Where I grew up, in the South, the concept of homosexuality was limited only to tidings of damnation to all those guilty of indulgence. Where being a color other than white was a crime, to be gay was to be the spawn of Satan. It was here that I, a freshman at our small town’s deeply Christian high school found out who I truly was.
My parents had moved there from Alabama when I was 8. As soon as I could recite the alphabet, my parents began instilling God’s word and His wrath in my young mind. Somehow, I never really understood it all. I had already begun to see myself as different. My mind could not understand how love could be restricted.
Because the school was quite small, several former students came back every year to work there as sports coaches, teachers and assistants. Among them was Gabriel, a 24 year old fresh graduate, teaching general mathematics.
To say that I was smitten with him at first glance would be an understatement. Everything about him was perfect; from his piercing green eyes to his lithe, impeccably toned physique. It was like magic, how he completely captured every sliver of my attention by simply existing.
Every morning, I would arrive in school and my eyes would search high and low for Gabriel and when they would finally spot him, my heart would leap with joy.
My only wish was to just know if he even knew I existed. Trying to catch his eye became my favorite pastime during class, so much so that my grade began to suffer but I did not care. All I wanted was to express what I felt, to be unfettered by the code of society and take flight, with him.
Little did I know that he felt the same way and more. As I was sitting in class, staring at this beautiful human, mesmerized, he turned and met my gaze directly, a twinkle in his eye and a slight smile playing on his lips. The class was almost over and everyone was preparing to wrap up and so after a few seconds of staring at me, he nonchalantly beckoned me to his side. The class was almost empty by the time I could collect my racing thoughts and drag my jelly legs to him.
As soon as I reached him, the unthinkable happened. Gabriel took both my hands, pulled me close and kissed me. It was in that moment that I knew my life finally found meaning. In those few seconds, all that self-doubt simply vanished. It was as if I had grown wings and was ready to leave the mundane world behind.
This continued with me and Gabriel till the school year was over and afterwards, we decided to start our own life together. Loving him gave me more purpose than all the previous years of my life ever could. And I have sworn to be with him as long as I live for he is the one who freed me, he encouraged me to break my shackles and fly away with him into a blissful future.