Coming Out

Mom smirked at Dad’s story and retaliated, “Let me tell you an even better story about Dad.”

“Jacin was about 16, I think,” she started. “And one night Dad started having chest pains, and as they worsened we decided we should take him to the hospital.”

Immediately Jacin thought discouragingly, “Another time I don’t remember.”

He shifted uncomfortably in his chair as Mom continued the story. She said that the doctor told her that he needed a heart stint as soon as possible. After the surgery, the doctor said it went well, but that Dad should lie still for at least two hours, to move as little as possible. However, this was made more difficult since the remote to the television in his room wasn’t working properly and the channel it was turned on to was fuzzy.

When the doctor finally allowed Jacin and Mom into Dad’s hospital room, after the two-hour period, they had found Dad on his knees on the floor — the opening of his hospital gown revealing his bare butt — wrestling with an octopus of cords, trying to fix the TV.

“After fiddling with all those cords,” Mom continued. “He got up and walked over to the TV, rolling his IV stand with him. “And then, you know Dad’s a fairly short man, and the TV was bolted high on the wall, so he literally started jumping up and down, pushing the channel buttons with his finger.”

Mom and Dad began laughing at the memory, and Mom continued, “And we all just stood there stunned by the fact that two hours ago he had just had heart surgery, and he was jumping around like a 6-year-old.”

Suddenly, a memory from that day vividly illuminated in Jacin’s mind. He turned to George. “I’m ready to marry you,” he said behind an enormous smile.

“Really?” asked George a little stunned, but mostly with enthusiasm.

“Yes,” replied Jacin. “Completely.”

“Not to sound negative,” George continued. “But why all of sudden?”

Jacin smiled and leaned into George and gave him a peck on the lips. “ There’s something important that I remember about that day in the hospital … I was scared that Dad was going to die.” Jacin glanced at Dad and quickly averted his eyes in a flash of guilt.

“For a long time I wanted to tell Mom and Dad about who I was, what was going on with me,” he continued. “I’d been fooling around with my best friend Ben for a while and I felt so much guilt about not telling you guys,” Jacin directed to his parents.

His mother, who was sitting on his left, reached over and gently took his hand in hers.

“So once we got Dad back into the hospital bed, I just blurted it out, ‘I’m gay!’ It was kind of funny at first because Dad just sort of giggled, but Mom looked like I had slapped her across the face. She then asked me, rather coldly, did Ben talk you into it?”

He chuckled at the thought and his mother took back her hand.

“You were so young,” she started to explain.

Jacin grabbed her hand back, “Dad didn’t say anything, I don’t think he really even understood what I’d said. But a few days after we took him home from the hospital, I heard them arguing in the bedroom.

“Dad yelled ‘how could you let this happen?’ Then I remember Mom went on a tangent: ‘This isn’t my fault, it’s nobody’s fault; this is who he is and I want him to be happy. I know it’s not the life either of us hoped he’d have, and he probably won’t give us grandchildren, which is a shame because he’d make a great father. But he’ll be happy … hopefully, and if we support him, that happiness is going to be more likely to happen. I don’t want our son to be alone, I want him to find someone to love and be with, I don’t care with who anymore, do you?’ Then I heard a loud thud. I came to find out later that Dad had punched a hole in the wall.”

A brief moment passed then Mom asked with tears building up, “I didn’t know you had heard all of that.”

Jacin looked at his mother, and their smiles hugged. Jacin said, “It was that moment that I knew I’d be okay.”

Jacin’s father suddenly spoke, “It was many years until I finally let my anger … my disappointment go.” He hesitated for a second before continuing, “Not until I saw how you look at George, and how he treats you and makes you happy that I realized your mom was right all those years ago. I’m sorry son.”
“It’s OK, Dad,” Jacin cracked a whisper.

“For what it’s worth, you have my blessing,” Dad finished, then promptly stood and strolled off to bed.

The campfire popped and crackled in the sudden cool night’s silence.

To be continued …

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