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The Beginning

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When Andreica was first transferred to Skylar’s dorm, he didn’t speak much English. He’d walk around with a translator, but conversations with other students were seldom and awkward. The only place Andreica felt at happy was at the music therapy sessions.

Andreica loves music. For once, he felt like he could speak to his peers, build bridges across the barriers of language with the sound of their instruments. This was where Andreica meets Skylar.

Even among demerians, Andreica felt isolated. Some would try to make conversation with him, but soon abandon him for friends that spoke English. Except Skylar.

“Dude, is that a mandolin?”

Soon, they became best friends.

Skylar was completely unfazed by the translator—in fact, he enjoyed making the translator uncomfortable, telling Andreica about his porn business through him. As amusing as it was, Andreica became more and more invested in his English studies—he wanted to be able to talk to Skylar.

Andreica still struggled with English. Words would come out in the wrong order, the wrong conjugation, the wrong phrase. But Skylar’d just laugh it off.

“Don’t worry,” Skylar’d say, “the ladies love the foreigner’s thing.” Even with the 'sexy foreigner thing' to his advantage, he tried even harder in English. He began to be able to form sentences with ease, even hold a basic conversation. Skylar would help him, too, correct him when something was off, and teach him all the words teachers would never dare tell him. He began to talk to others from music therapy, like Skylar’s friend Sheko. For once, he was beginning to feel at home in this foreign world.

Skylar was the one who talked him into shaving half his head.

It was a day together downtown, and they passed a barber shop. Skylar all but dragged him in.

Skylar told the barber what to do with his hair, but Andreica couldn’t understand. It was a shock, a hairdo he would never have chosen on his own, but he liked it. And Skylar was ecstatic, showing off his handywork.

It wasn’t long before Andreica realized his feelings for Skylar. The gut-wrenching feeling of loving someone who doesn’t love you back haunts him for days. He can’t tell anyone. He wished he could talk to his mom, his family, his friends from his mountain tribe. But now, his family is Skylar. The exact person he couldn’t talk to.

So he laughs. He pretends there’s nothing between them. He learns more English, is able to talk to new people. But none of them are like Skylar. And none of them ever will be.