An open foe may prove a curse, but a pretended friend is worse. –John Gay
“You’re pretty, you know,” Aaron said, settling into pushup position beside me.
With shaking arms, I started my push-ups, saying nothing.
“I don’t say that to people very much,” he said. “No hard feelings about yesterday, right?”
“Go away,” I murmured.
“I like your attitude,” Aaron said.
“I don’t like yours.”
“You might get used to it.”
“I’d rather not.”
“Do you have any cats?” he asked.
I was thrown off. “Yeah. One.”
“I have three cats. One calico, two grey. Do you like cats?”
We started having an actually normal conversation. I slowly let my guard down, and his smile looked less like a predator’s moment by moment.
The loneliness that had swallowed me the first two weeks started to dissipate. He gave me his number and said I could call him, but only if I wanted to.
This kindness did not last. I was quick to learn that his polite, sweet behavior was conditional, depending on whether his friends were watching.
When I told him I was probably moving away and wouldn’t come back next year, he led the whole group in a standing ovation.
And little by little, the very loneliness that his kindnesses had chipped away at hardened and grew.
Things would only get worse from here.
Post 23 in Socially Unacceptable: The Daily Life of a Queer Schizophrenic Wreck (2022)
This is an autobiographical series about my life, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I intend to add new content daily.
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