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A Night with my Self


Struggling for five months with histrue self, he was unable to entirely accept it, even though he, deep down, always guessed; must acknowledging one’s difference be such a rocky journey? Sitting on a hard wooden bench, Nico stared into the small winter sun, deep wrinkles on his forehead due to the knitted brows over his pleading hazel eyes.

Suddenly, he heard an exasperated low-pitched exclamation. “… for Christ’s Sake, which name in that class also begins with a C? So it’s neither Christine, nor Cathy…” Susan bit her lips, looking stranded to Sarah, who was not less confused.

The bell rang. They threw their arms in the air and began moving to the broad, green oak doors, while Nico pushed himself forward at their heels. His heart pounded. Another opportunity gone by. Would he ever be able to gather enough courage to tell them?

His friends sat down behind him, exactly in front of the open door. A slight grin rushed over his face, thinking of how close they had been. He was desperate to let somebody know; reveal his true nature. However, fear upset his stomach whenever he was about to, resulting in stuck words in his desiccated throat.

“Come on, tell us who it is?” Susan folded her hands as in prayer, coaxing him with her widest smile, showing large white teeth, and tilting her head.

He sighed, his blood pressure rising abruptly. Shaking, he said: “The other class is next door, they will pass by any minute.” Turning feverishly, his friends observed the hallway, trying with teamwork to figure out every appearing girl’s name.

An awful taste built up in his mouth as he whispered without thinking: “There!”

His heart seemed to stop, silence fell all around him. In slow motion did he see them looking back at him from the three boys that had just strolled down. Someone turned up the volume again, causing a thunder to strike.

“One was Robert.” Susan clicked her fingers wildly.

“Yes, and the other’s Ben,” said Sarah, jumping up and down on her seat.

Then their eyes widened. Simultaneously, they shouted: “It’s Chris?”

Heavy rainfall is pounding against my window, withdrawing me harshly from my memories. My sixteen-year-old, red eyes stand wide open. Coming out two years ago has been one of my best decisions. It allowed me to loosen up, for trusting in friends automatically increases such relationships; it lead to finding my best friend in Susan.

I wonder why this hit me particularly tonight. With the back of my hand lying on my sweaty forehead, the thin grey blanket covering me only to my hips, I listen to the intruding tune the storm outside produces on my new window. From my tumultuous inside, a tear wanders onto the unfamiliar bed, while my gaze clings to the dull movement of the ceiling fan, spinning in rhythmic unison to the wind that pounds constantly on the outside window.

Images of Susan and Sarah appear between the fan wings, flashing at me with each blast of air. Then, for a second, I see my dad and finally…

I turn around to the wall on my left side, hiding my face in my arms. Saliva is dripping from my mouth as I start crying, heavy sobs matching the sounds surrounding me. Shadows unfold in front of my eyes until I repeatedly take in deep breaths. My mum is now in my head; she smiles and a mild scent soothes me while her refreshing hand slides over my left cheek. An exhalation pervades my ear, regenerating my broken confidence.

Again and again, I convince myself that it is the right path. Coming to Florida as an exchange student should strengthen my self-confidence and independence; simultaneously, it enables me to explore this fascinating language. My host-dads will also contribute widely to my personal development. Nevertheless, it hurts to live apart from everybody. The first night and I already ponder about giving up; unfortunately, no matter what, I must tackle this challenge, for my dad made it clear that if I accept the opportunity, I have to go through with it.

My right fist clutches the hard pillow as the determined thoughts lifts me out of my bed, sending me into the circling fan where I am catapulted into another period. I see myself as an almost 18 year old boy, in my own flat. Linoleum spreads over the floor and connects this room with a small angled corridor, leading to another empty room and a kitchen, which resembles a construction site. White light shines through the huge window, reflected by colourless walls. A mattress, covered with smooth sheets and cosy bedding for the cold December nights, functions as a couch as I watch the creature cowering at the front door.

It will be my first own home and in spite of the improvised furniture and half installed heating system, I sense a lightness there. In silence, I sit cross-legged in my room, absorbing the smell of fresh paint. A new era begins, where nobody complains about tidiness or comments on my way of living.

There is a bast fibre basket for the dog, but he did not dare to enter the room, comprehensibly. Separated merely hours from his home, he stays motionless, just lies leaning against the cold wood, his head on his forepaws. After sleeping for an hour, he gradually calms down, sighing from time to time. Since he woke up, his brown eyes focus relentlessly on me; I stare back. Suddenly, he lifts in one go from the ground, stretches his paws and tramps towards me. A whirlwind celebrates in my stomach area. Stiff as a statue, I anticipate his path. Sticking his head through the doorway, he cautiously scans both sides. I strive for him to come closer and as if listening to my thoughts, he approaches slowly, sniffing for safety. I anticipated this for ten years. Agitated, I stretch out my vibrating hand for him to take in my scent; then he tiptoes onto the mattress and drops down next to me. There, I promise to share my freedom with him.




Copyright (c) 2009 Nahno McLein. All rights reserved.