I am so happy to publish our first story with an LGBTQ character. Discovering who you are can be so hard but so important. This story does an excellent job at capturing that conflict. Enjoy!
His breath came out white and heavy in the cold air. It had been 12 years since he was last here, it had seemed smaller than it used to, colder and more frigid.
Elijah was born in a small town in Virginia. Most of his life was perfectly fine. He lived an average life, next to average people, with an average future. That all spiraled out of control the day he turned 14. His mother had died 1 month before, so the wound was still fresh. His dad was trying to pretend like everything was fine, but Elijah knew he was struggling. He still managed to make a birthday for him, even though he didn't want one. The birthday was fine, just like any other. They had cake and friends and presents. His dad had let him have 1 friend over for the night, so he chose Adrian. Elijah had known Adrian since he was 5 years old, they were best friends. Once the birthday party was over, they ran into his room and played video games. they got bored of that easily, so they started talking.
“Tell me a secret," Elijah asked.
“Just tell me something that you've never told anyone else,” he explained. Adrian laughed nervously.
“Okay...” he said in confidence. He clutched his chest, breathing heavily. Elijah was starting to get worried. There was a sick look on Adrian's face.
“What is it…?”
“I'm gay...” he finally manged to get out. He stared at him in silence. Elijah’s thoughts were blurred.
“O-okay” he said. “Um… when did you...how did...”
“I realized a few months ago, Elijah...”
“Um okay, I mean I'm surprised but okay. I'm fine with it.”
“Are you going to tell your dad?”
“Oh god no. You know how he is. Have you told your parents?”
“No way” He laughed “They would freak...So were okay?” Adrian asked
“Yeah we're good,” Adrian answered. Their bond was stronger than ever that day, even though he was scared. That night had awakened something in Elijah, he had never thought of questioning his sexuality before because it was so conservative where he had grown up but Adrian’s news made him think differently. A few months had passed and everything was fine. Elijah’s life had gone back to normal...or so he thought. Every night he had thought about Adrian’s news, and every night that he thought about it, the more confused he felt. He started realizing little things that he had done, without even noticing. Like they way he would let his gaze linger on Adrian, just a little too long. And how he smiled extra wide when Adrian knocked at the door. But he had also liked girls too, he was confused. He decided to call Adrian.
“Hi Adrian.” He breathed a sigh of relief. "So, I have a question.” He hoped that Adrian wasn't seeing through his “confidence” charade.
“Yeah, ask me anything.”
“Umm so ...Is there a word for someone who likes girls and boys?” he finally asked.
“Yeah , bisexual. Why do you ask?”
“I think i'm it...” Elijah said. There was a moment of silence on the other end of the phone.
“Okay… are you sure?” Asks Adrian. Elijah was starting to get angry.
“Yes i'm sure! When you told me that you were gay i was nothing but supportive to you! And now you’re asking me if i'm SURE?! I can't believe you. ”
“Wait ! No i'm sorry i just thought that--”
“Oh, well that makes it all better, you just thought. Next time be supportive okay?”
“Okay, I'm sorry, you’re right. I should be supportive. Search up LGBT okay… just trust me.”
“Ok” Elijah hung up the phone, he was angry and he certainly didn't want to do what Adrian said but he was curious to see what that was. So he turned on his computer and searched up The letters LGBT. What he saw astounded him, millions of results. He spent hours searching the internet, going through websites, blogs, news sites. Instead of anger, happiness filled him. He had absolutely no idea that there was a community of people like him and Adrian. He was stopped by his father yelling “Adrian dinner.” from downstairs.
“Coming, Dad,” he yelled back.
He shut his computer screen and hurried downstairs. Had dinner and then went to sleep, happy. The next morning he walked into school, happy, and he rode the bus back, happy. He the moment he got back home that all went away when he opened the door and his father was on the couch...on Elijah's computer.
“What is this?!”His dad asked, anger in his voice.
“What do you mean?” Elijah asked, trying to keep cool. He could tell that was not working.
“Don't you lie to me boy!” his father shouted “What are you? Gay?!”
“No dad no, I'm only bi.,” he explained
His father's eyes widened. “No son of mine has anything to do with that...THAT STUFF! Get out of my house.”
“No d-dad please” he cried. Holding back his tears.
“NOW. I don't want your filthy-- just leave!” Elijah ran up to his room, He grabbed a backpack as tears were streaming down his face he heard his father's door slam shut, shaking the whole house. He packed everything he could fit, including his money from summer jobs, He ran out of the hose and down the street. Everything was happening so fast, he couldn't comprehend what was happening. He sat down on a park bench and broke down. It felt like he was there, crying for hours. He finally started breathing again and tried to figure out what he was going to do. He pulled out his phone and called Adrian. No answer. So he called his aunt who lived in new York. She was a lot more liberal than his dad was, so he figured he could live with her.
“Hi Elijah,” his aunt answered the phone warmly, giving him a sense of relief.
“Hi aunt Marie,” he said. “I have to ask you something…” he had talked to her about everything that had happened over the last few months and she was not appearing to be mad, so Elijah was thankful for that. He finished up with “So I need a place to stay.”
“Absolutely,” his aunt answered, making him cry tears of joy. “I love you and you can stay with me as long as you would like.” Ever since then he lived with his aunt in new York, finishing high school and eventually going to college at Stanford. Now that he was back here at 26 years old, he felt a weight lifted off his shoulders. He visited his old school, old home etc. His life was so different then the one he grew up with, and he was OK with that. He sat once more on that park bench, a single tear rolling down his cheek, he had made it.
P.s for those of you wondering about Adrian, he eventually moved out of Virginia, married a man and adopted 2 children, so he’s all good.