❤️🧡💛💚💙💜Neon lights set the cityscape aglow. Buildings tower above him, and the sounds of blaring horns pierce the silence of the night. He feels so small, standing here alone in the bustling city. He slowly makes his way over towards the subway. As he descends the steps and enters the train, his heart pounds in his chest.
He slowly tucks the miniature flag into his coat pockets.
Nervously, he shuffles over to one of the poles, and wraps his hand around it to hold on.
The steel is so cold.
He can feel the people staring at him.
He knows some are judging him for it all, the rainbow paint on his cheek, and the brightly coloured suspenders, and the stickers and pins.
“Throw your pride away” he can hear his father’s voice echoing within his mind.
“You aren’t allowed to be like this.”
“You should be ashamed of yourself, don’t be a faggot “
“God damn you, you sick twink.”
He hangs his head. It’s been such a good day. The pride festival was so enjoyable. He felt he’d finally found a place where he could feel safe, where he didn’t have to feel ashamed for his sexuality.
But now that he’d finally gotten a taste of that kind of acceptance, now that he knows how nice it feels to be accepted, he didn’t want to leave that safe place.
One at a time, he removed the shining bead necklaces that hung around his neck. One at a time, in order, he dropped the necklaces into the garbage can.
He watches as the brown haired man throws his beads into the trash can. Each one lands with a thunk at the bottom of the can. His back is slouched and he’s hanging his head.
He slowly peels away the stickers on his shirt, and picks at the paper that doesn’t want to come off. He crumbles them too and drops them in with the beads.
Now he’s removing the pins from his shirt and dropping them into his satchel. Then his suspenders, then the tie.
As he sheds each item, he seems to get sadder.
He brushes his slender finger against his cheek. On each cheek, a pride flag is painted.
He scrubs at the image and seems to panic a bit when it doesn’t come off. He resorts to using his fingernails to try to scrape it away.
The observer stands up and walks over to the panicking man.
He flinched and turned around quickly.
“I’ve been watching you remove all of your rainbow things... is something the matter?”
“I’m not allowed to go home wearing these things.” He explained, a hint of sadness in his voice.
Then another pause.
“My dad...he’s...not the most supportive person I know. He’ll probably kick me out if I walk into the apartment looking like this.”
Not knowing what to say, the other just stands there and looks at him.
“Nice to meet you, Justin. I’m Ross.”
Justin began to lick at the face paint again, wincing. The paint was sticking to his skin, and didn’t want to come off.
His father was going to kill him.
Suddenly, Ross reached into his pocket and offered Justin a moist towelette. A smile lit up Justin’s features, and he scrubbed the flags away.