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Holding Hands in Public

(Note: Brad's Senior Prom is this Saturday and we've been talking about it a lot. I'm so happy to be going as his date. Understandably, doing something this public has made us feel both excited and somewhat nervous. What follows is something I wrote after Brad and I had been dating about 5 months. It deals with Brad's courage in being "out" in public. When I think about that day at the mall, I feel inspired all over again. I thought this would be a nice lead-in to this week leading up to his Prom.  Since we've been together now almost a year, I revised it a little bit to make it current. The basics of what happened at the mall are exactly the same as when I first wrote it. I hope you enjoy it - Matt)

When Brad and I had been dating about 5 months (it's almost a year now!), he was 17 and I was 18. Our romance had really deepened by that point and had taken off beyond our wildest dreams.

We had talked about how we were going to handle the issue of being seen in the general public with our relationship -- something straight couples probably never had to talk about. What about holding hands? What about putting our arms around each other? What about those things called "public displays of affection," meaning giving each other a kiss? And we were not talking about doing this to make some kind of political statement. We just wanted to be ourselves out in public like any other couple.

Well, Brad wanted to go to the mall one Saturday to buy some jeans and a few shirts, and even though I HATE malls, I quickly said Yes! I love spending time with him, even if it's in a crowded, commercial mall, with tons of screaming kids!

So, we get there and when we we're walking down the mall to his store, we were holding hands and just talking. Then these 3 guys about our age passed us, and when they did, one of them said, "Look at the fags!" The other 2 guys just snickered. I stopped and turned around and said, "What?" The one who called us the name just said, "You heard me," and they kept walking away. Well, I started walking toward them, which might have been a dumb thing to do, but it was on some kind of instinct that I wasn't going to let it pass. I swear I'm not a violent person -- in fact, I HATE violence, but for a split second, I wanted to walk over and start swinging at them. I was so heated and tense, I'm afraid if I had followed through on it, I would have probably been arrested or something.

Well, Brad took a step toward me, grabbed my hand and pulled me back. Without letting go of my hand, he just said, "Come on, Matt, let it go." I looked at him like he was nuts or something, and he just smiled (!). He then said, "Come on, we're going to walk down this mall like we own it." After a brief pause during which I melted at his concern for me, and seeing the love in his eyes, he grabbed my hand again, and led me away.

He said he wanted to stop and get a coffee, and we continued walking down the mall holding hands. Well, I was totally embarrassed at myself for not taking the high road and just letting it go -- and totally amazed that he make two short comments (owning the mall, and getting the coffee) and wanted to continue holding hands, that I felt like I left my body and wanted to make love to him right there in the mall! (Well, I'm sure we would have gotten arrested then!). When we got to the coffee shop, he ordered for me and made my coffee just like I like it. We sat down and it was really hard to look him in the face because I felt so guilty and stupid and small for having almost gotten into a fight. I was so ashamed I just kept looking in my coffee cup.

He just smiled at me and reached out and took my hand. I couldn't help but look up and say, "What?" He said, "You know what? Right now, me and you are the only two people in this mall. I don't know who those guys were, but they're nothing to us. You and I are all that matter right now." --- He was looking right at me, I mean really looking in my eyes without looking away. I felt like he could see everything inside me and I didn't need to explain anything about why I almost got into a stupid fight.

He has this thing about him that makes me forget everything around me when we're together. It's hard to explain, and in one way is so erotic. When he speaks, he looks in your eyes and your soul. When you speak to him, he hears you. I mean, nothing gets in the way when he's looking at you. He has this amazing ability to completely focus on you. His blue-grey eyes just pull me in. So, we finished our coffee, got his jeans and shirts (God, he looks hot in jeans -- especially those tight ones!), and left.

How is it I deserve this guy? He has this strength that is quiet and subtle in a way. There's a certain shyness and sweetness about him, but don't ever underestimate his strength and courage. When I'm in public with him, it really is like we're the only two people on the planet. 
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