The other part of me .pdf
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I closed the door behind me and threw my backpack on a chair. The
work took it out of me. I was barely standing and I had to use all my
strength just to keep my eyes open.
The only source of light in the room was a little lamp on a table.
Right in front of it was half-sitting, half-lying my friend Alex. His head
was resting on a keyboard of his laptop. I went up to him and saw a
waterfall of text on the screen.
I grabbed his shoulder and gently shook him. "Come on Alex, wake
He moaned, turned his head towards me and slightly opened his
eyes. I loved seeing his sleepy face. A wave of excitement went through
my body which completely woke me up.
"Ben, please don't tell me it's morning already. I feel more tired than
"That's because you fell asleep in front of your computer again. Get
your ass up in bed."
Suddenly he remembered. He sat up, wiped his eyes and sighed
when he saw the screen.
"Damn. I wanted to finish my speech tonight. The voting is just a
two days away and I still haven't done it."
I looked at the page count. "You clearly did 25 pages."
"Yes, and ninety percent of it is the letter "n"," he said, copying the
text and deleting it. Then he slammed his laptop shut and stood up,
which didn't made a big difference in his height. His head was up to my
neck. Even though he was 19, he still looked like a kid.
"I have to finish it tomorrow. People are depending on it. I can't
show up there empty-handed."
"Sounds good." That was all I could get out of me at this point. Alex
crawled into his bed and didn't bothered with his clothes at all. I threw
mine on a chair, turned off the lamp and collapsed into my bed.
"Can you stop scribbling for a moment and eat your breakfast
already?" I asked Alex who didn't touched his meal yet.
Alex with a pen in one hand and forehead in the other looked down
on his notepad. He sighed and threw the pen onto the table. Then he
grabbed his fork and stuffed his mouth with cold scrambled eggs.
"I can't do it. Everything I write is weak. I need something
powerful. Something that people will remember."
"Why it's weak?"
"It doesn't send the right message. I need something that will put
past on rest so we can look towards better future. Besides, I still haven't
found the right person to do the talk."
I finished my eggs and wiped my lips. "What do you mean? You
write it, you read it."
Alex choked and coughed. He covered his mouth so his food landed
only in his palm and not all around. He reached for a glass of water and
drank some of it. Then he wiped the tears from his eyes and smiled.
God I love that smile.
"You are funny," said Alex when he finally caught his breath. "You
think people would take me seriously? Sure, I just pull up a chair to
stand on. Or better, I will sit on your shoulders while delivering the
I would love that.
"Let's be honest. People would think it's a bad joke. That I stumbled
onto the podium by an accident. I am 5'5" with a baby face. Delayed
puberty didn't helped either. Just look at me."
Oh, I am looking. I was looking since the day we've met. I am still
not sure if it was blessing or a curse. That small nose, puffy cheeks, full
lips and light brown hair makes my heart jump every time I see it from
"There it is again," said Alex, pulling me out of my daydreaming.
"That look you just gave me."
I felt a cold sweat on my neck. "What look?"
Alex sighed. "Please Ben, let's not do this again. I know how touchy
you are when it comes to your sexuality but this is getting ridiculous.
We live in a world where being gay is not a problem anymore.
Tomorrow, we will hopefully experience the biggest leap in terms of
equality between hetero and homosexuals. You'll no longer need to hide
your true self."
"But I am not gay," I said silently, so people around us couldn't hear
"You are doing it again. You can lie all you want but that look tells
me more than you might think. I saw it many times before. You can't
I looked down and began to play with a little bits of eggs on the
plate with my fork. "Whatever. Believe what you want. I am not lying."
I once again got lost in my thoughts so when Alex spoke, I almost
"You could do it."
"Do what?" I asked still staring into my plate.
"My speech. You could go there and deliver it instead of me."
"What?!" The fork slipped from my hand and hit the plate with a
"You heard that right. You wanted to go anyway. It's not a big deal.
You'll just read the words I write."
"Not a big deal? There will be hundreds of people there!"
"So what? It's not like I want you to do a dance for them."
"Why don't you ask one of your gay friends? I am sure at least one
of them will be willing."
"I am asking one right now."
"For the last time. I am…"
"...not a gay. I know. Well, listen to me not a gay person. I tried. As
strange as it sounds, nobody is willing to go and read it. All of them are
either afraid or have other business to tend to. I will go there if I must
but I know for a fact that I will be laughed off the stage. You are my last
chance. Besides, the talk will only take place if the bill is passed."
I know that look you are giving me right now. I am good with
reading faces too my friend. The words you want me to say but I am so
afraid to tell you. If I accept, I put myself in a corner. If I don't I will
hurt you. And I don't want neither.
"Ben, you stood up for me when nobody else would. You know
what I am talking about. You were the one to give me a helping hand
when I needed it the most. Even my gay friends didn't had so much
courage. In that moment, for the first time in my life, I felt like I found a
true friend. Maybe even something more."
"A hero in a shining armor?" I said with a smile. It was my last shot
at keeping this conversation light. But Alex didn't smiled. His serious
look began to change into a sad one. He clenched his fork so hard I
expected it to start bending any second. He tried to keep himself
together but he was breaking inside.
I couldn't take it anymore. "Stop it already. Fine, I'll do it. You
really know how to put that baby face of yours to work."
Which has ten time the effect on me.
His face lit up like he just opened the best Christmas present ever.
"Yes!" he shouted, jumped from his chair, grabbed me around the
neck and hugged me. "I knew you wouldn't let me down. You have no
idea how relieved I feel right now."
I do. I can feel your heart racing. Your smooth and warm cheek on
my neck. It's like you are doing it on purpose, even though you don't
"Please, people are looking at us," I said, trying to keep myself cool.
"So what? Let them. They don't know what's going on. All they see
is just a little kid hugging his big brother."
I laughed. "You really like playing that game, do you?"
"Of course. I get a half price everywhere I go with you."
"Well, you can let go of me now. Or else you'll choke me to death
and then you'll have to find a new speaker."
"Ben, get up! We have a big day in front of us!" Alex shouted in my
He grabbed my arm and tried to pull me out of the bed. But for his
little body it was too much work. I covered my head with a pillow to
muffle his high pitched voice.
He finally let go of my arm and reached for my pillow which was
far better option for him. He grabbed it and threw it across the room.
"Come on! Every second we wait is a lost one."
"What are you talking about?" I asked still half asleep and turned to
him, looking at him with just one eye.
He had a big smile on his face, his hair was messy.
Wow. There are only a few views better than this. It's almost like
you are doing it on purpose. I am not complaining.
"The voting of course. The parade. Our speech!"
I remembered instantly. The fear that struck me took the sleepiness
off me. "If there will be a reason to celebrate," I said trying to calm him
but mainly myself down.
"Of course there will be. I don't believe they would be that stupid
not to pass it. It's looking very good for us."
"For you maybe. I just woke up and I am already in cold sweat."
"Don't worry," Alex said waving his hand. I finished my speech. "I
think it's good. I sweated over it too."
"That certainly calmed me down. Will I get to read it before I get on
stage or you just going to thrown me onto the podium?"
"Of course you will get to read it. But now, breakfast!" He shouted
once again and pulled my blanket from me and threw it on the ground.
"Geez," I grumbled. "Looks like your body wasn't the only thing
that didn't grew up just yet."
"So what? I look like a kid, I may as well act like one. We have
been living under one roof for almost a year now. You could get used to
it by now."
I wish I could my friend. And someone else would probably do that
by now. Not me. I have to constantly check myself not to slip up. With
you, because you don't know. With everyone else, because it's not right.
I barely ate anything. My stomach shrunk to one tenth of it's regular
size. I couldn't stop thinking about my speech. I replayed the scenario in
my head over and over again, but I failed the speech every time. This
only made me more anxious.
I thought about backing out several times. People would understand
Alex better than me. He is one of them. I am not. I was just unfortunate
enough to be attracted to a certain type of people.
We have been hanging out around the square where everyone is
supposed to meet for hours now. People were slowly but surely
gathering and I long gave up trying to count them all. If there was more
people that I could count, it was too many for me.
But promise is a promise. I promised Alex that I would help him
and he promised organizers that he will help with the preparations. So
here we were, each of us doing our part. Alex was running around,
making sure everything was as perfect as it could be. For now, my part
was standing in a corner, nervously shaking, and sipping whatever they
I usually don't hang out with his friends. I don't belong to them. But
now I got to finally meet some of them. I thought they would be a little
bit different. But those men and women, they are just like everyone else.
Just looking at them, you would never spot a difference while
comparing them to "normal" people. Not the way they talk, move or
clothe themselves. The only way to spot them is when they are with
their loved ones. I felt a sting of jealousy when I saw them together and
happy. Being open to everyone like this, with little or no fear of what
others might think of them.
"Ben, come over here! I want to introduce you to someone!" I heard
Alex behind me.
It was another of his friends. I made my way through a big crowd
that was massing around me.
I didn't expected so many people. It has to be hundreds of them
here. I hope no more will show up.
I finally reached Alex. Standing next to him was a man in his late
twenties. He wore a light blue shirt that matched his eyes. Clean shaven
with hairstyle of latest fashion he looked like another regular Joe.
"This is Mike, Ben. Ben, Mike," said Alex as we shook hands.
"Mike is the man who got all these people here."
"So you are responsible for me embarrassing myself in front of
hundreds of people?" I asked jokingly.
Mike smiled. "And you are the big brother that took a shot for a
I looked at Alex. "You told him?"
"I did. Every last detail. Why not? It's nothing embarrassing. I don't
"Well I do…"
"Thousands," said Mike, sensing our conversation going off track.
"What?" I turned to him.
"You said hundreds. Two thousand people are attending this parade
as far as I know."
I looked up in the sky and sighed. "Great. This day is going to be
"Isn't it?" said Mike followed by another smile. "Are you still sure
you are not gay? I would give you a shot if you'd like. You look cute."
I frowned at him in disbelief. Alex pushed him aside. "Mike! You
promised you wouldn't creep him out!"
"I am just saying what's on my mind my friend. Anyway, I have to
go and make sure people don't wonder around. I'll catch you guys later,"
he said and disappeared into the crowd.
I looked at Alex. "Seriously?"
"He's a good guy. He is just a bit straight forward. I told him you
"Thank you. That certainly helped. I am sweating like a race horse
over here and he is hitting on me."
"Forget it. We have other matters to turn to. Voting will take place in
less than an hour. Mike was right. There is a lot of people. Here," he
said giving me a sheet of paper.
"This is my speech. You don't have to remember it. Just read it a
few times over so you don't hiccup on the stage. What do you think?"
I read it quickly just to get me some heads up. "It's good. I think it
says what you wanted it to say."
Alex's face lit up. "Thank you. I tried. Now let's get out of here
before people stomp on my head."
"Wow, there's more than enough people to celebrate today," I heard
Mike's voice booming all around me. Everybody turned towards the
podium. He stood there all alone with a microphone in his hand.
"Voting will begin in just a few moments. We are all excited but
whatever the outcome, I want everybody to follow the rules and…"
"Why didn't you made him do the talking?" I asked Alex as Mike
continued to lecture the audience. "He seems natural."
"He was the first one I tried talking to. He has already a lot of work
on his hands. We all have. It's a shame. He is a really good talker. I
actually got the easiest part."
"And even that I have to do for you," I said, elbowing him in the
"Ow! We can still do it with me sitting on your shoulders if you
"No. I am good."
"Are you?" He asked looking at my hands. "You are shaking like a
bush in a wind."
"You call this shaking? Just wait until I walk up onto that stage."
"Nah. You'll be fine. Let's go closer to the podium. The voting is
about to begin."
Mike remained on the stage and nervously walked up and down.
Everyone waited with bated breath. People were checking their phones
or looking at Mike who was too on his phone.
I looked around. I have never seen so many excited faces in my life.
They looked like their whole lives depended on this one moment.
Alex looked similar. His fists were clenched. There was something
in his eyes. Something I couldn't fully understand. A chance to be
Somebody from the crowd screamed, followed by a few other
"Hold on people," said Mike into a microphone. We don't want no
false information. Just stay on official sites and wait."
We waited for only a few minutes but the wait was nerve-wracking.
Even I was sweating heavily and this wasn't my fight. I was just here to
help a friend.
"It seems like..." Mike paused for a moment. "We got it," he
finished like it was no big deal.
In a second I went deaf. The crowd exploded in a waterfall of color,
confetti and shouts. Rainbow flags were waving, and out of nowhere
rose posters with words "Love Wins" on them.
I got grabbed around the neck and almost pulled to the ground. It
took me a second to regain stability.
"We got it Ben, We got it!" Alex shouted in my ear, deafening it
even more. I spun around a few times before he let go of me and I could
finally see him face to face.
He was smiling from ear to ear and crying at the same time. This
made my heart jump. I bent down and let him hug me. He wrapped his
arms around my neck once again, but this time gently and firmly. He
was crying on my shoulder, his whole body shaking.
"You still can't believe it, huh?" I said holding him with one hand
and rubbing his back with the other.
"I can," he said sobbing. His voice was cracking. "I am just so very
"I am happy for you buddy. I really am."
He finally let go of me, wiped his face and looked me in the eyes. "I
would kiss you right now if you wasn't so thick headed," He said still
You have no idea how much I would love that. But for a different
reason. For a reason you would have to know before I did anything. You
are my best friend. I can't afford to lose you. And I am scared to tell
you. Maybe I will do it one day. But today belongs just to you.
"Do you want to tell me something?" Alex asked as confetti landed
all around us. Some woman ran up to me and wrapped the rainbow flag
around me. Before I could say a word, she was gone.
"I think it's time to tell something to everyone," I nodded towards
the podium. Mike was gone. It was all empty. I hoped he would stay
somewhere close so I wouldn't feel so alone up there. But he probably
had his job to do.
Right. I hope you didn't lost my speech."
"I have it," I said fingering it in my pocket. "Geez I am scared for
"I know. But look at all these people. They are so happy that they
won't hear the half of it and they will forget the second half in a
"So I don't have to go there, right?"
"Of course you have to," Alex said, pushing me to wards the stairs.
"Cameras will record it."
Thank you. That certainly made me feel better.
I walked up the stairs and grabbed the microphone. When I turned
to the crowd, I froze. This is what two thousands people look like? My
throat went instantly dry. I looked down at Alex. He caught my stare,
smiled and nodded. There was no turning back.
"Alright..." I looked at the microphone and switched it on.
"Alright people," my voice boomed from the speakers and I could
hear its tremble in my bones. I reached into my pocket and pulled out
the creased paper. My hand was shaking so hard I could barely read it.
"This is a big day for every one of us..." I started, barely
remembering what I read just a few moments ago.
"...and celebrations are in place. But before you run out to the world
and spread the words of love to everyone, I would like to say a few
I stopped for a moment. Everyone was silent and staring at me. I
noticed several big cameras in the crowd and hundreds of phones. Every
mistake I make will be recorded forever. I can't do one now. For Alex. I
looked down at the paper and continued.
"For hundreds of years, people have been looking at homosexuals
as sick, immoral and unnatural. They thought they were ill so they did
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