Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Out




His eyes strayed, though he told them not to. The boys were cruel. They boasted and sauntered around, they fought and laughed. But damn, they looked so good. Jed Marquez couldn't help but gaze at the half clothed buffet of boys laid out in front of him.

"What're you looking at, faggot?" Someone shoved him up against his locker from behind, though he couldn't tell whom, and he didn't really want to look.

Jed closed his eyes as he went about his business, ignoring the occasional push or shove he received. Most of the other boys in the locker room had left by the time Jed was pulling on his shirt. Looking across the open locker room, Jed's eyes set upon Glenn Santos, a known gay in the school. Glenn had gotten picked on earlier on, right after he came out, until his older brother started threatening violence upon the jerks that were doing it. Greg Santos was the MVP for the school's basketball team, and very protective of his little brother. He graduated two years ago, but was still known to rough up guys that messed with Glenn.

The locker room was empty outside of him and Glenn, as well as a few other guys who were quickly emptying out. Each wall and half-wall of that locker room held countless rows and columns of dented green lockers. Wooden benches ran parallel to the walls all the way around the room, and there were three or four benches laid out in lines just in the center of the room. One door led off to the showers a few feet away from where Jed sat.

"... erks, eh?"

Jed snapped out of his reverie to look up at Glenn, "Huh?"

"I said those guys are jerks, eh? Are you okay?" Glenn said, offering his hand down to Jed. Jed hadn't officially come out of the closet yet, but he and Glenn had been friends for a while, and it was rather obvious that Glenn knew, along with the rest of the school.

Placing his hand in Glenn's, Jed scrambled to a stand, smiling at him winsomely, "Y-yeah."

They stood there for several minutes, smiling at each other as they held their hands. Jed suddenly realized what was happening, and drew his hand away, laughing softly. Glenn made a remark about the blush creeping over his face, and that blush reddened.


"So, those exams are gonna be tough, huh," Jed remarked as he counted the large tiles under his feet.

"Yeah, I got a lot of studying to do."

"Do you… do you want to come study at my house, after school?" Jed’s stomach was in knots as he asked that horrible question. Glenn merely smiled and nodded his head yes, and they split company.

The rest of the day, Jed was on cloud nine. He smiled at everyone, and even skipped when no one was looking. He sat at the front of every class, and answered every question with a chirp of an answer and a goofy little smile. He didn’t even mind the obligatory pushes and shoves, nor the name callings he received as he left school that day and rode the bus home.

Jed meticulously placed every hair on his head into a perfect position after showering three times. He brushed, flossed, and rinsed his teeth until the enamel was worn off, and spent twenty minutes hand picking every article of clothing he was going to wear.

He practically jumped out of his flesh when the doorbell rang, barely managing to evade tripping over every object in the house as he darted toward the front door. Composing himself and exhaling deeply, he tried to control his grin as he pulled the door open.

"Hi!" Jed greeted Glenn, his knees almost going weak as that grin lost control once again.

"Hey Jed," Glenn said, holding out the few books he brought, seemingly presenting them for view. Jed took a few of the books from his hands, even though Glenn could have easily carried the books on his own. Jed decided it might be a nice gesture.

Turning around, Jed led Glenn through the house, headed in the roundabout direction of the Marquez kitchen. As they passed through the living room, Glenn's eyes sweeped over the several dozen family pictures hung up there. Jed occasionally stopped beside a window and opened up the blinds covering it, grumbling about the lack of "natural light".

"This your family?" Glenn asked as he stopped before a large portrait hanging on the wall.

"Yeah. That's my dad, Danton, my mom Katrina, and my brother Chris," Jed said as he pointed negligently at three of the people in the family portrait.

"Who's the little girl?"

Jed laughed as he remembered that day. "That's our little cousin, Louise. We were babysitting her and she couldn't be trusted to sit still all by herself outside the studio, so we took the picture with her." Glenn laughed politely. He didn't find all that much humor in it, but he didn't want to appear rude.

They lingered in their very short sojourn toward the kitchen. Glenn asked a few more questions about Jed's family, and Jed responded kindly and asked a few about Glenn in return.

"Do you want something? Soda, maybe?" Jed asked once they arrived in the kitchen. Glenn smiled and accepted a glass of cola, their hands lingering upon each other as they exchanged the beverage. Jed blushed as he walked with Glenn toward the den.

The den was a rather dark room; that is until Jed arrived and opened the one window and turned on a light or two. Boxes of magazines and other knick knacks were stacked up against the wall, covering several dozen more family pictures, and there was one worn-in couch laying against the northern wall, with a coffee table set in front of it. It was generally used as a study, and there was one very old computer sitting on a desk on the far wall, beside a large shelf of books.

"Shall we start?" Glenn asked as they sat down close to each other on the couch.

They flirted as they studied; or rather, they studied as they flirted. Cheeks turned red, hands were touched, and knees were brushed. What began as innocent soon delved into debauchery. The tension in the room was blossoming, as Glenn finally leant toward Jed and pursed his lips. Jed's eyes fluttered closed as electricity flowed through his body like a ground wire.

"What the hell is going on here?" Someone asked in a bitterly calm voice from the doorway.

Standing at the doorway was Danton Marquez, Jed's father. His face was porcelain, and he leveled a malevolent gaze upon the two pubescent lovebirds.

"I should probably go," Glenn said. "I'll see you tomorrow, Jed."

Jed could only dumbly nod at Glenn's statement, his fearful face fixed upon his father in front of him. The lecture that followed was stern and biting. Danton was a devout, right-wing Christian, and his first instinct was to reach for the shelf of bibles and biblical literature.

"...Nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God." Danton spoke in a fervent voice, his eyes leveled upon his cowering son.

"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error," His father continued on, his voice growing in volume and malice.

And so he ended his recitation of biblical passages with one last sentence, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination."

"But why?" Jed cried out, very confused and quite upset.

Jed's father slammed the bible within his hands closed and loomed over his son, "I will not have a faggot living in my house. You are going to get over this sickness, whatever the hell it is, and you are going to do it quickly, or the Hand of God will strike you down!"

"The Hand of God made me. He loves me," Jed cried, coming to his feet and imploringly reaching his hands up toward his father.

"You don't know what you're talking about!" Danton raised the bible up and brought it down on Jed's ear, knocking Jed onto the carpet. Danton casually walked across the den to put the bible back onto the shelf, and left his son curled up on the carpet, sobbing.

A little later, after Jed finally calmed down, he decided to go back to the den. His hands shook as he drew a dictionary from the shelf, opening it up and flipping through the pages.

"Abomination, abomination," Jed ran that word through his head, frowning. He was never very good in English class, and his vocabulary wasn't exactly top notch. He finally pinned down the article he wanted with one finger, and read it.


a-bom-i-na-tion
n.

1. Abhorrence; disgust.
2. A cause of abhorrence or disgust.


Jed chewed those words in his mouth, tears coming to his eyes, "Disgust?" he cried, shoving the book out of his hands as though he were holding lit napalm. His love disgusted his father. He turned that thought over in his mind, growing more teary-eyed by the second. He cried himself to sleep that night.

School that next day was horrible for Jed. He barely looked anyone in the face, trying to conceal the black eye he held in shame. He skipped gym class in the morning so as not to have to face Jack, but to no avail, as Glenn caught Jed after school in the parking lot. Jed's pace quickened as he sought to evade Glenn, but Glenn soon caught up to him easily.

"Where were you today?" Glenn asked as he grabbed Jed's arm.

Jed turned to face Glenn, head hung low pitifully. With a startled gasp, Glenn took his friend's cheeks in his hand, lifting Jed's face up to his. Their lips found each other in an instinctive, comforting kiss, and Jed's eyes closed.

"What happened?" Glenn cooed.

"It's nothing; I accidentally walked into a door, I'm such a klutz," Jed lied, chuckling softly at his 'mistake'. Glenn laughed and pulled Jed into a hug, and Jed timidly returned that hug. They made small talk as they both walked to Glenn's home, and somewhere along that sojourn their hands found each other.

Their relationship bloomed over the weeks. Jed was beat up and picked on less and less, as word spread that he was Glenn's boyfriend, and as word also spread that Glenn's brother would visit harm upon anyone who touched Jed.

"You should go, my dad's coming home any minute," Jed said one day, kissing Glenn on the lips and scooting away from him.

"Why do you have to hide from him? What's going on?" Glenn frowned.

"I... Do you remember that day at school? My black eye?" Jed asked. Glenn was about to answer, but Jed continued on, "That wasn't because I walked into a door. My dad, he hit me the day before. After he saw you and me kiss."

"Oh Jed," Glenn reached out to hug Jed, but he was stopped.

"You really should go. I'll see you tomorrow, okay?" Jed smiled and kissed Glenn, and Glenn left.

A few weeks later, after a particularly steamy "study" session, it went further than usual. In that den that started it all, they made love. The house was empty, and Jed's father was at work 'til later that night, so they engaged in that most loving of acts. As they lay there in reverie holding each other, Jed smiled softly and tilted his head to gaze into Glenn's eyes.

"I love y--dad!"

------

"Earlier today, two young men and a middle aged man were found dead in a suburban home. Danton Marquez was the father of one of the two boys, and police reports state that he shot the two teenagers, and then turned the gun on himself. De La Salle University, where the two boys attended, and the entirety of the community, have been thrown into mourning at this senseless tragedy. Funerals are being arranged, and later th--"

"Turn off the television, ma," Chris said, interrupting the monotone drone of the news reporter. With a shaking hand, Katrina Marquez felt for the power button on the remote. When she finally managed to turn off the television, she fell across the couch and held her stomach, sobs shaking her body. Chris walked across the living room to wrap his arms around his mother, and so they held each other; a broken family.