The Visit - Part 1

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Alex had been in love with me for nearly half of the 14 years I'd known him, and he'd already kissed me twice within those 14 years. And yet here I was in Toronto, after a four and a half hour long train ride from my own university, to surprise him with a visit.

I hopped off the last step of the bus and onto the university campus grass, freshly cut with the start of Spring.

I was technically in the city for a job interview, but the whole reason I even applied over here was because it was where Alex would be after he graduated.

Why was I eager to be near the gay guy who had kissed me twice, knowing I was straight? Simple: because he was my brother from another mother. Without shame and without hiding, I loved him... in the most heterosexual way.

And if that sounds familiar, sorry, I couldn't help myself. The song 'Bromance' had been stuck in my head ever since my friend Kareem sent me a link when I told him I booked a train ticket. And I'm admittedly a dork and Alex often said so. "Oh my God, Liam," he'd say. "You're so cringe." But he'd smile while saying it, so I knew that as dorky as I was, he didn't mind. And I was thankful that he accepted me as I was.

I wasn't sure though if singing that song to him would earn me a smile or a punch, considering the fact that he was gay and used to love me in the most homosexual way... So I decided that as catchy and fitting as it was, I'd refrain from serenading him.

I adjusted my travel backpack on my shoulder and glanced around for a campus map. Hearing a sneeze from behind me, I turned my attention to the guy stepping off the bus. "Bless you."

"Thanks," he said as he wiped his nose with a tissue. He glanced at me, eyes big behind his thick glasses, then quickly shoved the tissue into his pocket.

"Which way is the library?"

"Uh..." He pointed in front of us in some wide general area and was awkwardly silent for a few moments. "Go down that path and past the courtyard. It's on the opposite side."

I flashed a smile and took a step forward. "Thanks!"

"I'm...," as he began to speak again, I stopped, "going that way too..."

"Oh, do you mind if I follow you, then?"

He nodded. "Sure."

I thanked him again and we began walking. While we walked, I surveyed the buildings and people we passed, trying to get a feel for what Alex experienced on the daily.

"You... you don't go here?"

"Nope, I'm just visiting a friend. His name is Alex Camejo. Do you know him? He's one of the editors for the Diversity campus newsletter." I knew the chance of him knowing a single name in such a big school was slim, but... Maybe it was part name-dropping and part bragging that compelled me?

The guy pushed his glasses up his nose and ducked his head. "I, uh... Yeah. He was my roommate my first year."

"Really?!" I had not expected that.

"Yeah. He was nice. He still waves when he sees me around campus." The guy smiled gently and looked at me. "Are you, uh, his boyfriend?"

I blinked. "No. Just friends."

"Oh. Uh, Alex is really popular."

I glanced away and narrowed my eyes, trying to figure out what he meant. Popular with guys? Or just well-known and well-liked around campus? As I perseverated over it, we reached the courtyard and he pointed across it to the large red-brick library. "Thanks. What's your name?"

"Tobiath."

"I'm Liam. Thanks for walking me, Tobiath." I waved goodbye and made my way to the library.

Alex would be so surprised and happy to see me, I was sure. It'd been over a year since we reunited and made up after more than half a decade of... well, I don't know if there's one word to sum up what went on between us those six and a half years. Avoiding, longing, resenting, refusing, and that's only a glimpse.

It's only natural, though. When you spend six years as thick as thieves, it makes sense that once you're torn apart, you'd spend just as long with opposite feelings that are just as strong.

And it was ironic that what had torn us apart was our lips being brought together.

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