Alaska Shorts: Andy, by Kristina Cranston

Andy Was
a Beauty

Andy was one of my best
friends. He was a beautiful full-blood Tlingit Indian with strong white teeth,
full lips, a killer smile, and a head full of long, straight black hair. He was
so good looking he was almost pretty. We grew up in Mt. View together, a shabby
neighborhood with an unfair, bad reputation. He lived in a rundown apartment
complex call the Trojan Arms, on the bottom floor. I lived in the little white
house with the brick chimney across the street.

When things got real bad, meaning mom was coming down from a week of partying;
I would lock the door to our room, push my desk up against it, check to see if
my sister was asleep, and then sneak out the open window, leaving it cracked.
I’d tap quietly three times on Andy’s bedroom window, which was our signal, he
knew to meet me in the wooded lot behind my house. Andy always came prepared
with a blanket, hand-held FM radio, a couple of sodas, and a first aid kit.

After he cleaned and
bandaged minor scrapes, dabbed devils club ointment on my bruises, and tisked
tisked at what my mother had done this time, we would lay next to each other on
the old wool blanket, with me in the crook of his arm, and he would tell me
stories, legends really, myths of magic and war, tragic love affairs that ended
badly, and my favorites, the Three Sisters who turned into stars and the little
boy who lived on the moon. Andy was my secret keeper, and I was his, at least
for a while, till we grew apart.

Comes Out

I was the first person Andy
came out to. I wasn’t surprised really, when the words were spoken. After all,
Andy was the only boy who had seen me without a shirt on, in my bra; I wouldn’t
have let a straight guy see me!

He even commented with
approval, teasing me with “they’re bigger than they were last time”, or,
“honey, I’m sure you’re not a double A, in fact, I’d bet money you’d fill
out a B cup”, he always knew how to make me feel better.

When he came out, he
sobbed, said he was ashamed, then told me he was gay and that his brother had
called him a faggot. I just held him and let him cry, finally able to return
the favor, but sorry that I had to.

Cranston is a 43 year old Alaskan mother, grandmother, sister, auntie, and
daughter. She is part Tlingit from Haines, and belongs to the Eagle
Moiety/Thunderbird Clan. She was raised in
Mountain View, a diverse neighborhood in Anchorage, and spent her
summers in Haines and Klukwan, balancing the two worlds of village life and
city life. Kristina helps her significant other run an art gallery in the
beautiful seaside community of
Sitka. Kristina has
been writing since she was a teenager, and has learned to embrace life and what
it offers through this process.

4 thoughts on “Alaska Shorts: Andy, by Kristina Cranston”

  1. Vivian Prescott

    Wonderful writing! I love the "Andy" character and the narrator has a very distinct voice. I think the author has another couple of pieces in the current issue of Tidal Echoes from UAS, too. You can read one of them online.

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