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Life Vicariously

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Dear god it is four in the morning and I have school tomorrow. Miraculously so, I do not care. I would honestly rather be a zombie in school tomorrow from doing what I love until the wee hours of the morning than get the “needed” amount of sleep for a teenager. It is not as if the school in this tiny Podunk town actually challenges me, even when I’m on the “honor roll.” It is this exact fact that has led me to discover my one true teenage passion: online role playing.
No not like the kind you do in the bedroom because you wish to spice up your sex life (like I would actually know about that), more like the kind that has me playing the smooth and cynical werewolf, Reginald Lupinemoore, as I can feel the sun tickle the horizon. Though most of my friends do not really understand it, it is quite a simple pastime. I create a character according to the rules of whichever “game” I wish to join and I choose a celebrity to represent my character (mine is Jake Gyllenhall when he was in Donnie Darko). After my character is created, I start a scenario between my character and another. To do this I simply write from the perspective of my character with enough action to keep things going.
I discovered this underappreciated pastime when I first discovered I was gay. Well actually, porn came first, this came second (not sure if the pun is intended or not). When I figured this out, I had no intention of telling anyone. I was thirteen and in middle school in a backwoods Adirondack town just large enough to have its own school. It simply was not practical to have a big gay coming out party when my peers thought that girls liking boys was still a rather strange concept. So I hid comfortably in my closet while I spent late nights on the computer developing my sexual appetite and my Internet writing style (due to these two habits I have been “18” since 8th grade).
Besides being able to explore my sexuality through characters more magnificent than myself, I found great solace in living my life vicariously through the various werewolves, vampires, cops, superheroes, magicians, etc. that I have played in the past few years. I have been able to keep my sanity through my online role playing. It detracted from the blahs of rural New York and supplied enough fake romance to tide me off until now, my junior year. It even did so well as to distract me so much that after my first semester as a freshman, I really stopped even noticing boys at my school.
My system of role playing and left hand love was working just fine until this year when a new kid arrived at our humble little school.

His name is John Huerta. He and his parents moved here because they are here to convert the town’s local convenience stores to some big name franchise that I do not really care about. Well I mean, I kind of do, anything having to do with John makes my shriveled little heart skip a beat, despite the fact that I promised myself from the day I came out (April 5 of freshman year) that I would never develop a crush on a guy at school. I had no desire to provoke any homophobic response from a Neanderthal just waiting to scream “f****t” at the top of his lungs and punch my face in. This all changed with John. From the moment I saw him walk in to math class my mind started seeing the two of us in “shonenai vision” (shonenai is Japanese for boys in love). I immediately imagined a scenario where he angers me with an admittedly funny and harmless gay joke, we get in to a fight, and right before we come to blows we embrace each other in a kiss. Japanese comics are weird like that.
I thank god my Algebra II class moves at a snail’s pace, or the constant distraction of John would have lowered my grade below an A. John and I immediately clicked from the day we were put together at a table with my friend Delilah. Neither of us even bothered to listen to our poor teacher go over the syllabus in painful detail. I was enthralled by the fact that someone else in this freaking school knew about 4chan or for that matter anything interesting on the Internet.
I floated out of my first math class of the year with a gigantic grin and a large raised eyebrow from Delilah.
“You certainly had a good time today” she said with a cynical little chuckle. First I turned to her with a goofy smile and was about to say, “why yes, I did,” but I recovered and said,
“Of course I did. You know how much I love a good syllabus.”
“Oh shut your sarcastic sassy mouth. You were drooling over that new kid, John.”
“I was not! I simply had an enlightened discussion with him about memes. We made plans to work on a ‘trolling science’ comic sometime this year.”
“So you set up a nerd date?” Delilah persisted.
“Yes, and we are going to have TONS of butt sex, because, ya know, I actually like someone, and they are conveniently gay despite all odds. Yep, Lilah, as usual you know the complete workings of the universe.”
“Well, he was looking at you too, that’s why I asked,” she said with a smirk.
“Really?!” I squeaked.
“Hah, got you! I knew you were crushing on him like some silly little schoolgirl. Who are you and WHAT have you done with Ray, my equally jaded best friend?”
“Lilah, do NOT pull that s*** with me.”
“What did I hurt your feelings? Is it that time of the month, Ray?” Delilah hissed with a cold hearted chuckle.
“I’ll see you at lunch,” I replied curtly while turning from her to go to my AP English class. I did not actually see her at lunch; I had brought lunch that day and I had no intention of seeing Delilah again. She knew that I never even bothered with romantic ideas, and even though the thought of me having a change of heart might have been odd to her, I hoped I might be able to gush to my best friend about my new and unexpected crush.
I drove home dejectedly in my old rusted pickup truck that my parents had kept as an incentive for me to get my license. I would have gotten my license anyway, but it was nice to have had a car waiting for me after acing my road test on the first try. It was really nice to be able to drive out to a movie theatre with Delilah and get a break from the monotony of rural Adirondack New York every once in a while. The flashing lights of the theatre were almost able to wash away how much I burned to leave town and go to college already.
I do not know whether it was Delilah’s teasing words or my own defenses putting themselves up subconsciously, but I felt a great need to log on to my favorite role playing game after getting home and start a thread with someone. My character currently had no love interest and I felt it was high time my lonely werewolf got himself a boy, maybe the doleful ghost that Reg had had his eye on for quite some time. Before I went to start something with Reg’s would-be Casper lover, I noticed that my funny little community of supernatural teenagers had a new member in its midst. He was a European Necromancer (a wizard who plays with dead things) played by Daniel Radcliffe. I chuckled and thought to myself, “Oh god not another Goth kid who wants to get his morbid kicks through this game.” I noticed a message pop up in my inbox. It was from our mysterious new necrophilious Harry Potter.
It said: “Hey, I’m new and I noticed you had some pretty good stuff here, would you wanna start a thread between my character and yours? I’m sure Crow could keep Reg entertained ; )”. I scoffed, but my interest was piqued. Most newbies were not so outgoing.
“Sure, you start and I’ll comment” I replied. Five minutes after sending the message I saw the post pop up on the community’s homepage. The rest of that night was fun. Crow and Reg certainly hit it off. They had lots of things in common and Crow was quite the gentleman to Reg. He even formed a rose out of dead leaves for Reg to take back to his dorm. Right before Reg turned around to go back to the werewolf dorm on the campus for the supernatural high school kids, Crow grabbed Reg’s hand and kissed him. After they were done Crow said,
“Sorry, I’ve wanted to do that since you started talking about Poe. Also I’d like to continue this some other time, how about Friday?” Reg simply sputtered a yes and floated back to his dorm. He cursed himself afterward for being charmed so easily by a boy who plays with corpses.
I do not know if it was the flighty mood I was in from my new crush or some odd surge of hormones, but Reg was not the only one charmed by Crow’s mysterious yet gentlemanly demeanor. I had a slight crush on a fictional character. Two crushes in one day: this did not bode well. My final keystroke of the first of many fictional conversations with the charming necromancer set the structure for the greater part of my year: go to school, go to math class, goof off with John, go home, do homework and then go on the computer and nurture the budding romance between Reg and Crow.
The tale of Reg and Crow was truly a romance for the ages. They hit it off on their first date and after a few more Crow asked Reg to “go steady with him.” Reg giggled and squeaked a “yes” immediately. Soon the whole campus was talking about the odd pairing of the pale, charming necromancer and the surprisingly trim werewolf who could be seen together wherever they went on campus. Reg always kept the charmed rose that Crow had made for him the first time they met with him at all times—
OK, I cannot type that anymore. At first I thought it was funny, but it is just too much, no matter how much sarcasm I lace it with. I swear to god I gagged a little. Anyhow, I would never have let something as mushy gushy as that happen with my character. To be completely honest, I would have let that happen when I was new to roleplaying and all I wanted was a nice fluffy romance. Now I do not know about you, but I like a good story. Not to say that all fluff is terrible writing, but it often leads to compromising truly good writing for the crowd pleasing “Aw look at how cute and caring they’re being!” style of writing. This is why I had Reg, though he skipped playing hard to get due to a lapse in judgment, be fashionably late to the first date. This is also why I had Reg make himself scarce whenever he saw Crow walking his way. If Reg skipped playing hard to get, he could at least play at simply being incredibly difficult. Crow did not seem to mind. If anything he seemed to enjoy the silly games that Reg played.
After a few hard-earned dates, Crow did ask Reg to be his boyfriend, but thankfully not in the nauseating “Leave it to Beaver” fashion. It was more like something out of a Tim Burton movie.
One afternoon when Reg was playing his usual impromptu game of hide and seek with Crow, a skeleton very suddenly popped up in front of Reg. At the time, Reg was hiding under a large tree. Reg let out a slightly uncharacteristic, puppy-like yelp before regaining his composure and very coolly demanding, “What. The f***.”
“I knew I’d never be able to catch you in person to ask this, so I decided to use what I do best to give me an edge,” the skeleton said in Crow’s voice.
“Oh, fine. What is it, you corpse-shagger?” Reg asked while crossing his arms and growling in a lupine manner. Reg was actually quite excited, but he did not dare smile. What was the fun in that?
“I want you to be my boyfriend,” the skeleton said simply. Before Reg could get out a word, the skeleton disappeared in a large puff of smoke and in its place was Crow, holding out a rose similar to the one he had given Reg the first time they met. This one was different, though. It was completely black, rather thorny, and crackling with blue sparks of magic. Even Reg had to admit it was quite a beautiful sight to behold. “So what do you say, Reg? Don’t try and hide. I’ve figured out how to find you easily now,” Crow said with a crooked smile.
“I mean, I guess,” Reg said, continuing to try and keep up his front of indifference. Crow just smiled and went in to hug Reg. Reg did not protest, but it took him a while to reciprocate.
While all this nonsense went on during the year, I also forged an amazing friendship with John. We hung out at least twice every week. We either did homework or went on /b/ (for the Internet illiterate, /b/ is a message board on 4chan that just has random weird things on it) and trolled like it was no one’s business. Unlike Reg, I was a little more susceptible to the boy I was courting. I continued to develop a huge crush on John. Who could help it? Here I was, hanging out with this gorgeous (and when I say gorgeous I mean Enrique Iglesias pretty), hilarious, intelligent, and refreshingly caring boy.
Despite being head over heels, I was careful. I never once mentioned being gay to John. I did not really think it mattered to him, and I felt no need to tell him. We talked about so many other things and had so much fun; I just never felt the need to bring it up. I took great care to keep myself from ogling him when we hung out.: no better way to alienate a friend than have him catch you with your mouth wide open while staring glassy eyed at his a**.
We often passed notes in math to keep ourselves entertained. It was usually just about some funny meme we saw on /b/ the night before. One day I got a note asking me,
“Hey, Ray, can I talk to you before class tomorrow?”
“Yeah sure, is everything OK?” I responded.
“Yeah, everything’s fine. I just have something I want to ask you” John wrote back. I did not ask any further questions. I was afraid that if I started to get inquisitive I might give myself away or something.
I got home that day and did my small amount of homework and then went online. After I finished browsing Facebook, I noticed that Crow had started a new thread and was waiting for Reg (me) to leave a comment to start it off. It was a simple thread, really; Crow was just waiting for Reg outside of Reg’s dorm room. He wanted to hang out with Reg and do some math homework. For a while they did exactly that, but after they were done Crow wanted to cuddle on Reg’s bed. Reg always joked and said something along the lines of “you must think I’ve gone soft or something,” but he always laid right next to Crow and kissed him. Reg was starting to drift off to sleep when Crow softly whispered something in to Reg’s ear.
“Will you go to prom with me?” Crow asked.
“What?” Reg mumbled while rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He knew exactly what Crow had asked, but he was not sure if Crow was serious or not.
“I checked school rules. There is nothing against a same sex couple attending prom,” Crow continued.
As I had learned from role playing with Crow’s player over the past few months, he/she was very clever and had a high regard for continuity. He/she must have contacted the community’s moderator and asked about the “school rules.” I was thoroughly impressed.
“Not fair. I am entirely more likely to say yes when I’m sleepy and cannot think clearly,” Reg chuckled.
“I would have waited another day, but I was sure you would say no if I asked you on Valentine’s Day. I knew that date would be entirely too cliché for your liking,” Crow whispered huskily with a handsome smirk. Reg could not help but crack a smile at that. Even if he were not that much of a romantic, Reg’s heart was certainly warmed by how well the boy knew him. Crow was right too, if he asked Reg tomorrow on Valentine’s Day, Reg would have been sure to say no.
“Because you know me so well and avoided the cliché, I will consider it and get back to you” Reg said while he continued to smile. He was going to say yes, but he did not want to say so immediately. Enthusiasm is not exactly Reg’s style. With that the thread was over, and Reg and Crow fell asleep on Reg’s bed as they did whenever they cuddled.
I could not help but sigh; half with content and half with longing. I longed for something different, a change in my life. I had no idea what. Well, besides a boyfriend, but I knew that was a fantasy that would not happen in my high school career. After I was done with everything else online, I watched some porn and went to bed rather early.
I woke up the next day and had a normal morning. The biggest highlight would probably be my bowl of Lucky Charms. I do mean quite literally a “highlight,” due to the extremely bright colors of the sugary cereal. I packed my bag and hopped in my car. The school day slipped by as it usually did, in one large haze of classes that did not challenge me nearly enough. Well, that is, until math; my day always improved, whatever its status, after math.
Today John was waiting for me outside of class. He waved and said hello. We talked for a while, and then his demeanor changed slightly. If I had not already been keeping an eye on him because he had felt the need to request to talk with me before class I would not really have noticed it. He continued the conversation until finally he arrived at what he was waiting to ask.
“So is Reg gonna say yes to Crow or not?” he asked with a wide smile. I simply sputtered like an idiot in reply.
It was supposed to be something along the lines of, “How do you know about that?!” John simply continued.
“I know Reg isn’t exactly in to that mushy crap, but I thought he might say yes considering how smoothly he asked Reg. Plus, I had been planning this for weeks, so I was really hoping Reg would say yes. I’m happy Reg kept character, though; it certainly gave me an interesting way to ask you this…”
“Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod” was all that was running through my head while I simply stared at John with wide eyes and a goofy grin.
“Would you go to prom with me Ray? I talked to the principal and he said that as long as we are willing to deal with anyone who is going to be stupid about two dudes going to prom together, we can go together. I also talked to my friends from the soccer team and they said they’d take care of any idiots who wanted to ruin prom for us. So what do you say?” John asked. He was shaking a little.
I finally snapped out of it and chuckled, “Déjà vu much? Way to take your romantic techniques from your own fictional character. Oh and, of course I will.” I could see a considerable change in John’s body language. He stopped clutching his right arm with his left hand and ceased shaking. He still did not say anything so I just made an odd face that looked somewhat like the infamous t**** face of 4chan. We both burst out laughing as everyone else walked into math class.
I was smiling all throughout our teacher’s speech about right triangle trigonometry, even when I sent John the note saying,
“You s***head! Why didn’t you ever tell me you were gay?!” I scribbled.
“I like to keep it a mystery and not tell too many people. The way I see it, it’s no one’s business besides my own and who I make out with,” he flourished back. I chuckled as loud as I could without our teacher giving me the death stare she gave John and me whenever we were having fun.
“I just can’t believe you were Crow the ENTIRE time.”
“You like that I didn’t say anything until now.”
“Fine, you got me. I’m a sucker for romantic suspense. You’re still an asshat for making me wait this long.”
“Fair enough, but I am an asshat who is taking you to prom.”
I punched him in the arm, smiled, and actually listened to our math teacher for once.
“Do you wanna hang out after school?” I asked John after class was done.
“Definitely,” he responded.
“See ya later,” I said wistfully. John grabbed my hand before I could go and spun me around to face him.
“Wait, before you go, I’ve wanted to do this since the start of the year…” he said softly. Right there in front of everyone who was leaving math, John kissed me.
I have always hated the phrase “I felt sparks fly,” but that is exactly what it felt like when I kissed him. While we were kissing I heard Delilah give a little cheer as she walked to her next class. I could not help but believe she had known for some time. I didn’t really care. I was finally kissing John Huerta, and god it felt good. When our lips finally parted there were a couple of jocks from our math class giving us dirty looks.
“Say something, I dare you. So what? Two dudes kissed. I know it’s a lot for you to handle, but do yourself a favor and move along while I go back to making out with my boyfriend” John hissed at them. They did just as he said and then he did just as he said.
Later that day, we snuck out to my truck during lunch and made out for a solid half hour. It was the best thing ever. The rest of the day seemed magical. I drove John home, and we did homework in my room and then cuddled for an hour. My mom came in and we didn’t even bother detaching ourselves from each other. My mom just smiled and asked if John would like to stay for dinner. After dinner, I drove John home and he gave me a kiss goodbye.
As I lay in my bed thinking about everything that led up to this, I cannot help but just grin like an idiot. Not just because today marked the beginning of what was likely to be an epic relationship, not just because it marked the beginning of my first relationship ever, but also because it signified an end to all my sulking and cynicism. It put an end to putting up walls to keep myself from unrequited love, the curse almost all gay guys in high school have to suffer through at one time or another, and that’s what I had feared the most. It was the end of me living my life through some stupid fictional character and getting what I have wanted for so long. Most of all, for the first time in a long, long time, I went to bed not thinking of where I would rather be, or when things would get better. I was just happy that I lived in a little town in the Adirondacks, going to a school that did not challenge me, and attending class with a boy I had a crush on for the entire year, who is now my boyfriend.





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This article has 9 comments. Post your own now!

Lucy R. said...
Feb. 27, 2011 at 12:29 am

Fantastic. I plan on using "corpse shagger" on a daily basis from now on.

Keep it up, love. You write beautifully. :)

 
secondarynoise said...
Feb. 27, 2011 at 12:17 am

First off: AWW. I may or may not of squeed out loud while reading. Your plot ran the line between silly and adorable, but kept itself firmly on the side of cute. Also, you have a really good handle on dialogue; it was quick and funny, but not over the top, "LOOK AT ME I'M SO WITTY."

However, I wonder about some of the structure of the story. Mostly, the integration of the RP scenes. Although I understand the choice to have the narrator recall most of the scenes, with only a few being w... (more »)

 
secondarynoise replied...
Feb. 27, 2011 at 12:19 am
Aaand for some reason my comment doubled? I don't know. Ah well.
 
PrettyGreenGoat said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 11:49 pm
I've read this like four times now but it's still SO GOOD. I love how you were able to incorporate your own voice into this but without making it sound overly-casual. Like, it definitely has a tone of seriousness to it, but at the same time it doesn't take itself too seriously. My favorite part was, "Two dudes kissed. I know it's a lot for you to handle." 
 
TheRefrigerator said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 9:33 pm
Being a straight male, this isn't really my cup of tea in terms of subject mater. However, I liked that you wrote about what you know and encourage you to continue. Your writing style is excellent and what you talk about accurately depicts teen life. Keep it up.
 
drew1313 replied...
Feb. 27, 2011 at 10:31 am
Thank you so much! I really appreciate you reading!
 
emosewarofsniwt said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 8:06 pm

i really enjoyed reading this! really funny and realistic. you also did a good job of quickly explaining any game/internet references without detaching the reader from the story.

keep writing!

 
kagutuchi said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

This is kinda just a little amazing.  Please, right more, ok?

P.S.  I might have to secretly give you bonus XP for this...just maybe.  Not much.  Or maybe gold would be more fair to the others.  Something like that.

P.P.S.  Given my above comment, I bet you can guess who this is. :p

 
kagutuchi replied...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm

*write.

I can spell.

 
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