FRIDAY 18: 23, THIRD WEEK
Haley and Sam were sitting on the bench in the park near the lake. Haley was eating her French fries as Sam next to her observed the birds fly over the clear blue sky, spreading their wings like they ruled the entire world. He wondered how flying must have felt like. There was no doubt that those birds must have felt a freedom of some sorts. They could go anywhere they pleased and weren't confined to one place. Trapped. That's how he felt at the moment.
He glanced at Haley who licked her fingers with delight as she ate her meal.
" I'm gay." he blurted out without even realizing he just ended up saying what his mind had been struggling to come to terms with for a long time. He expected a shocked expression on Haley's face but she carried on finishing off her meal as if Sam only mentioned how good the weather was.
" I know." she eventually said, focused on the delicious meal.
" You know?" he asked, astounded.
" I always had a hunch there was a softer side to you. A more feminine side."
" What do you think of me now?" Sam couldn't help but feel anxious.
Haley looked at him, confused. " You are still my brother, Sam. I love you no matter what. Nothing can change that." she grew very serious. Sam wasn't used to seeing his sister like that. She always used to be the goofy, giggly sister he felt ashamed of at times but that same person could sometimes also make him feel better about himself.
" You're the first person I dared coming out to by the way."
She nodded. " When do you plan telling our parents?"
He sighed, scratching his head in contemplation. " That's gonna be a lot harder to do, though."
" Mum might understand. It's dad that will need a bit of time to get used to the fact."
" I'm scared, though." he revealed.
" Of what?"
" Change." he said. " This might change everything."
Haley watched him for a while before saying: " That's normal. But coming out should also feel liberating to you. After you do that, you'll see how much more at peace you'll feel with your identity. This is your oppurtunity. It might open new doors for you."
They sat in silence for a while then Haley asked: " Who's the lucky guy?"
" Bradley." he replied. She nodded apprehensively.
" Of course! Who else..." she mumbled to herself.
Sam got confused. " What do you mean?"
" It was so obvious from the beginning that you two had something going on. That and the way you've been acting around him lately made me think that you saw something more in him than just a friend." Haley winked mischievously. Sam let out an embarrassing laugh.
" I hope I wasn't so obvious to everyone else..."
" Believe me, you weren't. See, the others don't know you like I do." she shrugged.
" I don't know if I'm able to come out to my parents, though." Sam said, clearly feeling torn between two options.
Haley glanced at him then looked ahead, not saying anything for a while. Then slowly she turned back at Sam, looking at him straight in the eyes. " Do you wanna know what I think?"
" I think there's nothing sadder than living life wondering what could have been." she said firmly. " You shouldn't be ashamed of who you are. Mum and dad are gonna love you no matter what but I'm wondering whether you will too."
" Excuse me?"
" I don't think this is about mum and dad..." she continued. " I think you are your own enemy. You should learn to accept yourself, Sam. Then maybe other people will start doing the same."
Sam frowned then nodded.
" Just be confident." she encouraged.