I walk into the house and close the door behind me. I didn’t want to leave Dae but I can’t stay with him. I need to ask papa and mama for permission for our date. I hope they say yes because Dae is already my boyfriend so they can’t say no.
I greet Nono and walk upstairs to my room. Putting my books down on the desk, I tap Finley’s cage and make sure he has enough water and pellets.
Hugging myself, I smell Dae’s jacket. It smells like him, I think I’m going to sleep in it tonight. I’m not giving it back to him.
I walk to the window and look outside. I start panicking because papa has Dae pinned against the car and I don’t like it but I can’t stop papa, I’m not strong.
I watch as Dae answers papa but I can’t hear anything.
Dae’s eyes look up at me and I can see that he’s not sad that papa is doing this. I stand here and watch papa hold Dae but Dae’s mouth is not moving.
Papa lets go of Dae and comes back into the house with mama, Tarryin, uncle Tommy and uncle Mike.
Dae looks back at me after getting into his car and smiles. I wave at him and he drives off. When I can’t see his car anymore, I walk over to my swing and sit down. Pulling my legs up and hugging them to my chest, I sit there and smell his jacket.
I don’t know what it smells like but it smells so nice. Dae smelt like this when he held me in the car and I didn’t want it to end.
I always saw other couples and wanted to be happy like them but no one ever approached me and on top of that, I like boys. I researched it and I know that I am gay but even the boys, the other gay guys didn’t approach me and I know it’s because I’m the way I am.
I was surprised when Dae held me. It’s been a long time since I was held and I missed it but everyone hurts me when they touch me but Dae didn’t hurt me.
I was happy when he said maybe its because we are supposed to be together. If it’s true then he has to be my boyfriend no? And then we get married and be happy, have babies and grow old together.
I’ve been jealous of everyone who is happy and now I can be happy too.
A knock hits my door and it opens. The smile on my face falls and I look at the mat on my floor.
“Son?” Papa calls while he comes in. He sits on the edge of my bed and doesn’t say anything for a while and I see my mama’s shoes at my door.
“Taylum?” My papa calls.
“Mn?” I answer.
“Can papa ask you something?” he asks me.
“Papa already ask,” I say and hear him chuckle.
“Okay so I’ll ask you another thing,” he says and I answer, “K.”
“That boy, Dae Ryeon, why did you ask him to drive you home?” he asks and I suck my bottom lip into my mouth.
“I like Dae,” I answer and they keep quiet for a while and I suddenly remember. “Papa, can me and Dae go on date Saturday?” I ask and hear my father “Huh”
“Can me and Dae go on date Saturday,” I repeat but hear no answer.
I raise my head and look at him quickly then look at my mother too before lowering my gaze. They both look shocked and I feel sad that they don’t answer.
I feel my body tremble and my eyes start to burn. My eyes begin to water and I put my head in between my knees as my sobs make their way out.
“Taytay don cry please,” my mama says as she walks into my room and kneels on the floor. I move slightly away so that she doesn’t touch me and shake my head.
“But you no answer, you no want me go on date,” I say and hear my mama mumble something but not to me.
“Okay, okay son, stop crying first so we can talk. Tell me why do you like him and why you want to go on a date with him, did he force you?” My papa asks making me frown. I look up and wipe my tears away.
Looking behind him I answer in order, “I like Dae because Dae no hurt me, he help me in class with bullies. He save me before I fall and hurt myself. I go on date with Dae because he nice and say yes. Dae no force me, I ask him be my boyfriend. End.” I say and suck in my bottom lip
“You asked him out?” Mama asks surprised and I nod. There’s a silent moment and I see them look at each other.
“So, Saturday?” Papa says and I nod my head.
“Where is he taking you?” he asks and I shake my head.
“Dae say he go where I want go but I no know where go,” I say and hear them both sigh.
“Close your ears Son, I’m going to yell now,” he says and I do as I’m told. My papa gets up and walks to the door and screams, “TARRYIN, GET YOUR ASS UP HERE NOW!!”
He goes to sit back on the bed and I take my hands away. Mama pushes the swing slightly, minding not to touch me and making it move, “Thank’s mama,” I say and she smiles at me.
“What do you want old man?” Tarryin says as she throws herself on my bed.
“Tarryin no sit on bed, you stink!” I say and she grumbles while sliding to the floor. She really does stink. She wears this sweet-smelling spray and perfume that is disgusting and makes my stomach turn.
“I want you to write up a list of dating spots and places to have breakfast and lunch for your brother and no asking questions, just do what I say!” he demands and she starts grumbling again.
“Papa, we go morning and come back night,” I say and he stands up, ready to say something but mama forces him back on to the bed. He grumbles for some time then sighs making me smile. Mama has her ways in making papa comply and I like her for that.
“I need to talk to this Dae Ryeon first before I can let him take you for the whole day and one of your uncles will be following you to make sure that you are safe, do you understand me?” he says and I nod my head.
“Taytay, are you going on a date with that person?” Tarryin asks and I kick my legs with a frown.
“Papa say no ask questions, why you ask?” I ask her with a grumble and glare at the floor.
“Okay, okay, okay, I was just asking, he is handsome but I didn’t expect him to be gay,” she says and I sit back in my swing while reaching for my phone out of my pocket.
“Tarryin no judge outside. No one know you like play with dolls,” I say and she shoots up from the floor and points her phone at me.
“I swear on our fathers gave Taylum, if you tell a soul about my Barbie and My Little Pony collection I will set you on fire and watch you burn with a smile on my face,” she threatens.
“Tarryin, I laugh when you burn in hell,” I say and she starts grumbling again. She sits on my bed again, “Off bed Tarryin, you stink,” I say and she slides off the bed again.
I see the missed call on my phone and frown. Calling it back and placing it against my ear. It rings three times and I pull it away slightly because its to loud even though the volume is on one.
“Hi, who this?” I ask.
The other person laughs and I recognize it, its Dae’s. “It’s Dae Ryeon Angel,” he answers and I blush, “Hi Dae.”
“Hello Angel, what can I do for you?” he asks and I frown.
“Nothing,” I answer. He chuckles this time while I stay silent.
“Alright, what are you too?” he asks and I kick my legs off the floor and bring them to my chest while swinging.
“Swing on chair,” I answer and he hums.
Dae Ryeon, “Okay be careful angel, don’t fall off.”
Taylum, “I no fall Dae. If I fall, I land on mama.”
Dae Ryeon, “Why would you land on your mama?”
Taylum, “She softer than floor.”
Day Ryeon, “I see, well, I can’t imagine you falling on your mother, just be careful okay.”
Dae Ryeon, “…”
Taylum, “Why you no speak Dae?”
Dae Ryeon, “Well…”
“Well…” I reply and I hear him exhale.
Dae Ryeon, “Okay angel I’m all yours now, what would you like to talk about?”
Taylum, “I no know.”
Dae Ryeon, “Alright, did you ask your parents for permission?”
Taylum, “Mn, papa and mama say yes. Papa make Tarryin no ask questions and write list for me. Papa say he speak with you before you take me away whole day and one uncle follow us.”
Dae Ryeon, “Ah I see, why is your sister writing a list?”
Taylum, “I no know where to go. You say we do what I want and she write all things down.”
Dae Ryeon, “That’s a good idea since we’ll be spending the whole day together, won’t you get tired?”
Taylum, “I no know.”
Dae Ryeon, “We’ll deal with it then, did you do your homework?”
Taylum, “Later, you?”
Dae Ryeon, “I already did, Angel.”
“Mn, k, you still phone later?” I ask and he laughs.
“Why you laugh?” I ask with a frown.
Dae Ryeon, “Do you like speaking to me?”
Dae Ryeon, “Then I’ll phone you always.”
Dae Ryeon, “When I have the time, yes, just not when I’m on the toilet or asleep Angel.”
Taylum, “Eww Dae.”
Dae Ryeon, “I know, I know,” he says with a chuckle.
Taylum, “You come visit now?”
Dae Ryeon, “…”
Dae Ryeon, “I can’t Angel, I’m currently running an errand for my mother and father but I can come pick you up tomorrow for school?”
Taylum, “Mn, k.”
Dae Ryeon, “What time?”
Taylum, “You come at seven.”
Dae Ryeon, “Okay Angel. I have to end the call now but I’ll still phone you later okay, I won’t phone to early or too late.”
Taylum, “Bye, bye Dae.”
Dae Ryeon, “Bye Angel.”
I pull the phone away and press the red button on the screen. Tapping on his number, it open and I press save. Typing in Dae, I frown because I don’t know what his full name is or how to spell it.
“You must really like him,” Tarryin comments and I nod my head.
I sit at the table eating the fish Nono made for us. I ignore the humming sound of my parents and siblings speaking.
I’m still wearing Dae’s jacket. After my bath, I put it back on and making sure that I don’t mess fish juice on it.
“Taytay, your phone is ringing,” says mama and I look up. Turning my head to look at it sitting on the table next to my plate, I see Dae’s name flash across the screen.
I pick it up with a nod and start walking back to my room with my plate in my other hand.
“Hi,” I answer and I hear him take in a deep breath.
“I miss you Angel,” he says as I continue up the steps.
“Boyfriend come over?” I ask as I reach my room. I turn around and move back against the door opening it.
“No, I can’t,” he says as I put my plate down.
“Why no?” I ask while pulling my chair to the desk and sit down.
I hear him hum first then he answers, “Well firstly, we haven’t officially gone on a date. Secondly, I doubt your parents will like it if I come over without permission.”
“K, I be back,” I say and place the phone down.
I get up and open the door. Leaving it open, I walk over to the staircase and walk down each step. When I reach the bottom step, I look up then down again and watch as my feet step one at a time while making my way to the dining room.
The chattering stops and I look up over my papa’s head. He looks at me with a frown.
“Son, what happened?” he asks and I shake my head.
Fiddling with the hem of Dae’s jacket I ask, “Papa, can Dae come over?”
“Didn’t he say he can’t?” he asks and I nod.
“Mn, Dae say so before but he say now, no allowed, papa say so?” I ask him.
“Well at least he knows what’s right and wrong,” Papa comments.
Tilting my head I frown, “Papa no want Dae here?”
He grumbles after mama throws him with her baby carrot. “Fine, he can come but I want your door wide open,” he says and I nod.
“Can Dae sleep over?” I ask and his fist hits the table. My eyes shut close from the sound and I crouch down while rocking back and forth. I made papa angry. Why is he angry?
“Jonathan!” my mama yells and she quickly runs over to me but before she can get near me, I get up and run upstairs back to my room.
“WHY DID YOU DO THAT?! TAYLUM BABY DON’T BE SCARED,” mama yells back and I can hear someone running after me. I quickly make it to my room and shut the door behind me while locking it.
The rushed footsteps stop at my door and I hear my brother’s voice, “Taytay, listen to mean. Please calm down and open the door, you know you aren’t allowed to lock the door. Please open it, what if something happens to you and we can’t open?” he says but it’s too late.
My heart is beating too fast and my body is burning. I look up at the walls and the room is spinning.
I quickly make my way to my desk and grab my phone and find myself dropping to the floor after I grab it.
“TAYLUM!” I hear Dae’s voice on the other end but can’t pull my phone near to my ear.
Dropping the phone, I clutch at my chest as the tears start coming out of my eyes. Black dots appear in front of me blocking my vision and the room turns into a spiral. The last thing I hear is ‘Fuck’ near my ear and everything goes black.