This short story is about a boy trying to figure out how to keep his boyfriend a secret until he can think of a way to come out to his family. I used my own struggles of hiding my significant others from my right winged family while still trying to be true to who I am. At times I felt as if it was obvious, like something was written across my face. I was so nervous I stared at myself in the mirror all the time trying to learn my nervous twitches. That's what inspired the usage of tattoos as a life marker for the characters as well as the main character's borderline obsession with his own body. A large amount of the story consists of events that I have gone through along with a few characters who are based off people in my daily life.
Its bright and sunny today, almost blinding compared to the darkness of my room. I only know this because a small beam of light has escaped the grasp of my blackout curtains and is fixated on my face, which at the moment is upside down as I lay half off my mattress. Unlike other people who upon discovering this would either get up and admit defeat or move away avoiding the light. I sit there letting it beat its heat into my face, as if the sun is reminding me that I belong in the dark with my pale white skin, however I welcome the reminder. After letting the sun punish me a bit more I get up and walk over to the mirror. Looking into the mirror I strip off all my articles of clothing then stare at my naked body’s reflection. This has become a ritual that I do every day without fail. I inspect every part of my stark white figure. I am bare, clean, and blank; I have yet to earn even one tattoo. Others my age have at least three or four. I have even seen people covered from head to toe in them, ink covering their whole body. Those people have experienced life and earned each mark on their skin. I have none. Silently I move away from the mirror and leap back to the comfort of my bed. The cool feeling of the sheets pressing against my bare skin swallowing me, as if a chilled cocoon wrapping around me and holding me gently as I wandered into a peaceful sleep, back to the darkness where I belong.
I hear that being woken with a small shake is a very refreshing way to be awakened; unfortunately I have never had the pleasure of experiencing this. Instead I’m woken with loud raps on my door along with the booming voice of my sister Maya as she begins to threaten my life if I didn’t get up and downstairs. I am woken like this every morning for as long as I can remember.
We pull up to the school and there is the usual hustle and bustle of teenagers scattering away from strangers and reforming around their friends, in a swarm of youths. As I unclick my seat belt Maya gives me a look of curiosity, she does this anytime she wants to tell me something, but what would it be this time.
“Look Will you might not want to get a tattoo, there are things about them that you don't know and won’t know because people don’t really like talking about them.” I turn to Maya with a semi-surprised and curious look which I tried my best to hide but had the feeling I was failing. “I'm not going to tell you, this is something that you need to learn on your own,” she says in a very overbearing sister voice that’s meant to tell me that, ‘she knows best and you should do as she says’.
“Ok I’ll try to remember what you said,” I wanted to say but I ended up just nodding and getting out of the car. Don’t get me wrong I like that my sister is looking out for me, but openness with her just seems so awkward for me that when a moment like this arises I have no idea what to do or say. If I do find the words then usually my mouth just welds my lips shut. Right now I just need to get to my locker and to history class, or as I like to refer to it, my morning nap. I walk briskly as I over hear some conversations, just bits and pieces, but they all had a central theme.
“Have you seen the new kid?”
“Look at the guy with all the tattoos.”
“That guy with all the tattoos is really cute.”
“He's just adorable”
“I wonder how he got all of those, what does he do?”
From what I can piece together there is a new kid, he is a guy, has a lot of tattoos, and he is very good looking. I give it till the end of the day till someone is dating him, they’d make him theirs. That is how it works here, the more tattoos you have the more you have done and the more you are wanted because you're exciting and interesting. It might be fun to watch people fight over him and see chaos ensue as love triangles, squares, and even pentagons form around him until he is consumed. I keep these thoughts as entertainment as I arrive at my locker. With a few quick flicks of my wrist I unhinged the lock, retrieving my backpack which contains everything I need for the day, starting with a mini pillow. After I shut my locker I spin on a heel and walk off to class, dodging the large conglomerates of students just standing still in the hall. I weave through closing gaps and new openings.
Finally in class after swimming through a sea of people I sit in my seat which is not quite in the middle but not quite in the back. It’s the perfect area for sleeping, in the front I have the smart kids answering questions and behind me I have the trouble makers drawing attention away from me. I have put several years into this theory, something others would call unhealthy and an obsession, but they have yet to prove me wrong so I continue. I wait until the class is fully seated and the teacher just finishes taking attendance. Shortly afterwards I slip into unconsciousness, it is a nice peaceful dark when I sleep, something that I let fill me as I lose myself. I was enjoying it quite a lot, which just made me all the more irritated when I felt myself being pulled back to the world of the waking. I woke to a pencil eraser being tapped against my skull in a repetition of one rap every half a second. Me being insistent on my sleep ignore it for a while until it is clear that whoever the culprit is not planning on stopping anytime soon. I raise my head and glare at the boy next to me with eyes full of enough fiery hatred to challenge the blazing golden sun as he sets his pencil back down on his desk. My gaze fixated on his eyes as they smirked back at me, only fueling my flame even more.
“Now, now, don't be so testy, you should thank me you were starting to drool but-” he points to a small stream glistening out of my mouth,”-I may have been a little too late.” I feel the fire that was in my eyes move from behind my eyes to my cheeks as they flush bright red. I turn away to wipe my mouth as I turn back to face him I see that he is already facing forward to the teacher in a way that hid everything that had just happened.
“I don’t need help from you! I was having a rather pleasant dream by the way, one that you so rudely woke me from without my consent!” I say in a very agitated whisper as to not be heard. Now that I am no longer not locked in on his eyes I realize that I have seen him before, furthermore although he is wear a long sleeve over shirt, I can see several tattoos peeking out from his collar, as well as his wrists. It was the new guy, the one who was rumored to have tattoos all over his body, and I can see why. I was about to ask his name but before I could even utter a word I hear the teacher call.
“Lux, could you please solve the problem on the board?”
“Yes ma’am certainly”, and the boy next to me rose, then walked to the front of the class. Over the next few days life at school got whipped up, more so than usual, all thanks to Lux. When the “popular” girls asked him out, he turned them down one by one no matter how dramatic or sudden the advance. The school clubs fought over the right to ask him to join them, but he denied all offers. Even in P.E. after seeing him the coaches feuded, but none were successful. He went against the current, he had all this talent in everything he did but he never joined, I found him most intriguing. I hadn’t spoken to him since he got here and was so incredibly rude, or so I thought at the time. After grabbing my lunch I went off to the aux. gym as I usually do. If and when I am made to go to school I look forward to this the most, it is the only time when all the noisy, loud, and obnoxious people have gone off campus for lunch. The school turns back into what it should be, a peaceful and thought filled sanctuary. A place where people could go and gain the knowledge that they seek, rather than have it thrust upon them because the majority of the inhabitants would prefer to sit and laugh at their own bodily gases. It is sad that it doesn’t stay like this often, but while it is quiet I go to my own little dwelling that I found in my sophomore year. Just in the back left corner of the aux. gym from the main entrance, at the top of the bleachers. There is a small, almost hidden hallway that contains an old closet which has been long since forgotten. Over the years I have started to decorate the place, turning it into my own little secret studio. Eagerly I walked faster, passing the library and heading up the stairs to the entrance of the aux. gym. My mind wandering off, I started to think of what I was going to work on today as I ascend up the bleachers. I open the door and shut it behind me, as if leaving the door open would spill out my secret workshop to the world. I turn to gaze at the wall I have filled with several of my own art pieces that would never see the light of day, several of which contained naked self-portraits. I find something off. There is a spot in my vision where I cannot see the wall, it is not a very large spot, being kind of long and skinny, but it is a spot none the less. It took my brain a few minutes to figure out to my horrifying experience that someone had found my sanctum and was gazing at my art pieces. My brain stopped thinking of what I was going to do and focused on what thought ‘Who is looking at naked pictures of me?’ I wanted to scream and I may have, for the world had just fallen from under me. Looking up from the ground is the tall skinny boy with tattoos all over his body, Lux.
A few minutes later the shock had faded and I was able to repair the smoldering wreckage that was my mind. Lux, who was sitting on the floor just across from me, made a small move to approach or comfort me, but soon retracted the motion seeing that I was not in a mental state to be touched. The room was silent until in a small humble voice the words ‘I'm sorry’ were emitted.
“I'm really sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude, I just happened to find this place.” Although I could tell his words were sincere they just weren’t cutting through the fog. “Your art is really cool” still nothing, he hung his head down low. “You don’t have to worry, I’m not going to tell anyone of this place - so you don’t have to worry” Finally this breaks through the clouds blocking me.
“Y-you aren’t to blame,” I croak, “I just didn’t expect anyone to ever find this place and it’s a little, embarrassing.” I stare at a nude portrait and I blush. Lux follows my gaze then his face turns red as well.
“I can understand that and I'm sorry to intrude on your privacy, I'll be leaving now.” As he get up and turns to leave I feel something strange, something that doesn’t want him to leave.
“You can stay if you want” I speak just above a whisper. I try a more put together voice, “Other than me no one has ever seen this place, so stay. I mean the worst has just happened, so for now, just sit here with me and let’s talk.” I pull up a stool from the corner and put a small pillow on it for him to sit on. Timidly he sits on the stool and looks at me, not sure of what to say. “Let’s talk about you since-” gesturing around “I think you’ve seen quite a bit of me.” I add a small chuckle at the end to lighten the mood and he laughs as well.
“Well what would you like to know?” he said, a small grin on his face. “I'm an open book,” and just like that he never left my interest.
We go back and forth for the whole lunch period talking, and even afterwards when we were in different classes we text each other back and forth. We talked about things from life views to favorite color, this went on for weeks. I started to paint a better picture of him with each and every day. He likes most music but isn’t very good at making his own, he loves books, especially ones in the thriller genre. He doesn’t know what he is going to do with his life but right now he is a small time slam poet. Making little stories that make me laugh and smile. At first I thought that my lunch time solitude would be ruined and it was, because it has been replaced with a greater feeling of closeness and trust now. I’m not even sure why but a sense of trust and comfort shrouded him, and all I wanted to do was stay inside of it, for the first time I had felt at home with another person.
The joy that I was experiencing from Lux was starting to appear in other parts of the day, and was becoming more apparent. It finally got to the point that not only my mother knew but so did Maya. On my way to school today I saw Tenebris walking, so did Maya and if she couldn't tell from the gaze I was locked in then the fact I asked if we could stop and pick him up was the tell. Afterwards she would keep shooting me half smiles, like she about everything without me even needing to say anything. At this point in my life I was feeling happiness, true joy; I had been pulled out of the dark by Lux and I never want to go back.
At lunch me and Lux were in the sanctuary just goofing off, he was reading new writings to me that made me laugh so hard my ribs felt like they explode and collapse at the same time. I showed him some new pieces that I had been working on, usually when I do some pieces I'm not sure what they’re going to be until they're at least halfway done. There was one however that it was almost finished but it felt just really off. I felt like it was missing something but that it was just escaping me, but what could that be. The piece was a boy walking down a street, which had been done in black ink. I gave up after a while. Since Lux had “moved in” we had a few new furniture pieces that we smuggled in. A small couch, I don’t even know how we got away with it, and a large beanbag chair, which currently holds its place in the corner next to me where Lux now relaxes. I glance over at him, which I have caught myself doing a lot lately, to see him deep in thought, gazing at the paper with pencil in hand. Looks like I'm not the only one with a creative block. I look back at the piece I'm having trouble with, still unsure and its getting frustrating. I focus on it and start to drift into deep thought, drifting through my mind but still it eludes me. Just as I was starting to quit again I had the faint feeling that someone was pulling me back, at first I thought that this was just my head messing with me but as the feeling got stronger I noticed a hand pulling the back of my shirt. Lux was messing with me again, but as I turned to face him and explain to him that I was having trouble, I was stopped before I could say a thing. His face was an inch, no less than that, half an inch away. His eyes looked tired with a longing as deep as a vast ocean. My heart started pounding, my mind racing with thoughts telling me to pull away, but my body was frozen stiff, I couldn’t move. After what felt like hours, the bell rung and he simply just put his forehead to mine, wrapped his arms around me with a slight whisper.
“Maybe next time I’ll have the courage.” He then silently slipped away and out the door, leaving me in my daze. The rest of the day was a blurred fog that I couldn’t remember even if I tried, his brilliance was so blinding.
The next few days went on as if nothing had happened, we both still joked and poked fun at each other, but deep down the look in his eyes with that whisper; they still make my heart pound into my throat. Its lunch time and I'm back in the sanctuary with Lux, four days have passed since Lux put his forehead to mine; he still acts like it didn’t happen. With the more thought that I had put into this the more it pointed to one thing, Lux likes me. This thought kept sending butterflies in my stomach but why? It’s not as if I like him back, is it? Anytime I think of us having fun together a small smile forms, but why? I guess in order to find out I’ll have to talk to him about it but judging from the way he’s been acting he doesn’t want to talk about it, so I have to make the first move. I look to my right as see him deep into his writing again while slumped in his chair. Although I could tell that underlining his concentration is a brimming curiosity. I scanned over his body, as that has become a habit of mine, observing the tattoos of his that were visibly peeking out from under his clothing. My favorite one that he has is a simplistic line pattern behind his left ear. It wraps around his ear smoothly, hugging closely. I wonder how many tattoos does he have? And what might I find under his clothing. Warmth spread across my face as the thought of Lux shirtless, I look away from him and my previous staring goes unnoticed. Why am I all flustered after thinking of him in such away, isn’t natural to thinking of others in ways like this? I look back at him, he hasn’t even moved. I swallow hard and with all the courage I had I got up and walked right next to where he sits. He looks up at me with those blazing blue eyes of his, analyzing my every move. Before I could start second guessing myself I sit down in his lap and match his gaze. He looks so very handsome and cute, surely it’s ok to think of him in a bare manner, and even if it isn’t, I don’t care. I kissed him, and as I pulled back to look at him, even though it was just a peck, he looked stunned, however that didn’t stop him from wrapping his arms around me. In a second that felt like an hour he kissed me back, and we sat there kissing as he held me in his arms until lunch ended.
“Just take your shirt off, you’ve already seen me naked.”
“It’s not the same, those were only pictures you drew. You can’t even tell that it’s you in them!” Lux crossing his arms in refusal, ”It’s embarrassing because of all my tattoos, people stare at me.”
I groan as he is so persistent with the idea that his markings disfigure his body, instead of highlighting its elegance.
“When I stare that I won’t be because of the tattoos, I promise.”, I hold out my pinky for him to take if he so chooses. Timidly, as hesitant as a baby deer in the forest, he takes my pinky with his own. I can’t help but smile, which happily infects across his face.
“Now paint me like one of your French girls”, says Lux with a slight giggle now that the tension is relieved.
It took much longer to sketch Lux than it did myself. Where his body was simplistic and easy to identify within a few strokes I also made sure not to include his tattoos, as I thought that he would appreciate the gesture. However the feature that gave me difficulty was his face. There is just some sort of mysticism behind his face that has left me in wonderment. I have no idea how to express his face onto the page and it looks as if it is different every time you look at it. I catch myself often hypnotized this. Although I don’t count it for much other than one of things I find interesting about him. However tonight will be the night of truth, the night that I have feared for a long time. As Maya was dropping us off she look to Lux and asked him if he would like to come over for dinner. Also that my mother insists on meeting her son’s new friend. Oh if only she knew how much more he was than just a friend.
Later that night, after getting ready and almost evacuating the contents of my stomach due to the great tension, I heard the doorbell ring. I rushed down the stairs just in time to see Maya open the door. The human form outside of the door was dressed semi-formal, with a white tie loosely anchored around his neck, over a black button up shirt as a top to a pair of worn jeans. I stood there stunned, not frozen because I could feel heat in my cheeks, but in awe. I guess the pause was not only in my head for my sister’s waving hand in front of my face is what snapped me out of my daze. When I finally returned to this section of the universe the low warmth that was on my face changed into a blazing inferno. Luckily I wasn’t the only one who felt this as I saw that Lux was also blushing. We both tried to hide this while my sister just stood there grinning from ear to ear.