Hitting the gym isn't really my thing. But perhaps because of my excitement to see my dear friend Victor urged me that I had to go back to his fitness center, even if it an hour away from my apartment. The trip is makes me more exhausted than the actual workout. It was only him who made it all worth it.
On my 5th visit, one thing bothered me on my way to his place. Am I slowly falling for an old friend? When we were in grade school, he was the tough guy and has always maintained that reputation. I never thought that maybe one day, he can be gay and that we would end up in each other's arms. I even forgot about him until we bumped into each other that day at the mall.
'Do you remember Mrs. Garcia?' He asked.
'She used to keep us apart because we always were the noisy ones in class.'
'And I always end up on top of her noisy list.'
How can I forget that class? It was our PE class. On the 2nd quarter, we took up Basketball. Since I was the tallest in the group, they rooted for me to be the center of the team. But I had zero interest in the sport. That's when my classmates started to suspect that I 'might be gay'.
Victor quickly defended me, saying I am not competent enough to take that position because I had asthma, which was true. People didn't believe him and the teasing didn't stop. He would always tell me not to mind them saying they were just disappointed because they saw me as the saving grace from the other class' center guy. Someone named Soriano.
I will never forget those days when he used to force me to spend time with him after class just to teach me how to dribble. When I was assigned to be the referee of the day, he showed me how to do all the signs for the violations. I didn't take them seriously thinking it was just some sort of practice.
The next day, Mrs. Garcia wrote down on my diary that I had to make-up for the failed practical test.
As my incompetency for the sport was getting a little more obvious every week, the rumors about my sexuality became worse. It was worse that they even thought I had a crush on Victor and that it was the reason why I spend most of my time with him. This sort of affected our friendship very badly. Victor started to avoid me, although he never admitted it. He would always say that he's going somewhere so we can't commute together. During lunch time, he would sit with the thugs of the class. When we were asked to group ourselves for a project, he
wouldn't join me and I would end up with the imbeciles or the rich homophobic assholes in class.
'I know this kind of late but..'
'Oh my birthday, forget it. I..'
'No, I--I wanted to apologize for, well--'
'Yeah. I mean you know how it was right?'
'I know. But I expected more from you.'
'I know. I know. I regret believing those idiots.'
Apparently, he was forced by some thug named Marco to stay away from me or he'll lose his spot in the basketball team.
'Forget it. I did.'
'Yeah, but it was a bad thing for me to do.'
'It certainly was but that was years ago. And we were just kids. Now I realize what my mom was referring to as being silly when you're a kiddie.'
Accepting his apology gave him some sort of relief, I can tell. We then moved on to other grade school stories and wondered whatever happened to the other guys in class.
'Santiago just got married.'
'No shit? When?'
'Just recently, I saw it on his Friendster.'
'Yeah, and Justin passed away.'
'Yeah I heard about that too.'
'And Carlos is now gay.'
I nearly collapsed right in front of him. Carlos Antonio is one of the scariest guys in the whole school. While he may just be 5 feet 5 inches tall, he had a group of 5th and 6th graders backing him up every time he ends up in a fight. He was a star athlete and a consistent honor student.
'I know... I had the same reaction when I heard about it.'
'But... you know that...' I gave him a stare.
'That me... I'm..'
'Gay? Yeah. You told me.'
'Huh? I didn't?'
'You did. SOrt of.'
'When was this?'
'5th floor, art room after class. We jacked off.'
'You kept staring at my dick.'
'I wasn't staring?'
'And you came first...'
I was surprised he knew all this time that I was gay.
'And you defended me from those assholes.'
'Because you were special.'
'You're my friend.'
'Seriously... how did you find out.'
He looked at the magazine rack and stared at it.
'I don't know man. I guess when you get old and look back, you just realize things were different during those years.'
'And it's much easier to find out when you've reach that point.'
'Point? What point?'