My friend Anna worked at the barbershop down the street, which is where I met her. She was more of an older sister to me, someone I've wanted my whole life. Today is our six-year "anniversary." Every time I need a haircut, she's the one to do it for me. My hair cut was scheduled today at 3:30pm. I was extremely nervous today because I had to tell her something that I couldn't even tell my own parents. I tell my parents that I'm heading out. "Be back by 5 alright?" my mom tells me. I smiled but remain silent. I head out to the barbershop and meet her at the entrance. She smiled the same smile that she had when we first met. I smile back at her. "You know what day it is Anna?" I ask her. "Yes boy, it's our six-year 'anniversary,'" she says with a glee to her voice I've never heard before. I sit down in the hair cut chair. "You want the normal buzz cut that you get?" she asks me, already getting the razor ready. "Nah, I'll take the fade," I tell her and smile. She smiles and laughs. "The same one that I did on the first day we met?" she asks me with a twinkle in her eyes. I nod. "Yes ma'am," I say. "Oh, stop it," she responds, going a little red. She starts to cut my hair. We sit in silence and listen to the razor slicin' and dicin' through my hair. "Hey, you got something on your mind?" she asks me. My stomach starts to churn, knowing that I have to tell her, I mean, after all, she's like a sister to me, but I couldn't find the strength to tell her yet. "No actually, but what's new with you?" I ask her in return. "Hm. And yes, I'm getting married! He proposed last night," she says with excitement. "Really? That's awesome!" I tell her. I felt sick to my stomach, knowing the happiness I'm about to ruin. "Anna, I like someone," I blurt out suddenly. "Oh! It's about time!" she exclaims. "Who is it? Is she pretty?" I start to tear up and I slowly push her hand away, the one that had the razor in it. She sees me in the mirror and kneels down in front of me and looks me in the eye. She purses her lips. "It's me, isn't it?" she asks me. I don't respond, so she goes on. "I told you not to like me like that. I'm 10 years older than you and there are a lot better people out there. Plus, I'm getting married." I stare at her, looking right into her dark brown eyes. Then I look down. "Anna, I don't like a girl." Anna smiles and then rolls up her own chair and sits next to me, as we stare at ourselves in the mirror. "What's his name?" I look at her and start crying, and then I hug her. "He's not gay and I am! I don't want him to find out Anna, he's dating someone. I'm gay Anna!" She hugs me back, tighter than I was hugging her. "It's okay, it's okay, it's all gonna be okay," she says, trying to comfort me. "His name is Keegan," I say into her shoulder. "Thank you for coming to me about this," she whispers to me. "You're my sister," I tell her. "Being gay is okay little bro," she says to me. "Don't worry about what he says, or what anyone says, just live your life little bro. Enjoy it while you can," she says with her eyes glued to something off in the distance. With tears in her eyes, she looks to me. She hesitates, then says, "Do you want to call him? I'll be with you every step of the way," she says to me, an arm around my shoulder. I nod and take out my phone. I open up his contact. I'm about to call when she stops me. She gently grabs my phone and hits the call button and puts it on speaker mode. Then the ringing stops as someone answers it.
"Bruh, what do you want now?" Keegan says jokingly.
"Hello Keegan! This is Anna, and I'm one of his best friends," she says in response.
"So, you like his girlfriend or something?" he asks with laughter in his voice.
"No actually, I'm 10 years older and I'm getting married. He has something to tell you Keegan." Anna hands the phone to me and holds my hand and whispers, "Speak."
"Hey Keegan," I say, with a sad tone to my voice, my tears slowly flowing again.
"What's wrong man?" he asks me. My legs start to shake a little and Anna squeezes my hand. I look up at her and she smiles.
"There's no easy way to tell you this, but I like you man," I tell him.
"I mean, we're friends so I hope so," he says.
"Keegan, I mean I like like you," I clarify to him. Silence roams the call.
"It's okay man," he says. We remain silent for a few more minutes.
"You wanna talk about this later," he asks me. "My mom is making me do some things around the house, but if you want to meet at 6 we can."
"I can do that," I tell him. "Thank you Keegan, thank you," I say to him.
"It's what friends do man," he says. I sense his smile on the other end, and then he hangs up.
"You did it!" Anna shouts happily. I hug her and start to break down again. I just continue to cry, right into her bare shoulder. She hugs me back and whispers to me, "It's gonna be okay little bro, it's gonna be okay." I continue to sob. I finally look up at her. "Thank you," I say to her, my voice weak, quiet, and broken, the same way I felt inside. "Always," she says in a comforting tone. We sit in a peaceful silence until 5:30, staring at ourselves in the mirror, knowing that we will always have each other's backs.