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I thought it was over. Our high school graduation completed, my senior class had a special evening planned--a night at a community center filled with food, a pool, games, and, my personal favorite, a hypnotist.

Prior to leaving, the whole class gathered in the cafeteria, where I was hanging with some friends talking about how we had finally made it. As I walked toward the beverage table, I passed by "Mark." He was walking with his football buddies as he turned toward me and yelled, "No homos on the bus!" Two years prior I wouldn't have said anything. I had been called "faggot," "homo," and, the worst, "fudgepacker." And in all that time I never stuck up for myself, never yelled back.

But I had had it. I turned to Mark and said, "Hey, Mark, f--k you!" Within a few minutes, a number of people confronted him to tell him what a jerk he was. It felt good. Finally, people were sticking up for me, and I was damn proud.

Later that evening I found out that Mark's father had cancer. And then I felt bad. Nobody should ever have to go through that. My mother has been sick for many years, and I know how difficult it is.

As the party started, I thought that maybe I should say something. That would end things on a high note--be the bigger man, ya know? So I went up to him and said that I had heard his father was sick and that I was sorry. He didn't know what to say, and I was shaking the whole time. All he said was "Thanks." We never spoke to each other after that.

That could have been my night to really let him have it, to tell him that he had ruined my years in high school, tell him about all the times that he made me cry. But life is too short to be angry. We should be thankful for the hurt and pain that we've endured. Why?

Well, maybe I'll just let you think about that one.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Brian Samuels