Authors: Alex Sanchez
Tags: #Social Issues, #Dating & Sex, #Social Science, #Gay, #Juvenile Fiction, #Homosexuality, #Fiction, #Gay Studies
SIMON & SCHUSTER
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York l0020
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales, are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2003 by Alex Sanchez
Al rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
Manufactured in the United States of America
6 8 10 9 7 5
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Sanchez, Alex, 1957-
Rainbow High / Alex Sanchez.—1st ed.
Sequel to: Rainbow boys.
Summary: Fol ows three gay high school seniors as they struggle with issues of coming out, safe sex, homophobia, being in love, and col ege choices.
[1. Homosexuality—Fiction. 2. Coming out (Sexual orientation)—Fiction.
3. High schools—Fiction. 4. Schools—Fiction. 5. Interpersonal relations—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.S19475 Rak 2004
To integrity—and our imperfect strivings to attain it
With gratitude to my editor, Kevin Lewis, my agent, Miriam Altshuler, and all those who contributed to the creation of this book with their encouragement and feedback, including Bruce Aufhammer, Bill Brockschmidt, Jeremy Coleman, Jim Dalglish, Jann Darsie, Alyssa Eisner, Toby Emert, Barbara Esstman, the Fine Arts Work Center of Provincetown, David Gale, Jim Howe, Jason Hungerford, Chuck Jones, J. R. Key, Erica Lazaro, Elizabeth McCracken, Rob Phelps, John Porter, J. Q. Quiñones, Bob Ripperger, Doug Rose, Cosper Scafidi, Sean Sinclair, Jason Tifone, Mike Walker, Jason Wells, and Mark Wersinger. Thank you all.
“Words have power,” Ms. MacTraugh told the students of Walt Whitman High’s Gay-Straight Al iance. She made it sound more like a dare than a statement. “Today, how about if each of you writes a brief essay?”
“Not another paper,” groaned a boy with lemon-tinted glasses.
A girl wearing a rainbow-bead necklace raised her hand. “Do we have to pass them in?”
“Only if you want to. The idea is to help you connect with your lives. Describe what’s going on for you in school, your family. Write about your hopes and dreams—whatever is most important for you.”
The rainbow-beaded girl chewed on her pen, thinking. A boy with a butterfly tattooed on his forearm gazed skyward out the window.
Three other boys began eagerly writing.
What a freaking senior year! Our petite opera de soap started in September, with Kyle and I going to the queer youth group
downtown, like we do every boring Saturday. Except guess who walks into the meeting for the first time? Megajock Jason from school.
Kyle’s always had the hots for him. Ever since freshman year hes been all about Jason, Jason, Jason! Gag me.
I’d said a million times, “Old Jason’s a closet case.” But did Kyle believe me?
After that meeting he did. Overnight he and Jason became, like, best buds—and I became a vague memory. The story of my heartbreak
Well, maybe I exaggerate. Kyle didn’t totally dump me. I guess I just assumed he and I would always be the heartbeat of each other’s
universe. But now he had Jason.
And me? The closest I’d ever gotten to romance was a warm computer screen. You know—chatting up guys on the Net, exchanging pics,
all that crap.
Here I was, seventeen-years old, bashed every day at school for being gay, and still a virgin. How pathetic is that?
So, one night I decided to real-life hook up with a dude. You should’ve seen his JPEG. Total boner magnet. The most amazing part was,
it was his real photo!
We rode his freakin’
to his place and did it—the full boink—my first time. It was so incredible! Except. . . I, um, sort of forgot to
use a condom? Well, not exactly forgot. I knew I was supposed to, but. . . come on, do you seriously think I was going to stop in the middle of
virginity-losing-hormone-raging-passion and bridle it with a condom? Hel-lo! Teenage boy here! Ever heard of testosterone? It’s worse than
After that night, things really got gnarly. Mom weaseled out of me what had happened and freaked. She jelled. She cried. She told me
how she’d trusted me. Major drama. I felt so bad, I wanted to crawl beneath my sheets and never come out.
Anyway, she hauled my depressed butt to the doc, who said it would be a while before I could get an accurate HIV test result. I have to go
As for Motorcycle Dude? Never saw his hottie face again. After we’d done it he told me he had a lover. Ouch! Just toss me out with the
The one sunny spot in this supermess is Jeremy, a boy I’ve met at the queer youth group. Omigod, he’s so cute—and kick-ass sweet!
I never thought he’d be interested in me, but we’ve gone out twice so far. He’s a year and something older than me. I’m bouncing off walls,
totally crushed on him. Mom hasn’t met him yet. She wants to, but there’s one teensy-weensy detail. . . he’s HIV positive?
Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking. But there’s no way I’m going to stop dating him. I don’t give a crap what anyone says. I’m almost
Besides, if I turn out to test poz too, then it’s no big deal, right? Except. .. I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with that.
Oh God, please don’t let me have it. Not now! Not when for once in my boring life things are staring to look up.
I first realized I was different in seventh grade, when my friends started being interested in girls. And I wasn’t.
About the same time, all the boys started joking about “queers” and “homos.” At first I laughed along, not really understanding, until I
realized they were talking about people like. . . me.
I broke out in such a sweat that day my teacher sent me to the nurse’s office.
Almost every afternoon for the rest of middle school, I spent hours alone in my room, pacing, examining my every movement in the
mirror, telling myself I wasn’t going to be this way. I felt so lonely I wanted to die.
Then came high school, where I met Nelson. And my whole world changed.
He’s like no one I’ve ever known—out and outrageous, totally okay with who he is. He became the best friend I’d always longed for—
someone who knew and accepted me, no matter what. I’d do anything for him.
When he first told me about his unsafe sex episode I wanted to clobber him. Now I mostly worry what his HIV result will be... and about his
High school is also where I first laid eyes on Jason Carrillo. He was a star athlete, in a clique I could never join, and had a girlfriend. I
never thought I had any real hope with him. But still, I could dream. Every time I saw him in the hall with his arm around Debra, I thought:
What I wouldn’t give to be her.
The afternoon when he walked into the Rainbow Youth meeting downtown, I nearly fell off my chair.