Chapter 4: Grayson the Player

Grayson (4) Grayson (20)Grayson Tanaka almost told his parents the truth on the night of his 17th birthday. “Dad, there’s something that I—” he started, but his dad interrupted.

“You can tell me at the restaurant,” said his dad, checking the time on his cell phone. “But I’ll bet I can guess. Coach Davis made you team captain, right?”

Grayson gave a weak smile. “Well, not exactly.” It was just like his dad to turn the topic to basketball. Sports, academics, and work. According to his dad, those were the most important things in life. If Grayson brought home a B on his report card, his dad hired expensive tutors to help him raise his grades. If Grayson wasn’t shooting baskets, scoring goals, or winning races, then his dad would send him to training camps and sport instructors to work with him until he was among the best on the team. It wasn’t easy to live up to the Tanaka standard, but Grayson tried. He trained, studied, and pushed himself to meet his dad’s expectations. ScreeniesEarly (62) Grayson (10) Grayson (9)

And then, at school, he was faced with a different set of expectations. As the richest, most popular kid in his high school, he was expected to be a badass. And so he worked to live up to that reputation, too. He wore the coolest clothes, had around a million friends, and was never without a girlfriend. In fact, he often had more than one girlfriend at a time. Grayson (8) Grayson (1) Grayson (12) Grayson (19)

But Grayson was not happy. He felt like a puppet dangling by his strings, held up high for the world to see him perform each day. And he did his little song and dance, shooting hoops and riding his motorcycle and acting like a badass, and the world cheered, and everyone wanted to be his best friend. Grayson (5)

But what if they knew? Would everyone still cheer if they knew that he was sick of playing sports? Would his dad still love him if he told him that what he really wanted to do was paint pictures and create sculptures?  Grayson (15)

Would the world understand if he confessed that he didn’t really care about any of the girls he was dating, and that in fact, he was in love with a guy?

Grayson (17)

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2 thoughts on “Chapter 4: Grayson the Player

  1. That shows that there is no such thing as a perfect life, even if it looks like that on the outside!

    • There are often different sides to each person’s story, which is kind of a running theme in this story. What one person may see as an ideal life may feel like a prison to the person experiencing it.

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