My mind is strolling at this point. I’m furious. I’m beyond furious. I have Desta’s stuff. I bring them to school the next day and he’s standing at his locker. I can’t face him. Not yet. I can’t have a conversation with him in the way I want to. He’s standing there and I have his bags. I know it’s dramatic but I can’t help it. I just drop his bags right in front of him. I slam them on the goddam ground as hard as I can.
“I was waiting up for you last night,” Desta states, “Where were you?
I can’t talk to him right now. Right now I can’t even look at him. My heart is beating so fast. This is what heartbreak feels like. I was willing to give this boy a part of me that I had closed up for so long and this is what he did to me.
I just walk away.
Desta chases me halfway down the hallway.
“Baby, wait…what’s wrong?”
He was calling me baby. It was the first time that he’d called me that. Hearing the words makes this shit hurt even more. I want to confront him but I know what happened the last time my words came out. The crazy thing is I think I still fucking loved him. The crazy thing is I still wanted to be with him even after I found out that he was cheating on me with Prince.
The thing is that I still didn’t want to risk my relationship with Desta because I had gotten so used to being treated like shit by Matias that someone else cheating on me at this moment just wasn’t a big deal.
“You know what?” I start, “Nothing. Nothing’s wrong.”
“You just walked away from me…”
“We’re late for dance practice.”
I’m trying to sweep it all under the rug. I still can’t look at him though. I don’t want to break out into tears like a little bitch. I just thought he was different. I know that if I say anything to him about Prince, I’d end up blowing up. I knew my temper. He’d be scared of me. He’d hate me forever. It was best to just bite my tongue at least for now. It was best to just pretend like everything was OK.
“What we talked about yesterday? Did you mean it?” I ask, “About being my boyfriend. If this is something you don’t want.”
“I want it more than anything.”
I knew I should have walked away. I knew I should have put myself first and not let a man have this control over me but the truth was I cared more about Desta already then I had ever cared about Matias. Maybe I was just a fucking sucker for love.
Or maybe Desta was just my Achilles’ heel.
Because I find myself smiling at him like an idiot. I find myself making a dumb joke like an idiot to make him feel comfortable. We walk to practice together and when we get down a hall that is all dark I give him a kiss hard on the lips.
“I still want this too,” I tell him after the kiss, “I still want this too…”
I’d just have to put my pain away at least for now.
“Are you feeling OK?” Rosa asks.
Days have passed since I found out about Desta. I’m trying to put up this front but it seems like there is one person who can see right through it. Rosa. We’re at dance practice at this point. Ana is going over a dance routine that Portia is doing in the contest. It was a big deal. We were all entered but this was a single’s routine. Only one person could win.
I’m sitting in the bleachers. I just changed. Everyone is getting ready for this dance competition that is coming up. It’s quite the big deal.
“Is it that obvious?” I ask.
“You are bottling things up and it’s going to come out in the wrong way,” Rosa explains.
“I don’t feel comfortable talking about this with you…”
She looks around. Desta isn’t here yet. Neither is Prince. My mind is wandering wondering what they are doing together.
“Does anyone else know you are gay besides Desta?” she asks.
When she says his name, I get a shiver down my spine.
“No. Just him,” I state, “And I think Prince as well…”
She shrugs, “Well then I want to be someone you can talk to about it. Listen I’m not your enemy, Santana. I am willing to put my own personal disappointment aside to help you out because it’s clear you need me.”
I hate this but she was right. I needed someone to talk about this with.
“Are you sure that you saw what you saw?” I ask.
“Desta was there. 100%. If you don’t believe me, you can ask him,” Rosa states, “I’m surprised he hasn’t confirmed this to you yet.”
That was the problem. I didn’t want to fucking talk to Desta about this. It hurt too much. Clearly, if he was getting fucked he was there. I shake my head. I want to cry about this. It would be so easy to say Rosa was just a hater and she was lying, except that wasn’t Rosa’s thing. I loved Desta and wanted to trust him but at the same time, I completely trusted Rosa. Looking into her eyes I can tell that she was sincere about it.
“You said they kept going?”
“Prince tried to stop but…it was like your boyfriend had no regard. He kept throwing it back on Prince. Prince literally had to push him off.”
I spaz at that moment at the thought. I just kick the chair. I’m trying not to go insane but this is driving me up a wall. With Matias, I was hurt every time he cheated but with Desta, this is killing me from the inside out. Why would he agree to be my boyfriend just to immediately do something like this? I’d thought he was into me.
Was this payback for when I was in the bathroom with Matias?
I was so confused then.
But maybe this was just him getting payback. Maybe it was over now. Hopefully, it was over now.
“I don’t believe you,” I finally tell Rosa, “I think you’re lying.”
I know it hurts Rosa when I say it. I don’t care. I trusted Desta above anything. I loved him. I was going to take his word over anyone else. Period.
That’s when I see them walking in.
“Stop it,” Desta is laughing.
Prince has his hand over Desta when they walk into dance rehearsal late. Prince is whispering something in Desta’s ear. I swear I get up at that point. I just stare. Desta looks back over at me. He removes Prince’s hand at that moment and walks over to me as though nothing happened.
As Prince and Desta approach I can tell things are getting awkward.
“Hey, guys, what’s up?” Desta states acting as though everything is normal.
I don’t respond. Seeing him with Prince right now is literally eating me from the inside out.
Rosa doesn’t seem to want to beat around the bush, “Desta. I need you to confirm with Santana what happened in that bathroom. Clearly, he doesn’t believe me.”
I look at Desta. I could tell it was hard for him to open up about this. He looks over at Rosa probably upset that she is bringing this up. By his reaction, though I can tell something weird is going on. Rosa bringing this shit up is bold. It proves she has nothing to hide.
“She’s telling the truth,” Desta states.
I’m seeing red. All I see is fucking red at this point.
“Whoa…” Desta states, “I didn’t think you would care that much.”
“I wouldn’t care?” I ask, “I fucking care more than you would ever know.”
Desta looks down hurt. How the fuck am I hurting him? I look over at Prince. He reaches that moment attempting to comfort Desta.
“I told you he’d react like this…” Prince tells Desta.
“Don’t fucking talk to him,” I interrupt, “Talk to me. You a man. Be a man about it. You want to take what’s mine, do that shit to my face don’t sneak off about it.”
“What’s yours?” Desta asks.
He’s saying it as though me claiming him is the craziest thing he’d ever heard in his life. It pisses me the fuck off. At this point, I’m so mad that I’m shaking. Tears are running down my face. Was he not mine now?
“This shit hurts yo…” I find myself saying, “This shit fucking hurts…”
I look at Rosa. I feel like shit for saying that she’s lying. It’s clear she was telling the truth.
“It was a mistake,” Desta explains, “Right Prince. Prince. Tell him it was a mistake and it won’t happen again…”
“It might. Who knows? I enjoyed it and he did too,” Prince responds clearly getting more and more hype, “Honestly, I lost all respect for Santana. I think he’s a little BITCH for being that mad over this.”
I lunge at him. I lunge at Prince. I almost make contact but Desta jumps in the way. Desta protects him. I stop myself just in time. There was no way I was going to push Desta out of the way just to get at Prince. I cared too much about Desta even now.
“I’ll see you around,” I promise Prince, “I’ll see you around.”
I walk away at that point.
I keep talking. My mind is blown. I didn’t want to bring any of this up with Desta. I didn’t want him to know that I knew it happened but now that it was out in the open. I’m just pissed. Prince’s disrespect was something that I couldn’t get it.
I’m standing outside of the school. My mind is blown. I’m pacing back and forth. It’s obvious that I’m having trouble with everything that went on. My face is flushed red and I just want to hit something. I see that old gangster coming out and I knew that Prince and Desta having sex was going to be the thing that pushed me clean over the edge.
That’s when I see someone walk up to me. I turn and notice who it is.
“You looking like you going through it.”
“This is all your fault,” I tell him.
“You let me think it’s OK that to forgive someone who cheats on you,” I explain.
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s none of your business.”
“Listen. I know we had our issues in the past but I’m seeing you here looking like you are about on the verge of a mental breakdown,” Matias states, “Talk to me. I want to help you.”
I hated my predicament but tears were rolling down my face so hard that I couldn’t hide how weak I was in this moment. I had never been so weak in my life. Maybe Prince was right? Maybe I was a little bitch. Maybe he felt like because I didn’t have anyone backing me he could disrespect me in the way that he did. Maybe he felt like he could just fuck my boyfriend in front of my face and I’m just a weak little bitch that wouldn’t do anything about it.
“Desta had sex with Prince. My ex-girlfriend Rosa caught them.”
He laughs a little bit, “Wait for what?”
“You think this is funny?”
His face gets serious, “No it’s just. I uh…wait uh…”
“What? You know something?”
He looks like he knows something. It was written all over Matias. I’d always known when he had something to hide because he’d get tripped up over his words.
Matias nods, “It happened. I caught them having sex this morning as well…out in the back. Literally when I walked over Prince was nutting in Desta’s mouth. You know what else? It looked like Desta swallowed. Every last drop.’
I couldn’t hear this.
“You’re fucking with me? This morning too?”
Any other time I would have thought Matias was lying but I had just gotten proof from Rosa about what was going on. This was just adding onto that. At this point, I’m heated. At this point, I am past my boiling point.
“He’s a freak,” Matias shrugs.
“I’m going to fuck him up. I’m going to fuck Prince up.”
“You can’t do it alone. Prince has too many people backing him,” Matias states, “But I can talk to M83. We can be there for you.”
“You’d do that?”
Matias nods, “Now you see who is really in your corner…”
“Don’t you dare go after him,” Prince states.
I ignore Prince. I’m so confused by what Santana is doing. I look over at Rosa.
“What exactly did you tell Santana?” I ask.
“I told him about Prince and Matias having sex in the bathroom,” Rosa tells me.
“And he is that mad about it?” I ask, “He’s really that mad about Matias.”
Rosa shrugs, “He loves him. He told me himself.”
With that Rosa walks away. I nearly fall out when she does. I collapse into one of the seats in the auditorium. Tip Toe is rehearsing his solo on stage right now with Ana giving him hard tips to the point that she is almost hitting him every time he got a step wrong.
I want to cry when I sit there. I turn and see Prince come over me.
“I hate to see you upset,” Prince states.
“I’m not upset.”
“Bullshit,” Prince states, “Your ex just flipped the fuck out because his ex-was having sex with someone else. Who does that? The only reason it makes sense is if he was still in love with Matias.”
Prince had a point.
“Listen, I can’t have my boyfriend and my best friend hating each other,” I tell him, “I need you to apologize him.”
“Apologize? Hell no. If you cared about me the way you cared about him, I wouldn’t give a FUCK about what my ex-was doing. You’re lucky I don’t beat his ass the next time I see him for disrespecting you.”
“You’re not helping Prince.”
“I’m getting out of here,” he explains, “I don’t know what you see in this guy and I take back my support. You will be with that guy over my dead body.”
With that Prince gets up and leaves. I want to break down crying. I’m that emotional at this point. Every time things were looking up they went right back down. They went all the way down to the Bottom.
And we were here again. Here was that pain again.
Ana calls out to me, “You ready?”
I had no escape except for dance. I’d put it all into my movements. I’d put it all into my dance. That was the only thing that could ease some of this tension.
It’s late that night, really late. That’s when Ana walks over to me. I’m sweating, completely drenched. I had been transported out of my body so many times while I was rehearsing. I had rehearsed until I literally wanted to fall over. I’m so weak at this point that I can barely stand. At least for a few minutes, I got my mind off of Santana.
From the shadows, I can see my Uncle Cornelius looking at me. He nods with approval. I can’t believe him and Ana stayed so late. After a while, I thought they’d left because they stopped giving advice. They just started letting me go.
“Come on,” Ana states, now that I’m the last one left, “We’ll take you home.”
The drive home is quiet. I’m looking out of the window. It’s raining. I can’t stop thinking about Santana. I keep texting him but he’s not responding. He’s ignoring me. Maybe he really is over me. Maybe he’s more worried about what was happening with Matias.
“You’re not OK,” Uncle Cornelius states, “What’s wrong?”
I don’t know why I feel comfortable with him. It’s so strange. I used to hate him. I used to have so much resistance towards him but all that resistance has gone away. Uncle Cornelius was someone to look up to. He was someone who set an example for the kind of man that I wanted to be. I was lucky that he came back to the Bottom.
He came back to save me.
He came back to save us all.
“I think it may be over between me and Santana.”
Cornelius and Anna both laugh when I say this. They find it hilarious. I look up trying to see what the hell is so funny about what I just said.
“Oh please,” Anna states.
“You two are clearly in love and you’re going to work it out,” Cornelius states, “How long you think Ana? Two days? Three? Before they make up?”
“Not even that…” Anna responds.
“This is different.”
“Have you seen how he watches you when you dance?” Anna asks, “It’s rare for a dancer as talented as the Sandman to pay such close attention to anyone else…”
“You think he’s talented?” I ask, “I thought you hated him.”
Anna shakes his head, “I see the potential. He’s probably the most talented hip-hop dancer I’ve known in years but he is afraid to push past that hip-hop box. Except when he met you. He’s letting his guard down now. He’s becoming the best part of himself. I’m hard on him because I wanted to bring that out, but it’s clear only you can bring that out of him.”
I sigh looking out in the distance, “You guys think I do that to him?”
Cornelius nods, “You can do anything you want. The doctors said I would never walk again. The other day I felt pain in my legs.”
“Yeah. It’s a little sign but it’s a sign. You and Santana need each other. You’re going to go far alone but together the two of you will fly. Just don’t fly too close to the sun. I learned that a long time ago.”
We’re approaching the house.
As we approach I notice something. The lights on my porch are on. Why the hell the lights on? As I look over at the lights I’m confused more and more by it. That’s when I squint a little bit and notice something.
“You can stay with me,” Uncle Cornelius randomly says.
Anna and I see why as we drive up to the house. My father is sitting there. My father is on the porch. I look at him sitting there with my Aunts. They are laughing. All of them laughing together. Claudia, Tonnet, AND Priscilla. Right now Priscilla is sitting in his fucking lap. I am watching this at this moment and it makes me sick to my stomach.
My father was back in the Bottom.
“Keep driving,” Uncle Cornelius states, “Keep driving…”