This should be easy, right? Asking my mom for a little bit of cash, I mean. I’m basically just going out for pizza with one of my buddies from the soccer team. She doesn’t have to know anything more than that, does she? It’s totally plausible that I would be spending time with my teammates, and not have a major crush or anything. I mean, it should really be the perfect ‘cover’ when you think about it. Hanging out with another boy. It just seems like we’re friends, and that would be ok with her. If Dallas had been a girl, then she might flash me a side eye and wonder what I was up to. Like...she’d probably think we were dating or something immediately, and a heavy dose of humiliation would be sure to follow.
But, with Dallas...she’d just think we were buds. At least for now. I mean, it’s not like I’m not ever going to tell her that I’m gay. I will. One day. And I’m sure she’ll be cool with it in the long run, because she’s never been some sort of homophobic asshole or anything like it. I just...ugh...can I just keep my feelings private for right now? For a little bit longer? I don’t need her asking me awkward questions about my sexuality or attempting to make some sort of super uncomfortable conversation about life and love and society and...whatever. I have secrets, ok? Desires and passions and cravings. The kind of things that you don’t necessarily feel ‘cool’ about discussing with the woman who used to breastfeed you when you were a baby. It hardly feels right, you know?
I paced back and forth in my bedroom, practically wearing my carpet thin in my sock feet and probably working up enough static electricity to power a small city for a day...but no matter how hard I thought about it, I couldn’t seem to come up with any ideas that would allow me to beg for some extra cash, use a decent excuse to get out of the house, and still avoid even the hint of mentioning that it was for me going out on my very first date ever. It just didn’t seem possible to get any of those things to line up, so I just kept putting it off for as long as I possibly could.
More worrying. More sighing. More pacing. More static. But with zero answers.
It wasn’t until I got a text on my phone that saw a quick message from Dallas, asking if maybe I had any details about when we might want to get together after school. Shit. Now I’m literally shaking with the thoughts of everything that could go wrong here...and I haven’t even really invested any of my fearful woes into the actual date itself yet.
Ok...this should be easy. I’m going to make it easy. I’m just going to ask my mom for some money, and see if I can get it without her asking me any questions. Maybe I’ll get lucky. It’s possible, right?
“What do you need money for?” She asked me a few minutes after I found her in the kitchen. DAMMIT!!! So much for ‘luck’!
“I...well, I was thinking about...I was going to the mall. We were going to the mall. Just to hang around and stuff. And I thought I might get hungry and want to buy something. To eat, I mean. Buy something to eat. A burger...some fries...slice of pizza or something?” Did I say too much? I’m talking too much. Shut up, dude. You’re blowing it.
My mom gave me a sideways look, wondering what I was stuttering and stammering on about, but noticed that one of the pots she had on the stove was getting close to boiling over so she had to turn around and lift it while she turned the heat down. It had only been about a minute and a half since I asked her for the much needed funds, and I was already beginning to tremble beyond my ability to hide it. So when she turned back around to look at me, I just sort of froze. I almost told her to forget it and walk away before sh got the chance to ask me anything more in depth. I didn’t know she was going to get all into ‘detective mode’ on me. Geez!
“You’re going to the mall? On a school night?”
“Well, we were going to wait until the weekend, but tomorrow is just as good a night as any, right?” I said, feeling as if my breath had gone cold on me. I half expected to see puffs of smoke to start coming out with every word I spoke any minute.
“Who is we?” She asked.
“We? Did I say we?” Don’t fall apart now. This is the easiest of questions. I’m just building this up too much in my head. That’s all. There’s no reason for me to be this stressed out. “Yeah. We. Of course, I’m not going to the mall all by myself. That would be lame.” I hesitated for a second, and then I tried to sound as natural and as carefree as I could when I told her, “I was just going to hang out with one of the other guys on the soccer team. Just for fun and stuff. You know...nothing special.”
“Oh. Well, I guess that’s alright. Just don’t stay out too late, ok? You’ve got homework. You’ll need your sleep.” She did one last check on dinner, and then walked over to her purse near the table and dug around for a little bit. “You can get by with ten bucks, right? Things are going to be a little bit tight until payday.”
Ten dollars? Hmmm...I was hoping for a bit more, but I didn’t want to push it. I’m already acting suspicious enough as it is without asking for more cash than I would need to feed myself. I may not be able to pay for a meal at the sit down restaurant that I had in mind for me and Dallas...but I could definitely afford a couple of slices in the food court part of the mall and maybe a few sodas. Or a milkshake if Dallas wants one. I just want to pay, you know? I want it to be like a real date. Not just a couple of boys hanging out. So...I’ll take it.
“Thanks, Mom.” I said, relieved that this minor ordeal was finally over and done with. One problem solved. Probably one thousand more to go. At least I can say that I took a baby step in the right direction.
As soon as I hurried back to my room with the cash, I got on the phone and texted Dallas back. “Can I call you?”
All he sent me was a big smiley emoji with its tongue hanging out and a pair of throbbing hearts for eyes. Hehehe! I’ll take that as a yes! I only heard the phone ring once before he snatched it up and started giggling to himself. “Hi, Trey...”
“S’up? Are you cool to talk for a few minutes or something?”
“Yeah, of course. For you, I’m cool to talk for as long as you want. I could talk to you forever if you need me to. Or, you know...until my battery dies. Hehehe!”
“Sweet...” I said, feeling those tiny little tremors playfully bouncing around in my stomach again, just from hearing his voice and imagining the giant smile on his face. “...Say, there’s a slight change in plans for tomorrow. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Oh. Do you wanna go some other time instead?” He asked softly.
“No! No no no...we can still go out, but I was thinking that instead of the restaurant in the mall, maybe we could just go and grab a couple of pizza slices at that place in the food court instead? I mean, would that be cool? It’s totally ok if you want to do something else instead.”
“Nope! That sounds perfect to me!” He snickered, soon adding, “I’m still trying to figure out how to force myself to actually believe that any of this is actually happening. I keep trying to calm down and concentrate on something else so I can get it out of my head...but then there’s little voice in my hart that jumps up and starts screaming, ‘Omigod! I’m going on a date!’ And then I just fall back on my bed and stare at the ceiling for a while, holding onto my pillow with both arms. Hehehe, I know that sounds like I’m being a total geek and stuff, but...this is really freaking me out. In a GOOD way, though. I swear.”
“Me too...hehehe...” I said, blushing so hard that I had to get up and turn on my ceiling fan to cool off a bit. “You know...you make me soooo nervous. I just wanna do this right.”
“You are! Trust me!” He said. “I can’t stop smiling. It’s gonna be so awesome.”
“I hope so.” I said, biting my bottom lip. “Is there anything that you want me to wear, or…?”
He laughed a bit, saying, “Honestly, it would b hot if you showed up wearing nothing at all. I don’t think it’ll go over too well with mall security though.”
“Oh darn. Well, there goes that plan. Let me add that to my notes. ‘wear….clothes...’”
“It’s probably for the best.” Dallas seemed to move around a little bit, and then said, “I’m too jittery. I have to get up and move around or something. Gah! This is weird!”
“Seriously though...do you want me to dress up or anything?” I asked, already trying to put an outfit together in my mind.
“Dude, it’s the mall. We can go casual if you want. I can just throw on some black jeans and a hoodie or something. No need to be all fancy.”
“You sure?” I asked.
“Yeah. It’s cool. I just want to sit with you and talk and stuff. See you smile. Maybe try to keep from shaking myself to pieces.” Wow...Dallas so adorable that I could barely Stand it! I never thought I’d be doing this, but now that I’m pretty much in the middle of it...I kind of like it.
“Ok. And don’t worry about bringing anything. I’m gonna pay. K?”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“Yeah, I know, but...you know. I want to be a ‘gentleman’. For my special sweetheart.”
I heard Dallas let out this little high pitched whimper from his end of the phone. I think he tried to hide it from me, but it was too late for him to stop the sound from escaping the back of his throat. “Ok, wait. I need to sit down again. I’m feeling a little bit wobbly now. Hehehe!”
“You’re so cute! What did I say?” I had to remember to keep my voice down, just in case my mom walked by room and overheard what I was saying through the door.
“Everything you say is incredible, cutie pie. You just have that effect on me, I guess.” He grinned.
“Yeah? Cool. Maybe I’m doing this whole boy crush thing right after all, then.” I said.
“You’ll get no complaints from me. That’s for sure.” He said.
But...as I looked back at my bedroom door for a second time, a bothersome thought entered my mind. I don’t know why, but I felt the need to ask for clarification...just in case. “Hey, Dallas?”
“Does...well, I mean, your parents already know that you like boys, right?”
“Of course they do. I mean, it would be pretty silly to try to hide it from them at this point. How come?”
I hope this doesn’t sound weird. “Ummm...do they know about...like tomorrow? Or...or about me?”
There was a brief pause, and I was worried that I might have insulted him or something by being so timid with my ‘secret life’ or whatever. But, I guess he was just trying to figure out what I was really trying to say. “Oh, no way. I didn’t tell them anything about that. I mean, I think they’ve noticed me grinning like some kind of psycho around the house and getting all dreamy eyed, but they never asked me why or anything. So I didn’t say anything, k? Promise.”
I couldn’t help but to feel bad for putting a damper on our shared moment of fun and giggles. “I mean, it’s not like I was trying to hide or anything. I just wanted to know if you mentioned me or anything. Just so I’d know.”
“Wait...do you want me to tell them? Because I can. I was just kinda figuring that this was our thing. At least for now.”
“No. Don’t.” I blurted out. Ugh! That was rude, wasn’t it? “I didn’t mean for that to sound the way it sounded. I was just...if you told them, I kind of wanted to know.” I came clean and said, “My mom...she doesn’t know.”
“About...me.” I said. “Is that a bad thing?”
“Nah. It’s ok. I totally get it. I kinda figured that anyway.” Dallas said cheerfully. “None of us were born out of the closet. It takes time. It’s a process, you know?”
“It feels like it shouldn’t be, though. Sometimes I hate that it matters.” I said.
“I know. Been there, done that. But over time, it really becomes more of a bother to keep it secret than it is to just let it go. I know that it probably doesn’t feel like that right now...but it will one day. I know from experience.”
“I’ll take you word for it.” I said, and we were both quiet for a moment. Neither one of us spoke a single word...and yet, that little silence said soooo much. I found myself getting nervous, but I let things naturally play out, regardless. I knew he was there. I could hear him breathing. And as excited as I was getting on the inside, there was something so insanely soothing about it all. For a brief moment, I almost felt as though I was laying right there in the bed beside me. And that caused my lower regions to stir a bit as vivid pictures of what that would be like began to invade my mind, unrestricted.
“This is so cool...” Dallas grinned, being the first to say something. I’m glad it was him, because I was going to break any second.
“I feel like I’ve been searching my whole life for somebody like you, Dallas.” I sighed, and heard another little puppy dog whimper escape from him.
“Oh God, Trey...” He said, writhing around a bit on his bed before finding the ability to compose himself again. “...You make me feel so crazy sometimes, you know that? I’d almost say that it hurt to feel this way about you if it didn’t feel so good. Hehehe! There’s no way I’m going to be able to sleep tonight...waiting to see you again tomorrow.”
“Me either. I’m glad that I called. Maybe I won’t be such a mess tomorrow when I get ready for our date.”
“Wow...say it again.” Dallas giggled.
“Say what? Our date?”
“Yeah...that part. It’s music to my ears. It really is.”
It was at that extremely inopportune moment that my mom called out to me from the other end of the hall. “That’s my mom. I think dinner’s ready...so I kinda have to go.” I didn’t want her to come snooping around my door or come knocking after all.
“Sorry. Hehehe! But I’ll make up for it tomorrow.”
“M’kay.” He said again, getting more shy with his answers by the second. “I really wish you and I could just run away somewhere so it could just be the two of us for a little while.”
“Me too. Maybe someday we will.” I smiled.
Dallas fumbled for a bit, and then he said, “You know...I don’t really know how to say goodbye to you just yet.”
“Hehehe, goodbye isn’t good enough?”
“Well...I don’t wanna just be like, ‘peace out’, or whatever. But, I mean, would I sound like a psycho if I said, ‘I love you’? Too soon, maybe?”
Blushing again, I quietly told him, “I wouldn’t mind. Not if that’s...you know...how you feel.”
“Really?” He said hopefully. “I don’t know. It seems sorta quick for all that. I think I might just be a bit overwhelmed. Sorry.”
“I’m pretty sure that I’m just as overwhelmed as you are. It’s my first time too, remember?”
“Well...how do we solve this?” He asked.
Feeling a bit goofy, I said, “How about, ‘sugar bananas’?”
“Hahaha! What?!?!” It felt so good to hear him laugh out loud like that. It’s so contagious. “Trey! What the hell does that even mean?”
“C’mon...you know what it means. It’s the perfect middle ground between ‘peace out’ and ‘I love you’. Nobody can argue with ‘sugar bananas’.”
“Hehehe...you’re not wrong. Mostly because nobody’s gonna know what the hell we’re talking about.”
“Even better. That leaves the door wide open for us to say it all the time, whether other people are around or not.” I said.
“Ok. Well...sugar bananas it is then.” He grinned. “Sugar bananas, Trey.”
“Sugar bananas to you too, Dallas.” I giggled. Then I slipped in, “I think I love you too. Just for the record.”
“Ewww! WAY too soon. Friggin’ psycho. Go eat dinner already.” He teased, and we finally found a way to break our intimate connection so that we could hang up and try to deal with the rest of life until we were able to finally look into each other’s eyes again. I started getting all hyper just thinking about it, and by the time I went to sit down at the dinner table with my mom...I found it even more impossible than before to get Dallas’ cute face out of my mind. My whole body felt warm and fuzzy and full of rainbows. Seriously, if this date goes to plan...and Dallas ends up becoming my actual boyfriend...I don’t know how I’m going to be able to handle it.
How much ‘wow’ can one heart take before it bursts?
It looks like I might be finding an answer to that question much sooner than later. God help me!