Tenth of December

13 10 2015

Was recommended to read this by a friend. I can definitely see the appeal of it: the writing is modern, informal most of the time. And certain stories are better than others: “Escape from Spiderhead” and “The Semplica Girl Diaries” are by far the best and most fleshed out, not to mention contain the most WTF moments.

Although I may not love the collection, it did make me feel more confident as a short story writer (as does Alice Munro). I feel like someday I’ll publish a collection of short stories too, as opposed to the “standard” novel.


Published again!

9 06 2013

A couple days ago, I got a package in the mail. I knew I hadn’t ordered anything from online since I’m not working at the moment, but the package was addressed (correctly) to me, and had my name on it, although the phone number was different. When my mom brought it to me, I told her I didn’t know what it was and we puzzled over it for a few minutes. Then she asked if I wanted to open it, and I said of course, since it was addressed to me and all.

Partway through opening, I saw that it was a book. “I didn’t order any books,” I said. And then I remembered: it’s a book that I’ve been published in! Oh yeah.

I know “Cinema Love” has already been published already in Best Gay Romance 2012 but I still find it pretty damn cool to see my name in print in a book. My mom, on the other hand, didn’t seem too impressed. Alas.

I want to thank Steve Berman for surprising me when he asked if he could include my story in the collection, which is starting to make me think that maybe people actually want to read my stuff. I think support and encouragement is probably the best thing anyone can do to a young writer.

best gay stories



Why I should keep writing

23 01 2013
Look what I got in my inbox this morning, sent from someone in Saudi Arabia:
“I am not sure whether or not you are the one who wrote the wonderful story “A Lonely Astronaut,” from the ‘Tough Times Fro Teens’ book of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. The story, however, touched my heart and soothed my soul in a very positive way.”
This is what I hope to do, and for that matter, what I believe all artists ultimately want to do– to affect other people, to bring out some sort of emotional impact in people.  It’s comments like these that encourage me to keep writing when I doubt myself.  It’s comments like these that show I’m at least doing something right.
Thank you.

Writing fiction is hard

6 10 2012

I’m very, very, very slowly typing up a fiction piece I’ve had in my head for a while.  I’ve got the main scenes plotted, by all the extraneous detail is so hard to write.  I think I just have to push myself to use and broaden my language.

Some good news: I finished reading The Hobbit today.  So good!  Super special awesome fantastic!!!  Can’t wait for the movies now.  Anyway, I should stop procrastinating and force myself to write at least another hundred words or so.

The Rat and the Desks

1 10 2012

Here is a translation of my short story, El ratón y los pupitres.

The Rat and the Desks

The worst day of the year: the first day of classes.

Between the flood of cars, kids, parents, teachers, and lots of noise, I sit in my jail for yet another year again, watching the crowds through the window.  On the blackboard, I’ve written “Mr. Lema.”  The desks in the room are dull, empty, and cold.  Slowly, students enter, talking in loud voices, laughing.  They never pay attention to me, never look at me.  When they fill the desks, I stand up.

“Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Sixth Grade.  My name is Mr. Lema,  your teacher.  We’re going to learn a ton of stuff this year.  I hope you’re all ready and excited.”

They all laugh.  I imagine that I am the joke they are laughing at.


I remember when I was a child.  I loved to learn everything — math, science, geography, music.  I was so curious about the entire world.  But when I see kids today, with their high-tech gadgets, their diverse and confusing vocabulary, their indifferent and bored faces, it’s all a reminder that these boys and girls aren’t like I was.  Enthusiasm, passion — it’s not there anymore these days.

Or maybe it never existed.


One day, the principal tells me that a new student is registering in my class.   I don’t think about this news much.  While the class arrives, I short and quiet boy, like a mouse, stands at the door.  He looks at the floor in silence.  But I can see something special in the eyes of this young boy, something shining, like a little diamond waiting to be mined.  During class, he doesn’t read, and seems afraid of everything.

The students are outside during recess.  I am sitting at my desk when I feel someone in the room.  It’s him, of course, and I smile because I see those shining gems.

For a month, during lunchtime, I help him with his studies, especially English.  I can feel the quiet passion in this little mouse, the curiosity in his constant questions.  He never tells me about his family or where he comes from.  Little by little, he talks more and more in class, better and better.

One Friday, we are in the Music Room.  He sees all the different instruments in awe.  I pick up a trumpet, my favourite instrument.

“Would you like to learn how to play this?” I ask him.  He nods, a smile on his face.

“It’s a small instrument but loud,” I say.  “I can teach you tomorrow.”


I haven’t seen him since that day.  People say his family simply left.

While the bored students arrive as usual, and the grand noise returns again, I sit at my desk and I notice the dull and flat desks in the room.  I notice that the students that fill the desks year after year, both waiting for nothing.


El ratón y los pupitres

30 09 2012

I’m taking 5 courses this semester, three of which are Creative Writing courses.  Ironically, the first story I wrote this term was for my Spanish class, in which we were to re-tell a story we read and studied in class called Cajas de carton (Cardboard Boxes) from one of the other characters.  The word limit was 200-250 words, which I found incredibly difficult to do, and when I was done my first draft, I was up to just over 450 words.  I was able to edit and cut out a bit part of my story, but it just wasn’t as good.  I debated whether or not to simply hand in the long version, since I found it to be a lot deeper than the shorter, edited version, but decided not to, in case my teacher would take off marks or whatever.

Anyway, here is the longer version that I didn’t submit.  I’ll post a translation in English tomorrow or perhaps tonight once I get through my piles upon piles of homework.

El ratón y los pupitres

El peor día del año: el primer día de clases.

Entre la inundación de carros, niños, padres, profesores, y mucho ruido, me siento en mi cárcel por el año siguiente otra vez, mirando la multitud a través de la ventana.  Suspiro.  En la pizarra, he escribido “Sr. Lema.”  Los pupitres en el aula son romos, vacíos, y fríos.  Lentamente, los estudiantes entran, hablan en voz alta, se ríen.  Nunca me prestan atención, nunca me miran.  Cuando llenan los pupitres, me pongo de pie.

“Hola, todos, y bienvenidos al grado sexto.  Me llamo Sr. Lema, su profesor.  Vamos a aprender muchísimo este año.  Espero que estén listos y excitados.”

Todo se ríen.  Me imagino que soy la broma.


Recuerdo cuando era niño.  Me encantaba aprender todo – matemáticas, ciencias, geografía, música.  Era tan curioso del mundo entero.  Pero cuando veo a niños hoy, con sus aparatos de alta tecnología, su vocabulario diverso y confuso, sus caras indiferentes y aburridas, es un recordatorio que estos chicos y chicas no son como yo era.  El entusiasmo, la pasión – no está allí estos días.

O quizás ya no exista.


Una mañana, el director me dice que un nuevo estudiante matricula en mi clase.  No pienso mucho en su noticia.  Mientras la clase llega, un muchacho bajo y tranquilo, como un ratón, está a la puerta.  Mira el suelo en el silencio.  Pero puedo ver algo especial en los ojos de este joven, algo brillante, como un poquito diamante esperando ser minado.  Durante la clase, no quiere leer, no habla inglés muy bien, y parece aterrorizado por todo.

Los estudiantes están fuera durante el recreo.  Me estoy sentando a mi escritorio cuando percibo alguien en el aula.  Es él, por supuesto, y me sonrío porque veo las joyas brillan.

Por un mes, durante el almuerzo, lo ayudo con sus estudios, particularmente inglés.  Puedo sentirme la pasión tranquila en este ratoncito, la curiosidad en sus preguntas  constantes.  Nunca me dice de su familia o de donde viene.  Dentro de poco, habla más y más en clase, mejor y mejor.

Un viernes, estamos en la sala de música.  Ve los muchos instrumentos diferentes en el temor.  Cojo una trompeta, mi instrumento favorito.

“¿Quisieras aprender a tocarla?” le pregunto.  Asiente con la cabeza, una sonrisa en su cara.  “Es un instrumento poco pero fuerte,” digo.  “Puedo enseñarte mañana.”


No lo veo después ese día.  La gente dice que su familia simplemente se fue.

Mientras los estudiantes aburridos llegan como siempre, y el gran ruido vuelve otra vez, me siento a mi escritorio y me doy cuenta de que los pupitres romos y planos, y los estudiantes que los llenarán año después ano, ambos esperan nada.

Thanks, but no thanks

18 09 2012

Got another (quick) rejection yesterday, after submitting a couple short stories to a literary journal.  I didn’t think I would get published, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to submit nonetheless, so I wasn’t very disappointed or upset that my stories didn’t get picked.  Anyway, I know my fiction writing isn’t my strongest, but I’m working on it.

Oh well.  Time to make myself fat by eating ice cream cake.  Yay!

Good Morning, Heartache (Part 5)

10 04 2012

Good Morning, Heartache (Part 5)

It’s the start of a new year.  New year also means new semester, and both Heath and Jake have full course loads at school.  Like a continuation of last year, Heath and Jake only see each other a couple times a week.  Despite this, almost every day after class, they hang out with friends in the school cafeteria, which is always fun, but there are times when Jake wants to be alone with Heath.  His insecurities tell Jake that Heath would rather spend time with him when there are other people around, diluting, in a way, their time together.  It’s difficult for Jake not to think this, and he has to tell himself that things are going okay between them.

One time, Jake mentions about fate, and Heath says, “I don’t believe in it.”

“I thought you did.  What about how we met?”

“I… I dunno about all that.”

Heath tells Jake that he’ll be gone for a week on a trip to look at some cool plants with other students.  Jake is thrilled for Heath’s opportunity, naturally, but he can’t help but feel that this is only causing a greater rift between the two of them.  So Jake asks, “Then the next time I’ll see you is next Monday?”

“Well, I’ll be back on Friday.  And there’s the weekend.”

“Yeah, but you’ll be busy with family and studying, right?”

Heath laughs.  “Yeah, I will.”

“Exactly.  So I’ll be seeing you sometime next week.”

He hopes Heath will get the hint but he doesn’t seem to.  No matter.  Just gotta keep a brave face and be confident that things are alright.

Jake decides to let Heath get in touch with him when he gets back.  Fighting every urge in his body to send a text or to call him after Friday, Jake manages to hold off.  It’s not until Sunday when Heath finally texts Jake, and even then, he seems completely unbothered that it’s been almost a week since they’ve last talked, and that he’s been home for three days and hasn’t gotten in touch with his boyfriend.

It makes Jake sad, to say the least, that he’s realized his boyfriend doesn’t need to see or talk to him very much.  What happened to the boy who said he “can”t get enough of him, to that I will testify”?  He didn’t feel important or wanted in Heath’s life.  He knew he had to talk to Heath about this.

For the past few months, Jake always found himself to be the one saying, “I love you” first before hanging up on the phone, and always the first to both telling Heath “Happy Anniversary” as well as coming up with when to see each other next.  On what would have been their 6th month anniversary, nearing the end of the semester, Jake decides again to let Heath wish him a happy anniversary.  He’s sure Heath won’t forget.

By 11pm, he hasn’t heard from Heath all day.  Jake figures Heath is super busy from upcoming school projects, exams and whatnot, but also reasons that it’s not too much to send a text to someone.  Surely, Heath must have 30 seconds or 5 minutes to send a text or to call him, right?  Just before midnight, Jake, extremely bummed out, sends Heath the requisite happy anniversary text, and goes to bed.

Jake and Heath meet at school a few days later, after classes.  Heath says he needs to go home and do work and doesn’t have time to hang out with friends in the cafeteria, but Jake can walk and talk with him at the bus stop.  At the bus stop, Jake tells him about how sad and disappointed he was about Heath’s lack of contact after his trip, and his forgetting to do or say anything about their six months together.  He hopes Heath will understand where he’s coming from.

For the first time, Jake witnesses Heath upset– upset in the slightly angry sense.  Heath, who is probably stressed out of his mind, snaps, “Well, forgive me if I was busy studying for a midterm the next day, and was running of 5 hours of sleep!”  Jake stays silent as Heath goes on.

“I know you probably think I’m making up excuses, but I’m not.  That’s just the way it happened.  Forgive me!”

Jake finally speaks up.  “When we started going out, we would celebrate our anniversaries in person, and I thought that was so great and wonderful.  Then, we got busy, and we would at least call each other on the phone or text, and I thought, ‘This isn’t as great, but I can live with it.  Just hearing from him is more than enough.  I guess this is what I should expect.’  And now…

“I know you’re busy.  I just didn’t think sending a text would require too much of  your time.  Should I be expecting this from now on, Heath?  Is this the standard I should get used to?”  Jake looks to Heath imploringly.  Heath looks away, then down at the ground.

“No, you shouldn’t get used to that.  You know I care about you.”

“Then show me!” Jake says, exasperated.  “It’s so easy to just say that– anyone can say that.  But if you do care about me, then show me.”

It’s now Heath’s turn to be silent.  “Okay.  I will show you.  I’ll come by your place this week, okay?”

Jake nods.  “Okay.”

The bus pulls up to the bus stop, and students begin climbing aboard.

“I love you.”  That’s Heath, one of the first times Jake’s heard Heath say those words first.

Of course Jake says the same.  “I love you, too.  Bye.”  They kiss before Heath gets on the bus.

He wonders.  He wonders if he was too harsh on Heath or not, if he was overreacting, but Jake, who is so in love with this boy, simply tells himself that the next couple weeks will be difficult because of the end of term.  After this semester, it’ll be summer, and things will be so much better.  It has to get better.

After the semester is finally over and summer is out, Jake’s wishes don’t exactly come true.  Although Jake is taking a few courses at school for the summer, Heath is not.  However, Heath spends more time volunteering at the botanical garden and looking for a summer job that although they get to see each other more than, say, those two weeks before end of semester, it’s still not very much.  Jake is fine with it though.  Any time he gets with Heath is great, he tells himself (not that he needs to because he knows it’s already true).

When Heath tells Jake that he’s landed a job, Jake tells him the obligatory “That’s great!  Congrats!” but  is secretly sad, only because he knows it will mean even less time with Heath.  Jake also gets a job at a local movie theatre, but still always seems to be the one who is trying to schedule time together for the two of them.  Moreover, Jake is scared that he’s no longer interesting to Heath, that Heath now thinks Jake is boring and no fun to be around, which might explain why he doesn’t make time to see Jake.  The web of insecurities continue to weave around Jake’s mind.

He decides confront Heath about all this.

On a bright, summer day, a few days before their 10 month anniversary, Jake and Heath meet at the park downtown.  They go on a long, long walk throughout the park as Jake tells him everything he’s been feeling for the past while.  Heath listens to everything without interrupting, and his expression is difficult to read.  Then, Jake has a pivotal question for Heath.

“Do you honestly think you have time for a relationship right now?”

After some silence, Heath replies, “I guess not.”

The two sit on a log and talk some more.  “When we started going out, I promised you that I wouldn’t hurt you, and I can tell this has hurt you.  I don’t want to hurt you anymore,” reasons Heath.  He puts his head on Jake’s shoulder as they sit in silence.

Unable to think, Jake says nothing.  He doesn’t feel anything, which he is aware of, and is surprised at it.  There are no tears, although he does feel sad.  Perhaps all the time away from each other has made things easier to end.  Logically, if one person in a relationship doesn’t have time for one, it should follow that that person shouldn’t be in a relationship.  Logically, things should end.

But it doesn’t feel like an ending.

On their long way along the beach at the park, Jake locks his arm in Heath’s, the way he used to do.  Heath lets him do it, and Jake can’t help but obviously still love Heath.  It doesn’t feel as if anything has changed.  The truth does not equal the reality.  It doesn’t feel over.

The next few days, Jake suprises himself by being able to not contact Heath.  He actually feels alright.  He thought it would be harder to do, but maybe he’s stronger than he thinks.  There are a few times when Jake catches himself thinking about his “husky”, but then reminds himself that he no longer has one.  At the same time, he can’t help but think Heath isn’t the type of person who would ask him back.  Unlike Jake, the romancer of romance, Heath was never too big on romance.  Sure, he used to write a poem or two to Jake and one time he gave Jake a rose, but it was never consistent, and certainly in the last few months, the only romantic thing Heath did was have romantic sex.  Still, Jake supposes there’s always a chance.

To be continued!

Good Morning, Heartache (Part 4)

9 04 2012

Good Morning, Heartache (part 4)

Things go well for a few months.  The couple spend good time together.  He won’t realize it until much later, but Jake falls for Heath more and more every day, and misses his terribly on days when they aren’t able to see each other. Then one day, things change.

It’s during a bus ride home.  Since Jake and Heath both live east, they take the same bus home to family.  On the trip home one day, Heath tells Jake there’s something important he needs to tell him.

“I don’t want you to freak out or make a big deal out of this, alright?  It doesn’t mean anything.”

Jake tries his best to remain calm.  Had Heath cheated on him?  Does he want to break up?

“Okay.  What is it?”

Heath takes a breath.  “I have this thing where I kind of get… tired?  Sick?  Those are both bad words to use, but I can only hang out with people for a certain amount of time before I want to not be around them.  It’s like filling my quota of time with them; anything more is too much, and I need some time away, and then I’m good after a while.

“I’m… I’m starting to feel that way about you.  Please, don’t panic.  It happens to everyone I know.  There are only two people I’ve ever met who are immune to this, one of them being Chihiro, and please don’t think that I don’t like being around you.  I just don’t want to not like you, you know?”

Well, what could Jake say after that?  “Alright,” he manages.  “If you feel like that, then I guess I’m okay with that.  I mean, it makes me sad, but I can’t make you hang out with me.  I understand.”

Heath takes Jake’s hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze.  “Like I said, I’m just starting to feel it, and I don’t know if it’s actually there or not, or if it will develop.  I just thought you should know.”

“Okay.  Thanks for letting me know.”

From then on, their weekly hang outs decrease.  They still see each other at school, but their actual time together goes down.  Jake, who was used to seeing Dorian once or twice a week, now feels as if he is with Dorian (or rather, Dorian’s schedule) again.  His insecurity floats around in his head, telling him he’s not worth Heath’s time, and that Heath just doesn’t want to be around Jake much.  Jake figures the best thing to do is to be honest, as he considers their relationship to be an honest one.

Jake invites Heath over to his house one night.  He tells Heath he has something he wants to talk to him about.  The two sit down on the leather couch in Jake’s living room.  Heath looks concerned.

“I don’t know where to start, so I’ll just tell you about Dorian.”

Jake explains his complicated relationship with Dorian, and how dating him made him feel distanced and not like a boyfriend, and how he really didn’t want that to happen with Heath, whom he considered to be so wonderful.

Heath nods every now and then.  When Jake is finished, Heath says, “I had no idea.  I’m sorry I did that to you.”  And he leans in to hug Jake tightly and give him a kiss.

“I’ll make it right.”

Jake believes him.  Or he really hopes Heath means it.

Things do sort of get better, if not, they at least they don’t get worse.  Heath invites Jake to have a sleepover at the botanical garden where he volunteers, which is nice.  Jake and Heath still do see each other, but like his relationship with Dorian, Heath is super into his schoolwork and many days, he goes straight home to work on things or to be with family.  Jake, an understanding and patient guy, figures that it’s good for Heath to concentrate on his schoolwork.  After all, they’d get lots of time together after the semester was over.

It’s December, and school is out for the winter.  It’s also the month of Jake’s birthday.  For the past few Decembers, Jake has been working at a concession stand in a large park in the city.  He, along with several others, prepares and sells hot dogs, hot chocolate, cider, and other goodies to guests who come to see the park all dressed up in lights.  It makes for a nice (but chilly) date, since the light show is only open at night.

Remember Heath’s friend Mozilla?  Well, she happens to work inside the park’s restaurant, and for the winter light show, she also works outside with Jake.  Mozilla and Jake were never super close, but he confides in her about something he’s planning.

“Heath and I are going to come by the park this weekend, just after my birthday.”

“That’s so nice!  You guys are gonna really like it.”

“I think so too.”

After walking around for about an hour in the multi-colored, light-filled park and weaving through loud groups of families (and hence, loud children), Jake suggests they find a quiet place to sit down.  The two find a sign that leads them up a small hill and to a bench.  The bench overlooks most of the park, and is out of the way enough to actually be quiet.

Heath and Jake sit down on the frozen bench.

“Thanks for bringing me here,” Heath says.

“You’re welcome.  I really wanted to come here with you.  Heath, there’s something I want to tell you.”

Heath is silent as Jake struggles to cough up the words.  They are stuck in his throat.

“I… um, I…”

Jake looks down at all the people milling around the park, at the randomness of life, and how, for two people to be together on a winter night like him and Heath, there must be some sort of organization, something more than mere luck or chance.  There had to be a reason Jake is with someone as good as Heath.  Good things just don’t happen to Jake like this.  And in that moment, Jake decides that he will be thankful every day for having such a person in his life by telling him how much he means.

“I love you, Heath.”

Heath takes Jake’s hand.  “Aww.  I love you, too.”

Heath then starts talking about something funny that happened to Mozilla in the restaurant last week, when he suddenly stops.  There are tears in Jake’s eyes.

“Are you crying?”

“Yes… but they’re happy tears!  It’s okay.  I’m just… I’m just really happy that you said it back to me because I was honestly not sure.  I’m never sure about this like this.  And I’ve never said it to anyone out loud before.  Now that I hear you say it back… I know I can be sure, because you love me too.”

Heath and Jake kiss among the thousands of lights in the park.

To be continued!

Good Morning, Heartache (Part 3)

8 04 2012

Good Morning, Heartache (Part 3)

Their second date goes a little differently.

A few days after their milkshake date, Jake asks if Heath would like to hang out again.  Heath says yes, which excites Jake.  Jake invites Heath over to his place after class later that week to watch a movie, and Heath agrees.  Let phase 2 of seduction begin.

It’s a rainy day, perfect for a nice, quiet stay-in.  Heath and Jake arrive at Jake’s house.  Fortunately, Jake’s mother is out at work and won’t be home for several hours, so the boys have the place to themselves.  After grabbing some snacks and relieving themselves, the two head in Jake’s small room, where Jake prepares to set up a movie on his laptop.  Using his two pillows as backrests, Jake turns his bed into a mini-theatre, turning the laptop on his desk 90 degrees so that it faces the bed.

“We’re gonna be sitting on the bed, by the way, so if you want to get comfy while I get the movie up and running, go ahead.”

“Sure thing.”

Heath begins to take off his jacket and sweater.  It’s Jake’s chance.

“Oh, I almost forgot to mention, I have a rule about sitting on my bed: no outside pants.  If you want, you can either use my sweatpants, or else, like me, you’ll have to sit in your underwear.”

Jake does his best to sound normal and uncreepy, but Heath still gives him a weird look. After a few seconds of deliberating, Heath agrees.

“Fine.”  And with that, Heath shucks off his skinny black jeans to reveal a pair of briefs and hairy legs.

Jake tries not to notice, but smiles.  He also takes off his jeans and shows Heath his boxers.  The two get on settled on the bed, their bare legs touching each other.

They watch a fairly forgettable gay-themed movie.  All the while, Jake and Heath’s hands, under the covers, find their way to the other’s legs, but aside from some brushing, it’s all PG-13.  After the movie, Jake tells Heath, “Hey, you were in my dream last night.”

“Oh really?  What happened?”

“Well, I think it’s better if I show you.  Follow me.”

Jake takes Heath by the hand and leads him to the kitchen, beside the fridge.

“Okay.  Now put your arms around me.”

Heath is surprisingly not confused or alarmed, and put his hands on Jake’s shoulders, which makes Jake laugh.

“What?” demands Heath.

“In my dream, we were standing next to a fridge.  I asked you to put your arms around me, and you ended up somehow putting your hands around my neck, like your were strangling me.  I just wanted to see how you’d do it.”

“Oh, haha.”

“And by the way, your arms aren’t around me.  Here.”  Jake re-positions Heath’s arms so that they go around his neck.  In turn, Jake puts his arms around Heath’s waist, bringing the two even closer– kissing distance.

They stand there, in their underwear, nonetheless, for several seconds in silence.   Finally, Heath breaks it.

“Are you gonna kiss me or not?”

Jake laughs again, and then leans in, but hugs Heath closely.  “I’m afraid to kiss you because of what it will mean.  I like you a lot, but I don’t want to get in anything with someone who isn’t out to his family, you know?”


When they pull back, Heath stares right into Jake’s eyes.  “I’m planning on coming out to them this weekend.”

“It’s not because of me, is it?  I don’t want you to feel pressured because of me.  I want you to do it on your own terms, when it feels right to you.”

“It feels right to me.”

“Okay.  I’m glad.”

“Now will you kiss me?”

Jake grins and kisses the handsome boy.  Their tongues explore each other’s mouths, and it feels so natural.  When they part, Jake inquires, “That was your first kiss, right?”

Heath nods and asks, “How is my kissing?  Is it good?  Am I doing it wrong?”

“No, no!  You’re actually really good.”  They kiss again, pulling each other closer.

When they finally stop to breathe, Jake and Heath touch and rub their noses together.  It’s a gesture the two will do a lot from now on.

“There’s one more thing I wanted to do with you today.”

“Another one?”

Jake leads Heath back into the living room.  “Wait here.”  While Heath stands in the middle of the room, surveying it and wondering what the hell this guy could possibly be up to, Jake returns from his bedroom with a stereo.  He plugs it into a nearby outlet and presses play.

Chet Baker’s sweet trumpet fills the room as Jake smiles to Heath and extends his hand, asking for a dance.  Heath takes Jake’s outstretched hand, and the two slow-dance in a circle, noses pressed together, underwear and obvious hard-ons pressed together.  At one point, Jake changes position and puts his arms around Heath from behind.  With his eyes closed in what could only be happiness, Heath reaches up and touches Jake’s head, cradled in the nook of Heath’s shoulder.  Even Jake’s cat joins in, meowing at them nearby, either jealous from not getting attention or cheering them on.

They dance for the entire length of the CD, swaying slowly and holding each other closely.

And so it began.  The relationship between Heath and Jake.

For the first month, it’s everything Jake wished for come true.  Seeing this boy he has such strong emotions for several times a week (as opposed to once or twice in the case of Dorian). During breaks at school, Heath and Jake would walk over to the nearby elementary school playground and make out, and just be generally goofy around each other.  How strange and thrilling it was for Jake to be kissing someone in public like that.  One day, while at the playground, Heath asks Jake, “What’s your favourite animal?”  Jake ponders this while hanging upside down on the monkey bars, and finally replies, “Penguin, probably.  Why?”

“Different animals are supposed to symbolize different things.  For example, my favourite animal is the husky, the dog, which means I’m hardworking and I like a good belly rub.”

“Husky… yeah, I can see that.  You don’t look anything like a husky, but you sure are warm.”

“Oh, you,” Heath says.  “Anyway, a penguin would represent… a braveness against hostile conditions?  Or maybe inability to fly?”

“Or lack of knees?  A love to barf up chewed food and shove it down someone else’s throat?”  Jake jumps down from the monkey bars and waddles over, penguin-style, to Heath, who laughs.  When he gets to Heath, Jake makes barfing sounds, as if about to hurl on Heath.

“I’m all full from lunch, but how about a kiss instead, pingu?”

“Coming right up, musky husky.”

On the 22nd of the month, while Jake and Heath are walking together after class, Jake brings up a question he’s been thinking about for several weeks.

“So… um, what would you say our relationship status is?”

Heath seems unfazed.  “I’d say we’re going out.”

“Oookay… well, would you then say I’m your boyfriend?”

“Um, yeah.  Would you say that I’m your boyfriend?”


“Great.  We’re boyfriends, then.”

Heath looks over at Jake, who exhales.  “You’ve been thinking about that a lot, haven’t you?”

“What?  Me?  Maybe.”

Heath takes Jake’s hand as they walk down the street, newly christened boyfriends.

On another day, Jake even tells Heath one day while walking together, “You know, this is really weird, being around you so much.  I mean, it’s really good, it’s really nice!  But I guess I’m not used to it, but now that I see what I’ve been missing out on, it feels really good.”  Heath smiles and takes Jake’s hand as they walk.

They would go to the local community center pool, where loads of splashing, playing water tag, aiding each other achieve underwater handstands, and one time, diving off the high dive, despite Jake’s apprehension to do so.

Heath brings Jake to the botanical garden where he volunteers.  He shows Jake excitedly all the plants and species, and although Jake is a simple greeting card writer, he is thoroughly interested, even if he appears otherwise.  For example, when checking out the perrenials,

When hanging out after school, Jake would joke and tease Heath about his lack of compassion for the general human race, and his unexpressiveness whenever Jake tries to be romantic to him, usually by way of cheesy lines (“You’re a tasty stud muffin”, and Heath would roll his eyes) or cheesy lyrics (“You are my fire, the one desire”, and Heath would send a text saying how he rolled his eyes).  Because of this, it becomes an ongoing joke about how Heath has no heart, to which Heath says otherwise.

“Do you believe in fate?” Jake asks Heath one day, lying in bed together one day.

“Not really.  Why?  Do you?”

Jake chuckles.  “You’re gonna think I’m totally bizarro, but here’s what I figured out.  I wouldn’t have met you if I hadn’t met Romulus, and I wouldn’t have met Romulus if I didn’t meet him at the afterparty at the Greeting Card-a-puhlooza, and I wouldn’t have been in the expo if I hadn’t written that greeting card about my ex, and I wouldn’t have written that greeting card if we hadn’t broken up, and we wouldn’t have broken up if I hadn’t have met him, so… what I’m trying to say is, do you think it’s a coincidence that me meeting you again was by chance?  ‘Cause it seems awfully connected, all these events.”

Heath takes a minute to digest this.  “Well, I don’t know what to say.  I suppose it’s possible that fate brought us together, but… hmm.  No, I guess you’re right.”

“What?  Why?”

Heath shuffles himself closer to Jake.  “Because it can’t just be a coincidence that I found someone so wonderful.”  And with that, they kiss.

A week before their first month anniversary, Heath keeps saying how excited he is to give Jake a present.  This makes Jake happy, since he’s never really gotten romance gifts before.  Heath comes over to Jake’s place one day with a piece of paper tied to a penguin plushie.  He hands it over to Jake and sits on the bed, grinning.  Jake thanks Heath for the present, then reads the paper.

I came across a boy
and he is called Jake.
He isn’t jacket,
and he isn’t a rake.

He’s but a director,
musician and writer.
Rather creative
but not much of a fighter.

He’s sweet and he’s charming,
and a hell of a tease,
and he keeps me begging
“Oh please, do me, please!”

It was rather strange,
the conditions of how we met,

But I know we’re together
because it’s our fate.

I know that I’m lucky
to be with such a guy.
I can’t get enough of him,
to that I will testify.

I hope that this proves
that in me lies a heart,
and if you agree,
then please, kiss me hard.

The second Jake finishes the last word, he looks up at Heath, then practically jumps on him, kissing him ferociously, and pulling him in close.

“I take it that means I have a heart now?” Heath manages after they finally stop making out, minutes later.

“Yes.  Yes, you do.  Although ‘fate’ and ‘met” don’t rhyme.  But I still love it.  Thank you, Heath.”  Jake smiles, and he leans in to kiss this wonderful boy with a heart some more.

And that’s how you show someone you care for them.

To be continued!