“I need a little time and space.”
That was an interesting thing to hear. It makes tons of people stop in fear, scared about the future of their relationships. It made me pause and drop my food that I had brought to eat that morning but forgot about, scared about why I was the one to hear this. It was even more scary when it was my good friend telling me this.
“O...kay?” I seemed to ask, but it didn’t make sense because she was already walking away from me.
That happened at the end of the school day. I went back home to find I was alone in the house for a while. It was the third week of September, my mom and dad are usually at work until five, so me and my older brother Kaori are left alone. We live in Mustafu Japan, near Tokyo. I’m sixteen, currently in my second year at UA High, and Kaori is twenty one, living at home while attending university not far away.
Only now, it would appear that my best friend doesn’t want to be near me for some reason?
Mina tends to do things like this. I’ve known her since middle school, when she’d just moved here. She was the typical new girl that was awkward and didn’t have any friends, but then I’d asked if I could sit at the circle table with her. She seemed really excited that I’d asked, and we’ve been really close ever since. Since coming to high school, we’ve both made a bunch of new friends that we sit with every day.
I decide to talk to my friend Kaminari about Mina and left the house, yelling to my brother as I left. Kaminari’s usually the happy and observant one of the group, so he’d know if anything was up. The only thing that I could think of as a reason for Mina not wanting to be near me is her wanting to meet up with someone and not wanting me to embarrass her. I’d noticed her staring at Monoma, a kid from class B. Poor thing didn’t know what was coming.
I walk through Kaminari’s front door(which is always unlocked, something he should really watch out for) and look around the first floor to see if he was around. Usually he’d be outside on a day like this, but who knows what he does with his free time when no one in our friend group is around.
“Bro,” I call, walking up the stairs toward his room. “I need to talk to you.” I stop outside his closed door. “Please don’t be jerking off,” I warn, opening the door.
Kaminari is not jerking off, thankfully, but I am more surprised by the fact that he was laying on the ground, alone in his room, eating something that looked like ice cream out of the tub in front of a small TV. I recognize it to be the one usually kept in the basement and decide not to ask questions for how it got up there. “Do you think pigeons have feelings?” he asks.
My hand still on the doorknob, I decide to give him my best ‘Really?’ look, but he isn’t facing me, so it had little affect. “Why are you on the floor?” I ask.
He turns his head towards me, and I notice a few tear tracks going from his gold eyes to his hair. Kaminari didn’t cry often, so this made me pause and wonder if something was up. “I didn’t feel good this morning, so I decided to listen sad music. And then I remembered that I have yet to confess to Jirou, and I’m painfully single. So I decided to watch some depressing romantic movies. And now I’m channel surfing.”
I take a step into his room and sit down on his bed, wondering how we could’ve gotten here. “Alright, tell me your ideas,” I say. Kaminari comes up with new plans on how to confess to Jirou every week, and if he’d been thinking about it, I’m sure that he’d come up with something.
“I was thinking a movie, then back here while my parents are out and there would be a romantic dinner setup with candlelight. Then we’d go outside and lay on a blanket, looking at the stars.” He sighs, dreamlike. “And then we’d kiss, or something.”
I don’t need to hear that but decide not to say anything. “What’s the food?”
“I don’t know, something with noodles?” He pauses, then gave me a hopeful look. “Hey, is-?”
“Sharing a noodle is not romantic, stop asking.”
Kaminari turns back to the TV, which is now showing one of those really sad commercials for dogs. A tear falls down his cheek, but I decide to just look away from the dogs’ sad faces. “I can’t think of anything good enough for her. She deserves the world!” He groans. “I’m going to be the worst boyfriend ever.”
“Is that why you’re on the floor, eating funfetti frosting out of the jar?” I ask, now noticing that he wasn’t eating ice cream like I’d thought. I also wonder where he got it.
“Yeah…” He turns back to me, the dog commercial still going on in the background. “So...why’re you here? Got any relationship troubles of your own?”
“You wish,” I say with a grin. I’m not about to tell him - or anyone, for that matter - about my secret pen pal. “Mina told me she didn’t want to see me for a while. It was weird and out of nowhere.”
“Do you think it has anything to do with that Monoma kid?” Kaminari ask.
“That was my first thought.”
“Then she probably doesn’t want you to give off the ‘protective older brother’ aura.”
It’s a common joke in our group that me and Mina are so close we could be siblings. You know, besides the fact that Mina is clearly black, and the only reason my skin has a tan is because I went to the beach a lot over the summer. “I don’t give off any ‘scary brother’ aura!” I argue. “Or protective, or - whatever! I don’t give off any sort of aura!”
Kaminari gives me a look. “Have you met yourself?”
“Well, maybe you should just respect her want to woo this kid alone.”
“I guess.” I think about it: had I scared off her previous boyfriends? I don’t think I did. Am I ruining Mina’s love life without knowing it?
“Don’t make any bad decisions,” Kaminari says from the ground, now eating his funfetti again.
“Me, make bad decisions?” I ask, laughing at the statement as though I never do. Which, I can confirm, I do.
“Well, yeah,” Kaminari shrugs. “Remember when we first met Bakugou, and one of the first things he said was something about everyone being in his way, and he wasn’t looking for friends? And then you grinned and declared you were going to become friends with him if it was the last thing you did?”
I flush at the memory. “First of all, it was totally worth it. Second of all, I make bad decisions? You got knifed in the stomach, and you think I make bad decisions?!”
Kaminari looks ashamed, as he should. Last time we had a get together with our friend group, he’d dropped a kitchen knife and nicked himself in the stomach. He’d ended up having to go to the hospital and needing stitches.
“I think that I can make good decisions for myself,” I say, standing up and walking to his door. At the last minute, I turn back around to yell, “No noodles!” at Kaminari then left for home.
So, you’re probably wondering about the pen pal.
It’s understandable. Nobody knows about it other than myself and him. It’s difficult enough breaking the fourth wall to tell anyone about it, but I’ll do my best.
The first thing you need to know about this situation is that I’m in the closet. I actually admit it, which I never really have, except to Blasty. And those times were never out loud. Right now, I’m comfortable identifying as gay. But in my panic learning about it in middle school, I decided the best way to deal with it was date girls. That wasn’t the best decision, and all of those experiences were super awkward.
So, it had been just after summer ended. UA High decided to set up multiple things for social media, so the students can be more involved with each other, but for some reason didn’t filter through that stuff themselves(a bad idea). One of the things that I was actually surprised they did include was a blog on Tumblr for all students at UA. Most of the time people will post weird things there, knowing that other UA students are looking at it. That morning, the student council told everyone to tell a secret nobody else knows. I figured only the super popular kids would bother to post anything.
Oh, how I was wrong.
I got a call that night from Mina, who was so excited she could barely speak. She told me to look at the page, and when I did, I found that someone had anonymously posted that they were gay. In fact, I remember the post word for word:
This has been hard enough for me to admit to myself, let alone tell anyone else. Nobody has known before, but now, in a way, you all will. I’m gay. -Blasty
And that had been it. For about two days, this Blasty was the only talk around the school, because nobody had any idea who he was. Mina was super excited because there’s only about three people who have come out in the whole school, and she’s one of those girls that’s really into the weird yaoi and BL stuff. We’d talked for a little while, and afterwards I’d visited Blasty’s blog(his username was, in fact, Blasty as well). I didn’t find any clues as to who he was, and for two days I tried not to think about it too much. If this guy wanted to tell all of the UA High students he was gay, that was his problem, not mine.
But it never left my mind.
Three days afterwards, I visited his blog again and debated on contacting him in any way. After going through all his posts(which weren’t that many, but he’d reblogged quite a few things) to see if he’d posted anything else about being gay(which he didn’t), I went to his ask box(which was actually on) and spent an hour and a half typing and re-typing what I wanted to say, hoping he wouldn’t post a response and maybe just contact me directly, or something. Eventually, I settled on: Dear Blasty, I’m just like you, and hit ask before I could talk myself out of it.
And nervously turned on my notifications and played the waiting game. I had panicked a little bit, wondering if Blasty had done it as a joke and was going to laugh at me, or something. Wondering if he was going to out me, even though there was no way he knew who I was. I made sure my blog was as anonymous as it could be before sending him that ask. Still, it didn’t stop me from freaking out and staying locked up in my room all night.
It was around nine at night when I got a notification. Blasty had sent me something through messaging, and when I looked to see what it was, I found it to be the words, Are you up for talking? with an email address underneath that I’d never seen before. I was a bit nervous to do email but decided I didn’t have anything to lose and created another fake gmail account and sent probably the most awkward email I’ve ever made in my life.
Date: 9/9/18, 9:13 PM
Um, I’m not quite sure how to start this. Thanks for getting back to me, I guess. I’ve never talked to anyone in the context we have. So...thanks, for not ignoring me, I suppose.
Before we start doing...whatever we’re going to do, I just want to say that you’re pretty amazing. Even with the anonymity, I don’t think I ever could’ve done what you did. You’re pretty brave, and that’s coming from a guy that’s been in the closet for nearly five years. I should also specify that I’m gay, but I’ve never been in a relationship with another guy.
Sorry that this is a long first email, I just...wanted to get some stuff out right off the bat. I have a question for you: why are you doing this? Or what are you hoping to get out of this? For now, I’m going to remain anonymous as well. It’s nothing against you, I just want to keep my identity a secret for now.
Thank you again,
Date: 9/9/18, 9:22 PM
Thanks for trusting me enough to talk to me. I would never say this out loud, but I was nervous as hell to give you my email, trying to convince myself that nobody was trying to fuck with me or anything. Nothing against you, but there are too many people who are rude as fuck to not be cautious. I knew you had to be someone from UA after looking at your blog.
Thanks for saying I’m amazing. I don’t really think so, since I could only come out to the internet anonymously as opposed to actually admitting it to anyone, including myself or my family. I know I have nothing to worry about, but there’s just...something there, you know? I think it’ll be either refreshing or reassuring to talk to someone also in the closet.
As for what I’d like out of this, I think the first thing is friendship, and we’ll see what happens. I’ll probably come to you with dumb shit, and you can chose to ignore it or whatever.
Date: 9/9/18, 9:27 PM
I’m totally up for this pen pal thing. And I would never ignore you, if anything you might get annoyed with me. I’ll apologize in advance for any weird shit I say, so sorry about that. If anything, I’m going to tell you about my aunt’s dog for a half hour and you’ll block me.
Thank you again for this. I hope you can find me someone to confide in. I’m the least judgy person in the world. Probably.
Date: 9/9/18, 9:33 PM
Don’t annoy me too much, and you’ll be fine.
And ever since then, we’ve been emailing every day. It’s honestly one of the things I look forward to the most. We’ve become very close, so close that I think I can consider him a good friend. We don’t always talk about the trouble of sexuality - sometimes it’s food, sometimes animals or school, or anything that comes to my mind. But Blasty is the only one who knows about my sexual orientation.
And sometimes, as much as I hate to admit it, I feel like he’s one of the only ones I can fully trust.