My inner mind defenses were quickly set up; I had already
been on the guard. Her sudden happiness towards me was alarming, so I had
prepared myself for her to say something. Whatever it was, I wasn’t prepared to
“I just… I heard…” Claudia spoke, stumbling over her
I began to become red in the face. Did she know? No… she
couldn’t have. Charles and I were always in our complicated gay relationship
when out of sight from the public. There was no way that people could know… at
least not already.
“Lionel… you need to be honest with me… are you-“
I cut her off, already knowing what she wanted to know.
My heart had been snapped in two; did Claudia spy on me? No wait… it couldn’t
have been her of all people. I knew she was in a wheelchair and was too caught
up with that and there was no way she could have seen us.
My mind kept saying the same thing over and over again;
it’s not possible, there’s no way. Yet… we must have become clumsy. Nobody
could have seen us unless we were public about it. We hugged once in school,
and even then not one person bothered to glance our way.
“Claudia… I’d like you to be honest with me on the contrary”.
I took a deep breath; verbally assaulting a cripple definitely wasn’t something
I liked to do, but in this case I felt like she deserved the anger I was
feeling. “How… how in the world would you know?! Were you spying on us? Did you
go looking where you shouldn’t have because it would violate my privacy?! You
couldn’t have just heard about it, so you will tell me now or I swear-“
It was her time to cut me off. Her gasp at the beginning
of the conversation and her following sobs were still persisting. I didn’t
care; she had no right to do this to me, to try and destroy me. You don’t walk
up to someone and ask if you’re gay… you just don’t!
“Lionel…” she let out another sob. “Why… how could you…”
“How could I have an opinion? How could I have a way of
life you don’t understand?” I brought the opposition back to her. “I don’t
understand you Claudia. I thought I did, but honestly I don’t anymore. Going
for him of all people was enough, but then violating my privacy is where I draw
She shook her head furiously, and for the first time
since the accident I felt bad for the things I had said to her in the past.
This seemed to have a pretty big effect on her… but why? I just had a way of
life, didn’t she? What was wrong about it?
Claudia started choking on her tears as she revealed the
truth. “It… Daniel… Daniel told me. He said he saw you kissing… kissing
Charles. Lionel, why? I know… I feel bad that I… did what I did in the hospital…
but listen, we both care for you, you should know that!”
I felt my body grow cold, an uncontrollable rage building
up inside of me. I raised my hand up, ready to slam the table, but I held
myself back. After trying my best to settle down, I gave up and stood up. My
unfinished lunch was promptly tossed away into the trash. Claudia tried to get
me to sit back down again, but I had had my fill; school was over for today.
Daniel was a traitor. I knew he was a villain, but this
was different. I could feel the knife in my back this time. I don’t know how
one transitions from best friend to sworn rival, but Daniel certainly managed
to do so. It was blackmail I bet… he hated me so much he wanted to tear up my
Claudia’s nosey conversation didn’t help me either. If
that’s how she wants to treat me, then I’ll just ignore her like I should have
done years ago. I wonder what life would have been without them… I would be the
Loner either way, but I definitely wouldn’t feel like this every single day;
that nagging feeling of sadness, anger, and betrayal.
I flipped out my phone and sent Charles a quick text that
was simple and to the point; ‘Daniel knows about us. We need to get out here’.
I honestly felt about moving or becoming homeless just to get away from Daniel
and his equally cruel girlfriend.
Some staff might have noticed me as I walked out the
front doors of the school, but I didn’t car. I navigated to the walking trail
nearby the school grounds and took the long way back to my house. No doubt I’ll
get in trouble for this action, but I needed to get away for a while; take a
My phone vibrated, and I noticed that Charles had sent me
a reply; ‘I told you to stay away from him and look what happens. And here I
was thinking Craig Johnson was bad… Daniel must be his cousin’.
I closed the phone put it back in my pocket. I entered my
house, a clear objective in my mind; I was going far somewhere, and for how
long I didn’t know. I’d survive off what I brought with me, and I’ll live out
on my own for a bit. I was experienced doing so anyway.
I assumed Charles would want to know what I was doing.
Quickly, I responded to his earlier reply. ‘I’m leaving the county for a bit. I
don’t want to be here anymore’. I wasn’t able to get his response if he sent
one because I tossed the phone in my room.
With me I brought plenty of money and an oversized
lunchbox. This would do for now, at least five days or so. I walked out the
back door of my house and away to the nearby train yard. I always wanted to see
what it was like to jump onto a train.
As fate would have it, one such train with open
compartments was passing by, and at a relatively slow velocity. Wasting no
time, I tossed my provision inside the first open cart I saw, and then I leaped
Before I knew it, I was far away, and farther away than I
anticipated. I took note of the county signs; I had left my county a half an
hour ago from now, and I had passed through several others. Even so, I didn’t
I must have fallen asleep, because I was suddenly awoken
by an abrupt stop. After I recovered from the sudden awakening, I stretched and
spared a look outside. There were lights dancing nearby, and I soon realized
that they were flashlights.
“Someone saw a boy get on board this train; it should be
nearby one of these carts” I heard someone say. Oh my God, was it a search
party? I must have been more obvious than I had anticipated to be. I surveyed
the landscape around me; nowhere to run.
I could only wait for the flashlights to fall upon me.
Was I to be taken into custody? I huddled in the corner as though this would
save me somehow. This proved futile as I believed it to be; a blinding light
was aimed at me, and I allowed the hands to drag me out.
I could hear police sirens, so I understood that it was
indeed going to be my fate to be taken to custody. Hopefully my parents could
bail me out of this; I could tell this wasn’t a situation I could possibly be
able to weasel out of.
The handcuffs were slapped on to me, and I barely felt
the strength in me to walk. I felt myself longing for someone; Charles, my
parents… anyone. Quietly, I muttered “ohne dich’ to myself… it meant without
you in German.
There was some muffled chatter nearby, no doubt the
police officers wondering what the heck I was doing. I bet the school already
informed them of the details. I was able to make out a few of the words they
“He’s got parents… he? Call…”
There was silence as the ringing of a telephone sounded
in the background.
“What do you… are you saying… I’ll have to tell…”
The door across from me opened up, and a very
grim-looking police officer was looking down at my pitiful form that rested on
the chair in front of him. He obviously bore bad news, and I didn’t feel like hearing
But beggars can’t be choosers.
“Lionel Stephens… I’m sorry to announce that you parents
were involved in a plane crash on their way from Japan… nobody was found to
have survived… I’m sorry”.