I won’t feel pain or suffering, for it will be nirvana.
Slowly Josh opened his eyes. Everyone in his journalism class was gathered around him with worried expressions and concerned looks.
“Is something wrong?” asked Josh, a little bit scared to hear the answer.
“You were making weird noises and tossing and turning. We thought you were having a seizure, but I’m guessing it was only a bad dream,” answered Macy. Everyone just turned to stare at her.
“Maybe I was the only one that thought you were having a seizure,” quietly added Macy.
“Oh… yeah. It was just a dream,” whispered Josh to himself.
He got up, put his hands on his head and started pacing in a circle around the couch. “Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out…” he said to himself as he breathed heavily.
This wasn’t the first time he’d had these dreams. Well, normally he daydreamed about them, but they were more like what it’d be like after he jumped, slit his wrist, drank the bleach, downed the pills etc. This dream was completely different. It was about what had gone on before he did it. He’d never had a dream like this.
He swallowed and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to remember any important details of his dream. He couldn’t. All that he remembered was the jump. After that, everything went black and then he had woken up. He wished he had dreamt of the after, to know what really happened.
He slowly zombie-walked to the teacher’s desk where she was writing different dates down in her personal planner.
“May I go get a drink of water?” he asked in the calmest voice he could muster at the moment.
“Sure, yeah. Hey, for next time, just remember you don’t have to ask permission for that. You only need permission from me to leave the campus,” she replied with a warm, welcoming smile.
“Ok, thanks,” Josh replied shyly and left her desk.
He walked past the couch and past the row of computer desks where other members of the journalism staff were hard at work typing their latest pieces of work to go in the next issue, and made it to the door. He slid his hand down the smooth wood until it hit the cool, metal handle. He pulled it down and pushed, causing the door to swing open, narrowly missing a teacher on her way to her classroom.
“Sorry!” he exclaimed, trying to comfort the woman.
She just scoffed and muttered something about stupid kids and kept on her way to where she was headed. Josh walked in the opposite direction and muttered something about stupid teachers, just to get back at her, even though he knew she’d never hear or know what he had said.
He turned right at a corner and was almost to the water fountain. He passed the long row of different awards the school’s journalism and yearbook staff had won from different competitions. He stopped to admire a few of the bigger ones and looked at different excerpts of journalism/ yearbook entries from years before his. He hoped that some of his work would make it in that glass cabinet after he graduated. He hoped to have a legacy, make a difference at his school. So far, it seemed pretty far away in the future.
He moved on and slightly turned left, took about twelve more steps and made it to the water fountains. He slowly walked up to the taller one, pushed down on the grey, handle and let the water flow for exactly ten seconds. He always did this ever since first grade when he learned about germs, so that he could “wash away” any germs that had been sitting on top of the spout where the water came out.
Josh was the biggest germ-a-phobe. He was always worried he would catch a sickness from anything, in some way or another. He never drank out of someone else’s drink, even if it didn’t have a straw (if it had a straw, he didn’t even look at it, it was so nasty), every time he saw a hand sanitizer dispenser in the hallway, he would use it so he could be protected (he especially started doing this once he learned that hand sanitizer only protects your hands for two minutes). If someone offered him some of their food, he would search for a different fork or knife because it was nasty to use someone else’s eating utensils… they had all of their gross mouth germs on them. The weirdest thing was, was that if some of his food fell onto the floor, he would pick it straight off the ground and eat it, but only if it had been on the floor for less than five seconds.
Once the ten seconds were up, he bent over and took a long gulp of the refreshingly cold water. He let go of the “button”, took a second to breathe and catch his breath and then bent back over and took a few more gulps of the cool liquid.
After he was through, he took his sleeves and wiped his face dry and tried to decide whether or not he wanted to go to the restroom. He decided yes.
He took the small journey of going from the water fountains to the bathroom in less than three seconds. They were practically right next to each other.
Once he arrived, he leaned his ear against the wooden door to hear if anyone was inside. He always did this; always. There was not one day that went by that he wouldn’t check the door to see if anyone was in there.
Josh absolutely hated going to the restroom when other people were in the bathroom with him. His body just wouldn’t let him piss if someone else was with him in there. He never fully understood why though. He would think it might be because of the noise of pee hitting the ceramic urinals, breaking the silence, but he was never really quite sure.
Most of the time, when he found that the restroom was empty, he would strut in and stand in front of a urinal and get ready to release his excrements. Right as he would be about to piss, someone would walk in and stand at the urinal right next to him, breaking his concentration. They wouldn’t choose the urinal on the end opposite to him, not the one near the middle, but the one right next to him. Once this would happen, he would stand there looking down or up at the ceiling, waiting for the person to leave. Once they finished their business, they would shake their junk to get the last drips out, zip up their pants and walk out of the restroom without even washing their hands. This completely disgusted Josh.
After they left, Josh would be able to pee in peace. This would make him happy, because he would finally be able to do his business. If the person that walked in took a really long time, just like Josh, Josh would pretend to be done, flush the toilet, was his hands and then leave, still having the feeling of needing to pee urgently. He would do this because he was paranoid that if he took a long time, the classroom that he was in would think that he had either been masturbating or having a massive bowel movement.
This time, he didn’t worry about what people would think, because honestly, no one in journalism cared who you were. Well, that sounded bad. The people in journalism didn’t care what race you were, what language you spoke, what your background was, what sexual orientation you were; everyone was the same in their eyes. And this made him feel safe. It was one of the three times of the day that he actually felt safe at school.
He walked to the urinal, zipped down his pants and took a long piss. Once he was satisfied with his work, he pulled his pants back up and zipped the fly back up. Without touching anything else, he walked to the sink and pulled the handle for hot water forwards with his elbow. He then ran his hands under the water for a few seconds, dispensed soap into them with his elbow and then placed them back under the water. He scrubbed his hands together to make the soap frothy and foamy, squeezed them together and clasped his hands together to get soap in between his fingers, making sure that every inch of his hands was clean. This whole process took about three minutes.
Once he was done washing his hands, it was time to dry them. He shook his hands into the sink to get excess water off and then walked to the paper towel dispenser. He waved his hands in front of the motion detector on the dispenser and a fresh sheet of paper was rolled out. He grabbed it with his wet hands, ripping the edges off of it. He pulled the rest of the sheet out, crumpled it up between his hands, and rolled it around to get all of the water off of him.
He threw the wet clump of paper into the nearest wasted bin and pulled on the last sheet of towel out of the dispenser so he could open the door without collecting anymore germs after just washing his hands. He gripped the handle with the new sheet and pulled. The door wouldn’t open.
He pulled harder but it still wouldn’t open. Finally, he gave a little growl and pulled as hard as he could. The door swung open, pulling two boys, Isaac and Malek, in with it. They had been watching Josh since he went in and had been waiting for him to be finished. The whole time they were waiting, they had been holding the door shut to keep Josh from being able to get out.
“Hahaha, look! The little fag couldn’t pull the little door open! Awww, does he, I mean SHE, want her mommy?” teased Isaac.
“Yeah, she wants her mommy I think,” mocked Malek. “Help, help! I can’t get the door open! My little faggot muscles are too weak!”
Josh just ducked his head and tried to move through them but they were completely blocking his way.
“Hey,” barked Malek. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Yeah,” added Isaac. “You’re not going anywhere until we’ve had our fun with you.”
They continued to advance towards Josh, forcing him further and further into the restroom. Isaac finally reached out and pushed Josh to the floor. Josh took the blow and landed on his elbows, hearing a little crack.
Isaac and Malek were both extremely well built. They had the right amount of muscle and the right amount of strength. They were both on varsity football and varsity basketball. When Josh was in seventh grade, they were all in track together and that’s when the teasing began.
At the end of the track season, all of the track kids were forced to play off- season football. Josh was the fastest runner, so he was placed as a running back. This was the position that both Malek and Isaac had been playing all throughout their football careers, so they were obviously not very happy that their favorite position had been taken, especially by a little fag.
Josh always knew that the reason they made fun of him wasn’t only because he took their position in football. He knew that it was also because he only had friends that were girls. He knew they made fun of him because of his high voice in seventh grade. He knew they made fun of him because he made perfect grades in seventh grade. He knew they made fun of him because of the way he dressed, skinny jeans, converse and a V- neck (that hadn’t changed since then). He knew they made fun of him because he looked, sounded and acted gay. Being gay was different, it was a change from the norm of being straight… and they didn’t like change.
It all started out as Isaac and Malek stealing Josh’s binders when he wasn’t looking, or taking his homework, erasing his name and marking it as theirs. As the school year went by, the bullying became progressively worse.
They would whip his towel off of him when he was drying off and laugh at his naked body. They would lock him in the stall while he was using the restroom during gym and make people come and take videos of him struggling to get out. They would beat him down and piss on him, just to make him feel humiliated. They would also do more normal bullying like beating him up, punching him in the face, balls wherever was the most vulnerable, give him swirlies etc.
None of these things hurt as much as the words they used to make fun of him. They called him fairy, gay, fag, mommy’s little boy and the one that hurt the most was… perfect. They called him the perfect little boy all of the time, but he knew he wasn’t perfect. They called him that just to mock him because apparently being perfect was gay. Well, to make it clearer, the word “perfect” was every single word they called him combined into one little word or phrase.
Isaac turned around to close the door and lock it, while Malek hovered over Josh lying on the ground.
“Whaddaya’ wanna’ do to him Isaac?” asked Malek.
“Ooh! Let’s make him show us his penis!” exclaimed Isaac, thinking he had come up with a brand new way of torturing little gay boys.
“No, dumbass. First of all, that’s cliché and second of all, we did that yesterday,” explained Malek. “Let’s just beat him up until he bleeds and then he can cry for the rest of the day!”
“Yeah! That’s a great idea!” shouted Isaac.
They proceeded to pull Josh up and shove him against a wall. Then, they took turns punching him in the gut, then the crotch and then each of his eyes. After they were through with that, they started bashing his head in with their rough knuckles and strong arms.
Josh started to taste metal in his mouth, which was blood, and everything started going blurry and then finally black. The last things he heard were the snickers of Isaac and Malek as they walked out of the bathroom telling him that if he said to anyone about what had just happened, they would kill him, and the bell excusing everyone to fourth period.