This is the second part of my novella, Believing is Seeing. Talbott’s story is heavily built on the first part, so if you did not read that storyline, you can check it out on this link.
I hated the days bleeding together. I get up every morning, avoid my parents as much as I can – I don’t need their opinion or their advices about my life, my behavior, my anything, thank you. Then I rush to school, attend all my classes, then go to after-school tutoring sessions or to sport groups – to every kind of activity my parents felt the urge to pay for. After all those programs, I go home, avoid my parents, then start everything over again the next day.
So yeah. You can say that I have everything and I am just an ungrateful little brat wining about troubles I don’t even know. Yep, that’s me. And I’m beyond the point of feeling bad about the expectations of others. Since the days stopped bleeding together. Since I finally met Gary in person.
Gary, this is what he calls himself. I don’t now why. Why would anyone as marvelous as him, an eternal apparition choose such a painfully plain and ridiculous name? I like to grumble about it, but nonetheless I know the whys. He picked that stupid name because of me. Gary was my favorite character in one of my favorite childhood TV series. He picked this name as a tribute to my best childhood memories. Even if he looks nothing like Gary in the series. Not even close.
He’s ethereal, and thus human-like with ebony-white skin dusted with golden freckles, golden eyes shining in his face, his rose-gold hair had grown past his nape and shoulders. He’s lean and muscular, and reminds me of a pale sunset. Even if it sounds stupid or unreal. He is unreal. See now? How can someone this divine be called Gary? A Gary should be an everyday guy without anything outstanding on him, but most importantly a Gary should be mortal and flawed like any regular human.
But all the same, I keep calling him Gary in the absence of anything better, even if he deserves the best possible name. But Gary was his choice, and I’m not going against it. He first entered my life when I was 5 or 6, and he stayed, and it’s the longest someone stayed with me. Others usually bolt after they get fed up with me, or when they found out about me. The only one, my nature couldn’t scare off, is my best friend, Eliza. But Eliza too started to cut herself off from my life. She got that boyfriend, you see, and some laughing stock queer guy is not the best reference in front of the boyfriend’s cool buddies.
Honestly, I’m not disappointed. She can come back to me anytime. And if she doesn’t, until she doesn’t, I’m free to spend all my free time with Gary. Eliza thinks I’m haunted by some evil spirit, but fortunately lately she doesn’t have time to worry about my mental well-being. Gary says, he to prefers less time with her, can do with less exorcism-talk.
Mentioning who stayed and who didn’t in my life, my parents too are among those who stayed. They are the ones who don’t want me to stay, but can’t do anything about me legally while I’m still underage. Maybe I should walk away, but because I like sleeping in my own bed – preferably with Gary in my arms -, I decided to stay until my twentieth birthday, till I’m coming to age.
It’s not that bad, being stuck together I mean. The thing is, I just have to endure their incessant criticism because I cannot measure up to their expectations, and because of what I am. Other than that, they don’t want anything from me, don’t want to save me, to talk me into being normal. They already accepted that I cannot be salvaged, so in the majority of times, they just let me be. They don’t talk to me, don’t ask anything from me, they don’t want anything in common with me.
But, believe me, I’m fine. Because of Gary. Gary is the goal of my every day, he is my heaven, my escape from this life. He is the one making this all bearable. No one can see or hear him, neither touch him, only me. In the beginning my parents wanted to fix me through awful medical procedures when I explained to them about him as a child. Later they accepted him as a part of my queerness. When they started to force me to shrink sessions, I learned my lesson all thanks to them, and now I keep my secret as close to my chest as possible. And I let my parents forget about my imaginary friend. Only Eliza knows about him now, but as I mentioned she’s too preoccupied to bomb me with useless advices.
Sometimes, when we are together, Gary becomes human with my touches, his body takes form, solidifies, his voice becomes detectable to human ears. He becomes a physical appearance, but just for the while we are touching. That’s the time we share kisses, or explore each others’ bodies. That is when my reality dissolves into nothingness, and only pure happiness, bliss and love remain. I love him, I don’t know how to say it otherwise. I don’t know how to make it work on the long haul, honestly I don’t have the slightest idea. But I’m unshakably sure that I want this present to continue, want everything to be possible together.
When my classes end that day, I decide to skip all my after-school programs. I want to be with Gary badly, and I know that he wants the same. His thoughts are perfectly clear in my head. Before it wasn’t easy for me to hear him in my head, but after a lot of practice, linking with his thoughts gradually became easier. Now-days, I can speak with him by thinking at him everything I want to say to him, and I know exactly when he heard me, and I get his replies on his special brain-frequency. I don’t have any better explanation, so just accept that we are some sort of supernatural radio transmitters and receivers.
So. After my classes end, I go to the back alley near the school. It is narrow, dirty and usually empty, schoolboys and girls only come here to smoke secretly, but not after school. There are a lot more interesting stuff than smoking cigarettes or joints after classes. For example, they could put their fake IDs to use in the nearby bars. I was never interested in this kind of activity. Didn’t want my parents to have to come for me to the yard, because my fake ID wasn’t good enough.
I have more simple needs: I want Gary. As I enter the back alley, his presence almost sweeps me off my feet. I reach out for him, and as soon as my fingers touch his face he starts to materialize. When his face appears, I grab him by the cheeks, pull him closer and kiss him hungrily to speed up the process. And we kiss, until black dots start to dance before me because of the lack of oxygen. Then he pulls away slightly, and I let my hands fall on his shoulders. He is taller than me, I have to lift myself onto my toes in order to reach his lips. But before I do so again, I take a good look at him.
He looks different today. He looks… plain. His hair is still rose-gold, but somewhat lost its shine, his skin is white, but not ebony, only pale, his freckles also had lost their golden hue, they are just light brown now. He wears jeans, a faded t-shirt and sneakers. Every bit of his clothes are identical to mine. In any other case I would find this endearing, but now… I’m just simply worried. He cannot loose his divinity because of me, right? Please, Gary say that you won’t… I cannot say. What I say is this,
“What happened to you?” I’m breathless due to the shock and worry.
“You don’t like it?” He asks anxious, and adds while looking down on himself. “I meant this as a surprise.”
“I am surprised, I can tell you that. But you… look like me…”
“That was what I aimed for” and he has the nerve to smirk.
“I mean… you look human.” I chocked on the words. Please, God, don’t let this be a punishment on him for liking me…
“Good” he smiles, and pulls me closer before initiating our next kiss. “I want to walk you home. I want everyone to see us. But I cannot do this looking like a shiny life-size male-doll…”
“Why?” I croak out.
“Isn’t it obvious? I can’t bear anymore the secrets you’re forced to keep. It’s unbearable seeing the others thinking of you as a freak. I want to show everyone that you are not alone.”
“No… Why would you lose the miracle you are for me?”
The bastard is laughing now.
“Oh, Talbott, you don’t understand.”
“It’s hard to understand anything when a certain someone fails to explain things to me” I grumble, and Gary continues to laugh. Then he sobers, wipes his eyes, and observes his laugh-tears for a few seconds, before deeming those less important than our conversation.
“The more time I spend with you, the more power I gain over your realm and my presence in this reality.” He explains now dead-serious. “As long as you touch me, hold my hands or simply just hold me close, I can appear as a human. Of course, I am much more than a regular human, but no one could tell what is different with me. So as long as you don’t let go, I’m yours to keep.”
A bunch of emotions flooded my heart and soul threatening to overflow in a shape of happy-tears.
“Never” I sniffed “I will never let go of you.”
“Good” he kissed away my tears which managed to escape under my lids and lashes. “Just as I hoped.”
And we kissed again. Maybe for hours. When we came apart, the Sun already started to set.
“Okay, Garry. If you walk me home, will you stay for dinner?”
“If you wish me to stay.”
“I want you to stay. Forever.”
“Then I shall stay.” It sounded like a vow, and my heart skipped a beat.
Gary grabbed my hand, laced our fingers together, and lead me out of the back-alley. Into the sunset. It was the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen. No doubt, this was the best day of my life. Nothing ever will overshadow this moment. Gary has chosen to be human for me, he has chosen to be mine.