I’ve always been curious about gender; it feels almost foreign to me. When I was a young boy, some people would mistake me for a ‘she’ and I didn’t actually care; most boys seem defensive about that sort of stuff. I never really cared, but ever since I heard of Tyler Ford, I’ve been questioning if I actually have a gender. I’d keep my name, but I might go by any pronouns. I don’t know, maybe it’s dumb. Even if I say it’s dumb, I still get this feeling of wanting to not be associated with my gender; why do people just assume I’m a guy? I snapped out of my internal monologue when I heard my mom drop something.
“Oops!” She yelled. I walked over to my dad who was outside on his rocking chair.
“Can I have a snack from the fridge?” I asked, hesitantly. I waited during a long pause, until my dad turned around.
“What? Oh, uh- sure.” My dad answered. I went into the house and walked past my mom in the living room; she was cleaning up some glass from her coffee cup. I stood in front of the fridge; deciding. I decided to go with a healthier choice and grabbed an apple. I watched as my father rocked in his chair outside and read his book. I went outside and sat on the steps of the porch, eating my apple.
“What would you do if your child was gay?” I took a bite. I turned back to face him and he had lifted his head from his book.
“I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it. Are you?” I looked back towards the kids playing street hockey.
“I don’t know.” We sat in silence for a few seconds.
“Okay.” My dad said without hesitation.
“Cool.” I stared out at the kids in the street, unable to move for fear of ruining the moment where my dad actually understood me. I tapped the side of my apple, nervously.
“Yep,” my father paused uncomfortably, “I’m going to go check in with your mother; see how she’s doing.” I nodded and when I heard the porch door close, I could hear a sigh of relief from one of the open windows in the living room. I chuckled and sighed as my chest, that had been tight, released. I watched as a boy, around my age, stared at me curiously from across the street at the park. I waved and he had a panicked look on his face as he ran away from the swing set.
Dinner was awkward. Not because I had not too-subtly came out to my dad, but because of dad and I for a different reason; we’re both pretty quiet, so if I don’t bring up something random I learned about in school or mom doesn’t go on one of her usual rants about political stuff, we sit there in silence as the clock on the wall brings us closer to the end of the day.
I got up from the table after I ate my pasta and cleaned up my mom and dad’s plates.
“Thank you.” My dad managed.
“Thank you, oh, hey! Remember there’s church tomorrow, so have your clothes ready.”
“Thanks, mom. They’re already laid out.” She smiled kindly and handed me her glass.