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Authors: James Howe

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BOOK: Totally Joe
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So now you know that Skeezie was sitting behind me, but guess who was sitting next to me? Zachary! Colin was on one side of me and Zachary was on the other. For some reason, this kind of freaked me out, but I don't know why.

After the movie, we all went to the Candy Kitchen for ice cream. We were having the best time until Addie and DuShawn got into a fight over how the girl in the movie had to act all dumb so Keanu could look cool and manly. DuShawn got so frustrated with Addie that he just left, and Addie cried. Actually
cried
. I've never seen Addie cry in my whole life, and it made me feel terrible. But she said she and DuShawn fight sometimes, and they always make up. She said the problem is that they look at things differently, and they both have really strong opinions. (Duh. Really?) Then she said, “At least making up is fun.” That put the picture of them kissing in my head, and all I could think to say was, “Gross,” which just shows I still have some growing up to do.

While we were walking home, I asked Bobby (privately)
if he and Kelsey ever fought, and he shook his head like he didn't even know what I was talking about. Those two are so funny. After, like, six months of going out, they still blush around each other all the time, as if they're embarrassed just to be breathing the same air. I'm going to nominate them as “Cutest Couple” for the yearbook, even though, hello, it's
always
Sara and Justin. But who knows? So much is changing this year, maybe Sara and Justin will just have to settle for runners-up.

Even with the fight, it was the
best
evening, just being with a big group of friends. When I got home, Addie IM-ed me and told me she and DuShawn had already made up (on the phone, which wasn't as much fun, she said), and could I come over to her house tomorrow (which is now today) to talk about the GSA. I wrote back and told her that Zachary was coming over to hang out at my house, and she wrote back and said, “Bring him,” and I said I didn't think he was quite ready for GSA-talk.

“Besides,” I wrote Addie, “it's the weekend! Give it a rest!”

Honestly, Addie is so intense I don't know how she doesn't need all weekend just to sleep and get over herself.

Right after I finished IM-ing with Addie, Aunt Pam IM-ed me. She said she was missing me and couldn't wait for me to come visit her in New York City. She doesn't think Ani is going to perform there until the fall, so I have
got
to visit before that. She told me she'd talk to Mom and Dad about my coming down this summer—for a whole week! She's going to show me
everything
and take me
everywhere
. She's even got some gay friends she wants me to meet. People like me! That will be so awesome!

Then she asked me what color my hair is these days. I felt kind of bad telling her the truth, but I did. I said it was brown. I've stopped streaking it, and I don't paint my pinky fingernail anymore either, because, I don't know, all of that was kind of a special Aunt-Pam-and-me thing. Oh. My. God. Maybe I
am
toning down my act! (Not really. I still have a closet full of Hawaiian shirts and you should
see
the hi-tops I'm getting: bright green with hot pink piping!)

Oh, I almost forgot: Yesterday, Heather O'Malley said she thought my op-ed piece about the GSA was
perfect
and that Skeezie's and my humor column about where people sit in the cafeteria was a riot! Mr. Daly told me he'd read them, too (he's the advisor for the
Easel
) and he thinks I've come a long way as a writer. He said I show real promise!

So yesterday was a great day. I don't know if it was the best day of my life, but it was definitely in the Top Ten!

LIFE LESSON
: A day can start out ordinary and end up being in the Top Ten.

Z is for
ZACHARY (OF COURSE)

ZACHARY CAME OVER TODAY AND I TOLD HIM I LIKED HIS DIMPLES
.

Just like that.

I said, “I like your dimples.”

He giggled and went, “Oh, my goodness.”

I was all set to say something about how maybe he shouldn't say that at school so much, and maybe he shouldn't wave his hands around when he talks
(so
Aunt Priscilla!), and maybe he shouldn't keep his pinky finger in the air when he reaches for a pat of butter, but then I thought,
Who am
I
to talk? Puh-leeze
. Besides, Zachary is, like, the happiest person I ever met. Why mess with success?

So instead I said, “Will you teach me to do a headstand?”

Because he's a gymnast, remember?

And I'm a total klutz.

And he said, “Really? Sure!”

It took, like, for-ev-er, but I finally managed to do one. I kind of missed having his hands around my ankles after he took them away, but the feeling of being upside down and staying there, all by myself, was AMAZING!!!

Both of us cheered when I finally fell over, and then we got punchy because of the zillion times I'd fallen over before that (Zachary called me Mr. Wobbles) and then we couldn't stop laughing.

Mom heard us, and she got laughing, too. When she asked Zachary if he would like to stay for dinner, all he could do was nod because he was laughing so hard.

After dinner, we hung out in my room and talked. Who knew we'd find so much to talk about? And let me tell you, once he gets going, Zachary can talk! You've probably figured out by now that he also likes to laugh. His laugh is kind of goofy, and the sound of it is really contagious.

He told me how much he likes my new hi-tops and the way they kind of match my room. And then he told me how much he likes my room and how everything in it is so me. At one point, he picked up this notebook with my name on it, except the name was JoDan.

“What's up with that?” he asked.

I explained about how I used to give myself other names all the time.

He smiled his dimple-y smile and said, “Why? You're totally Joe.”

“Meaning?”

“You're yourself,” Zachary said with a shrug. “Totally.”

I thought about how Colin had told me that same thing, but there was a difference with Zachary. “You're yourself, too,” I said.

Zachary said, “So we're both totally Joe.” Even though that made a weird kind of sense, it got us laughing, and before you know it we were laughing hysterically. And then we were racing each other to the bathroom we both had to pee so bad.

I have this feeling Zachary and I are going to be best friends. We might even be boyfriends someday, who knows? (Did I tell you he's actually a lot cuter than I first thought he was?) Right now, though, Zachary is kind of clueless about who he is—the gay part, I mean—even if the rest of the world figures maybe that's who he is. That includes me. But hey, the rest of the world could be wrong. Zachary will figure himself out when he's ready. As for me, well, I may have figured out that I'm gay, but I'm sorry, I am
not
ready to exchange
saliva with anybody. The boyfriend thing can
so
wait.

It's funny, I started this alphabiography with my oldest friend, and I'm ending it with my newest friend. I never thought I could write this much, and now that it's coming to an end, I feel sad that I have to stop, sort of the way you feel when you're almost at the end of a really good book and you know you're going to miss the main character. But in this case, the main character is me! Myself. Joe (formerly JoDan) Bunch.

I guess there just aren't enough letters in the alphabet to tell my story, or maybe it's that there's still so much left to happen.

Like next Thursday, the
Easel
is coming out with
my writing
in it!

And next Saturday, Zachary and I are going to the mall together, and then we're going back to his house to make pizza from scratch because he loves to cook as much as I do!

And the week after that, we're having our first GSA meeting—and Mr. Daly's son is coming to talk to us!

And in June, right after school lets out, I'm visiting Aunt Pam in New York City—for a whole week!

And next fall, I'm going to visit her again and hear Ani DiFranco in concert where I will have my mind blown, up close and personal!

And the fall after that, I'll be in HIGH SCHOOL!

And maybe sometime in high school (I have four whole years, so it
could
happen), I'll be ready to exchange saliva and I'll be voted one half of the Cutest Couple of the Year—and our photo will be in the yearbook! I'm trying to picture who the other half of the photo will be. Maybe Zachary. Maybe Colin. Maybe Leonardo. Maybe Keanu.
Or maybe somebody I haven't even met yet. I guess I'll just have to wait to find out. And that's okay, because you know me—I
love
surprises!

LIFE LESSON
: Alphabiographies should be full of
italics
, CAPITAL LETTERS, and exclamation points! (Just like life!) And they should never end with the words “The End.” They should always end with:

TO BE CONTINUED!

Mr. Daly: I was going to say, “Don't pick your nose and eat a peanut-butter sandwich at the same time,” but I have a feeling this is more what you had in mind. Am I right?

Mr. D: Do I get extra points for words like “retorted”?

French for “Me, too.”

Mr. D: Don't worry. I didn't
really
believe I was from some other planet.

BOOK: Totally Joe
12.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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