Friday, July 17, 2009

Play Date

“Are we going in?”

“There’s something about my parents I think you need to know.”

Kristi, who already had one leg out of the car, pulled it back in. She sat and waited for Sean to explain himself. He was never one for theatrics. She rarely saw him without a smile on his face. Something was obviously bothering him. His lips were moving, too subtly and randomly to be forming any words, but they were obviously rehearsing something.

She waited. She played with the hem of her skirt. She checked her make-up in the mirror. She checked her hair. She adjusted her shirt, twisting it just to the left.

“My parents think I’m gay.” Sean finally blurted.

Kristi sputtered laughter. “What?!” She cackled. “Why would they think that?”

“I told them I was.”

Kristi howled with laughter. “Why?”

“I was trying to make a point,” said Sean’s brown eyes were smiling, even if his lips weren’t.

“And you’ve never corrected them.” Kristi turned in her seat to better face Sean.

“It never quite seemed like the right time.” Sean had to laugh at that.

“How long have they thought you’re gay?” Kristi’s green eyes twinkled with awe.

“January.” Sean said sheepishly. “I didn’t mean to tell them. I didn’t wake up that morning and say, ‘I’m going to fake coming out of the closet today.’ They were just railing on about same sex marriage and how another state was putting it to a vote and how they wished the president – or whoever has the power to do so – would just step in illegalize it. And I was like, ‘I don’t know how you can say that. I don’t know how protestant Christians can be at all comfortable relinquishing religious ceremonies to any government! It doesn’t make any sense to me! Do you really want the government deciding who can and can’t get married? What’s next? Who can and can’t get baptized?’ It’s the same thing, except we’ve attached these tax breaks and these legal matters to marriage.” Sean shook his head.

“And then my dad’s like, ‘why do you care?’ And my mom’s like, ‘it’s not like it effects you.’ And I shot back, ‘it does effect me!’ ‘How,’ my mom said, ‘you’re not gay!’” Sean locked eyes with Kristi. “’Yes I am!’ I shouted back.”

Sean scratched at his black goatee. “You should’ve been there. Stunned silence. I had to repeat myself. They didn’t believe me, but I had said it at that point, I didn’t want them thinking I was a liar.”

Kristi raked her fingers through her shoulder-length blond hair. Was she nervous? Excited? She wasn’t sure, so she laughed. Sean heard her uncertainty.

“They live here in Happy Valley and pass judgment on the rest of the world. Nothing effects them here. They live in this little bubble! And they’re scared of everything! Democrats, blacks, gays, Mexicans, Muslims or anyone that looks like they could possibly be from 'that area' of the world,' freaking Hollywood! They get so worked up over subjects and topics that will not ever effect them. Why? Because they shield themselves. If two gay men can get married, how will it affect them? Other than giving them something else to complain about as they slip into senility, it won’t. Why? Because they don’t even know any gays. But it goes against their sensitive ideals so . . .” Sean took a deep breath. “So I thought I’d put a face on it.”

“To challenge their worldview.” Kristi understood.

“To challenge their worldview.” Sean nodded.

“Do you have any gay friends?”

Sean shook his head. “Not that I know of.”

“Then why?”

Sean shrugged. “I hate closed-minded idiots. And I like freedom. And in order for me to have freedom, everyone else has to have freedom too. And if God gave us the freedom of choice, then who are we to take that away from somebody else?”

The right side of Kristi’s mouth tugged into a grin. “Then who can I be?”

Sean knew the answer immediately. “A feminist! And if you could work in something about a woman’s right to choose . . .”

“But what about us?” Kristi asked. “What’s our relationship?”

“I think we’re in love with the same man.” Sean said simply.

“Oh,” said Kristi with a sarcastic pout, “I thought we were going to be acting.”

She pressed her lips into Sean’s and then bounded out of the car. Sean wasn’t going to say it, but the thought occurred to him that this might be love.

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