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“Let’s just run away,” Connor joked around as he played some random note on the piano. I was lying down on his bed across the room. I look over at him with a crazed look.
“Don’t you think your dad would flip out?” I asked while sitting up. He just shrugged and started playing Für Elise with a couple errors in them. I couldn’t help but get up and sit beside him.
“You’re doing it wrong.”
“I am very much aware of that,” his voice had a slight mocking tone to it. I started playing the right notes, showing off. He playfully hit my arm and rolled his big blue eyes. I start messing up which caused the brunette to laugh beside me.
“So much for being Mr. Perfect,” he snickered. I stopped playing and stared at him with serious gaze as a joke, but quite convincing. He kissed my cheek and played a tune I was quite familiar with.  A smile crept up to my face. He stopped and looked over at me.
“Why aren’t you talking as much today? You’re like, out of this world right now,” he said with a confused tone in his voice. “You can tell me anything, you know?” I just nodded.
That suggestion of running away was circulating through my head. I’ve thought about it before. Running away, being free from all the restrictions in this reality that we live in. Having to not deal with this crazed town filled with people who live a normal day-to-day life. I wanted to be different. I wanted to stand out, but I knew I couldn’t. It was too much. Living in a small town and working with the same schedule everyday can drive you crazy. Connor is the only person I have and he’s the only person who could understand. I just knew we could never be together. He knew that, too.
“Earth to Quinn,” a voice interrupted my deep thinking with fingers snapping in front of my eyes. I shook my head and looked around, kind of panicking, I don’t know why. Because of that, I fell off the chair and hit my butt onto the hardwood flooring.
“Quinn!” Connor said a little too loud, extending his arm to me. I gladly took it and got up. I told him I was fine and laid back down on his bed.
“Come here, it’s comfortable.” I mumbled against his sheets, closing my eyes and let the feeling of warmth rush through me. He slowly made his way towards me and laid beside me. I looked over at him and gave him a slight smile. He smiled back and closed his eyes. This is where I want to be. This is what feels comfortable.
As I was drifting off, his door opened. We both sat up instantly as his father gave me a dirty look.
“I think it’s time for you to go home,” his father’s voice was deep, scary and frightening. I immediately got up and scurried out his room without looking back.
His father had something against guys like Connor and I. I don’t know why. I remember when we were kids and when my father was still alive, Connor’s father and my father were absolute friends. Our families always got together during Sundays. We would have barbecues on the beach, which we lived close by, we’d have parties during Christmas or New Year’s. Basically, my family and his family is one big family. Connor and I would run around, being crazy seven year olds. His father would make him play catch or some manly sport, but Connor was never having fun with that, neither did I, so we just climbed up this tree that we now called our “youth tree” because it reminded us of those good old days. To this day, we still hang out by that tree, reflecting on our days and talking about the most random stuff.
The tree is the only thing that made us feel like us. We were trapped in this whole system where everyone did the same thing every day. We never get to do what we want, we were never who we are, and we never expressed who we truly are inside. Our town has been judgemental and unaccepting to any foreign concepts. Even though it is modern day, this town has been living in the 70s for the past 4 decades. Nothing was modern in terms of attitude and judgement. I knew I had to hide who I truly am. I don’t want to get kicked out and disowned.
As I was walking past the local park, I saw couples everywhere, male and female, holding hands, watching the beautiful sunset. Imagining Connor and I, sitting by the swings, holding hands, made my hands tremble.  I couldn’t help it. I kept walking and ignored the fact that something inside me is begging to be unbounded.
• • •
It has been a couple days since I last saw Connor. He hasn’t contacted me in any way. I haven’t either. His father was unpredictable. You can never really expect something from him. I didn’t want to go back, knowing his father might just kick me out or beat me up.
The silence between him and I was bugging me. I decided to just get up and go to his house. I don’t care what his father does to me. Give me a black eye, a bruise on my stomach, I just want to see Connor.
I knocked on his front door. No answer. I rang the doorbell. No answer. I thought of every possible place they would be right now. His dad’s work place. I made my way to the junk yard, where his dad spends his time during the weekends. He never usually takes Connor with him, but I guess this time was different. I walked around the huge junk yard, filled with, of course, junk that nobody wanted. As I was walking, I heard Connor’s voice pop up.
“Do I just put it there?” I heard his voice say, along with metals clanking together. I didn’t hear anything else for a moment after that. I’m guessing his father just made a gesture. I kept my silence, not wanting to bother them. I slowly walked back, hiding more until I backed into a big piece of crumpled metal. I fell down, making a loud noise.
“Are those stupid raccoons around again?” I heard his dad say.
“I’ll go check,” Connor said as I tried to scurry out fast, but obviously, I wasn’t fast enough because the tall brunette was standing right front of me. I stood up fast.
“Hi,” I whispered quietly.
“Quinn? What are you doing here?” he didn’t even say hello. I finally examined his face. A black eye and a bruised cheek.
“Are you okay? What happened?” I asked worriedly. I was genuinely worried. Was he in a fight? He is the last person I’d ever see in a fight. Connor was a wimp. I’m not being mean, it’s just truth.
“I’m fine, just leave.”
And that’s where my heart shattered. I don’t know what has gotten into him. I know something is wrong. He never makes me leave unless it’s absolutely necessary or when he’s joking around.
“What? Why? I haven’t seen you since – “
I got cut off by his hands pushing my shoulder away from him, causing me to fall back and hit the wired fence.
“Just go!” he yelled angrily. I saw his dad at the corner of my eye with a devilish smirk on his face.
Now I know why. Why he hasn’t seen me since when I left, why he hasn’t seen me at all. His dad.
I quickly ran out of the junk yard with bruising shoulders. I didn’t remember him being that strong. It was weird. My shoulders hurt now. As soon as I got home, I laid down and re-thought everything in my life.
• • •
Days came by and I have never left my room. My feelings were extremely hurt and I didn’t know what to do. I’ve never felt this way before. I was hurt. Emotionally and physically. One of my shoulders was badly bruised. It had different shades of blue and purple, forming a circular mark, about the size of a golf ball, on my skinny shoulder.
I didn’t know what to do. I needed to get up. I’ve been laying down, being a lazy bum, all week. I got up and put pants and a shirt on. I didn’t even bother fixing my hair because I didn’t care. No one was going to see me anyways. I walked out of my room for the first time in a while. I in haled the scent and started walking towards the front door, until my furry dog starts running in front of me, tripping me, making my crash onto the cold, hard floor. I groaned in pain, accidentally hitting my bruised shoulder on the floor. I got up, one hand on my shoulder and another on my hip. This day is just starting horribly.
I made my way out of my house, the cool breeze hitting my pale body. I took a deep breath and inhaled the scent of nature. I started to walk towards the local park. There was nobody around. I loved that. Being alone outside is probably one of the best things for me. I was outside, getting some vitamins from the sun and I didn’t have to interact with anybody. The swings were old and rusty but still sturdy. I sat in one of them and slightly swung back and forth. There’s something about this that felt so relaxing.
This day just got way better.
I stayed around for a while, taking in my surroundings. As soon as I felt relaxed, I got off the swing and started walking down the street, shoving my hands in my pockets. I was looking at my feet until I heard giggles nearby. I looked up and saw Bethany, a girl who never liked me. She’s like Connor’s dad; she despises people of my kind, people with my label. But what shocked me the most was who she was with.
And it wasn’t like just friendly hang outs. They were holding hands and Beth was cuddled up to his side. I looked back down as fast as I could. They walked past me and I looked behind me, staring at their laced fingers, a single tear rolling my cheek. I look away and kept walking, not really having any destination.
How could he do that to me? Why didn’t he just tell me? Did he just play with me? Did he never like me the way I liked him? This was just insane and overwhelming. I felt like my brain was about explode and cover the whole street with my brain guts. I just didn’t know how to feel? Should I be confused? Hurt? Relieved? Relieved about what, though?
As I was walking down an unfamiliar street, I heard a loud crash. I looked up from my feet and saw two cars, collided with each other. One of the cars was horribly damaged. The guy from the not-so-damaged car got out and looked like he was in panic. No one got out of the much damaged car. As I stared at the incident, I began examining the car. It was a red Volvo with city name stickers on the back. The same red Volvo with city name stickers on the back that drove me to school with Connor when my dad wasn’t able to. Realization hit me hard like how that car hit that red Volvo. In that much damaged car was Connor’s dad.
• • •
I fixed my tie and my hair. I was wearing a black suit and tie. I put on my leather shoes and made my way down the stair, my mother standing by the door with a blank expression on her face. She was wearing a very formal black dress and a black lace headpiece. I kissed her cheek and we made our way to our car.
After a very short, yet seemingly long, quiet car ride, we finally arrived at Connor’s dad’s funeral. There wasn’t that much people, surprisingly. Everyone knew who his dad was, so having only this few people was unexpected. I looked around to see who was here, and to my surprise, I saw Connor alone, his hands shoved into is pockets and staring at the small crowd. I started walking very slowly towards him, until he turned his head around and Bethany appeared behind him. I stopped dead in my tracks as the two hugged for a very long amount of time. I turned around and closed my eyes.
Just ignore him. That’s what my inner conscience is telling me but another part of me wants to turn back around and slap him hard.
The ceremony starts and people sit and listen to the priest. I just stared at Connor and Bethany, still in shock. I guess it would take time for me to accept the fact that we will never be.
After the ceremony, I got up and walked around the secluded cemetery with a broken heart. I sat down on one of the steps that I saw and stared in silence. I didn’t know what to do nor where to be. I was deep in thought when I felt someone tap my shoulder. I looked up and saw a familiar face with tears rolling out of blue eyes. I quickly stood up and gave him a tight hug.
“Connor,” I whispered quietly, not wanting to let go.
“I’m so sorry,” he sounded genuine and compassionate.
“No, no. I should be the one saying sorry. You just lost somebody who’s very important to you.”
“I know. Thank you. But I still am sorry. I never gave you an explanation nor an apology. Did I hurt you, you know, in the junk yard?”
I nodded slowly, “But it doesn’t matter. I’m okay now,” I reassured him.
“But what about emotionally?”
I nodded again. I couldn’t lie about that. I was deeply hurt.
“I thought you were gay. . .”
“I am,” he whispered ever so quietly, “but my dad never approved. He hated guys like us. I’m not quite sure why. I think it’s religion.”
“So that’s why you’re with Bethany? A girl who hates guys like us?”
“My dad forced me. He’s making me. “
“But you’re not happy.”
“I am very much aware that wasn’t happy at the start but I needed to make my dad happy.”
I stared at him, intently, showing him how I really am feeling inside.
“But you need to make yourself happy. Don’t you want to be happy?” I asked him.
“I do, and I am. If you think we can be together because my dad just died, well you better steer your thoughts in a different way. I’m going to be with Bethany. I’m sorry.”
“This is so confusing,” I told him in disbelief, “and I thought you liked guys.”
“Well maybe I thought wrong. Maybe I was wrong. I’m sorry, I can’t have this conversation anymore.”
And with that, he walked away. As I was going to follow him, he made his way towards Bethany and hugged her tight. I froze and stared at the two. I wasn’t going to deal with this anymore. I ran away and ran home. I went through my dad’s old stuff and grabbed a lighter. I then ran to my room and went through a photo album, I slid out a photo of Connor and myself and shoved it in my pocket. I started walking towards a secluded area, where the youth tree was. I pulled out the photo and the lighter. I stared at the photo one last time as I flicked the lighter on. I slowly guided the flame towards the corner of the photograph, causing it to slowly burn. I watched the flame, slowly crawling throughout the piece of memory. I then threw it on the roots of the tree, where there was dried leaves, causing the flame to spread throughout the whole tree. I watched the tree burn, without any expression, without any feelings.
“Only fools fall for someone like you. Only fools.”

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