“I Need You”
Edited by: Joline H., Alice Z., and Raisa Z.
There was no declaration of love, no hand holding, and certainly no kissing. But they were in love, clear as day. It was the way the brush past each other, the way they stood so close, and the way they never seemed to break eye contact.
However, in a society where love was defined by physical attraction, there was no place for them. No place for their need for each other, which lies in their heart, soul, and mind.
But the problem was deeper than that.
It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon when they met – one in the shadow of a church and the other in the sunlight, both showing awkwardness. At this moment, it became clear as to who they will be in the future. This was also how they earned their nicknames, which stuck after countless people kept teasing them. It was their way of defiance.
The one in the shadow was known as Shadow. (Real original, Shadow.)
The one in the light was known as Sunshine.
For them, becoming friends was a slow process since they rarely met, yet it was the most enjoyable and innocent part.
It began when they were leaning against a tree, watching Sunshine’s younger siblings play, and their parents chat. It was calm and peaceful when Sunshine said, “You know, I don’t always follow my parents around and kiss their butt like you think I do. I’m not…as horrible as you probably think I am.” Sorry for treating you like crap.
It was an apology and a confession, and Shadow knew. It had been heard, but was not responded to. Not yet.
Four years passed and they became best friends. One was always energetic and the other was calm and reserved.
It was two weeks into spring, and they were sitting on the bed studying, when Shadow said, “I envy your freedom, you know.”
Winter came again, and it was snowing heavily.
“It’s so pretty.”
The two glanced at each other.
Well, actually… It started out as a glance, but it quickly escalated into a heated staring contest, before a younger brother cleared his throat.
“It’s Spring!” Sunshine exclaimed, prancing around.
Shadow shuffled around, avoiding the blooming flowers. They were pretty, but also new life, and new lives should be treasured.
“Oh, come oooon. Don’t be a party pooper!” Sunshine shoved a flower up Shadow’s nose.
Taking the flower, Shadow went into the house and placed it in a bottle of water. Then, turning to the other teenager, he said, “It’s a life, and lives should be cherished.”
It was a lesson Sunshine never forgot.
The sun beat down at the children playing in a deserted field. Innocence radiated off them. Laughter and shouts of glee were heard as they romped around. Shadow wondered, Why are they so active? How? As he sat in the shade of a large willow tree.
He was always an introvert, so, to him, it seemed so strange and so hard to communicate with people.
Shadow suddenly caught Sunshine’s eyes and they stared at each other. A small smile appeared on Sunshine’s lips as Shadow stood up. Then, suddenly, they were standing next to each other. Too close.
“Hey…” Sunshine said softly. “I’ve got something to show you.”
As the two hiked up a mountain trail, Sunshine chatted away.
“I’ve found a cave. It’s in this very well hidden spot. Oh, and it’s soooooooooo pretty.”
Shadow agreed when he was pushed inside. The cave walls were smooth and had a metallic sheen to it. The bit of light that shone through reflected off a pool of water and illuminated their faces. There was no word spoken, but it was agreed. This was their cave now.
Fall arrived too quickly, according to Sunshine. But Autumn was a pretty season. The leaves turn orange-red, like the color of Shadow’s hair…*Cough* Ahem. Sunshine totally did not think that.
“Leaves!” Sunshine sang as a bunch of leaves were flung into the air. “So pretty!” Like you.
But…ahem…that was totally not an afterthought.
Shadow sighed and facepalmed. Why is Sunshine like this?
Two months later.
“Hey! Shadow! Wait up!” But the boy kept running, a look of pure pain and self hatred on his face. His hazel irises were a brilliant gold color and he had red rimmed eyes. He was panting heavily as he slipped into the cave and crawled through a tunnel.
Sunshine ran after him, worried that something drastic was going to happen. And he was right to worry.
About 30 minutes prior
“Mother?” Raguel asked. “Father?”
“Yes?” The mother turned around to face him, an adoring smile on her face. Raguel was her only child, and he was perfect…
“There’s something I need to tell you.”
She smiled adoringly again. “Go on. I’ll always support you. Oh – don’t look so nervous if you’ve done nothing wrong.”
*End of flashback for now.*
Sunshine found him at the end of the tunnel of their cave. The tunnel started out as smooth as the cave walls but soon changed into dirt. It ended with a roughly six feet tall opening that had a 30 ft fall into a rough river.
“Hey. What’s wrong?” he asked as he touched Shadow’s shoulders.
Shadow looked at him, and even in the dim light, Sunshine can still see the pain etched across his features. But in that pain, Sunshine can also see resignation and fear.
Shadow was shivering violently, and a new wave of tears came. He managed to choke out. “I… came out.”
Rage was written so clearly on his mother’s face. His father was sitting on a sofa, face in his hand.
“You’re… My son is gay?” She spat out. The word “son” sounded so bitter on her tongue, as if it was poison. Drawing the Bible from the bookshelf, she threw it at him, but he was gone. She hissed, tears leaking from the corners of her eyes.
“What did I do to deserve this? To deserve a —”
She was cut of when the father stood up.
“John!” she cried, “What the hell did I do? Where did I go wrong? Was it because of that Michael?” It couldn’t be Michael, she realized. Michael was straight. Michael came from a good Christian family. Michael was the son of her best friend.
John sighed as he picked up the Holy Bible and slipped it back on the shelf.
“Does it matter, Caroline?” he asked his wife. “Does it matter who he ends up loving? Is love a sin?”
“Then it is not, because love is love when it comes to loving someone. It doesn’t matter what their gender is. It’s still love.”
He swept out of the room, leaving her alone.
*End of Flashback* Note – This is not Raguel/Shadow’s flashback. It is just a time lapse.
Raguel broke into a crying heap as he recounted his story.
“It’s ok…It’s ok…” the other boy whispered, as he cradled Raguel, stroking his hair. “Raggie…It’s ok.”
“NO! Don’t you see? I’m an abomination! There’s no need for people like me, Mike. NO. NEED. I’ll go to hell anyways…”
Michael pulled back, studying Raguel’s face. “So you’re going to end your life?”
Raguel looked away, but the answer was evident in his face.
“That’s not the answer, Raggie. It never is!” Even as he said it, he could tell Raguel didn’t understand.
Exasperated, he cupped his best friend’s face and gently forced Raguel to look at him. He looked into his eyes, and without breaking eye contact, he said, “I need you.”