Please Say Something !
night was a total freakin' disaster. I had worked up the courage to bring Aaron over to meet my family. My first boyfriend! I was pure scared. I had been going nuts trying to think of just the right way to announce it, and then…..Bam!.........My mouth just opened and out flew all the wrong words. You should have seen the look on my dad's face. Well, no, actually, you'd have been happier somewhere north of China about then.
We were sitting at the dinner table devouring my mom's great country fried steak and mashed potatoes. I was pushing a single green pea around my plate, waiting for a hole in the conversation.
“There's a sale at the Mid City Centre,” my sister Ivy was telling Mom, or actually hinting for money. Mom's wise to her, but will still slip her like $40. Mom's are so easy.
My brother Scott, an obsessed motorcycle fan, was telling Dad how Mick Doohan was coming along after his accident. “He flew off that bike and frammed into the wall. Lucky it was just broken bones.”
“I'm bringing my boyfriend over tomorrow night,” I blurted out, my eyes glued to my dad's face. I meant to say it quietly, unobtrusively, but instead, it just jumped on the table and did a tap dance.
Ivy's boyfriend, Leo, jerked as if someone had kicked him….hard…..under the table, while Ivy smiled brightly. Mom took a deep breath, and smiled at me to tell me it was okay. Scott tried to stare a hole through his plate. But, all I could see was my dad. He was looking at me with the saddest expression in his eyes. Shit !
You gotta know my dad. He never says what he's thinking. He over thinks and beats the `dead horse', til you want to scream. I mean, I told them I was gay awhile back after my friend Eric left and I had no one to talk to. I was losing my mind and needed them to know. But my dad? He never even asks me about it. He acts like I never said it; like if he doesn't say anything, it'll go away. I guess he thinks it's like the time I wanted a surfboard really bad. In time, I'll forget I said it. Sorry, Dad.
See, I've given this a lot of thought. I've known I'm gay since I was maybe 11. I wasn't sure what it meant for me and I watched my dad maneuver my sister and brother, trying to weed out the bad `dates'. I felt kinda sorry for him cause everybody knows that the more a parent tells you `No', the more you gotta have whatever.
Ivy brought home some real doozies, the guy with the purple hair and nose piercings; the bloke that fell in love with my mom. This current one, Leo, isn't too bad. He even took me to a few games. Maybe he'll be a keeper.
Scott is still smelling the flowers. He brings girls home, knowing we all know he's got prolly one agenda. Time will settle him down, I guess. Dad tries to talk to him about the difference between hos and ladies. My thought, right now, my brother Scott's not looking for a lady. I could be wrong.
See, the thing is, Dad and Mom raised us really good. We have good manners, we open doors for old people, we don't make fun of anyone less fortunate (my dad's very words) and all the other good things. He's gotta start trusting that we have enough brains to make the right decisions.
I guess the problem is, my dad's not ever had to concentrate on me before. I was happy that Ivy and Scott took up all his “father knows best” time. I could then just be me, a gay kid who was in silent running mode. He would ask if I had a girl picked out and I'd laugh and say, `When I find one as cool as Mom.” That should have blown it right there, but my dad loves my mom and he thought it was cute. I mean, what horny 14 year old guy, str8 or gay, is looking for someone like his mom?
But my dad, you should have seen the look on his face when I said that at the table. If I'd said I ate baby bunnies for lunch, he couldn't have looked more sucker punched. Did he really think that I was any different from Ivy, from Scott? Why is it okay for them to date and have bfs and gfs, but not me?
It's cause he's not alright with me being gay. I don't even know what he really thinks about it. He isn't homophobic, at least not where I've heard him, but that doesn't mean he likes it either.
The only time we talked about it at all was the night I was in my room, sobbing my guts out over this guy at school who really came across as someone like me, but just as I was gonna ask him if he wanted a coke or something, he launched into his crush on Sonja Kranvik, the head cheerleader. I stood mutely, listening to what he wanted to do to her body, my heart lying on the dirty gym floor.
My sweet old dad, looking like a deer caught in the headlights, all uncomfortable and wishing he was anywhere else, tried to tell me about all the fish in the sea. I know it was gross, but I just wailed on him. How was I supposed to find `my fish' when they were all disguised as str8 fish? Think about that, Dad.
I know he doesn't want to even talk about how I could get beat up or trashed really bad if I try to hook the wrong fish. It really pissed me off that he thought it was easy. As long as he thinks like the regular big mouth bass, he won't ever see that I'm a salmon and swimming upstream ain't easy. He needs to just back off and stay the hell out of my business……..and stop with the fish stuff.
My mom and I talked. It's true you know, moms kinda always know. She didn't ask the hard stuff, didn't bring up the sex probs. She did the mom thing with how much they love me and, it would be a tough lifestyle but they would always be with me. That's my mom. It made me feel good but it didn't help me with Dad.
I told my parents I was gay not long after my best friend Eric moved away. Life had been easier with Eric in it. I jonesd for him totally but I never told him. He said he had a thing for Mary Alice Hayes and who was I to question? We talked about everything. He knew I was gay and it didn't matter. He still hugged me and let me whine all over him.
When his mom got that new job, I got so angry at the grownup world. Didn't it see what it was doing to teenagers when it shuffled the parents around willy-nilly? Eric and I both begged and pleaded but what good did that do? None. My dad said something bogus like `life didn't revolve around my wishes'. Well, duhh ! Life sat a plate of chocolate chip cookies right in front of me and then told me I can't eat them.
I knew that I was being childish and dumb, but I was really pissed at them. Pissed at Eric's parents for leaving, at Eric for going, and at my dad for letting it all happen. I got back the only way I knew how……..I knew my dad was dying to know if Eric and I………..so, I just let him stew over it. Maybe we were, Dad. Worry on.
I know you don't really understand me, but I wish you'd sit down and ask me all the things you fret about, Dad. I'd answer you. I know you don't want to think about what I'd do with another boy but it prolly would be better for you to think it out and know, instead of fretting and imagining the worst. And anyway, sex isn't supposed to be thought of as the worst, is it?
One thing, Dad, I'm just 17. I'm not gonna marry somebody anytime soon. Actually, I'm prolly never gonna marry anyone but I would like to find someone to love, just like everybody else. And to be honest with you, I really just want someone to kiss and stuff right now, just like any other kid my age.
You know how you worry about Scott with all his girls and you fret about how the guys treat Ivy? It's the same with me. What is it Ivy always says? “You gotta kiss a few frogs before you meet your prince”. Well, hahaha! That applies to me too. I need to go through a few frogs, I guess. Not that Aaron is a frog. But he's prolly not THE frog. Understand?
Before Aaron comes tonight, I wish I could tell you that all I want you to do is understand that I like holding his hand, making him laugh and the feeling that I belong in this world, that someone I like, likes me back.
You're a guy, Dad. You can tell when Ivy's new boyfriend is only out for one thing; likewise, you can pop Scott on the head when his latest is not exactly someone he should bring home to Mom. I can promise you that I'd never bring home someone I don't think you could respect. It's harder for me than for either of them. You see that, right? Maybe I won't see it clearly but I'm not stupid either. I want to feel the same things everyone else feels. Give me enough space to find myself.
Now, about Aaron. Would you rather I bring him here to play video games or meet him on the street corner? I could have said he was just a friend but I'm kinda proud that he likes me and I just wanted you to meet him.
I know how you are. You're sitting in that study right now all worried about this. Stop worrying, Dad. Please, just like be nice.
Walking from Aaron's house to mine tonight was the longest walk of my life. It wasn't a big deal to bring a friend home, but it was a big deal to bring my first boyfriend home. I wish I could talk to my dad. I wish he could really see that I'm still me. He loved me from the moment I was born, maybe even before, and I'm still just me. I wouldn't have asked for this, but it's what I am. I want him to be proud of me. I don't think he is.
I was too nervous to just open the door and burst in like I usually do. Aaron turned to me in the dark right before we stepped into the porch light. He smiled with that crooked little smile I like and said softly, “It'll be okay, Willie. I'll try my hardest to make them like me.”
I smiled back, wishing he didn't have to try at all, just be Aaron. He was cute and smart and funny and sweet, oh and, did I mention, hot as heck?
He rang the doorbell and my dad opened the door. I stood right behind him, my fingers just touching his back.
I heard him say, “Hello, Mr. Stephenson. I'm Aaron.” I almost giggled, I was so nervous. He stuck his hand out to my dad and they shook. I bit my lip to keep the stupid nervous laughter inside me.
My dad said the oddest thing. “Welcome, Aaron. I'm happy to finally meet the boy who's stolen my son's heart.”
It was a bit too much and I really hadn't given my heart away yet, but it was cool that my dad was trying. As we walked into my house, I hoped that maybe my dad would start to talk to me now. Maybe if we could just try, we'd make it. I may not be the son he dreamed of, but I'm the son he has. I hope he can just love me and learn how to watch my back through all the fish and frogs I have to meet before I finally meet a prince.