Bobby had found a kindred spirit in Piotr Rasputin. There was a lot
of gossip about the new relationship between Peter and Bobby. I felt
ill about all of the gossip in which I had participated in the past.
Suddenly, gossip had turned into a great evil beast to me. Unfortunately,
it only got worse when Bobby presented his next creation to the team.
It was larger than my portrait standing a little over one and a half
feet. Bobby had dragged most of the mansion's residents into the sitting
room for the "unveiling." We all gaped in wonder at Peter's nude form.
He was standing head bowed. His arms were wrapped around himself in
a solitary hug. Aesthetically, it was moving. Seeing our Colossus
alone and vulnerable, knowing his past, made the piece a perfectly
accurate and tragic depiction.
This was lost on the audience though. All they could see was the
nudity. Oh, they agreed that it was beautiful, but I could see their
They were deciding about my friend's life and the choices he made.
As everyone stood around drinking wine and acting like they were at
a gallery opening, I pulled back. My friends milled around Bobby pretending
that nothing was wrong and judging his lifestyle. I'm not really a
violent man, no matter what I may do with the X-Men. That day, though,
I was angry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to rip the room apart and
smash the furniture. I stood in the corner shaking with rage. My eyes
were clenched. My head was bowed. Then a hand touched me. I knew that
it was he. I tried to pull away, but the grip was firm.
"Henry, let's go to my office. I would like to speak to you."
"Professor, Charles, I'm not feeling very well. I really think I
should go lie down."
"Hank, that's what I want to talk to you about. I believe that you
will feel better when we are done."
The brown leather wingback chair was oversized and overstuffed. It
was oh so tasteful and looked perfect in the room. It was one of the
few chairs in the house that I could sit in comfortably. That night
it felt like an iron maiden, spikes, et al.
"Anger and aggravation is pouring off you in waves, Henry. Please
tell me what is wrong," he asked.
"My best friend has given up speaking and you ask me what is wrong?"
"Yes, but Bobby seems quite content with his situation. You are the
one that is upset."
The iron maiden's spikes tightened. There was only one way to release
them. My mouth began to move without full permission from my brain.
I didn't want to tell Charles everything. Yet, he has been a mentor
to me for so long, it was easy to make him my sounding board. I've
always been a very private person. I've never really shown this side
of myself, not even to Charles. He sat and listened with rapt attention.
He sat silently at the end of my tale. I could tell that he wanted
think a bit before giving me a response.
"You're jealous," was all he said.
After all the pain of opening up to him and all he can say is that
I'm jealous? "What?" I cried.
"Piotr has found a way to communicate with Bobby, while you are having
trouble. Robert and you have always been . . . two peas in a pod,
so to speak. He's shut you out with the rest of us, and you can't
accept it. Then Peter comes along and makes a connection. It seems
fairly obvious that this is just jealousy."
I opened my mouth to shout my rebuttal, but there was none. My anger
slowly ebbed into shame. My openness before was a mustard grain compared
to what I spoke next.
"But he was mine. No one else cares about me like Bobby. No matter
how shunned or hated I am out side of these walls, I can always come
home to him. He keeps me sane. He's the only person in this world
that makes me feel good about myself. When I'm with Bob, I'm normal.
That's why he's my best friend because no one else here understands
how isolated I truly am."
I rose and left the room before Charles could reply. I was too ashamed
of myself. He always taught us to be proud of our differences, and
I had just admitted that my whole self-image was based on the class
clown's opinion of me.
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