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last friday, i got an email from alana asking if i was ever going to tell her what happened over winter break.

back up to winter break. i came home and got my job back up at the store. holiday season is busy, so they needed workers, and i needed money. and besides, i was still more hooked on holly than on christine, so why not spend break working with holly? my last day at the store before i had to go back to school was a saturday. school started (for me and for all the high school kids in the area) on the following monday. so jessica, who worked there with me, decided to throw a big party before break ended. she invited a ton of people from her high school (same as mine), and a few people from the store who went to other high schools, like brandy. jessica told me about it saturday, when i was arriving for my shift and she was leaving from hers. i used to occasionally go to parties in high school, but i really didn't like it. i went to fit in, but i just felt out of place. i didn't drink, and i spent all night lying and making excuses about why i didn't. so when i got to college, i quit going to parties. completely refused to go to any. i didn't miss it. i didn't miss having drunk guys wearing beer goggles hanging on me, and i didn't miss fighting off people with good intentions, trying to get me to try whatever they were drinking, becuase "it tasted good." i said taste was the problem, but it wasn't. i didn't miss getting beer spilled on me. i just didn't miss it at all. so i made an excuse to jessica. i said 'i'd love to go, but i'm probably going to have to pack tonight. i'll try to make it if i can.' i had no intentions of going. but a few hours later, i was talking to brandy, and she begged me 'you have to go! holly was invited, but i don't know if she's coming becuase i haven't been able to get ahold of her, and if you're not there and holly's not there, who will i talk to?' that changed my mind real fast. not the brandy part. the holly part. brandy might not know if holly was coming, but i know holly, and if she knows there's free alcohol, she'll find a way to get there. and before this, i was going to have to wait until summer to see holly again. but here was an opportunity to see her tonight. how could i resist? so i said i'd go. and i did. by the time brandy and i got off work and got to the party, everyone there was well on their way to being completely drunk, and the alcohol supply was running low. jessica jumped on us the second we came in the door and begged us to drive her around (she was pretty tipsy) to some of her friends houses, to see if we could find a 21-year old willing to get more alcohol. so we agreed, and that trip took a lot longer than we expected. by the time we got back, holly was there and slightly tipsy. not so tipsy that she wasn't shocked by the fact that i was at this party. holly's really the only one of the bunch who knows that i don't party at all down at school. but she recovers quickly, and volunteers me to drive some kid home. the kid was puking all over the place, but to get him home, they need 2 sober people (1 to drive his car and one to follow), and his car is a stick-shift. holly knows i drive stick. so i drive the kid (and 3 of his drunk friends who want to make sure he gets there ok) back to his house, and brandy follows with holly, who went along for the ride. then we all pile back in brandy's car for the trip back to the party, and holly winds up on my lap, since we hadn't planned well with the number of people. that trip started something. from that point on, brandy and i were never at the party for longer than about 10 minutes. somebody always needed to go somewhere. they weren't feeling good, or their curfew was approaching, or something. i would drive their car, and brandy would follow. the thing is, it was fun. holly came along on nearly every trip. our last trip of the night was to holly's house. i drove holly's car and she rode with me, i dropped her off, brandy drove me back to my car at the party, and we both drove home. and i was happy. really really happy. i had hung out with holly in a social setting, and it was fun. yes, holly was drunk. yes, holly was probably only hanging out with me becuase brandy was hanging out with me. and brandy was probably only hanging out with me by default, becuase once it became apparent that we were destined to be the only sober people at this party, we pretty much had to stick together. but it was fun. holly was drunk enough that we could tease her plenty, but not so drunk that she didn't realize she was being made fun of, so she would try to defend herself. it was good. it made me happy. it made me so happy that when i got back to columbus on sunday, i was still floating, and everyone noticed. i was with a bunch of them when alana finally asked 'why are you so happy?'
i answered 'last night i had so much fun! i went to this party and-' and i stopped dead. that wasn't something i had wanted to say. these guys had tried forever to drag me to a party, and i absolutely refused to even think about it. what i did at this party wasn't out of character. i didn't drink (besides a few sips of various concoctions holly was drinking and had me try). i didn't do anything i was ashamed of. but the problem wasn't what i did. it was that i was there in the first place. if i told them what happened, they would see 2 things very wrong with it. first-what exactly is so fun about being a designated driver to a million trashed people? and second-why the hell was i there in the first place? the answer to both of those questions was holly, and that wasn't something i could even explain to myself, much less to them. i don't know if the way i like holly has anything to do with me being gay, but it's too close for comfort. i don't want to go there. as i stood there, trying to come up with some sort of lie to finish off this story, they started bombarding me with questions. 'what'd you do?' 'did you get drunk?' 'did you smoke weed?' 'did you make out with some hot guy?' all of a sudden, i realized that this was better than any lie i could come up with. if i stopped right here, they would be so worried about what had happened at the party that they wouldn't even think to wonder about why i was there in the first place. and those guesses they had, they were fine. let them think any of that. as long as they didn't think i was gay, it was all good. so i told them 'never mind. forget it. it was nothing.' they tried to guess for a while, but when i kept refusing to say anything, they gave up. a few weeks later, though, i began to marvel at how easy that was. before, i would never not answer a question. if i didn't want to tell the truth, i would make up a lie. i had completely forgotten about my right to remain silent. so the next time alana asked me a question where the answer would have wound up relating to my sexuality, and i would have normally told a lie, instead i said 'i don't have to answer that.' i never say that, so she immediately thinks back to the only other subject i've refused to talk about. she asks 'does this have anything to do with winter break?' i thought about that. why not? why pretend like i have a million little secrets? the truth is it's all the same one-i'm gay. they're coming at it from the wrong direction to ever guess that, so i may as well tie it all together. so i say yeah. and from then on out, every time i don't answer a question, it relates to winter break. everybody knows that whatever i did over winter break seems to be something that i don't want them to know about, and something that somehow changed my perspective on certain matters. but that's about all they know. they still think it was some hot guy, or smoking weed or getting drunk. but they know there's a secret.

anyway, it had been a while since anyone had mentioned winter break, but alana put it in her email. so i answered. i wrote 'i'll tell you about winter break by january 7th, but probably not til way closer to then, so don't bug me yet.' and then i sent it before i could lose my nerve. now, i'm not so sure. was that a good idea? it seemed like a good plan-to tell a real person, becuase she won't make it easy for me to back out of that. but now i'm scared. i wanted the option to back out. before, it was just a promise to me and any random strangers who read this livejournal. but now, it's a promise to a real person, and she's not going to forget it either. it's been a week, and she's still talking about it. and the other bad thing is that now i have to tell alana. before, if i had told christine, i wouldn't have to tell alana. or i could decide to tell nikki instead. or anyone. but now even if i tell someone else, i still have to tell alana too. i suppose this is probably a good thing. i need to get it out. i've needed to get it out for 20 years now, and it's about time i start doing something about it. but i'm still scared...