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Date Posted: 04:37:16 05/08/15 Fri
Subject: Magic at the parade
In reply to:
's message, ""Shacker Story Post"" on 03:49:16 05/08/15 Fri
A short story about a boy making a new friend.
Sitting in a light rail train, heading into downtown Phoenix, Jason was a little nervous. He had never been here without his parents, let alone for such a big event like today. What if anyone recognized him? When he got off the train, he almost walked over to the other platform in order to catch the next train and go back home right away. Almost, but not quite. Instead he walked one block east, joining hundreds of other people who had the same destination. For it was Gay Pride weekend in the Valley of the Sun, and today was the big Parade!
Once again Jason wondered what he would do if he met anyone he knew. He wasn’t out yet, not to anyone. Not to his parents, not to his few close friends, and certainly not to the other kids at school. Life would be rough if he were the only openly gay 14 year old boy in the entire school. But if he actually did meet anyone, he could always pretend that he was just here by chance and had stayed to watch the parade. After all, anyone likes a good parade!
Jason was very surprised to see so many different kinds of people. Young and old. Entire families with little kids. Big busty drag queens with high heels and lots of make-up. A group of women on motorcycles who apparently called themselves ‘dykes on bikes’. And lots of young men, wearing nothing by very short shorts. Jason caught himself staring at some of those guys before looking away quickly. He was sure that his head must be bright red.
Eventually he found a good place to stand and watch the parade, in the shade of a tree, a little apart from other spectators. He wasn’t really there to meet anyone or to talk to other people; he just wanted to see what it was like. But the parade had barely started when he got his first string of beads from a smiling guy. Shortly afterwards, a drag queen just hugged him and pinched his cheek, and Jason realized that he didn’t mind it at all. He felt like he belonged here. As the parade went on, he moved closer and closer to the street and to the other people, smiling and even waving at the participants.
A little way down the street, Jason noticed a cute boy who appeared to be about the same age as he was, wearing shorts and a tight tank top. The boy was looking straight at him, grinning, and Jason quickly looked the other way. He tried to focus his attention on a float with guys in cowboy outfits, doing a square dance, but he couldn’t resist looking for the other boy again. He almost jumped when he turned his head and realized that the boy had walked over and was now standing right next to him, still smiling broadly.
“Hi, great day for Pride, isn’t it?” the boy said. “I’m Lucas, by the way.”
“Uh, hi,” Jason stammered, “I’m Jason. Yeah, it’s really nice. And it’s much bigger than I imagined.”
“Oh, it’s your first time? That’s so cool! I’ve been coming here for a couple of years now, since I figured out that I was gay myself.”
Jason definitely knew that feeling. Ever since he had admitted to himself that he liked boys, he had wanted to learn more about the gay community. He just hadn’t expected it to be so diverse, so colorful, and yet so normal. And he certainly hadn’t expected to meet such a cute boy here. Could he have just made his first gay friend?
“Hey, what’s that?” Lucas suddenly asked, grabbing Jason’s right hand. “Why do you have a crescent moon painted on your hand?”
“It’s actually a capital C!” Jason replied, blushing. “Something I read about online. Long story.” He tried to gently pull his hand away, but Lucas didn’t let go.
“Well, I guess you must be right handed then. I’m a Lefty!”
Lucas winked, holding up both of their hands, and Jason could see a big red C on the other boy’s left hand. It took a moment for it to sink in, but when Jason realized what this must mean, he was grinning broadly as well.
The boys continued to watch the parade, never letting go of each other's hand. And when the last group had marched by and the crowd was slowly dispersing, they walked down the street together, still holding hands, to get something to eat at a fast food place. There they talked and got to know each other, and it soon felt like they had been friends forever. Eventually they had to say goodbye, but not before exchanging email addresses and phone numbers and Facebook accounts. Of course they already knew now that they had been lurking at the same website for a while.
Later, as Jason was riding the light rail back home, he started to take off the beads he had gotten at the parade, but then he changed his mind. If his parents asked him about them, he would tell them exactly where he had gotten them and why he had been there. He looked again at the fading C on the back of his hand … apparently the magic really did work!
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