Friday, September 4, 2009

Thou Shalt Dive In Headfirst

We have reached graduation.

AARON: That water is going to be freezing.

Some people would suggest a firewalk.

BRAD: Those people belong in straight-jackets.

I concur.

AJ: Wait, we're getting naked, right?
ALL: No!

I thought that nothing would be more symbolic of this amazing summer journey than a walk into the ocean.

ANTHONY: My nipples are already hard.

I hadn't anticipated such a drastic weather change.

ALICIA: Kevin, it's going to be freezing.
AARON: Can't we just dip our toes in?
ME: No way! We are all going to do this! Besides, we all spent money on new bathing suits, didn't we?
AJ: I repeat, I thought we were getting naked.

I didn't care if I was walking into freezing cold water. I had won my bet with Brad, and in the process, had made four new friends.

BRAD: I'd cry if my tear ducts weren't frozen.
ME: Admit it, Brad. I did it.
BRAD: Yes, you did. I guess I'll have to get you next time, Gadget.
ANTHONY: Let's do this already!

We all ran--it was the only way.

We ran right into the water, and instantly began screaming.

They were screams of joy...mostly joy...a little bit of joy.

A lot of cold.

ALICIA: I think I just went barren.
AARON: Is that a sheet of ice?
ANTHONY: Kev, I thought we were being rewarded? Kev?

Brad and I had made it a few feet in, then ran back out again onto the sand.

I told myself I was admiring the tableau of the proteges-turned-graduates in the water.

In reality, I was just plain old f**king freezing.

ME: So...?
BRAD: Is this it? Is this the end?
ME: Yes, Brad. Summer's over. It's cold. This is it.
BRAD: So you wouldn't be interested in...?
ME: In what?
BRAD: Well, I was thinking maybe...double or nothing?
ME: No. No. No!

That was when he took the five hundred dollars out of his pocket.

BRAD: One for every new little bird you teach to fly.

And I thought--Don't be greedy. Don't be crazy. Just say--

ME: Make it six fifty.
BRAD: Deal.

Spring semester, anyone?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thou Shalt Pass It On

I'd come to my last day with Alicia.

ALICIA: I got you something.
ME: Is it pink?
ALICIA: It might be.

It was a little pink guardian angel...soap.

ME: Awww...are you telling me to shower more?
ALICIA: Kevin!
ME: Kidding, kidding.

I wondered what would be the perfect final lesson for Alicia. When I met her, she was still very much a girl--insecure, needy, and ultimately very unsure of herself.

Now, she was twice the woman she was--at least, that's what I'm hoping.

I had Alicia meet me at Andrea's, where I had a guest waiting.

ALICIA: Who's this lovely lady?
ME: This is Amy.

Amy--fifteen, insecure, needy, and ultimately--

AMY: So glad I met Kevin! My gay friend Seth just moved to Boston, so now I only have, like, four.
ME: Alicia, Amy is your newest protege.

That's right. I'm paying it forward.

Alicia was, shocker, unsure. She excused us and pulled me out onto Thayer.

ALICIA: I can't mentor this girl! I don't know anything!
ME: Yes, you do. You know at least as much as I've taught you, and probably a lot more.
ME: Alicia, she needs someone to look up to. She doesn't need a fourth gay friend. She needs a surrogate big sister who will listen to her and steer her in the right direction. You can do that.
ALICIA: But what if I screw up?
ME: You mean like how I did over and over again?
ALICIA: But you meant well.
ME: Sweetheart, meaning well is half the battle.

We went back inside. Alicia and Amy started talking. Pretty soon, they barely knew I was there.

Which was exactly the way I wanted it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Go Out with a Bang

It was my last lesson with Anthony.

ANTHONY: So where are we headed?
ME: Right here, champ.
ANTHONY: Uh, beg your f**king pardon?

It was a Saturday night, and not only that, it was the night of the biggest party...of late August: The Beach Bingo.

ANTHONY: Kevin, I have to go. It's Beach Bingo.
ME: Anthony, when I first met you, you were a club-hopping, clique-loving, mean boy who never met a drama den he didn't love. Now, I think the ultimate test would be to see if you can abstain from a night of going out.
ANTHONY: To do what?
ME: Reflect.

When I say he let out a primal scream, I'm talking PRIMAL.

ME: It won't be so bad.
ANTHONY: It's Beach Bingo and you want me to sit in and watch movies?
ME: No, no movies.
ANTHONY: Are we going to play board games?
ME: Anthony, the point is be quiet and think about your life and how far you've come.
ANTHONY: Why don't you take the knife and kill me now, Kev.

Terrific. I've taken him from Eat, Pray, Love to Hate, Hate, Hating Me.

ME: Let's just give it a try.

We took out two pillows and sat...and sat...and sat some more.

The minutes on the clock ticked by, and after about forty of them, even I was ready to pop in a DVD.

But then something kind of interesting happened.

ANTHONY: F**k, am I crying?

Anthony started to cry.

ME: What's wrong?
ANTHONY: I've just never really
ME: Thought about things?
ANTHONY: I've never been silent before.
ME: Really?
ANTHONY: Yeah, my whole life has just been...about making noise, I guess. I've always listened to everybody else. I've never listened to myself.

Take that, Dr. Phil.

ANTHONY: This is weird, man.
ME: Embrace it, Anthony. Embrace the weird.
ANTHONY: What about the joy?
ME: Embrace that too.
ANTHONY: Kev, hold my hand.
ME: Uh--
ANTHONY: Just hold it.

So we sat there...holding hands...and being quiet.

We sat there for most of the night.

There was some crying.
There was some snacking.
Then more crying.
Then we were done.

ME: How do you feel, Anthony?
ANTHONY: I can't tell if I'm better or not.
ME: Do you feel differently?
ANTHONY: I feel like everything I've done in my life has either weighed me down or sent me flying.
ME: And?
ANTHONY: And I'd like to do some more flying.

Break out the tissues, kids. I know you need to.