“Can I read you a couple tweets and can you give us a reaction to it?”

Sigh. This is why we need to talk this stuff. Sports belongs to everyone, and the Olympics is supposed to be the place where we celebrate that.

My first memory of the Olympics is Mark Tewksbury winning gold in Barcelona in 1992. He wasn’t out then. That year, Mark won Canada’s first gold of the Games. This year, Mark McMorris won our first medal. And nothing has changed because Mark in ‘92 was afraid to be the gay swimmer and Mark in ’14 is afraid of gay snowboard fans.

I love the Olympics because the best moments are small and human and true. I keep waiting for the best to use their moment to speak up instead of recoil.

It’s late where I am, and I’m writing this on my phone. I was scrolling Tumblr, and there was this, mixed up with the Glee, Teen Wolf, and One Direction gifs that fill my dashboard these days, and I couldn’t scroll past. Not when every single one of those things has this in common: teasing at the line between gay and straight, then running back to where they believe it’s safe.

The people in Sochi don’t get to run back to a safe space when the Olympics are over.

My thought aren’t complete tonight, and for that I apologise, but I wanted to speak up because, if Mark McMorris isn’t going to use his moment, the rest of us can.

A teaser, of course. I can’t leave you hanging without a little something.

“So, what’d you do?” Gina barely let him sit down before she started in.

“How do you know?” Andy thought about hiding in his menu, but her eyes had caught his, and there was no running. Gina was wiser than all of them. He was glad she was his friend, even when she looked at him like this. “What do you know?”

“Nat showed up for breakfast,” she explained. Andy had figured as much. “They talked. Taylor said he feels bad.”

Andy never wanted to make Nat feel bad. “I said something stupid,” he said. It was the easiest was to explain last night. His whole life, in fact.

“Let’s order. I need French fries with heartbreak.”

The waiter brought them ice water. Andy was wearing his white uniform shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and he noticed how the waiter checked him out. Usually, that was nice. It was weird, and weirder when he was with Nat, but it was always flattering. It was the guys and girls who tried to buy him drinks when they were out at their bar that Andy couldn’t deal with. He always made Nat pick up the next round, while Andy hid in the booth.

Today, the waiter’s look made Andy roll his sleeves back down, buttoning the cuffs tight around his wrists.

“What is going on?” Gina asked.

He leaned across the table. It was supposed to be the lull between lunch and dinner, but the restaurant was packed. “Did you and Taylor have sex last night?”

Gina laughed. “Are you kidding? Of course we did.” She preened a little, running a hand through her long black hair. “We always have the best sex after the boys have one of their nights.”

That only made Andy feel worse. He wanted to lay his head on the table and disappear. “Last night,” he admitted, his face in his hands. “I told Nat I hate sex.”

Buy Conversation Hearts, a Valentine’s Day anthology including my story, “Same Sex”.

Conversation Hearts anthology from Torquere Press

Conversation Hearts anthology from Torquere Press