“Why I Like You…”

They say high school is the best time of your life, middle school is tough (trust me, that’s no lie), and elementary school is the easiest. But for me, it wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows. Oh sure, all my classes were in the same hall and I saw the same people everyday. However, in this short amount of time, I was about to learn a lesson on a tough subject.

The 5th grade introduced me to Eric. By student definition, he was “weird,” from the Black Jeans, the well- worn Marilyn Manson shirts, the fishnet gloves, the eyeliner, the ear piercing: the works. He had a veneer of scraggly blonde hair and achingly blue – gray eyes. I thought he was cute. He was really nice, shy, and fun to talk to. We sat together at lunch everyday and talked on the phone after school. I liked him a lot.

During one of these evening conversations, Eric sounded like he wanted to tell me something. “Hey,” he began. “I know you really like me a lot, but I have to tell you something…I’m gay.” This took me by surprise, and I felt shocked and a little disappointed at the same time. A couple of awkward hours later, we got off the phone.

Sleep, however, was light years away from me. I was so confused. I had never met anybody who was gay before ,and I didn’t know what to say or how to act around someone who was. Eric was one of the coolest guys I knew, but it didn’t look like I would be getting a new boyfriend soon. And at the same time, I didn’t want him out of my life just because he was different. I racked my brain for something.

Then the lightbulb clicked on. I took a piece of paper and entitled it, “Why I Like You…” Below, I listed ten reasons why I liked Eric so much. When I got to the final reason, my pen hovered over the paper as I thought. Finally, I wrote, “I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, you’re always accepting and there for me, and that’s all that matters.”

I walked into class the next morning, ready to face Eric. He had this look on his face as if I were about to tell him we couldn’t be friends anymore. I walked up to him and handed him the note. I watched him from my desk as he read it. I waited, but he didn’t look up. As we headed to our next class, he walked up to me and, without saying a word, gave me a hug. He let go, and with a soft look and a smile, we wrapped our arms around one another’s and walked out of the room. No thank you was needed; his face said it all.

Eric and I are in now high School and are still the best of friends.

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