A sad little boy is 4 years old. His thick, soft hair billows around his eyes with the blow of the wind, but through the strands, he can see a couple. One is a tall, dark-skinned woman, with her arm around a second, lighter woman’s waist. They share a sweet kiss before strolling off, laughing at the warmth of each other’s company. Only the boy’s eyes can’t see the couple walk any farther down the street; he is yanked back by a violent jerk on his arm. “Don’t look at them, son,” his mother tells him, strictly. “You don’t want to be influenced by those kinds of people.” He then hesitantly follows her, nodding his head quietly.
A sad little boy is 8 years old. He comes home and plops onto his favorite seat on the at the family table, sighing after an especially long and arduous church service. The pastor had continued to yell for what seemed like hours, spitting out loathsome words that the boy had heard many times before, like “abomination” and “f*****s”. As his mother scoops a spoonful of beans and ham onto his plate, he simply gets too curious. “Dad?” he asks, lifting his head innocently. “Why do we hate gay people?” His father's head jerks up from his plate with a confusing fire in his eyes, deadly quiet. The only answers the little boy got that day were 5 lashes across his thighs with a leather belt. He never asked about it again.
A sad little boy is 12 years old. He's surrounded by his friends in the middle of the school hallway, pretending to horse around like they all are. The conversation pauses for a second. "So, have you guys got any crushes? Any fine ladies in your book?" One of his friends asks playfully, finishing up a nasty noogie to one of the others. All of the guys respond in nearly the same way: some sort of murmur of a "not really" before moving on to the next in the circle. Finally, the dingiest of the friend group turns to the boy. "What about you, huh?" he teases. The boy's face flushes red; he has no idea what to say. All he can think about was another male in his math class, one with shiny black hair, bronze skin, and hazel eyes. He thought he was cute, really cute. "Nope," the boy finally lies, flashing a wide, fake smile. "Not anyone."
A sad little boy is 14 years old. His eyes have fluttered shut as he leans hesitantly into one of his classmates, the one with the pretty eyes. He was supposed to be over to study, but after one of them started shoving mechanical pencils up his nose causing the other to laugh hysterically, all hope of getting any work done was lost. The boy’s heart is drumming almost painfully hard against his ribcage, but he barely takes notice. Their lips touch for a single moment, just one electric, magical second before his bedroom door is torn open by his mother, who’s carefully carrying a tray of crackers and sodas. She drops the tray onto the carpet as her face pales white with shock. The boys jerk apart, both highly embarrassed and a little afraid. “Um, I’ll see myself out. My, uh, mom is probably w-waiting for me,” the other male says to the boy quickly, dodging through the door and closing it behind him, leaving. The mother's face has hardened from shock to harsh anger, and one free hand clenches into a fist as the other raises itself high into the air. Within an hour, the residents of that house went down by one, and the beaten, abandoned member paced through the streets, waiting for someone, anyone, to take him in.
A sad little boy is 17 years old. His body quivers in the frigid air of winter, his only protection consisting of a hollowed-out cotton jacket. His cheeks are sunken, and the warmth of his skin has diminished to nothingness. A sharp, jagged piece of glass is gripped tightly in his left hand, while his right is preoccupied rolling up his rough sleeves. He hates this. He hates himself. He hates what has become of him. He hates begging on the streets, begging for money and food and the will to live. He hates being weak, but there’s not enough of him anymore to try and be strong. He digs the shard into his wrists twice over, watching the crimson liquid leak from his hueless flesh and drip from his fingertips. The boy then closes his eyes, lays back onto the unwelcoming concrete, and wonders if there’s a Heaven waiting for him. He’s unconscious and unknowing when a strange man runs up to him, close to tears, and calls an ambulance.
A sad little boy is 19 years old. He holds the knob of his apartment door and turns it, swinging the door open. The air smells of seasoned chicken and steamed vegetables and home. “Hey, you’re back!” calls a welcoming voice from inside, and the boy grins. He walks through the living space until he reaches the kitchen, where a blonde, elfish-looking young man swirls around a spatula in a sizzling silver pan. “How was the therapist?” he asks, genuinely curious. There's a brief pause. “Okay, I guess, just the usual stuff,” the boy answers, tiredly monotone. “...You know,” the blonde responds after a sigh, “I will always be here, okay? If the therapist isn’t enough, or you need someone to goof off and get distracted with, I’m right here.” There’s a pause. “I never want to see you in the same situation as when I found you. I never want to see that much blood coming from such a beautiful person ever again. You hear me?” He stops stirring and turns to the boy, pointing his spatula like a mother sassing her child. “I’m here-” He’s cut off my sudden arms around his waist and kisses along the freckles of his neck. “I know,” the boy murmurs, tugging him closer. “I’ve always known.”
A sad little boy is 23 years old. His face is lit up with a smile so wide and genuine, his cheeks are in pain. Above him: the meaningful colors of the rainbow, splattered onto a flag the size of his arm span. He’s crying; big, wet drops dribble down his blushed cheeks and onto his clothes. The noise of the annual pride parade is so beautifully loud around him- full of music and shouting and other people like him, crying. He feels the light touch of lips on the left side of his face and a pair of long arms curled around his waist. Everything is screaming with excitement and celebration, but the boy remains unafraid. Unashamed. He does not turn his back. He does not yell into the wind, his heart full of anguish. He only turns to kiss his waiting boyfriend, closes his eyes, and thinks: This is who I am. This is where I belong.
A sad little boy is now happy, for the first time in his life.