Hiding From Him/ Hiding In Himself
Although I loved Mike, I would not take this emotional beating sitting down. I was determined to hurt him where it hurts him the most.
Days after the embarrassing incident, I stayed away from Mike. Everytime I would feel his presence in the campus, I moved away from him. Everytime he passed by the hallway, I would just bow my head in shame, hiding my face from him.
One day, our friends back in freshman year set us up for me to apologize. They tricked me. The girls told me that they were introducing me to a cute guy in campus, but when a friend told me "not to freak out," that became a give-away. I stared at Mike as I apologized intently, his eyes staring far away, but I had a feeling that he was trying to view me from his peripheral vision.
"I'm sorry, Mike. I promise I'll never do that again."
"Just don't be too pushy," he replied, his eyes still trying to view me from the peripheral.
And he let out a barage of bashings. It was like a rewind to freshman year.
"Next time, bring my other friends at the pre-law class some bananas."
With my head down, it was my turn to lash out. "Do you really think I'm amused at what you're doing?"
Mike stopped at the moment I said those words as I walked away from him, just like what I'd been doing for days.
My fear (and subliminal vengeance) for Mike did not seems to cease even after the apology. I would still run and hide even at the mention of his name. But I could see, and feel, that he too was sorry. I would often see him seated near me at the campus park, his sad eyes still trying to view me from the peripheral. Like most guys, Mike has a proud outer shell. His friends thought he is one tough cookie, but as I see his sublime desperation to apologize without sacrificing how other people would see him, I could only see that he has "a loving heart and a sensitive man" hiding inside himself.
It was then I realized that Mike, like me, is so complex. It took me four years to fully comprehend him, or maybe because I took his past subliminal messages for granted, mistaking them as either another one of his bashings or something dedicated to his wife. Maybe he thought I knew it all along, that I was coy in keeping our "little secret." Maybe he had plans for us to pretend as good friend for as long as possible. Or maybe I was making this all up, that he was just a nice person to me, that he put down his guard and hatred towards gaydom for me.
It was a month after the incident, I passed another note to the same friend I've given the "banana letter". The not was simpler this time, no fancy attachments, no fruits either...
"Hi Mike, how are you doing?"