12 July 2008

A friend of mine brought some eye drops round to my house that he'd got while he was at university. He said if you put a drop in each eye you'd see something you'd never seen before. He said I should have a go. I never really enjoyed putting drops onto my eye, but I suppose no one does, and I wasn't terrified of it like some people, so I thought I'd do it. Nothing happened at first. I asked why my friend didn't put any drops in his eyes, and he said it was because he absolutely hated it and doing it was the worst thing he'd ever done. I asked why he made me do it then, it didn't really seem like that was good behaviour, even if it didn't seem to do anything, and he starts saying something about how he thought it was a good idea but before he's finished I'm somewhere else. I'm watching Stephen walking to the shop to buy a drink. I know he's called Stephen and where he is going because I know everything he knows.

Stephen had his headphones on when he saw someone he knew walking towards him. This person wasn't one of his closest friends, but he'd definitely have to take his headphones off and talk to him for at least a moment.


There were smiles.

"Hey Steve, how's it going?" said his friend. I don't know his friend's name because Stephen didn't think about it the entire time. I do know that Stephen didn't really have an opinion on whether people called him Stephen or Steve, or even if they wrote his name down as Steven. This is not to say that Stephen is an exceptionally laid back character who drifts through the days with a blasé attitude and cool exterior. In fact right now he was feeling acutely awkward and self-conscious. Stephen has recently 'come out' as a homosexual. I know this because this is all he is thinking about right now. He thinks he didn't do it very well. He told his best friend, and then a week or so later, he told a couple more of his friends. A few days later another friend of his had asked him if he was actually gay. Stephen had said yes he was gay. He said this because he was gay. Stephen didn't particularly like telling people he was gay. He wasn't ashamed or shy about it, it just never really seemed like there was a particularly good time to say it. And upon finding out that someone had known without him personally telling him, Stephen felt he had probably 'come out' enough. Part of him would have liked a dramatic event featuring everyone he knew, where he was forced to scream out his true sexual alignment, but this had never happened. And now that some people knew he was homosexual, it wouldn't be as good as it could have been.

"What can you see?"

It is my asshole friend. He is talking to me. I think I say "Stephen," back. It isn't a very good thing to say, but it is the only thing that seems relevant. I don't know if I say it or not, because I don't hear anything, and I'm not aware of my mouth moving, because right now I do not have a mouth. He doesn't say anything back.

The problem with Stephen's method of coming out was that, apart from the four people he had told, and the one person who asked, he didn't know who knew he was gay, and everyone who had heard didn't know if he was actually gay, or if it was just a lie. Stephen looks at his friend and thinks that he knows that he is gay. But what can he do? He can't just confirm that he is, truly, gay, when no one has asked. That would be even worse than saying it normally. For a moment Stephen thinks that the ball is in his friend's court. But then he realises that if his friend has heard that he is gay, him asking something along the lines of "So. Gay, huh?" would be even worse than him confirming. So, predictably, nothing about Stephen being gay is mentioned in the whole conversation. When Stephen gets to the shop he wants to buy a Cherry Coke, but then he thinks that might be the gayest drink in the shop, so he just buys a regular.

When I can see out of my own eyes again, my friend has gone and the next morning there is a photo of me looking like a vacant idiot on Facebook.

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