How To Be Straight

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Angry and Tired

“I got a call from your mom today.”

“Oh?”

I was sitting on the green couch when Lisa got home, pretending I had been there all day. Shay and I had found a hotel for her to stay in and I had returned to be home when my aunts returned.

“Apparently she has some tracker app hidden on your phone that says you’ve been hiding out here.”

I groaned. “Of course she does.”

“Yeah,” she sat down next to me. “We really need to talk about that.”

I stood. “To be honest, I should probably go home. I have school on Monday anyway.”

“Jamie, what happened?”

And so I told her. It took a good half hour to describe everything. From that day when I was 10 and I half came out to my parents to the Halloween dance, to the idea for the union and Dakota’s problem.

“Wow, Jamie. That’s a lot.” She said finally.

“I don’t want to go home,” I whispered, the first little bit of vulnerability that I had been able to show in a long time.

“I know, sweetheart. I know. But sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. And sometimes we have to be brave enough to do things even though we know there’s risk. Which is what you did at that restaurant.”

I shrugged.

“Let me ask you something Jamie. If you had a time machine, and you could go back to yesterday afternoon and do something different?”

I hesitated. But not for long. “No.”

“I didn’t think so. So you made a choice, and you don’t regret it. If you don’t regret it, it shouldn’t be that hard to go home and face the consequences.”

“But it is.”

“And that’s okay. But it was the right thing to do.” She stood, stretching, and added in a light voice, “which is why I’m kicking you out.”

“What?” I was genuinely confused.

“You have to go home. Jamie, you have to go home.”

I sigh. “Okay. I will.” And then I stood, and hugged her. “I’ll make you dinner? As a thank you?”

She shook her head. “You’ll be driving at, like, 2 am if you do that. Just go home, Jamie. Call your mom and go home.” She followed me up the stairs to the guest room. I grabbed my bag, smiling.

“I’ll do one of those things,” I said, smiling. We hugged again, and I added, “Thank you for everything. I owe you.”

She smiled. “You owe me nothing. Your story made up for my letting you sleep in my house and cook me breakfast.”

I laughed, and, waving, walked out of my door and back towards my pickup, which looked strangely out of place here.

And so I got in my truck, and drove home.


“Hi.” I entered the living room, where my parents were sitting, staring at each other and holding hands. I wasn’t really sure what to do with my hands, so I just stuffed them into my pockets and looked down.

My mother jumped up, grabbing me and pulling me close, asking if I was okay and what I was thinking and she was so worried and what on Earth was I thinking young lady and there will be consequences and oh she was so worried. Smiling, she took my hand, leading me back to the couch. “How about we just talk about this tomorrow?”

“That sounds good,” I agreed.

I sat on a chair facing the couch and my mother sat down, taking my father’s hand.

“Hey Dad,” I said quietly.

“Welcome home,” he says bitterly, almost ironically.

We sat in silence for a second, and then I stood, not wanting to be in this room a second longer. “You know, I’m pretty tired. It was a long drive. I’m just going to go to bed… we’ll talk in the morning, okay?”

My mom smiled again. “Okay, sweetie.”


An hour later, I was sitting in my room, listening to music, not going to bed, because I wasn’t tired, and I didn’t think I would be able to sleep. I heard a tap on my door. “Come in,” I muttered, because I was already in enough trouble without having locking my parents out of my room added to the list.

My mom opened the door. “Mom, I’m really-” I begin, but she interrupts.

“If you were tired you would be sleeping. Did you eat on the road?”

I shrugged because I didn’t eat but I wasn’t hungry.

“You’re skinny enough as is,” she tsks. “You’ll wither away to nothing.”

I shrugged again, and she handed me a plate with mashed potatoes and vegetables, one of my favorite meals.

“I whisked it up special for you,” she says, smiling sadly.

I offered a shrug in response, knowing that what she really meant was I paid the cook a bonus to whisk it up special for you.

“Aren’t you hungry?” she asked.

I shook my head. “Not really.”

“Jamie…”

“I really am tired. Please can’t we just talk in the morning?”

“I’ve been alive something like three times longer than you. You really think I don’t have anything useful to tell you?”

I looked at her, exasperated, and really just wanting her to leave. “Honestly? No. No, I don’t think you have anything useful to tell me, and to be honest, I’d rather die than live your life, just planning cocktail parties and living for the sole purpose of making some spouse happy. You say you have your work, but you only do it so you can say you deserve all this, which we all know isn’t true!”

She stood, a cool kind of angry calm. “Fine. I guess I’ll just have to tell you about my college girlfriends some other time.”

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