By Zoe Abramson

 

“Get in the car!”

I had only been in dad’s house for one minute and I was already being yelled at.

“Samantha, can you please hurry up?”

I was trying to hurry up, but I couldn’t. I was hoping for a hug, but instead I got yelled at before I could even say “Hi.”

“I’m going to leave without you if you don’t get in the car right now!” my dad screamed.

It was supposed to be a good day. After all, it was a Friday. Friday means no school the next day, and that means one less worry. I also got to go to my dad’s house, which is a rarity. Normally going to dad’s house is a good change of pace from my normally worry-filled life at mom’s house.

“Just get in the car!” he yelled, getting impatient.

I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. Dad isn’t always the most loving of parents, but he wouldn’t be this crude if he didn’t have a reason. I just hope that it’s not something horrible. Afterall I am trying to get away from my worries — not closer to them.

“Something happened to your brother, Steven. We need to go!”

After hearing that I got so scared that I managed to get myself in the car. As soon as I closed my door dad slammed down on the gas.

“Where are we going, dad? What happened to Steven?” I asked in a panicky way.

“I don’t know; He said that he was in the hospital, so that’s where we’re going.”

I was hoping that he just broke his ankle or something, but I knew he wouldn’t tell us to come in that trivial a circumstance. When he first started college, he fell out of a tree and broke his ribs, and he didn’t even call us then. We only found out about it when our insurance rates when up. I started to get even more nervous when I replayed this memory through my head. “Dad, I can’t lose Steven. You are basically already gone since you ignore me so much.”

“I’m sorry, but your mother and I just didn’t work out.”

“Is that why I can rarely come over to your house? Because you and mom didn’t work out? What about me, dad? Did you ever think about that!?”….

“Samantha, you can come to my house whenever you want. I made those rules so that you would feel less pressured to see me.”

“Okay,” I said

“But while we’re on the topic of mom, what do you think of mom’s weird friend, Ruth?”

“What makes you think that she is so weird?” I asked as I stated to shake.

“I don’t know. Her and your mom just spend so much time together,” he said as I started to sweat. “Sometimes I think that she might be gay. Is that crazy?”

As my sweating increased a chill went through my body. For a moment I forgot about Steven.

Interrupting the silence my father asked again, “My question wasn’t rhetorical. Do you think that Ruth is gay?”

I needed to steady my voice and stop shaking. “I know you think that she is weird but that doesn’t mean you have to assume things.” Dad nodded in agreement. I think he bought it. I let out a sigh of relief.

The car ride was silent until we arrived at the hospital. Dad pulled into a spot, and got out of the car without fixing his skewed parking job. I follow him just a step behind. When we got to Steven’s room things weren’t as bad as I thought. I let out what I think was an audible sigh of relief.

He looked really flushed, and had some tubes in him, but he was awake and talking to us.

“I’m going to go find someone. I need to see if the doctors here know what they’re talking about,” said Dad as he started walking away.

Since dad has questioned many people for no reason before, I called out after him, “Please don’t yell at them. They know what they’re talking about.”

His step faltered and he turned back to us.

“Yeah, sometimes people just know more about things than you do,” Steven added.

“You don’t need to make a big deal about everything,” I said as we continued to pile on more criticism.

Dad looked annoyed. “Alright, alright. I’m just asking them what happened and what the deal is.”

“Just don’t embarrass me though,” Steven grumbled.

As dad walked out, I looked over at Steven. I almost started to cry. When I looked at him and thought about just the two of us in the room, I couldn’t help myself from thinking back to all the time together when it was just the two of us, trying to fend for ourselves when our parents were fighting.

When my parents would get into a really bad fight, Steven would take me outside. We would walk to the park near our house. One time it was pouring rain, but I insisted we go anyways. The ground was muddy, it was hard to even see each other, and there was no one else around. I had so much fun just running around. We just sat there sitting in the mud and rain. Even though we didn’t talk to each other that much during that time I felt so close to him.

Since they’ve been separated there hasn’t been as much fighting, but it feels much lonelier. My mom and I have moved out, and my brother has moved away to college.

Steven finally chirped up and broke the silence. “So what’s home life like now?”

“It’s kinda lonely,” I replied softly.

Steven continued to make conversation. “How’s the apartment that you moved into?”

I replied, “It’s working well.”

Steven nodded approvingly. “That’s good. Is Ruth still around?”

“Yeah. She’s over like every day,” I responded while starting to shake again. My body felt like it was tensing up. I took a breath to relax and it worked — for a split second.

“You know Ruth is gay, right?” Steven blurted out as he tried to make the conversation more interesting.

I was shaking so much that I felt like I was going to fall. I was sweating, and my face was getting flushed. I didn’t know how he found out, but that wasn’t important.

“Yeah, I know. Just… make sure that Dad doesn’t find out,” I said as I started to relax again.

Steven just responded by saying, “Duh.”

“Wait, you said Ruth right?” I asked just to make sure.

“Yeah, who else would I be talking about? Is there someone else I would be talking about?” he asked, “Is there something I don’t know? Did mom tell you something?” The questions came like rapid fire.

Mom did tell me something. A couple of days ago I tucked myself into bed. As I started to fall asleep I saw someone come in. I quickly realized that it was mom. She sat down on my bed, and told me she had to tell me something important. As she began to talk I couldn’t hear a word she was saying. After repeating herself I was able to comprehend what she told me: “I’m gay.” After a brief silence mom continued, “Ruth and I are more than friends.” More silence. She kept talking. “Please don’t tell anyone. Don’t even tell Steven. I’m not ready for anyone but you to know.”

The only thing I could manage to say was, “I got it.”

“If your father finds out about this, he’s never going to let you live with me,” Mom said as she became even more nervous.

I responded, “Okay.”

Mom continued to reiterate the same message to me, “Don’t tell anyone.”

Once she left I just lay in my bed. It was such a shock to me. I had heard before of people who were gay, but aside from Ruth I didn’t personally know anyone who actually was gay. It’s just not something people think about or want to admit. I didn’t know what to think. Was I okay with it?

“Mom didn’t tell me anything,” I told Steven, as my mind refocused on the present.

Skeptical, Steven said, “Are you sure?”

I wanted to tell Steven. The secret made it feel as if the whole world was trying to look into my mind

It was adding one more worry. If I tell Steven I might have one less worry, but it also might add a worry because I wasn’t supposed to tell him.

“I just can’t tell you,” I said.

“Why?” asked Steven somewhat angrily.

I responded by saying, “Because mom told me not to,” in a somewhat snotty way.

Getting more annoyed, Steven started putting the pieces together. “Are you trying to say that mom is–”

“No.” I had to cut him off before he said anything.

Steven was so close to figuring everything out. I felt like I needed to to tell him. Every second I held onto this secret I was gaining another worry. I had to tell him, I just had to. I blurted it out. “Okay, yes. Mom’s gay.” One of my worries was gone, but only momentarily.

I thought about how mad mom would be if she found out I told Steven. As I turned around to leave the room for a moment I saw Dad standing at the doorway, and all of my worries came rushing back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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