Throughout my childhood and going through the various stages of adolescent schooling, I really only had one best friend.
His name is Steve.
We met a couple weeks after kindergarten had started and our friendship took off from there, leaving us as best friends still to this day (something like 16 years later). Growing up I never really knew Steve was gay, he was always a little different and sometimes I did suspect it, but that didn’t really matter neither; I just kinda brushed it off and didn’t put too much thought into it.
Even though we were best friends and could talk about literally anything, the one thing that we never really talked about was girls. I’m not exactly sure why… I mean of course Steve wasn’t attracted to them, so I guess he never got that urge to talk about them with me. I didn’t mind and didn’t really care neither, I come from a tiny town with only farm girls basically. So with that said, I didn’t develop very many crushes in my adolescent years, since I never had an attraction to the farmgirl type. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining at all, in fact, I actually think all that was a good thing in developing who I am as an individual. I think having Steve as my best friend and hanging out with him everyday since kindergarten gave me the respect that I have always had for girls and made me a more understanding and sensitive guy.
Once we hit grade 12, I began to question his sexuality a little more than usual. There’s actually a day that I’ll aways remember, mostly because Steve infused it into my memory: April 6th, 2008. On that day and for no real reason, we were talking about that hit movie called High School Musical. We had never seen it, but didn’t really understand what all the commotion was about with it. So while we were on the phone we did a quick research on what it was, who played in it, etc. We soon discovered that the teen heart-throb Zac Efron was the star of the High School Musical movies.
I know it probably sounds a little odd I’m talking about High School Musical now, but what I foolishly did next is the reason why.
After finding out that this Zac Efron guy was the star of the movies, I sent Steve an email entitled “Pooooo” featuring a photo of Zac Efron in a white muscle shirt (The same photo that’s beside this paragraph). This set off a frenzy and Steve officially had his first boy crush from that day forward.
Everyday he would literally spend on the internet researching Zac Efron, looking up videos of Zac Efron on YouTube, photos all over the web and all the movies he appeared in. He was obsessed.
A couple weeks later, on the first day of spring break, Steve was set to travel to Ottawa ON, and I was set to head out to Victoria BC. But the day before, Steve managed to borrow the first and second High School Musical from some girl a few grades below us. Then that night, he brought them to my house and we watched both of them back to back. I have to admit, I didn’t think they were all too bad, besides the cheesy acting and dumbwit teenage drama.
Sadly the movies had some catchy tunes, which from that day forward would constantly get stuck in my head. Steve didn’t help neither by singing all the songs during class, lunch break and anytime he could. He listened to the soundtracks back to back to back for weeks. It was really quite an insane end to our grade twelve year. All thanks to me and my “Pooooo” email from months earlier.
After a full summer spent at a summer camp together, we were headed right into first year university. Not too much had changed though, Steve still obsessed over Zac Efron and continued to sing along with the High School Musical songs on a daily basis.
On the eve of my 19th birthday though, we decided that we would go to the theaters and catch High School Musical 3: Senior Year, on October 24th, 2008. We made sure to catch the late, 10 PM showing as well, to make sure there wouldn’t be too many little kids around. But that didn’t really work. The theater was packed full of children still that late in the night.
The movie was overall pretty good, much better quality and build than the first two, along with way better acting, music and dilemmas. Although what I remember most is how Steve squeeled when Zac Efron first showed up on the big screen. He was playing basketball, singing, all sweaty and once again, in a muscle shirt as his jersey. I actually think Steve may have out-squeeled most of the little girls. That’s quite impressive.
After the movies, we went back to my dorm room as Steve decided to stay the night on my floor. I know that seeing High School Musical 3 that night was bad enough, but Steve really wanted to watch the Hannah Montana – Miley Cyrus 3D Concert (featuring the Jonas Brothers). I felt nice, so I put it in and we started watching.
Now, after seeing High School Musical 3 and hearing Steve squeel over Zac Efron, it did get me a little suspicious about his sexuality. But once the Jonas Brothers came on stage, that really planted the idea into my head. Especially considering the way he shouted “Joe! Jonas!” when they came on stage.
It was in that moment that I asked him, “Steve, are you gay?”.
He didn’t really have to answer me though, from his actions I probably could have guessed the answer. After being best friends for so long, you kinda get to know each others body language and be able to read things off of each others faces. But I gotta say, the face he made at that moment was like none I had ever seen him make before, it was new. He just got up and walked over to the sink in my kitchenette and kinda just stood there for a moment, staring into open space.
Eventually, as Miley Cyrus was entering back on stage with her song “Start All Over”, Steve quietly answered almost in a daze with a “yessss-s-s”. After answering, it was almost he snapped back into real life and realized what he had done. He had finally admitted to someone his biggest secret that he has probably ever kept.
With that, he gracefully said, “I feel like I’m going to throw up!”.
For the rest of the evening, we just went for a walk across the quiet city, to kinda just cool down and make Steve’s head stop rushing. During that night, Steve told me everything he was hiding inside that was never released to anyone else besides his own conscience.
That night really showed me what being a best friend was all about and gave it a lot deeper of a meaning. It also helped me really understand that a homosexual individual isn’t all that much different from myself, they are just a normal person getting through life and hoping to fall in love, just this time with another man, instead of a woman.
“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart” – Eleanor Roosevelt