I moved my body closer to him.
Just a little closer. I said in my head.
There's just something about that moment, I felt the need of giving him warmth and comfort.
Helpless, he may seem. As if he was drawn into the big fish tank, he didn't blink an eye.
The room is dark. No one would suspect that we are guys. It will only be a quick hug. Really quick hug from behind....
I plotted the scandulous scene as I slide my body closer to him.
"... Have you told your parents about yourself?"
"Not yet. I'm planning to tell them next week."
"Remember what I said. You don't have to tell them."
"I want to. And you know how it is. I don't want to keep this burden to myself. I'm tired of hiding. Tired of lying. Tired of everything."
"I know, Jacob. Just make sure that you have a backup plan..."
"They don't care about me. What more can I loose?"
He turned around to face me.
"I just don't want you to get hurt."
With the thin light from the exit door, his blurry face showed no signs of fear. Or anything else.
"I'm not sure much of a help I am. But you know how to reach me if you need anything."
"I know." His voice faded out.
"Come on, let's go." He stood up.
I followed him out to the Sun light and meet up with Park and the crew.
We went a couple more exhibits before it was time for us to depart.
But something felt awkward. Something was bothering me. There's just something I felt about Jacob... That there was something he wanted to show me.
We didn't talk much as we follow the others to the parking lot. Perhaps, we were both tired.
The good 20 minute drive seemed forever. The sound of the air conditioner was the only sound that kept us occupied. It was probably the longest silent moment that I've ever felt in a car.
From the reflection of the window, I could see Jacob sitting on the other side. Like a child that just woke up from the afternoon nap, his semi-close eyes focused on the ceiling of the car.
What was he thinking? I asked myself that question numerous times that day.
Jacob, unlike how he portrayed online... He was quite a busy thinker.
I kept my eyes on his reflection for a good amount of time, until the car went to a stop.
"Wayne, where do you want me to drop you off?" Asked Park.
"Here is fine."
We all got off the car.
Park extends his hand and shook my hand firmly. "It was nice meeting you. Thank you."
Then I walked over to Jacob and gave him a pat on the back.
"Bye Bye. Keep in touch. Okay?"
"Yeah." He smiled.
I waved and watch the car took off.
Two weeks after, I received a short email from Jacob.
Without going into details, the email wasn't the usual casual happy note.
The email described an angry father abusive father who threatens Jacob's life for 'turning' gay. A frighten mom, who watched the entire incident from afar. Frustrated, heartbroken, and probably physically hurt, Jacob ended the email with "I have had enough."
That was the last time I ever heard from him.
I sent him several emails. But never got any responds back.
I sent him cards over Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas, and never got any in return.
Flipping though pages in my notebook, I found Park's number. I called, hoping that he would be able to give me some news on Jacob.
But the number was disconnected.
The following year, I continued to send Jacob (his home address) cards over the Holiday. But like dropping a stone into a bottom (heh, bottom) less pit, I got no feedback.
Month after Month. Pretty soon, I started to get return emails that I sent. (But the cards that I sent never got returned)
He must have transferred to another school. I thought.
That was the time when I knew, I have lost total contact with him.
As if, he had left the country, to another world.
I cannot believe it has been 8 years.
Jacob, no matter where you are.
I hope you are happy.
Seriously, I want you to be happy.