David Jacobs was sitting against a tree in the midst of a local forest, his phone pointed toward the sky as he searched for a good angle. He liked to take photographs to distract him from whatever was going on in his life. He usually just took photos of nature, but his favorite photos were the ones he took of old buildings and/or historical items. He loved to make up stories about the ones that had no known history. That was his thing. He loved history. He loved reading about events in the past and figuring out how they’ve repeated themselves over time. He loved finding out about people that had been in situations he’s been in. He loved-
“Ah!” David squealed and accidentally threw his phone. He had moved it to a certain angle and saw a boy standing there looking down at him.
“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you!” The boy chuckled. He walked over to David’s phone and picked it up for him. “Woah, these are pretty good. You like taking pictures?” He started scrolling through the photos David had just taken as he walked back over.
“Yeah. You like snooping through other people’s things?” He snatched his phone away, closed out the app, then put his phone in his pocket.
The boy’s eyes widened slightly. “I’m sorry. I-I just saw the photo and-” His smile went away and he cut himself off, then he focused his gaze on the ground.
David huffed. “It’s fine.” They stood in silence until David stuck his hand out in front of him. “I’m David.”
The smile came back as he shook David’s hand. “Nice to meet you, Davey. The name’s Jack Kelly.”
“Nice to meet you as well, Jack. What are you doing here, may I ask? I’ve never really seen anyone else around here before.”
“Oh! I like to paint. It helps me relax and it gives me a distraction from all of the bullshit going on in my life.”
David smiled. “That’s funny. Photography does the same for me.”
“Hey! How about we tell each other about our bullshit and see if we can do anything to help each other?”
“We just met.”
“So? I bet you five bucks you haven’t told anyone about what’s going on.”
“…I’m not giving you five dollars.”
“See! C’mon. I’ll even go first if it makes you feel more comfortable.” Jack sat down and leaned against a tree across from the one David was beside earlier. David sighed and gave in, sitting beside his tree. “Alright! First off, you aren’t a transphobe, are you?”
“Oh, no. Definitely not.”
“Good. So, I’m trans. I haven’t exactly been hiding it, but some asshats at my school found out and they told everyone. All of my friends knew already, but a lot of people apparently didn’t. To make a long story short, people weren’t really nice to me last week. But, hey. It’s summer now. Fuck ‘em, right? Won’t have to see them until next year.”
David waited a few seconds to make sure he was finished. “I’m so sorry, Jack. That should never happen to anyone.”
“Eh, it’s alright. Everyone I trust and care about accepts me, and that’s what really matters. It just…kind of hurts. I don’t know. Anyway, your turn!”
“Hey, we had a deal.”
“I know, but you-”
“Would you just-”
“Fine. I lost a friend earlier.”
“That isn’t good. How?”
“One of my friends moved away a few weeks ago and my boyfriend went with our other friend to go see him. Here, we’ll call them X, Y, and Z. X is the friend that moved away, Y is my boyfriend, and Z is the other friend. Well, we’re all in a group chat together and Y and Z sat there and planned a visit and didn’t even mention me. I would’ve understood if they couldn’t take me or if they didn’t have room or something like that, but no. They didn’t mention me. When I confronted them about it, Y was civilized and apologized. However, Z tried to lie and make up excuses. She tried to claim I was asleep and that Y texted my mother to wake me up. He didn’t. We showed her the proof, and she totally changed the topic, then tried to offer me financial assistance.”
“Hold on. Financial assistance?”
“She basically said that she would’ve given me money if I needed it. We were also supposed to hang out the day after they visited X, but I had too much homework and had to stay home. Of course, Z thought I was just making excuses and tried to accuse me of lying. My mother got involved at that point, and the entire thing was shut down. Next thing I knew, Z had unfriended me and blocked me. But, whatever, you know? She was full of drama and I don’t need that in my life.” David shrugged and picked at the grass.
“That was really shitty of them not to think about you, but you’re right. If she’s nothing but drama, then you don’t need her bringing you down.”
“I know. It still hurts a bit, though.”
“Yeah…hey! How about we become friends? We’ve both shared our issues with each other, we both have an interest in the visual arts, and, well, you need a friend you can trust. So, how about it?”
“I…sure. Why not?”
Jack smiled brightly and pulled a Sharpie out of his pocket. “Can I?” He gestured toward David’s hand.
“Go ahead.” Davey held out his hand. Jack lightly grabbed it and wrote something on David’s hand. When he released his hand, David saw that it was Jack’s number. “You could’ve just put it in my phone.”
“I like Sharpies.” Jack shrugged, still smiling. David returned the smile.