Chapter 1: Ethan

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[Caution: Contains ADULT content m/m relationships]

I'm a fake. A fraud. A poser. A nobody. And I like it that way. Nobody knows me... well almost nobody. Most everyone thinks they do. One look at me and images and ideas plop into their minds like crap and they think they know me. My black hair and porcelain skin, my thin lithe body and I hear the whispers, goth, freak, emo ... but they don't know me. They hate me, want to hurt me, want to make me disappear because of who they think I am. The truth in their minds is the biggest lie. They don't try. They don't want to try. It's easier if they live in their own little worlds and hate or fear what they don't know. They're robots and fakes and posers too. But they don't think so. Fashion plates of popularity, facades to hide behind, afraid of who they are, but comfortable in their own skins because they are accepted by their peers. To hell with their peers, who don't know who they are either. It's a vicious cycle. Spiraling down and down till it's too dark to see anything other than what's behind their eyes and not in front of them. Living their stepford lives. The mainstream is a sluggish bloated river filled with the detritus of the popular. What pains me most is I want to dive into it, and drink it and live it and be accepted by it. As I said, I'm a fake, a poser and I want nothing more than to be accepted by at least one of them, to be known, inside and out, to be grasped and embraced by someone who might just see beyond everything else, beyond the lies and facade and see in me, who I really am. Because I don't know.

I heard the knock on the door and I knew it was probably my sister. She's never one to get the hint when I had the door closed and the music turned up.

"Ethan?" It was my mother. I rolled over and clicked the remote and turned off the music. My mother took that as her signal. She opened the door with some hesitancy and poked her head in. "Is everything all right?

I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Why do they always ask that when it was obvious, blatantly obvious, that no, everything wasn't alright. The world was shit, everything was crap but they seemed to think everything was just fine. Or at least wanted to hear it.

"Yeah I'm great. School just su..." My mother's eyes rounded a bit. She wasn't used to the new phase that I was going through. You know, teenage rebellion and all that crap. Just another label to explain away whatever angst or anger or misanthropic notions that I might be going through. "...wasn't the best first day, is all." She seemed suddenly relieved. This was familiar territory for her. She could have her patented heart to heart about how school, like everything else, was a necessary part of life and you had to make an effort to fit in, to be accepted. I imagined little birds singing and her wearing an apron like the mother from Leave it to beaver or some other 50s show.

I'm an enigma to my mother. She doesn't understand my isolation. It's beyond her comprehension. Her stories of high school, the cheerleader, the valedictorian, club president this, prom queen that; I was an ironic little twist thrown into her life. I could tell she struggled with it and it pained her to see me alone. But she, like everyone else, had her facades, her role to play. So she propped me up, tried to relieve my pain in the only ways she knew how.

"Well if you need to talk about anything, I'm right here." She tried to smile reassuringly, but I think she felt she didn't know what she'd be getting into if we had a true heart to heart.

"Okay." I looked towards the window again and clicked the remote and The Great Escape by Boys Like Girls poured from the speakers. I heard her pull the door closed. I closed my eyes and listened and thought it fitting. My mother and I, just the two of us since my father left, and neither one of us heard what the other had to say. We didn't understand each other. Opposite sides of the same die, no matter how it's rolled, we're both looking the opposite way. Young or old, guy or girl, popular or not; we could never see eye to eye, no matter how we tried.

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