I remember when we were in the car, and you were talking about your son, and how you wanted him to be this way and not that. What “this way” or “that” was, you never fully explained, but I remember you emphasizing your point with a flimsy flip of your right hand. And that flip spoke volumes to me, because in that one small gesture, you summarized what it meant to be gay.
And I remember thinking how difficult it must have been for you to even begin to talk to me about this, considering how awfully hard it was for you to even say the word. Instead you flipped your hand again and again, knowing that I would know what you meant, because I knew where you were coming from, and because I knew your son.
Maybe you felt that speaking the words out loud would make them true. And you wanted so much for them not to be.
And I didn’t know what to say, or whether I should lie.
And so I said nothing. I wanted to hold your hand to say that your son would be more than fine, he is a decent, loving, caring human being who would no doubt grow up to become a fine adult, and this, this word you couldn’t even say, it doesn’t matter precisely because it doesn’t matter. In the general scheme of things, it is the least important of the attributes your son has been so blessed to be with.
And I wanted to say that I know that you are only worried about him, because he lives in a world that would no doubt think of him as abnormal, for a small trait that differentiates him from everyone else. And that your worry only underscores your love, but that it doesn’t change the fact that your son would rather have your support because, at the end of day, it is only when he accepts himself, and especially when the people he loves accepts him for who he is, will he be truly happy.
And I wanted to comfort you and tell you that you did not bring your son up wrong, he is a beautiful person, and that he is simply who he was meant to be. You could not have loved him more.
Instead I remained silent, because, still, I didn’t know what to say, or whether I should lie.
And so we continued traveling, my thoughts a blur, imagining you in your corner, worried about your son in the inadequate and sometimes terrifying world he has to live in.
Photo taken here.