I should on the opposite be freaking out about how he had stolen the comic book or should’ve told on him, but instead I ended up crushing on him even if I don’t seem to be very attracted to him properly or know him. So I decided to ask again after all, because the first time had only been in my head. I asked him about the lover he had mentioned, looking around to make sure that we were indeed the only ones in the train, Julien first looked at me confused that I was speaking and scanned the surroundings in front of him for my notebook which was on my lap and which I would usually carry in my hand or stick in my coat pocket. Once it was spotted, maybe he was easing that I wouldn’t be writing any of his words down right away. He still seemed concerned about talking on the subject.
Is that your journal, he had asked and firing back at me to which I nodded and indeed explain that I do write everything down there, to which he frowned and apologized that he’s not to comfortable with having his story written on paper, to which I replied that I had started this journal not only to keep my sanity, but to make things happen because things start happening once you start writing them down. Julien agreed to that, but he still didn’t seem too eased and I wouldn’t tell him that I had given it to Lazarus to read either. Julien didn’t get along with anyone in the flat besides me, so when it came to neighbors it was more than obvious that they were distant to him.
Julien pondered for a while and then asked me what had I wanted to know, to which I was a bit speechless, but then just shrugged and said, as if continuing the topic of the journal, that perhaps if I had written about him, then something would happen to the young man as well, to which he just shrugged and realized that the past is not something he should care about anymore.
He told me that he had an affair with his teacher for the two last years of high school, after that he had taken a year off, before he moved here. He started off awfully dry, as if summarizing what had happened, a back cover of the book. I just kept looking at him as I could see through his eyes that he was now rehashing the whole relationship he had with the said teacher. I didn’t gasp at his confession, instead I nearly actually grabbed the notebook to write everything down, but instead I just clenched onto it, letting the pen dig into my fingers along with the spiral spine. Julien sighed, as if not knowing what else should he tell, instead he held a much longer pause and blew at the window again. I was starting to die out of curiosity so I asked how did it so happen.
He said he has a very dumb face when he falls in love, that it’s written all over him as if in permanent ink and it’s easy to see. There’s even some photos of that, Julien had started says and looked away, his cheeks a bit flushed and a small smile gracing his lips and teeth, as he started talking of his former lover, giving him a childish glow now, as if bringing his teenage years now which he had just peeked out of. I wondered how it was through out those two years and my curiosity was about to be burst, because Julien just remained silent looking outside of the window and I couldn’t even ask him one more time to please speak out indeed. Instead he just laughed by himself and looked back at me, biting his lip, smiling, knowing how badly I was dying from not knowing the full story. That’s what happens when you get interested in someone, you start wondering about their history and what had built them that way. Through the whole thing I still could remember how he had torn the label away from the comic book.
Julien had been back in school, he avoided pronouns through the whole thing, making me curious, but I figured maybe it was still some female teacher and my imagination was playing tricks on me, because he surely should’ve mentioned a she somewhere, but my mind just went blank when I was trying to recall everything, instead I would lay on the bed and imagine myself as the teacher on Julien’s bed stool, as he had uttered that he still kept a photo there. He didn’t allow me to go into his room once we were back home to look at the photo for obvious reasons, so I remained silent, nearly begging in my mind just to see the gender of the said teacher and how they had looked like. Instead he started talking how he had developed a crush on the teacher, just because they had been beautiful and frankly he had never cared about maths and even now as the years had gone, he didn’t care about it even more. That’s why it had been so easy for young Julien to imagine anything other than the boring lesson all filled with numbers that he wouldn’t understand. That image also was caught in my head as I would imagine myself in school next to the daydreaming Julien with his eyes firmly focused on the teacher.
He kept telling me onwards and I could picture everything vividly, but he never described the teacher. So Julien kept talking onwards how he was excited about other lessons such as French and English, but the Maths teacher just stayed inside him, it wasn’t a young teacher either or a substitute. Neither was Julien a math genius, what had happened was that once he was ill and he had to catch up on an old test he missed due to the mentioned pneumonia. That’s when Julien got the guts to ask the teacher if they were married, just like that, taking the teacher aback and just leaving a silence between them. Exactly after that Julien had noticed that the teacher would space out, concerned themselves about the curious student, who asked the obscure question and it wasn’t that Julien was young enough to ask such things out of a childlike curiosity, there was something behind those words indeed.
Then, Julien coughed, recalling that he didn’t tell me that he went after someone older, it had been a plain crush, but somehow nothing happened, but just like any crush our dear protagonist of his love life Julien was heartbroken, so the crush on the teacher had come in such a good way and time. That was all he had told about the older crush, also avoiding pronouns and I had no guts to ask him if he were gay or queer or bisexual and if somehow any men were involved in his love life. I couldn’t bring myself to ask him, so I just remained silent to be the listener in his story. It felt like another fear, back when I hadn’t thought my parents to be ignorant and homophobic, when I just wanted to come out to them and I couldn’t, when fear would grip me and wouldn’t let me go, when I just couldn’t bring myself to speak at all. I couldn’t speak here either, I was scared that he would take it the wrong way or what if he himself was somehow homophobic, even if we had Nathan and Dick in the house and he specifically didn’t get along with either of them.
Julien continued his story, saying that he had noticed his teacher’s curiosity, so eventually once he deliberately fucked up with the thermometer to stay at home during some test, so that he would be able to redo it much later than everyone else had and he’d be alone with the teacher, but now he had no ideas for questions, instead he just started talking about the tests, how he was sorry that he had gotten ill, saying that the teacher just kept staring at him, as if with eyes opened that someone would pay attention to them, it dawned on Julien how lonely they seemed. He laughed bitterly at his own comment, but continued without explanation, saying that they would just have small talk about school eventually and that’s how it kept going with Julien staying behind lessons. Once they had started talking about blues, it had just been random, Julien wouldn’t even recall how. Then they shifted onto literature. And every week it had been a different topic and Julien would make sure to miss the tests and write them right after. He said that he had been ill often as a child and that progressed, so it was no big deal, it didn’t seem out of ordinary.
And they kept talking and talking and talking, until they had both leaned in and made out. Julien said that he wasn’t even sure about the age at that point, all he had known that he was attracted and somehow for a first time the attraction had been mutual. He paused, wondering if he should go on, looking down with tears in his eyes. Then that’s when the train arrived and we had to get out of it, Julien instantly lit a cigarette, forgetting to share the box with me so I had taken out my own and lit by myself as well, as Julien was forgetting to drag, looking ahead as he was walking back home. I knew that if I didn’t start I wouldn’t hear the rest, so I poked him to keep going, to which he spoiled that eventually the teacher understood that more students which weren’t into Maths would be interested and then they started screwing others, two years in when Julien had already fallen in love, confessed, slept over at the teacher’s place and so on.
Then I stopped walking to which Julien stopped as well. I didn’t do anything drastic, as telling him that I would be there for him or I could try to be his senpai, I just paused to look up and see the first odd flakes of snow which were spiraling down, reminding us of the cold weather ahead and contrasting with people putting up their Christmas decorations already at an increasingly huge speed, coating the city into a different atmosphere rather than winter misery, which all of us expected every year until we would be reminded of Christmas.
I'm sorry for the late post. I was in a bad headspace, but here I am trying my best x)
I've also written today more than I actually have in ages.
I don't really know what to say, because the whole novel was really written under playing a Sonic racing game to brainstorm and then I would write everything down, sometimes Callie would do notes instead of me and then I would write everything.
I hope you're enjoying this and thank you