My cousin is ten years older than I. He is the bastard child of my insecure prom queen aunt and her lazy husband. With Peter’s arrival, their happy funtime highschool lovefest took a turn for the altar. What else could they do?
And so a son was born. Peter oh Peter, why you? The boy would have been fragile in the best of possible worlds. Now I feel compelled here to say these are not bad, evil, nasty people. They wanted the best for their son but they were unable. They were teenagers, she ditsy and not at all maternal, he oafish and distant. At 18 she would take her infant child deep into the ocean, by herself. She dressed him in girl’s spandex and they did aerobics together. What did she expect? They didn’t mean to conceive out of wedlock, enter a loveless marriage, raise a son and confuse the hell out of him, and then abandon him as an adult. But they did.
He was no great figure in my house. I rarely heard of him, not from contempt, but indifference. Once, we all watched him on Larry King. Something about a briefcase he picked up during a fire and returned to the owner. He was just another cousin I guess.
But one day, when I was 13, he reappeared. He was gay. He told my grandmother first. She cried because she was scared for him. Scared of what his mother would do. Scared that she would never again be able to sit down and talk with her daughter and grandson at the same time. That didn’t last long though. Her tears turned to acceptance. She decided that she could still love both of them, equally, forever.
Remember that I was 13. And how do 13 year old boys see homosexuality? That’s right, they snigger and yell, “Fag!” Gay becomes an adjective to describe anything annoying, or bad, or different. “This homework is so gay.” “I hate my gay science teacher.” All this made for one awkward Thanksgiving. It took all my strength and restraint. “Ah, Dallas’ defense is so ga….uranteed to annoy me.” That went on for a week.
Then he told his mom. It had to be done eventually. She thought he was kidding. Classic five stages. That was denial. Then she got mad. She yelled about shame. She banned him from the house. Bargaining. She could save him, if only she worked hard enough. He could be made normal. Depression didn’t last long. Acceptance. This is a tricky one. She admits he is gay, and has made a decision to never speak to him again. He’s married now, to the man he used to call his roommate to his mother. She didn’t walk him down the aisle.
She didn’t accept him. She accepted the situation, but not her son. She just admitted defeat. Acceptance is more. Acceptance is unconditional love. Acceptance is putting a person above the adjectives that describe him. This I believe.
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