Heart of12379719-crop.pngthe Beholden.



By Dorothy Colleen
“My life is hard enough, why do I have to notice-notice another boy?”

I tried to sneak inside my house, but I got caught, and knew I wouldn’t enjoy what came next.

My sister Carol would grill me on my day.

And I never figured out how to lie to her ...

“Hey Adam, how was the day?”

I blushed, mumbled, and tried to slip past her.

She smiled at me, and gently steered me to the kitchen table.

“Okay, hon. Something happened. Spill.”

I tried to keep from crying, but finally I said, “I ... noticed someone at school today. You know? Noticed-noticed?”

“Nothing wrong with that, Adam. you’re becoming a big boy.”

“It is in this case.”

“Why, sweetie? Come on, tell your big sister.”

“Cause the person I noticed-noticed? He’s ... he’s a boy,”

“Is that a problem?”

“Of course its a problem. I’m a boy too. I ... my life is hard enough, why do I have to notice-notice another boy?”

“I’m sorry sweetie.” My sister said, and hugged me.

Then I wasn’t sorry she caught me sneaking in ...

Once I calmed down, Carol made us both soup for supper. Its just the two of us, our parents died two years ago and she’s looked after me ever since, so she tries to do double duty as both my sister and my fill-in parent.

“So what was it about this boy that got your eye?”

“He ... his name is Tommy, I’m not sure of his last name. He is smart, and strong, but it was his kindness that made me do the double-look. Some bigger kids were bullying this girl, and he just ... stepped in, got them to stop, without even fighting.”

“Sounds impressive enough.”

“He is. He has this ... calmness about him. Like he knows who he is, and he likes what he sees in the mirror. Its not arrogance, or ego, just .. being at peace with himself, you know?”

“Not many kids have that. Not many adults either, come to think about it.”

“Yeah. I just don’t know what to do about what I’m feeling. I mean, I think he has a girlfriend, so I don’t have any chance to have him feel like I do. What am I supposed to do?”

She didn’t answer other than to give me a hug.

Eventually, I got ready for bed ...


The next day, I went back to school, and tried to not think about Tommy, but I failed miserably.

The more I tried to not think about him, the more I thought about him, and how hopeless my situation was.

And it ate at my soul like acid.

Somehow, I got through the day, and the next day too. And then because it was a Friday, I knew I’d have at least the weekend without seeing Tommy. Trouble was, I wasn’t at all sure that was gonna go well. As much as seeing him and knowing he’d never look at me hurt, I found the idea of not seeing him worse ...

My sister had to work Saturday, so I planned to just veg out and try not to think about Tommy.

Didn’t work out too well.

By the time my sister came home, even if I had no idea how bad off I was, I would have been able to guess by the worried look she gave me as she steered me the kitchen table. She had even tried to help me by making my favorite meal, baked mac and cheese, but I could hardly eat it, and after pushing it around my plate for a while, I excused myself and crawled into bed.

The next morning, Carol offered to make me waffles with whipped cream and fruit, which I normally love, but I told her I wasn’t hungry, and just curled up on the couch watching the Sunday morning talk shows.

After a while, Carol said she needed to go out for a bit, but I hardly heard her as I was totally lost inside myself.

Some time later, Carol came back, and said I had a visitor, to which I gave a confused “huh?” to.

Then I heard his voice.

Tommy’s voice.

He said gently, “Not doing too well, huh?”

“Tommy? What are you doing here?” I said, sitting up.

He came over, and kinda squatted down so he could look me in the eyes, and said, “Carol told me what’s been going on with you, but do you wanna talk about it?”

“Carol? You ... told him?”

“I ... had to, Adam. You were ...scaring me. I ... I couldn’t lose you, I didn’t know what else to do.”

“She wasn’t the only one who was worried. If you thought how depressed you were getting went unnoticed at school, you’d be wrong.” Tommy said.

I looked at him with tears in my eyes, and blurted out “I got a crush on another boy. I got a crush on you, Tommy.”

“And I’m straight with a girlfriend, which leaves you kinda screwed.” He finished for me.

I just nodded, and looked down at the floor.

Then he did something that reminded me why I crushed on him.

He took my hand, and helped me stand.

And then he hugged me.

And I wept, and said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault, anymore than it’s my fault I’m straight. We didn’t get to vote on our orientation.”

I found myself giggling at that image. “Too bad.”

“Yep” He said, and chuckled.

“What do I do, Tommy?”

“I’m not totally sure. Would it help at all if I tried to find a nice boy for you?”

“How... how could you do that?”

“Well, thanks to this trans girl I’m friends with, a lot of people have become more comfortable telling me their stories, including a few who have shared with me about being gay. They are actually some pretty cool guys, you might like them.”

“Can you arrange a meeting with some of them with me? It ... would be ... nice to know I’m not the only one like me.”

“I’ll ask, I’m sure they would like to meet you too.”

“Thanks so much for this, Tommy. A lot of guys would have a serious problem learning another boy had a crush on them.”

“I’m not like them. I figure a person is a person, no matter who they end up with a crush on. You didn’t ask for this, and considering the amount of tragedy you’ve had to cope with in the last couple of years, losing your folks and all, well, being a ass to you would just be not very cool.”

“You are very cool. Its one of the things that got me doing the double-look.”

He smiled at me, and said, “My girlfriend says the same thing.”


“I’m not. She’s pretty cool too. You’d like her.”

“Maybe I’ll have to meet her someday. But first, I’d like to meet these other gay kids.”

“I’ll do what I can, I promise.”

“Thanks. Do you ... wanna stay for lunch?”

“Can’t, Adam. Made a promise to a pretty girl.”

“Then go keep it. I’ll be okay now.”

“You’d better be. Or I’ll kick your butt.”

“I think you’d have to get in line behind my sneaky sister there.”

“Who me, sneaky?” Carol asked with a smile.
“Anyway, I really got to go, Adam.” Tommy said, and gave me another hug.

“See you at school Monday.” I said, and walked him to the door.

Once he was gone, I gave my sister a hug, and said, “Thanks, sis. How did you get him to come?”

“I just asked him, Adam.”

“I’m glad you did.” I said, and hugged her.

“Does that mean you’re ready to eat?”

“Yeah, let’s eat.”

And a better night was had by both of us.


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