Most of the times, the room is dark. There are days when it is bright and I can see almost everything clearly. The sunshine is reflecting through the cracks in the door, spreading across the room. My face breaks into a smile, my eyes shine and happiness fills my heart as I think I can leave the darkness. I can leave and be happy, be myself and no one will care.
I open the door, just a little, and take a small peek. When I see the happiness shine, I expect to see smiling faces, people saying they’ll stand by me, my loved ones loving me. Everyone there, smiling. I open the door, just a little more, and look past them to see how many accept me.
Dark faces and evil laughter fill the halls. Sharp glares are heading my direction. My loved once start to transform into monsters. I begin to hear my mother’s voice, yelling that she can’t have a gay daughter. I see my father’s disapproving face. My brother looks at me like I’m a stranger. My cousins are laughing, calling me a “lesbo.” My friends are grossed out. Disturbed. The dark shadows get closer.
With tears in my eyes I slam the door shut. Those shadows keep doing that. Why? Why can’t I just leave this dark room and do whatever I want? Maybe I should be thanking them. They are showing me what everyone will think if they find out.
It’s not so bad in here. I’m alone with my thoughts. I can think about who I am. Certain times of the day I can look out and catch a glimpse of a beautiful girl or a handsome guy. Some days, I might catch a couple walking by holding hands and they look happy.
But I stay back. I’ve been here, locked in this room, for eight years. Back when I was just a fourth grader, before the word gay meant anything but happy to me. I’ve been here for so long I don’t even know what it’s like out there. What do they think of people like me? How are people in hiding treated out there?
I’ll never know. Not as long as I’m in the dark room. I don’t need to leave. No one should know about how I am. It’s too confusing for even me to wrap my mind around. Girls are great. But so are boys. I don’t understand these feelings.
I can do a lot here. I can think about school and study. I can create funny jokes. I can create great story ideas. I can think about what I want to think about and no one will judge me. No one will know. It’s not their business. It’s mine.
I’m going to stay in here. For a while. It’s too dark and scary out there. Too much hatred and evil. The darkness will overcome me if I walk out. Right now I’ll just sit in my dark room, alone. I’ll continue to sneak quick looks at happy people. I’ll keep listening to the venomous words the dark shadows will continue to spit. I’ll think over what I am. Maybe one day, I’ll know. Maybe then, I’ll be able to leave without the dark shadows forcing me back in.