It's been 2 months since Jade and I started our relationship. It took so much time, fighting and so many tears until Jade became my friend and one day finally accepted her feelings for me and asked me to be her girlfriend.
Now, I'm the happiest girl in the world, Jade is incredible and we really love each other.
I would like to be with her more, to share her with my family, to show her off, because I am proud of her and that's what everyone that's straight does when they are in a relationship. Why not me?
I see my cousins come home with their girlfriends or boyfriends and they are welcomed, they laugh with my parents, they sit at our table, they hold hands in front of everyone and I… I hide; I hide Jade!
I hate feeling like this. I walk on eggshells every time my Mom is around and Jade calls, because I have to be careful with what I say. No baby, love, princess, beautiful or any other nicknames Jade lets me call her when we are alone. No 'I love you' when we say goodbye. I hate doing this!
If only I knew they are going to accept me, but who knows. I've heard stories about kids being thrown out of their houses. What would be my future if that happened? I would lose my family and I can't bear the thought of ever existing without them around.
But I have heard them taking about Gay people and how it's wrong.
I'm just so unsure they will love me if I come out to them but living this way it's becoming unbearable.
My mood has changed so much, so have my grades. My relationship is there but I see how Jade looks at me every time my parents are around and I don't want her to think I'm embarrassed of us, of her.
This is who I am, and I'm not going to change.
Maybe everything would be easier if I didn't have to tell them personally, maybe if I write them a letter I can explain to them how I truly feel. I mean I can't face them, I can't just tell them, what if they don't want to accept it? What if they hate me? What if they… don't ever want me around anymore? I can't take that as my last memory of them.
I'll write a letter and let it do the work for me, maybe like that they will have some time to think before I have to face them.
2 hours later
It wasn't an easy letter to write. I made so many drafts, but it's finally finished. I write it by hand because I don't want it to be a cold letter; I want them to know it's me who is behind it, to feel me in it.
I put the letter in an envelope and leave it on the table with 'Mom & Dad' written on the front, the table where I know they will have breakfast soon and then I leave the house, it's very early. Jade is right outside to take me to school, I haven't told her what I did, just to pick me up early, I don't want her to talk me out of it.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I know this may come as a surprise, but I have something to say to you that I've been holding back for 17 years.
Well, I'm Gay… yes, Gay as in Lesbian.
I know is not funny and it must come as a confusing statement from someone you thought you really knew well.
No, this isn't a joke... No it isn't a game... and yes I'm sure.
I've been as sure today as when I was probably 5.
I know you wonder how such a young girl could ever know if she is gay, but I always knew. I even wondered if I was born right or not, at that age you don't understand concepts like gay or straight, but you know somehow you don't fit like other kids. You are just different.
Later you grow up and you realize what you are; you of course deny it at all cost. This can't be happening to you. Everyone says it's hormones, and you go along... it will pass.
Then it doesn't. In fact it becomes more evident and hard to deal with, so you think about every possibility. You either are strong enough to admit that you're gay or you hide.
Well, I chose to hide, I have already decided that I wasn't going to have a family, I knew I couldn't. Remember I always told you, I wasn't going to get married and that I wasn't going to have any kids? Well, I know you thought it was just a saying, but it wasn't.
I decided that if I was going to hide my sexuality, at least, I wasn't going to betray myself and live a straight live with some man.
To stay in the closet is a decision you make, in fact the only one you ever make. I was born this way and NO you don't have anything to do with this. It just happened.
Believe me, I've tried to change but I couldn't, no one drove my to this or told me it was FUN. In fact this has been a burden all these years, no one choses such a difficult life. I just wanted to be loved by you. Not to be distanced or rejected, see... you are the best part of me.
I wished so many times I would get a clue about what you feel about the subject, but it has just made me more afraid and so, along went the years and now I'm older and still hiding from you... from myself.
I think is time, even if I lose it all, because I can't pretend anymore. It gets to me so easily now, every comment people make, every myth they have, they don't even care that we exist in this world, that we live so close and yet so far.
We are your kids, your siblings, your cousins, you nieces or nephews, your friends.
We are not degenerated, or perverts, we live our lives, we work hard, we are "honest" people.
We exist, here, next to you!
I wonder what you think of me now; did I change in your mind? Did I stop existing? Did you lose a daughter? Will you love me again?
I hope that you can still see your kid in me. I haven't changed... I just came out.
Love you, Tori
Later at School
I'm really nervous and Jade notices it, she takes me to the Janitor's Closet and asks me if I'm okay.
"Babe did something happen at home? I'm starting to worry."
"It's nothing Jade, I'm just nervous."
"Tori just tell me, we can deal, you know that if your parents find out and take it badly my house will be your home."
"I know Babe, your Mom was very kind when she mentioned that, but I just need my parents to love me and accept me," I take a deep breath. "I sort of came out to them today."
"What? Oh my God Tori, what happened?"
"Nothing yet, I wrote them a letter and left it on the table."
"God Tori, is that why you wanted to come to school that early? So you wouldn't have to face your parents?"
"I know you think that this subject should be discussed personally, but I couldn't okay, I'm not you and my parents aren't as cool with this as yours."
"Tori, what if they have questions? They will wonder and look for answers themselves, answers that could be wrong. This way of doing things could have bad consequences for you."
"I know, but I wasn't brave enough to talk to them and look at their eyes as I disappoint them, as I become dead to them… Jade I just can't lose them," I can't hold back the tears any longer and I start to cry inconsolably. I feel nervous and broken inside.
"Come here," Jade takes me by the waist and tenderly holds me close to her and consoles me.
"Maybe you just weren't ready yet, you didn't need to do this today"
"I couldn't lie to them any longer, I couldn't breath in that house anymore."
"It will be okay, you and I will be fine and if it goes bad, I want you to know that you are not alone."
"Thank you," I finally whisper between sobs.
"Now come on, we have to get that pretty face cleaned up before we go to class," she leans towards me to kiss me. Jade may not admit it, but she's a pretty sweet girlfriend. Something that she only shows when we are alone.
We head to the bathroom and I quickly wash my face, luckily we are alone. I look up at the mirror and admire my sorrow, my eyes are red from all the crying and my head hurts a little. Jade embraces me from the back resting her chin on my shoulder as we see our reflection.
"You have no idea how much I love you," she whispers as she starts rocking me in her arms.
I narrow my eyes and smile, at this time only the two of us exist. I feel peace and relief, as I never thought I could have. Jade is the person who gives me strength to continue.
Instead of returning an I love you I turn my face to kiss her but right then we feel someone enter the bathroom and we part immediately, take our things and walk towards the classroom.
On our way out Lane meets us at the hall and asks me to go with him to his office.
What could he want with me?
"It's okay Jade, please go to class, Tori will be okay."
Jade doubts at first, but eventually nods and slowly let go of my hand.
I walk into Lane's office and see my parents right in front of me with my letter on the desk.
Oh my God! I can't, I just can't face them.
"Tori, it's okay, please come inside," Lane beckons me to enter.
I immediately look down, I can't face them, this is probably worse than I ever imagined.
I step in insecure and Lane makes me sit on the couch in front of them. I have been to this office several times but now it feels smaller, and I feel cornered by the situation. My hands shake and I have a gnawing emptiness inside me.
I still look to the floor; I don't want to see their disappointment.
"Tori, your parents have come to school so we could have a talk about the letter you left for them this morning."
"Mhm," I swallow loudly trying to control my emotions.
"Honey…" Dad starts speaking but he stops, like he's fighting to say what he really means.
"I'm not going to lie and say this wasn't a bit of a surprise… I guess that in the bottom of our hearts we wanted something different for you."
I feel a sharp pain running through my chest and tears start quietly coming from my eyes as I grab my forehead with my hands. I don't want them to see me cry.
"Baby, you… you've had a couple of boyfriends in the past and we always thought…" Mom sighs deeply. "I guess what I'm trying to ask is if… there is a girl in your life now and… if that's the reason you felt you needed to open up to us."
I stay quiet. Truth is I wasn't expecting for them to come to school, much less for them to ask if I'm in a relationship.
"Tori, this is a safe place for you to talk to your parents and be honest about your feelings," Lane assures me.
I finally look up at them. My Mom had been crying and my Dad has a really concerned look on his face. I look down again.
"Oh my God," Dad whispers but I can clearly hear him.
I can't control my tears anymore and start crying really loud, I can't stop, I start to lose control.
Everyone stays quiet as I cry inconsolably. What can I say? I don't want to lie anymore, but don't know how they will take my relationship with Jade.
"Mr. and Mrs. Vega, Tori is a girl that has always excelled in everything she does, I know she is a great student here, for what I have seen she is a great friend and also a good sister. I believe that she must be a great daughter as well."
"She is, she always has been," Dad says.
"Tori, I know that this must have been really hard for you these past… I don't know, years since you realized you are… Gay… but as much as this was difficult for you to come to terms with, your Dad and I also have difficulties with it"
I continue crying without saying a word.
"Your Mom and I talked about this before coming here and also discussed it with Mr. Alexander, we want you to know that even if this is hard to accept for us, you are our daughter and we won't close our doors to 'you'."
What does that mean? 'To me' do they mean that I'm not allowed to see Jade? I don't want to ask, I don't want to know.
"Tori, who is the girl?" Mom asks.
I just shake my head in denial.
"Why don't you want to let your parents know who your girlfriends is?" Lane asks me in awe.
"Because if I tell them they won't let me see her," I answer almost whispering.
There is silence again; too much of it. I just want to run out of here. Avoid my parents to make a decision that could get me away from Jade.
"We need to know," Dad says in a demanding tone.
"How can you asks us to accept you, if you can't trust us enough to tell us who you are dating?" Mom asks.
"I won't stop seeing her… I love her."
I raise my eyes just to see my Dad with an angry expression on his face as he breaths deep.
"What do you expect us to do Tori? To welcome you and that girl in our house, just like that?" Dad says to me losing his temper.
"Why not? You let Trina bring her boyfriends home! Don't I deserve the same?" I'm frustrated by what my Dad just said.
"We also let your boyfriends in the house Tori, but this is different," Dad replies raising his voice.
"I never really liked them; I just wanted to feel normal in front of your eyes, that's why I had boyfriends… you, I was trying to make you happy, while I was miserable!" I also raise my voice.
"So I lied and betrayed myself with those boys you welcomed to your house with open arms, yet you won't let me be with the GIRL that brings joy to my life, the one that loves and takes care of me, the one that offered me her heart… that's so hypocrite of you."
"Tori, Mr. Vega, we are all here to have a civilized talk about this, please let's just talk to your parents calmly," Lane tries to relax the mood in the room.
"I don't know if I can see my daughter with another girl. I'm sure that I won't be able to stand that girl kissing her or holding her hand."
"Your daughter is right here, you could at least address me as if I exist."
"Fine! I don't want to see you with another girl, I can't," Dad says harshly.
"David stop!" Mom finally talks.
"Tori, your Dad and I have to talk privately for a second, may you please wait outside with Mr. Alexander for a moment?"
Lane motions me to the door and I follow him outside. This is not going well at all. I begin to feel that doing this was a mistake.
"Tori, I know this might seem tough right now, but it will change with time. It's true what they say you know, It does get better."
"How can you know Lane? They hate me."
"They don't hate you and I know because I once came out to my parents as well. At least yours wanted to resolve their doubts with you."
"Lane, I didn't know," I try to apologize.
"Tori, parents most of the times need time to process all that has changed with this news. They do have a mourning period even if you are still alive. Because the dreams they had for you died. They now have to adjust their expectations and that will take time, but it will happen and you will be able to slowly integrate your life with Jade to your family life."
"And what if they forbid to be with Jade?"
"Don't think about that just yet, the fact that they are here willingly, shows their love for you. Make sure to tell them how you feel and what is be important for you, coming from them."
Mom opens the door and gestures us to come in.
"Tori, I have talked to your Dad and we have come to a decision on this matter."
Mom turns to Dad and signals him with her eyes to start talking. He sighs and takes his time to talk.
"I would hate to… lose you over this. You say this is who you are… then we have to start processing it now," Dad stops for a second and drinks some of the water from the glass in front of him.
"We need to meet this girl, you may bring her today at dinner to the house, but Tori… you lied to us. I don't know how I would have reacted 5 years ago, but the fact that I know now that my daughter had this big secret and never trusted to come to us, breaks my heart."
"You know what the punishment for lying is, so you are grounded for a month. As for us beginning to accept this girl, we need to know who she is."
I swallow big; I don't know what I should do. What if they freak out and never let me see her again?
"You must promise me you will not treat her badly and that you won't forbid me to see her… I don't want to lose her."
"Baby, we are not going to push your girlfriend away, but we need to know who she is," Mom asks kindly.
I wipe the tears from my face and look at both of them.
"Jade?" Both of them ask at the same time.
I see a small smile draw in Dad's face. He looks at Mom.
"I'm not going to say I'm trilled, but it does make a lot of sense," Dad says kind of relieved, I don't understand.
"You… are not mad?"
"Honey, your Dad and I have noticed that you two finally developed a friendship. We talked the other day and were happy to know that you guys were finally respecting and caring for each other instead of you crying around because of her," Mom explains.
"Does she treat you right, you can tell me, I didn't bring my gun," Dad jokes.
"Yes, she is not the mean girl you knew at the beginning, she is sweet and she loves me."
"We will see about that. For now, I'm just glad that… she makes you happy."
"Mom, Dad, I never wanted to disappoint you, I tried really tried but I just didn't want to lie anymore. I want to live and be happy, I want to have what everyone has, because I just don't understand why everyone get's to show their love and I have to hide it."
Dad looks at me sad.
"Baby, you are not any less than anyone else, not because of who you are or because of who you date. Please don't misunderstand our concern and our confusion with disappointment," he says seriously.
"We are very proud of you, all we ask is for you to please understand that we need to process this and we need to ease into this new reality. It's going to take time and patience on your part, but we will catch up, okay?"
"Okay" I answer; I wasn't expecting that little speech, it was so calming, I can finally breath.
"Well, I believe that everything is going well, I urge you to please come to me if you need to talk again with a counselor and Tori my doors are always open for you if you feel you need to talk. Now how about a hug," Lane tells us three.
Mom quickly stands up, so does Dad they embrace me in a hug and I start crying again I'm such a mess, a happy mess.
I go back to class and my parents go home, they had taken the day off to talk to me.
As soon as I walk out I get dragged in the Janitor's Closet.
"Trina? What are you doing?"
"How did it go? Are you okay?" Trina asks concerned.
"Wait, what? Do you know?"
"Who do you thing found your letter?"
"But, you… you read it?"
"Yes, but I didn't need to. I already knew."
I open my eyes big and freeze. What is she talking about? How did she know?
"You two are not very cautious, I've seen you two kissing and holding hands."
I'm left without words, Jade and I always looked around to avoid Trina.
"I found your letter and waited for them to read it in front of me. Dad lost it and Mom was really sad and angry," she pauses for a second.
"Words were said and I yelled at them that they should think before talking to you about it. I also told them how easy it would be to lose you if they didn't react as adults, mentioning if they haven't watch the news," Trina confesses.
I can't believe she somehow imagined that I could hurt myself. I always hid it very well.
"Trina I would never think… well, I wouldn't ever really go through it."
"Tori, I couldn't take those chances, I don't want to lose you, you are my baby sister and I will protect you."
"What did they say about that?"
"They got really quiet and started talking calmly about what it all meant. They asked me how have I seen you lately and if I thought that you could go through with it."
"What did you say?" I ask with grief, I can't believe they had this conversation and they didn't mention it in Lane's office. Trina stays silent a few seconds, she seems to be debating internally to say to me.
"Tori about two years ago I remember seeing you so sad; you went to the bathroom and stayed there hours, I started to worry and then you came out with a small cut, you said you fell asleep on the tub and that you 'accidentally' hurt yourself," my sister finally admits how she knew.
I close my eyes, of course I remember that night, it was one of the worst of my life.
"I knew then that you had tried and I know I should have said something but I didn't want to add more pressure on you. I also started watching you closely."
I would like to give her an explanation, but I can't say a word. I was surprised that she knew.
"That depression you had went away as soon as you got into Hollywood Arts so, I stopped worrying so much, but yes, I told them I thought you could go through with it and that I taught you once tried."
"Oh God," I feel sick I start breathing hard. This is something that I am ashamed of. I wish no one knew.
"Look, I'm sorry I told them but they reacted and decided to come to school and talk to you with Lane and figure out what to do about it."
"I told them that you were the same sister I always had and if they thought about kicking you out they would be losing two daughters today."
"Tori you are my sister, I won't ever turn my back on you. They assured me they would never abandon you and we came to school." Trina looks at me intently waiting for me to tell her what happened in Lane's office.
"Dad was harsh, but I think he came around in the end. I think it's going to take time but I think we'll be okay." I assure my sister.
"Oh Tori, that's good," Trina gives me the sweetest hug and I return it, crying.
"Thanks Trina, I don't know what would have happened if you didn't talk to them."
"Tori, remember that I will always protect you."
We hear the Janitor's Closet door open. Jade sees the both of us hugging and takes a step back to leave but Trina stops her and tells her to come in.
"You better treat my sister right Jade, or I swear I'll pull your heart out." Trina warns her in a strong tone.
"I love her Trina, I would never hurt her." Jade doesn't mock or yells, her concern for what is happening shows.
"Good, I'm here for you two okay, no matter what," Trina smiles and says goodbye to go to class.
"What did just happen? How did she know? Did she read the letter? What did Lane want? Does she know nobody likes her?" Jade asks all the questions at once.
"She knows, she read the letter, Lane took me to his office to talk to my parents and Jade, please don't talk about my sister that way."
"I'm sorry Tori, I couldn't help myself. Well, what happened?"
"It was rough but… they want to have dinner with you tonight."
"You told them about me?" She asks surprised.
"Yes, can you come?"
"Of course… I hope that your Dad doesn't pull his gun on me."
"I also hope he doesn't," I laugh and lean in to give my girl a kiss.
"I love you, Tori."
"I love you too, Jade."