Interview with Maris

Q: You and Darling go way back. How did you first meet?

A: I really don’t like talking about my childhood. The only good thing I can say is that I survived and that I met Darling during it. But for him, I’d probably be dead by now. In fact, that is how we met.

I was always different from other kids and not just because I was an heir and parents tend to put a lot of pressure on their children who are destined to inherit empires. I felt like something in me wasn’t right. That it was broken. I did my best to be like everyone else. To fit in. But other kids sensed that I wasn’t like them. And they were ruthless and relentless. I can’t remember the first time someone called me gay or used some offensive term for it to insult me.

But one day, when I was pinned to the wall by a bully, having the snot beat out of me while others cheered him on, there was this skinny red headed kid who only came up to my shoulder. He put his head down like a little ram and attacked the bully with everything he had. Back then, Darling was not the ripped warrior he is today. He was small for his age, really small, but what he lacked in height and strength, he made up for with raw determination. He kicked the excrement out of the other kid and had him on the ground, crying for his mother.

After making the little cretin swear he’d never even look at me again, Darling got up. He turned around, wiped the blood from his lips, then held his hand out to me. “I’m Darling Cruel, and I think we should be friends.”   He didn’t even know who I was, but he bled for me anyway. It’s something I’ve never forgotten. We were just babies, but we became best friends. I’ve loved and adored him everyday since. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him.

Over the years, I can’t tell you how many fights he got into because of how others hated me. But he wouldn’t let anyone insult me or hurt my feelings. Not even my own family. If he was present, he quickly put a stop to it. And I will never forget what his father said to me: “Maris, the world isn’t fair. And no matter how good and decent you are, no matter how much you give to others, someone is always going to hate you for no other reason than the fact that you breathe. You can’t help that. You can’t change people or their minds once they’ve allowed them to get twisted by hatred or others. But you can change how you deal with them. Walk away when you can, fight when you must, but don’t give them the power to hurt you. Don’t let them inside you. They’re not worth it. Live your life for yourself. Stay true to yourself and if they can’t see the beauty that is you, it’s their loss. Let the bitterness take them to their graves. Spend your time on what matters most. Being you and appreciating the people who see you for who and what you are. The people who love you, and the ones that you love. They’re all that matters. Let the rest go to hell.”

It explains a lot about Darling, doesn’t it? He was never the same after his father was murdered and I can’t blame him. It was a tragedy.

At fifteen, after his father had been dead for a bit, Darling came out to protect someone else. I always admired that about him. That he had to courage to be under constant assault with no shields whatsoever… and all for someone else. I wasn’t that brave. Seeing how others openly attacked him for being gay made it all the harder for me to admit to the world what my real preferences were. I guess I am a coward. I’ve never liked conflict of any sort, and I just wish the rest of the world could let others live in peace.

For years, Darling helped me to appear straight, and he covered for me, too. The latter causes me a lot of guilt where he’s concerned. He’s been the best friend anyone could ever ask for. Not once has he ever treated me like I was abnormal or wrong or broken. I’m just a regular guy where he’s concerned. Best of all, he introduced me to many others who are like him. Who don’t care that I walk along a different path.

And he kept me from making the worst mistake of my life.

At twenty-two, with Darling’s help, I finally admitted to the world who I was. Yes, it was ugly and it was hard. I lost all of my family and most of my friends, and that hurt most of all. True to his word, Darling stood by my side, even though it almost cost him his life, and a beating I still want to regurgitate over. He never wavered in his loyalty to me.

Given what the world has done to me, I don’t believe in fighting for anything. But I will fight for my one and only true brother: Darling. You mess with him and you will see a side of me that will scare you. I promise.

As we vowed to each other as children: Through thick and thin, we are brothers to the bitter end.