus you like totally ignored us and you were totally caught up in a conversation with him.”
I realized that hadn’t even dawned on me, but it was true. I did get so involved in talking with Cru that it was as if my friends didn’t exist. I guess I had a sheepish expression, and I looked everywhere but into the eyes of my friends.
“Well… umm… I ummm….”
I stopped to clear my thoughts, and finally said, “I don’t know, I just saw him come onto the bus, and he walked right to the empty seat next to me and sat down, and we just started talking and stuff.”
I noticed Doug eyeing me closely, and that he could tell that I seemed uncomfortable answering his question.
“Well,” Doug commented, “the next time we’re around when you’re with him, how about introducing us, ok?”
I wanted to bring this uncomfortable moment to a close, so I nodded. “Sure.”
Just then one of Paul’s female admirers walked by our table and started to flirt with him. That drew away some of the pressure I felt, at least for now.
I didn’t know how my friends would respond to my true feelings towards Cru. I knew that I had to keep those feelings closely hidden inside myself. I didn’t like to have to do that, but for now I had to keep my friends at bay. I was glad for the out Doug’s comment provided, but at the same time I wondered just how much he might be able to read about my feelings towards Cru.
The others continued their conversation about the girl flirting with Paul, so I started to think about how I could explain those feelings when I didn’t even understand them myself.
The ringing of the bell startled me, shaking me from my thoughts. The four of us got up and dropped off our trays then headed for our sixth period classes. I headed for study hall in the library to meet Cru.
I saw that he had found a place to sit at the back row of computer stations by the time I arrived. As I approached his table, he smiled.
“So, are you glad to see me?” I asked.
Cru was ready for me this time. His expression became a look of total innocence.
“Excuse me,” he said, “I’m a new student here, and I was supposed to meet a really cool dude that I met on the school bus this morning, but he hasn’t shown up yet. Have you by any chance seen someone like that wandering around the school?”
I almost busted out laughing, but I caught a stare from Mrs. Gillard the Computer Lab instructor. I slipped into the seat next to the computer station where Cru sat. I looked at him as he began pulling out his notebook and Biology One textbook.
I whispered to him, “To answer your question, I do remember running into a dude, as you call him, just as I was entering the library. He told me to look out for the newbie with blue and white Kicks.” I moved closer so only Cru could hear me, and continued, “He told me to watch out for his friendly smile, that it’s totally contagious.”
This time Cru’s burst of laughter was so loud that Mrs. Gillard gave them both the most serious look I had ever seen her show.
After this joking around, inappropriate during Computer Lab, We spoke quietly. “I didn’t know you had it in you,” I said, “That was really funny.”
I remembered what just happened during lunch and what Doug said. “I ate lunch with the friends of mine you saw getting off the bus with us this morning. They want to meet you to see what kind of dude you are and why you are hanging with me.”
Cru, in a playful tone to his voice and with a feigned surprised, shocked expression replied, “So, I’m just the newbie on the bus, and already the posse is after me?”
As the smile only Cru could show took any doubts I had, I realized that I was glad that Cru got on my bus this morning.
“You know, I sort of wondered why you didn’t introduce me to those guys as we got off the bus this morning.”
I looked at Cru with a sheepish grin as he continued, “I noticed how the guy with brown hair kept looking back at us as we stopped to look over my schedule.”
I knew Cru meant me, and I recalled what Doug did for me after he and Paul brought up the questions about Cru. My mind felt as if it was in a whirlwind, I felt both confused and scared, aware of what it meant to have the feelings for Cru that I had, and the rejection and ridicule I would face by showing those feelings to those around me, especially from my family.
I could see that Cru noticed the sudden change in my expression. While I sat there not knowing what to say, he waited to see what was going on with me. I felt that I had to be honest with him. It wasn’t that I was afraid to tell him how I felt about him, but rather would I be able to say it in a way that he would understand… if he wanted to understand.
Cru seemed like he wanted to break the silence and he started to say something… so I placed my hand on his arm and said, “Cru? …I have to share something with you that I’m trying to fully understand myself. I have something that I want you to know. For some reason I feel it’s ok to tell you.”
Cru looked at me intently as I got up the nerve to go on. I said, “This morning when you got on the bus I watched you. You looked around and saw me and walked to the empty seat next to me. First I thought, ‘why is he coming back here when there are other seats up front?’”
I tried to keep from blushing. I looked down at the table as I said, “The minute you got to the seat and sat down, you turned to me with that smile of yours and I don’t know… It seem to suck me right in.”
Cru started to blush but he continued to stare directly at me. As I carefully choose my words, I realized that my hand still rested on his arm. Not knowing what else to do, I decided to take the plunge and say what was really in my heart.
“It’s ok if you don’t want to be my friend, but if we are going to be friends I had to tell you the truth. I don’t know or care about what others think about all this… am I gay? Or just attracted to you in a special way? All I know is that what I feel is real, more real than anything else I’ve felt before.”
Without a moment of hesitation, Cru gripped my other hand, and with a smile of acceptance, fondness, and maybe even love he told me, “I understand Ethan, and yes, I feel the same way towards you too.”
I couldn’t hold it back. Being careful about who might be around us and could hear our conversation, I said, “I don’t know how I am going to explain to my friends, the guys in my Brotherhood, much less to my parents, but they’ll figure out something is up when they see you and me practically attached at the hip.”
Cru chuckled softly, not wanting to elicit the rath of Mrs. Gillard, and with the biggest of his patented smiles said, “Well, they’ll just have to get used to having me around… maybe your friends will adopt me into your Brotherhood.”
I grinned at the idea of Cru becoming a part of our Brotherhood, and that brought a new set of feelings to the surface, but these feelings were not discouraging at all. I was sure about my feelings for Cru, so as long as he was ok for me to tell them. Well, I’d do just that; when and where I’d have to decide, but I would tell them, and deal with whatever response I got from them after.
I could see on one hand that Cru and I were now free to express their feelings for one another. On the other hand, there was still the problem of how kids as school would respond. There would probably be some negative kickbacks if we openly showed our affection for each other. Cru and I talked about it and agreed that telling the Brotherhood would be as far as we would go, and otherwise we’d keep a very low profile. That would be best for our safety.We didn’t use Computer Lab for doing class or homework assignments this day, but instead Cru and I studied each other as we tried to bring balance and direction to our new relationship. We were both determined to make it work, and I just knew that it would work.