No matter how many times I read what I typed out on that computer screen…it never looked like it was truly explaining what it was that I was trying to say to him. I kept trying to make corrections. Adding things that I forgot to add the first time around, and subtracting what I thought might come off as silly or just plain creepy. And there were times when my Frankenstein patchwork of confusing thoughts got to be so incoherent that I found myself having to scrap the whole thing and start all over again from scratch. Twice. But…I kept trying. Because, if anything happens to me, or to Caleb…I just wanted him to know…you know…how I feel.
I looked over at my little remote control drone quad on my desk, and I saw the light glowing bright green, which meant that it was fully charged. Good. Very good.
Ok. Let me try this again…
"This is going to sound really strange, and I KNOW that it's completely out of the blue...so, I'm sorry for that, ok? You'll probably be confused, but...please don't hate me.
I think it took this massive pandemic thing and our middle school being closed for the rest of our eighth grade year to make me realize just how much I miss being able to see you every day. How much I miss seeing your smile, and hearing your laugh in person. How much I just miss the scent of your hair, or how awesome it felt to get a one armed 'bro hug' from you at the end of the school day. I didn't think it would drive me so crazy to be away from you for this long...but it really sucks. I mean, I know that you only live a few blocks away from me...and I know that we still talk online and text and stuff...but there's something missing. Something special. Something that makes me wish that you were right here next to me so I could share the same space with you for a while.
And that's why I'm sending you this letter. Because, I think I'm starting to realize just how much I..."
I stopped myself from typing anything else. I was kind of scared of what I was about to say next. How do I finish that sentence? I mean…am I in love? Can I say that to him? We’ve only been friends for a couple of months now, but…from the very first day that we spent time together outside of school, I knew that there was something truly magical about him. I usually try to ignore my inner thoughts when it comes to thinking that this boy or that boy is cute. Or has beautiful eyes. Or a really nice ass. It felt really weird to me at first, but the attraction to other boys has intensified to the point where I’m pretty sure that it’s not just a phase that I’m going through. It’s only getting worse. Even when I make a conscious effort to block out the thoughts of getting down on my knees and sucking off half the baseball team at school…I go to sleep at night, and my subconscious totally betrays me and makes me dream about it anyway. Great. NOW I’ve got a mess to clean up! Puberty is so stupid.
Anyway, out of all the cute boys that I picture naked and hard at my school…I always felt like Caleb and I had something special. Something that went beyond my desire to give him a full body tongue bath at any given moment. My God…he so sweet, and so funny, and so blond, and so…CUTE! And it hurts! It hurts that he’s so cute, and yet so far out of my reach at the same time. I mean, is it crazy for me to think that a boy like that could ever be gay? It seems like God made him with the specific purpose of enhancing the entire human gene pool by breeding with as many girls as possible. And, even if I were to have accidentally hit the mother of all jackpots and he turned out to like boys too…what are the odds that he’d pick ME out of all the boys that I often cream my undies over to be his one and only? It’s just a bit too far outside of my suspension of disbelief to really invest my heart and soul into thinking that’s an actual thing that I could hope for.
He just makes me want to try…you know?
No matter what kind of force field that I try to build around my heart, he manages to penetrate it with a simple smile and a wink. And then I fall all over myself trying to regain some balance in my life as my deepest, unrestricted, emotions go chasing after his love again. Do you have any idea how bright his green eyes are when you stare directly into them? It’s like finding religion for the first time. DAMN, he’s beautiful! A few inches taller than me, with a mischievous grin that could level you in seconds. And his blond bangs were just long enough to tickle the sides of his sweet, thin, lips…
Lips that made me soooo hard every time he used them to speak my name out loud.
It was never my intention to fall for him the way that I have, but the power of random infatuation just kept pressing itself down on my shoulders until I was forced to surrender to its aggressive bully tactics and just…give up. You know? I couldn’t fight it anymore. It haunted me to the point where I was literally experiencing heart palpitations in his presence. I was almost ready to tell him that I loved him. That I thought about him all the time and that I couldn’t make it through another day without confessing all of the sloppy details of my confusion and helplessness when it came to having him in my life.
Then…the Covid-19 pandemic hit…
Now all the schools are closed, and I can’t see him because we’re all on quarantine. We still talk on the phone every few days, still text each other, and we’ve chatted a few times online too. But…I miss him. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but…I wish I could just reach out and touch him again. See his smile. Check out what color shirt he was wearing that day, of feel his breath on my face as he laughed. Caleb has such a cute laugh. Shiny braces and all. As if his smile wasn’t already bright and sexy enough.
I’m making myself so miserable right now. Isolation from the world would be so much more fun if he could spend his time on lockdown here with me. Especially if we could do it without any clothes on. Hehehe! That would be a bonus of epic propotions.
I heard a text blip on my phone, and made sure to save the beginning of my typed out letter before picking it up. Sure enough, it was Caleb.
“Hey, Asher! You awake? Give me a call when you get this. I’m bored.” It said.
I never wanted to look too eager when it came to him wanting to talk to me. If I answered too quickly, it’ll look like I was desperately waiting for his message. But, if I waited too long, then it would look like I wasn’t interested. There was a peaceful middle ground that you had to feel out over time to make sure that you came off look as cool, calm, and collected, as you possibly could. You know…with jizzing all over yourself whenever you heard his voice on the phone.
Ok, then…where was I?
"And that's why I'm sending you this letter. Because, I think I'm starting to realize just how much I..."
Come on, Asher. Let’s be smart about this. We don’t want to scare our delicate little butterfly away.
"I'm starting to realize just how much I cherish the time we spend together as friends."
I know that it was a bit of a cop out…but I didn’t want to make any declarations that I didn’t quite understand just yet. I just want him to know that he held a special place in my heart, that’s all. A warm and fuzzy…and occasionally ‘sticky’…place in my heart.
"I don't want to ramble on for too long. This probably already sounding silly, so I should just come out with it.
Caleb...I think I like you.
Well, I mean, I've always liked you...but I think I like you in a different way than what you might be thinking. I mean like...sometimes I think I might like you a bit too much. But it feels really good! Ummm...to like you this much. Not just as a friend, but like...sorta like...a partner, I guess?"
Ugh! Did I just use the word ‘partner’? How cold and sterile is that? I sound like a closet homophobe! Talk about mixed messages. Backspace, backspace, backspace…
How do I say this? Should I say boyfriend? Would it be a little less intimidating if I said girlfriend instead? No wait…that would be weird. What if I said, ummm…’special friend’? Ugh! That’s something a pedophile would say! Dammit! Isn’t there a decent way of labeling someone that you really really like without making it sound like you’re some kind of love obsessed stalker? I don’t want to go overboard and say that I’m all the way in love with Caleb, I just…I’m kind of sweet on him, you know? I’ve got a…oh wait! I know what to say!
Erase that last sentence.
"But it feels really good! Ummm...to like you this much. Not just as a friend, but like...sorta like...a crush. Like...a major crush. And I tried to ignore it a bunch of times, but then I see you again, and everything about you turns my whole world to sunshine and candy and...I lay awake at night, feeling awful that I never had the guts to let you know how much you mean to me. And how much more I wish you could give me...you know, if you were at all interested."
I felt like I was messing this all up, but it had already been five minutes since Caleb’s text, and I didn’t want to start all over again and make him wait too long for my response. I was already sliding right past that sweet spot in my timing.
Just hurry up and get to the point before you make things too confusing and end up chickening out. I don’t want to keep waiting. Worrying. Tossing and turning in my bed, wondering what kind of relationship we might have once I get the bothersome obstacle of being infatuated with the dreamiest boy that I’ve ever been close enough to touch with my bare hands. I just wanted to send it. Just…just finish it…
"Ok, so...here's the big question...
Ummm...is there any possible way that you might, kinda, sorta...like me too? I mean, sometimes it feels like you do, but that might just be wishful thinking on my part. VERY wishful thinking. God, I'm going crazy trying to write this in a way that won't freak you out too much. But this has been bugging me for so long, that not telling you how I feel is just starting to make me feel like I'm lying to your face every time we're together. And you deserve so much better than that, Caleb. You really do.
So...you don't have to come up with a whole lot to respond to this letter. I'm too nervous to wait to hear what you have to say anyway...not if you're gonna mull it over as much as I have since last night. Just...put a check mark in one of the boxes below, and no matter what you say...I'll totally take the hint, and we don't ever have to talk about it ever again. Promise.
Ok, so...here goes...
[I] Omigod, that's gross! No thanks, fag! Maybe we shouldn't be friends anymore!
[II] Oh...well, thanks, but I'm not into guys. It's ok if we get together and hang out every now and then, but that's about it.
[III] Maybe, I don't know, we could possibly...go out on a 'date' some time and just...see what happens?
And it's TOTALLY ok if you pick the first one. I mean it. I won't be mad or hurt or anything. I just...I feel like the whole question of whether I'm wasting my time thinking about you the way I do, or if I'm wasting my time not telling you about it so we could maybe...I dunno...get together someday. You know, when all of this pandemic stuff is over.
Anyway, I know I'm a pathetic mess right now, but I just had to say something before my heart imploded from lack of attention. Please answer back. And if you decide we can't be buds anymore...I'll understand. Just don't leave me hanging, k?
Waiting for your answer...with my fingers crossed.
I almost typed ‘Love, Asher’ at the bottom…but I thought that might be a bit presumptuous on my part. Best to just put my name on it and leave it at that. For all I know, this could be the end of our friendship. I think I was vague enough to maybe spin it in a way where I could say that it was a joke, or that he misread me…but I was hoping that it wouldn’t come to that.
Ugh…I can’t believe that the first person that I’ve ever come out to in my life could be the one to hurt me the most. But, better a brutal heartbreak that I can start healing from after a few weeks’ time, then the slow, bitter, ache of having it nag at my troubled mind for the rest of high school.
I saved my letter, and turned on my printer so I’d be able to put it on paper and send it his way. I hope this all works out for the best.
I got up from my desk and went over to sit on my bed with my phone so I could finally call Caleb up and listen to his sweet voice for a little while. I heard his phone ringing, and enjoyed the subtle thrill and nervousness that I still get every time I found myself waiting for his cheerful tone to wake me up out of my mundane reality.
“It’s about time!” Caleb said, picking it up on the third ring. “What are you doing? Sleeping in?”
“Maybe. Hehehe!” I said. “I stayed up pretty late last night. I think my usual sleep schedule has tumbled into a state of total chaos, now that I don’t have anything to get up early for.”
“I know what you mean. I moved my mom’s calendar into my room so I could remember what day of the week it is. It’s so weird how little it even matters anymore. It’s like every day is Saturday now.”
“I know, right? But is that such a bad thing?” I giggled. “Are you getting all stir crazy and restless yet?”
“No. Not really.” He said. “Honestly, I cleaned up a bunch of stuff around the house, and I’ve been going on some heavy binges on Youtube the past few days! Hahaha! No matter how much I watch, there’s always, like, a billion hours more! I think I found like ten or fifteen new channels to subscribe too. Youtube is hilarious, dude! I love it!” Hearing Caleb laugh always gave me goosebumps. It’s so cute. “What about you? Are you looking to break out of the house and run down the street screaming yet?”
“Me??? Hehehe, are you kidding? This pandemic is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I mean, it feels good to go out to the grocery store or to grab some take out every now and then, just for a change of scenery…but, other than that, I’ve got an entire three ring circus worth of entertainment right here in the house. Internet, Netflix, Youtube, Playstation, cell phone, an almost infinite playlist of music, an entire library of books…if anything, I’ve got too MUCH to keep me busy at home right now!”
“You’re forgetting the best part, though.” He grinned.
“The best part?”
“Yep!” Caleb said, cheerfully. “The quarantine has left me with a whole LOT of time to ‘grease the pole’, if you know what I mean! Hehehe!”
Omigod!!! What an image! “DUDE!!! Hehehe, don’t tell me that!” I blushed.
“It’s true. I wonder what the daily record is. I’ve got to at least be in the high rankings. Hehehe!”
“What? C’mon, don’t tell me that you haven’t been slappin’ the sausage around since you’ve been on lockdown.” That only made my blush deepen even more.
“That’s none of your beeswax, mister.” I said.
“I’ll take that as a definitive ‘yes’.” He replied. God, he can be so cute sometimes. “I’ve been using this special lotion lately. I think it’s, like…ultra healing for dry skin or something, right? And it’s sooooo slick and cool! And I’ve been rubbing it in on the daily, making one big mess after another. Hehehe, I swear, my dick hasn’t been this smooth and pretty since I was like eight years old!”
“Hahahaha! STOP! Jesus, Caleb!”
“I know you’re a perv too. But I’ll let you keep your little secret for now.” He giggled, and then he asked, “Anyway, the point is…I don’t get what people are freaking out about so much. It’s not like they can’t ever leave the house. Go. Drive. Shop. Eat. Play. Enjoy some sunshine and some human interaction and some junkfood. Just be careful and avoid large crowds. Mask and gloves. How hard is that? People act like they’ve been fuckin’ chained up in the trunk of a compact car for the past six weeks! It’s hardly that serious.” He said, then he told me, “I’ve got more than enough here to keep me happy and entertained for a long long time. And even more important…I’ve got you. So what is there to worry about?”
I just about melted right there on the bed and spilled over onto the floor when he said that. ‘I’ve got you’. Wow…the sentiment was almost too much for my poor overworked heart to handle. “Good to know…” I said, having to clear my throat as the emotions began to reach an all time high.
I had to shake the nervousness out of my limbs before I could go on.
“I wonder what all of those ‘doomsday preppers’ with the underground bunkers and the bottled water and canned goods and the obscene cache of military grade firearms are doing right now? Hehehe!” I said.
“Gah! Down, Roscoe! Down!” Caleb laughed, talking to his Golden Retriever as he jumped up on the bed and began licking his face. Lucky dog. “Sorry. Hehehe! They’re probably not doing much of anything. Just like the rest of us.”
“Yeah, but, they fortified themselves and got all hyped up to prepare for war, or a nuclear holocaust, or…an alien INVASION, or whatever! Hehehe, right? Like, ‘Rah rah rah…I can stay in this bunker for up to three YEARS and be good! I’m so prepared!’ But most of these people can’t even survive in the comfort of their own HOMES for more than a couple of weeks without them losing their friggin’ minds and having a total mental breakdown. What is that about?” I giggled. “I’ve NEVER been so bored that I’d be willing to risk literal death to get away from it. That’s just crazy. No thank you.”
“Same, dude! Geez! But, to be honest…I am kinda running out of things to do around here. I have to admit that it’s making me a bit more creative than usual. I might actually go in the basement and break out my old Lego kits soon. Which might be a lot of fun, actually. Hehehe!” There was a brief pause between us, and Caleb asked, “So, Asher…speaking of possible impending boredom later on…did you do it? Do you have some cool stuff for me?”
I looked down at my laptop, with the pink USB sticking out of the port on the side. “Yeah…” I said, getting all nervous and uptight again. “I put some really good movies on it too. As well as some cool short films that I found on Youtube. It should help you kill some time when you need it. But don’t burn through the whole thing in a single day like you did last time. That was SO not fair! Hehehe!”
“I couldn’t help it!” He giggled. “You were sending me some good shit! Every time I finished one movie, I got curious about what the next one would be like. So I couldn’t help myself. They were all awesome.”
“Yeah, well…spread these out a little bit this time. I need a week or two to come up with a new collection of flicks to send you.” I said. “There’s no way for me to keep up with your ravenous appetite if you don’t work with me on this.”
“No promises!” Caleb declared. Well, at least he was honest about it. Hehehe!
“You suck. You really do. Hehehe!” I grinned. “Don’t forget to send the old one back with the drone this time. I’ve only got enough battery power for a fifteen minute flight, and you forgot last time. I’ve only got so many of these lying around the house, you know?”
“Are you sure that fifteen minutes is enough to fly it over here and then fly it back?”
“It should be. But I’m gonna have to be quick about it. So have your tape and the USB drive ready so I can get a quick turn around and bring it back to the house.”
“Ok. I’ll grab it now. Are you sending it over?”
“Yeah. But I’ve gotta get off the phone so I can use the camera and see where I’m going.”
With the CUTEST little whine, Caleb said, “Awwwwww…but I wanna talk some more!”
Did that set off a series of tiny ‘pop rocks’ level explosions off in the center of my heart? Yes. Yes it did. But…if I got too wrapped up in that nonsense right now, I’d end up losing what little courage I had to begin with in all this.
“Hehehe, get off the phone, goofball! I’ll bring it to your upstairs window as soon as I can.”
He sighed out loud, saying, “Alright. I’ll keep an eye out for it, then. But we need to talk more later, though. K?”
It was a sweet gesture…but as I looked over at my screen, with my secret confession still lingering on the screen…I began to worry if this was the last ‘comfortable’ conversation that Caleb and I would ever have from now on. Because, as much as I longed to kiss his lips, hold his body against me, and fall asleep in his loving embrace someday…it was impossible to know how much of that whole scenario I was making up in my love stricken mind. Impossible to know if it would ever happen. And…impossible to know if I could go back to us just being friends if he decided to say ‘no’.
I could feel these intense tremors vibrating right up under my ribs…a sense of terror flooding into my system as I tried keep my eyes from watering up with tears. “If…you know…you decide not to send the other USB back…or call afterwards…I’ll totally understand, ok?”
He seemed so confused. “Huh? What are you talking about?”
“I’m just saying…” What AM I saying? Even I don’t know. “…Maybe it’ll make sense when you get it. Just…this was fun. You and me, like this…I enjoyed every minute of it. I just wanted you to know that.”
“Dude! Talk to me!” Caleb said, worried that he had missed something. “Are you sick? PLEASE, tell me that you’re not sick right now!”
“No. No, I’m not sick. Promise. I just wanted to say that I had a lot of fun getting to be close to you. No matter what.”
I think Caleb was still a bit stressed out over what I may or may not be trying to tell him, but he said, “It’s been fun for me too, Asher. Like…you’re, legit, one of my best friends ever.”
I started to get choked up, so I needed to end the conversation before he was able to hear it in my voice. “Alright. I’m sending it over. Watch your window for the quad, k? Just text me when you’ve got it and are ready to send it back.”
“Ok…” He said quietly. “Asher? Are you sure that you’re ok?”
“Well, I guess we’ll find out soon, won’t we? Heh…” And then I hung up the phone without saying anything else. I needed to prepare. Because it’s finally here. The moment of truth.
I looked at the letter on the screen one more time. I stared at it for a full minute before I forced myself to make a decision about it, once and for all. Then, I looked at the way I signed it at the end…and I made a small change…
"- Love, Asher"
If I’m going to do this…I might as well go for broke, right?
God, I hope I’m not making a big mistake here.
I hit the ‘Print’ command, and let it put my words onto a page for Caleb to read. I grabbed the USB drive full of movies and videos for him to watch, and I grabbed my scotch tape to make sure that I could safely secure everything onto the bottom of the drone my dad got me last Christmas. Thank goodness for that! No global pandemic was going to keep me and Caleb apart for long.
The printer finished spitting out the completed page, and I folded it up into a nice little square. Then I put the USB on top of it, taping it down, and then taping it to the bottom of the drone. I linked it up with my cell phone so I could successfully guide it over to Caleb’s house without having it get tangled up in a tree or something. That would be sooooo embarrassing!
I carried my drone over to my bedroom window, and opened up its four propeller wings so I could send it on its way. Then I lifted it up, and gave the letter I printed out a lingering kiss, focusing all of my hopes, desires, wishes, and prayers, into it…hoping that it could give me some kind of magical advantage in Caleb’s response. And then…the game began.
With a flutter of scary jitters in my stomach, I started up the quad’s propellers, activated the camera on my phone, and sent it flying out of my window. I was shaking soooo bad! But his house was far enough away to make timing an essential part of getting it there with enough power of bringing it back. Please, please, PLEASE, don’t hate me, Caleb! Please?
This is so stressful right now!!!
I made it down the first block, then the second, then turned the corner to head towards the third. The camera allowed me to navigate pretty easily, considering how many times I had made the trek over to Caleb’s house on foot. I didn’t run into any obstacles along the way, and followed the trajectory for another few blocks until I knew that I was getting close. Caleb’s bedroom was upstairs, so I lifted the drone a bit higher and hit the ‘Altitude Hold’ button to keep it hovering at that level. I slowed it down a bit, and looked over at the battery gauge and the clock. Eight minutes. Shit…more than half of my juice was gone. I guess the extra weight of the paper, even if it was only a little bit, used up more power than I thought it would. Didn’t account for that.
I got it all the way to Caleb’s house, and steadied my approach to head it right towards his window. And there was Caleb…looking SUPER cute today! Hehehe, he hadn’t even gotten dressed today. Just wearing some boxer shorts, and an unbuttoned pajama top. Sighhhh…I couldn’t see his nipples, but his chest and his abdomen was enough to have me nearly drooling all over my cell phone screen. Especially when he gave me a smile and a bashful wave as the drone entered his window. He knew I’d be watching. God….he’s so damn cute!
I expertly landed the drone on his desk, and he smiled and gave me a thumbs up to let me know that he got it. But as soon as he turned it over to see the note attached to it, even though it was still folded up and he couldn’t read it yet, I panicked and shut my camera off so I didn’t have to deal with the possible rejection of seeing the expression on his face when he read it.
I don’t think I’d be able to handle that. I just…I needed him to know. I probably fucked up. I’m so sure that I fucked this all up! WHY did I do that??? It’s too late to take it back now. Fuck!
And now…I wait…
It might have only been five minutes, but it felt like three and a half lifetimes had passed before I heard the ‘ding’ on my phone to let me know that he was ready for me to fly the drone back home. At least as far as I was concerned.
I was shaking soooooo badly that I thought I was going to be sick! He saw it! He read the letter! Oh God…he probably thinks I’m such a disgusting pervert right now. Is he going to tell me that he never wants to talk to me again? Is he going to tell me ‘thanks, but no thanks’? It’s going to drive me CRAZY until I know for sure! But…I didn’t read his text. I was holding my phone in my hand, but I didn’t read the message. I couldn’t. Even though I started to tear up with this feeling of dread and despair, because I just KNEW that it was going to be bad! I just knew it!
Whatever. At least I’ll know the truth, right? I guess that’s a good thing.
I fired up the drone’s propellers and turned the camera back on so I could click on the ‘Auto Return Home’ button and make sure that it didn’t get led astray somewhere along the way. I was watching the battery power the whole way, and after a few minutes, I was already in the red. Shit…please make it back to my house! PLEASE!
I was worried for most of the way, but when I looked out of my bedroom window and saw the drone heading my way, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was still dancing around on pins and needles over Caleb’s response…but I was happy to know that I was only a minute away from finding out what it was.
I brought the quad in for a soft landing, and saw my letter, folded up, still attached to the bottom of the drone. I was a bit confused at first. Did he not see it? Didn’t he realize that there was something different about…oh wait. I looked at the USB that he sent back. It was blue. That’s the one I sent him before. The new one was pink. Plus, there were little tears on the paper where he took the tape away. So he DID see it!
Omigod, omigod, omigod, omigod!
My hands were trembling as I took the tape off and once I got it free, I just kind of looked at it for a moment without unfolding it. I just sat on the edge of my bed and tried to breathe. This is it. This is my answer. Yikes…am I even ready for this? Ok, I can”t wait any longer. I have to know. I have to!
The first thing I noticed when I opened up the paper was…the first option out of the three that I had given him was heavily scribbled out with a heavy black permanent marker. Like…he had blackened it out completely. Whew…ok, so at least I know he doesn’t think I’m gross, and doesn’t want to stop being friends. So, that’s a plus right?
However, he didn’t pick anything from the last two options. And I turned the paper over to see if he had written anything to answer me. But he hadn’t. Well…what was that supposed to mean? Is he straight and just ok with me being gay? Or is he, like…you know….interested in going out? Arrrgh! This is SO not the time for him to be difficult about this!
I hopped up and went to grab my phone off of my desk to see what his text message was. But all it said was, “I’m going to take Roscoe out for a walk. Feel like some exercise?”
What? What does him taking the dog out for walk have to do with….ohhhh. Ok, I get it. Shit, ummmm….let me change clothes really quick. And check my hair. Where are my good sneakers? Gah! No warning! No warning at all!
I rushed downstairs and started getting myself ready. I rubbed some sanitizer on my hands, and I don’t know if it helps, but afterwards I always rub a little over my nostrils too. Just in case. I went to the kitchen table to grab a pair of latex gloves, and my mom asked me where I was rushing off to. “Oh…I’m just gonna run down to the mailbox really quick. That’s all.”
“Well, I’m going out to the post office when I pick up some things from the grocery store later. I can drop it off for you, if you like.” She said.
“It’s ok. I really need the exercise. A little sunshine and all that.”
She gave me a bit of a weird look, but didn’t think too much about it. “Alright then. Be safe.”
“I will. Hey, where’s my mask? Is it up here?”
“There’s a couple hanging on the key hooks over by the back door.”
I looked through them really quick. No way. None of these are good enough. “Not these, Mom. Where’s my ‘cool’ one? The dark navy blue one with the ninja star on the side.”
“I think it’s in the dryer, honey.”
I ran in and opened up the dryer, rapidly rummaging through everything until I finally caught sight of it. I shook it free and brushed the lint off of it before hooking it around my ears and checking to see how it looked in the mirror before sliding into my sneakers and starting my way down the block to meet up with Caleb and see if maybe…if just maybe…
Omigod, I’m so nervous right now!
I walked a few more blocks, turned the corner, and I could see Caleb standing on the corner with Roscoe sniffing around in the grass. You know, I was kind of hoping to just do this with the drone so I wouldn’t have to look Caleb in the eye. I never would have had the guts to say what I said in that letter face to face. That was the whole point of the letter. Some ’emotional distancing’ was needed for me to feel safe, you know?
Well, leave it to Caleb to fuck that all up by being mysterious.
Once he looked up and saw me heading in his direction, he gave me a wave, and I immediately slowed my pace down a little bit so I didn’t look too eager. I didn’t want to come off like a total spaz, after all. He was wearing a pair of gleaming white soccer shorts, and a bright red shirt. Blue latex gloves, and a cloth mask…also red, to match his shirt, with little gold lightning bolts on it. Sighhh…he makes everything look sexy, you know that? He’s so damn cute.
“Hey.” I said, trying to be as normal and unassuming as possible.
“Hey…” He grinned.
Roscoe’s collar started clinging and clanging as he got all excited and ran over to jump up and sat hello, wagging his tail and panting as I rubbed his ears for him. I gave the dog a kiss on the top of his head, but was able to move back before he gave me a bad case of slobber face. “It’s good to see you too, Roscoe! Hehehe!”
Caleb said, “I swear he misses you coming over every now and then. Sometimes, he just looks at me like, ‘Where’s Asher? Where’s my friend?'”
“Awwww, I’m always just right around the corner, cutie. Promise.” I said. Then…silence. I mean, I sort of connected eyes with Caleb for a moment, but then looked away. Then he looked over at me, and looked away just as fast. The best thing about having Roscoe bouncing around the way he was, was that it at least provided us with a momentary distraction.
That’s when Caleb just came out, “So…we’re writing letters now?” Our eyes met again, and he giggled softly as he saw me freeze up. It was a little embarrassing, to be honest.
“I was just…you know, I was having a geek moment, I guess.”
“So…were you pranking me? Or was that, like…the truth? What you said.” He asked me.
“It was, ummmm….the truth?”
“Hehehe, you don’t sound so sure about that.”
I straightened up a bit. “Sorry. But yeah. It’s the truth.” And this was followed by another awkward ‘hush’ that lasted a bit longer than I expected it to. I wish he would say something more. I was really anxious to know what his true feelings were.
Out of the blue, Caleb said, “You know what I miss? Pizza slices at Gigio’s. Just a couple of days ago I was thinking about how cool it would be to just run down there and grab two big slices of pepperoni and sausage…with a little of that Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top?”
“Oh man! I’d give anything for a few Gigio’s slice right now!” I said, already salivating over the idea. “Are they open again?”
“Not yet. But…they won’t stay closed forever.” Caleb might have had his beautiful face covered up, a tragedy in itself…but I could see the sweetest little blush in his cheeks when he said, “Maybe I’ll go grab a few slices when things get back to semi-normal in the world.”
“That sounds awesome.” I said.
“Maybe…maybe we could, like…go together, or something. I don’t know…”
My heart began to thump so hard that it nearly took my breath away. And it was only getting worse as I felt myself swelling up like a balloon as I started to realize what he was hinting at. “That…that could be cool too…” I said, giggling nervously as Caleb deflected his gaze back down to his dog. “Wait…are you asking me out?”
Caleb gave me the cutest, most bashful shrug. “Hehehe, I don’t know. I thought you were asking me out.”
“Oh! Well, sure! I mean…I mean, I AM! I totally am!” I said. I didn’t want to give way to major outburst, but I never felt more like dancing in the street than I did at that very moment. “So…you wanna, like…go out with me?”
“I think we’ve already established that, goofball.” He giggled.
“Well, why didn’t you just say that when you returned the letter to me?”
“Because, Asher…” He said, “…I missed you too.” And with that, Caleb held his hand out, his latex covered fingers spread. And I did the same, moving forward so our palms could touch. We just held our hands together like that for an extended moment, our eye contact now steady, and too stubborn to turn away. I can’t believe this. I really can’t. Wow…I was actually starting to get hard, right there on a public street in broad daylight…and all we were doing was touching palms.
“So…I guess, I’ll see you for some pizza? Maybe in a couple of weeks?” I asked.
“Heh, well…maybe in a couple of months at this rate. I guess it all depends on whether or not people behave themselves and stop making things take longer.” He said. “But…yeah. Just call me, and I’ll be there. I look forward to it.”
“Yeah…cool.” We took a step away from one another, and Caleb said, “I’m gonna get Roscoe back in the house before he finds something ‘dead’ to play with out here. Hehehe, this dog is so morbid sometimes.”
“Alright. I’ll call you later. K?”
“I’ll be waiting for your answer…with my fingers crossed.” He smiled. And then he pulled on Roscoe’s leash to guide him back towards the house. But then he looked over his shoulder and said, “Send me a dick pic, later!”
“Hahaha! Ummm…how about NO!”
We shared a chuckle over it, but as I began to walk back to my house…the whole world seemed to get just a little bit brighter. I think I was actually getting goosebumps at the thought of being able to be close to Caleb again some time soon. Holding his hand. Sharing my first kiss with those tantalizing lips of his. And a few fantasy flashes of other things that I probably shouldn’t be thinking about while I’m walking out here in the open with no ‘cover’. There’s nothing cute about scaring your neighbors with a hair trigger boner and a wet spot!
Still…I think I just took my first step to having my very first boyfriend. And it’s CALEB!!! How crazy is that?
I don’t know where this might go, but everything is coming up rainbows right now, and I just don’t want this feeling to ever go away. Not ever again. Wow…Caleb and Asher. Asher and Caleb. I need to get home so I can pass out on my mattress and absorb all of this.
Thank you for being the best part of my life, Caleb. Both a total hottie and a friend. I’ll make you proud. Promise.
Now…let’s see if I can use some of my free time to ‘grease my own pole’ for a while. Hehehe, what? It’s not like I haven’t been doing it on a daily basis too. I just didn’t want to tell HIM that. At least I didn’t before. Now, he might think it’s kind of hot. Could be fun to swap stories. Am I right?