Names have been changed for privacy.
Aaron was friends with Marcus, but I always knew there was something different about him
He was quieter than Marcus sometimes, and when he did talk he always seemed angry
I got to know him better in high school, and even more so junior year
Before that, other odd things were that he hated his voice, shaved his arms & legs, and grew his hair out long. He also was very depressed
one day Aaron told me he was different; he was a girl in a boy's body. It killed me that (at the time) he wouldn't tell anybody but me
He was INFJ, but plus depression and anxiety it was all a huge mess
As an INTJ, I had no idea how to support him. We grew closer, and on Halloween night I held a going-away party for him with all of our friends and we played some music arrangements we put together
He brought me into my laundry room, and gave me a hug. I felt something stir inside of me. I couldn't control it.
I fell for him. I did not find him attractive in any physical way whatsoever, but what was in his head just needed unconditional love I think
I had an audition the next day, and he came with me to help carry my things
That night I freaked out a bit, and said I just couldn't handle dating a girl. He then confided in Marcus, and Marcus helped him a lot it turns out. It killed me that I couldn't help him out of depression
I went to bed troubled.
The next day, I found a message basically saying: I'm sorry for what I thought and that it hurt you. I was just confused; all I really want is love. I don't think I really am transgender. Please, just tell me yes or no if you will still like me.
I thought it through, believed him, and decided that yes, I would.
It was both a horrible decision and a wonderful one.
I found him in the band room the next morning looking at the district audition results. For the second year in a row, I was the top bass clarinetist out of the biggest 2 school districts in my county as well as the private schools in a nearby county and the public schools in the city
I also found cut marks on Aaron's wrists.
I told him that everything was forgiven, and I will stay, but life will be very difficult for both of us now.
Then he moved to Kentucky.
He had no friends there. He messaged Marcus and I all the time for support. He cried and cut for months straight, and it really took a toll on me
He visited here once a month, and I just held him. Held him until he stopped hurting, for a little while.
I was completely unable to help him; his parents are both anti-vaxxer cooks
Not cooks like food. Cooks like
They didn't believe in medicine, and wouldn't let him get meds for his mental health.
Eventually I evolved into a much better-rounded person with empathy, but it left me with anxiety that persists to this day.
I worry about my own health too much, and I'm genetically screwed to get anxiety and/or depression no matter what. My dad has both bad
My brother does as well, and my grandma
My mom says she doesn't, but she's really high-strung and gets upset
I think I control mine fine without medication; it isn't that bad yet
I get more OCD-type thoughts than scary ones
I did have my first full-blown anxiety attack after that second Calc 3 test though.
I woke up in the middle of the night hallucinating, and I felt like I couldn't breathe and my heart was stopping. I also felt pretty shitty anxiety-wise on our other baritonist friend's birthday for some reason
I keep one half-mg xanax for emergencies, but so far this year I haven't needed it. I should have taken it after that test, but I didn't realize it was a panic attack until the next day.
One time Aaron came over, and I wanted him to laugh so I tickled him
It threw him into a panic attack.
He was afraid of the dark too, and of fractal shapes for some reason
I'm reminded this time of year (Thanksgiving), of the first time Aaron came back from Kentucky
He took me to his grandparents' house in De Soto. His dad and grandpa were both miners, and also worked in mettalurgy
That day in De Soto, it was raining outside
We ate some leftover Thanksgiving food, and then took a walk together in the rain
Then we sat in their basement, and listened to "One Life Beautiful" on repeat, and I taught him to tango like we did in that year's marching band show
I gained about 20 pounds that year. Aaron lost 70.
Eventually we both survived junior year, and Aaron came to stay with his grandma over the summer to be with Marcus and I
He had plenty of fun then! But the monster still lurked inside of him
Aaron had to move back to Kentucky for the next year.
He hated the band there for a while (they're more like my university's band and nothing like my highschool's standard) but eventually came to love it
He made friends!
Come September, I met Quasar in class and thought, "Wow, this guy is emotionless and not a band kid. It's been so long since I've befriended one of those."
"He is really weird though, and always shouts silly things in class and hits himself when somebody yawns."
I asked Aaron about him, and he said, "Marcus and I had biology with him last year. I think he said he has a sound disorder called Misophonia."
I then realized I had misophonia, activated by chewing.
It's heavily correlated with anxiety disorders, it turns out. Not very helpful for a hypochondriac like me
Then one day, Aaron came to STL again, and claimed to be sick
He seemed really distant, and cried a lot more than he had been. There were more fresh cuts.
I finally got into his head, and asked if he would like to break up with me
He said yes, and he had been lying to me the whole time about not being transgender.
I agreed, and we were both very happy for some time.
Aaron confided in me that all his friends in Kentucky call him Robin now, though he still prefer the male pronoun until he completes his transistion.
He went back to Kentucky, and we still talked for a few months
I started dating Quasar then, as kinda a non-serious rebound. It was rather refreshing to date (what I initially perceived as) a nice, fun, intelligent guy that would have few problems with strong emotions
But when I got to know him, it turned out he got bad anxiety too from the misophonia, and also had a lot of trouble sleeping. I also disagreed with his stance on suicide. He says that if someone wants to commit suicide, we should never stop them from doing so
That was very concerning, as well as him saying he wants to destroy his hearing so he never has to hear somebody yawn again
Quasar does not understand the concept of emotion, other than the rage and anxiety induced by misophonia. He still claims to not have asperger's, though
His parents are divorced too
Right before that next year's audition for district, Quasar broke up with me because I would not respect his decisions. The example he gave? "You will not respect my decision to commit suicide if it ever strikes my fancy."
I made principal chair again that year, and I invited Quasar to the concert. We were still friends, but something inside of me had ripped.
Every rehearsal was so emotionally vivid for me, especially when we played "Alleluia Laudamus Te" and "Highlights from Riverdance"
Quasar did not come to the concert.
Still, confusingly enough, he drove me home every day, took me to coffee shops, took me as his "friend" to expensive dinners and front row seats at the symphony
Yet again, I was stuck as the only friend for someone
I also had the awkwardness of this from Aaron occasionally.
He told me that the reason he liked me so much was because I looked like he wanted to look.
One day, Aaron left me a message. "I'm sorry this is sudden, but I am going to block you everywhere. I hope this will clear up my life." And I never heard from him again
He still talks to Marcus's girlfriend Maggie sometimes, and last I heard from her he was working at a sonic.
Continuing with Quasar again, he told me he would take me home one day, and then he would go to scholar quiz bowl.
I didn't know where to find him after school though, and so I got on the bus and cried because I really hated the bus and I felt forgotten about
Suddenly, I got a text
"Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry! I'll pick you up from your house, and we can go to quiz bowl together. Deal?"
I told him, "yes, but I need to marinate some meat for tacos tonight. Let me do that first."
I got out the ingredients and the meat, and then used the restroom. Then I hear the doorbell ring
I see Quasar outside, and let him in
He smiled so big & nice, and then hugged me like he never had before
And said, just like in a sappy movie, "I'm so, so sorry that I hurt you. Please, forgive me. I want to be your boyfriend."
And that was that, and we got goofy looks from everyone at school
Two days later, we agree to hike after school
He drives up in short sleeves and shorts even though it was February (welcome to Missouri; it was 80 friggin degrees)
We hiked, and then he took me to his house
And he gave me a giant chocolate bar, and asked to be my valentine
That same weekend, he took me out biking and we captured our pet spider
Then we ate thai food
Then it was happily ever after, until it was cram time for AP exams
He withdrew again, but we didn't break up this time
It took so much coercing to get him to prom with me; he said yes, then no, and yes, then no
My dad bullied him into it.
Then was the matter of buying tickets. He was a sophomore so he couldn't buy them
Eventually he got a...blank check from his mother... and stuck it in his calculator so he wouldn't forget it. We were on a weird schedule, and didn't see each other except to exchange that check one afternoon
I filled out the check and bought his ticket
Then we went to prom. Then we said, "Let's just be friends." Then the last day of highschool came around, and we said our final goodbyes. Some day, Quasar will either be famous, or commit suicide. Perhaps both.