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A Pocket Full of Skittles
There’s nothing worse than knowing you’ve done something that will most likely wig out your parents. I still remember going home that evening with news no one wants from their son or daughter. Lucky for me, my parents had divorced three years prior to the news, so I only had to face one of them.
By now you’re probably under the impression that I’ve robbed a bank or beat someone up. I can assure you, it’s not that terrible. At least, to me it’s not. Depending on where a person stands, they might consider it the equivalent of murder, or simply an unforgivable sin worth severing friendships and relationships over.
Not knowing the side my parents resided on, I stuffed a small brown bag with some money, a toothbrush, a hairbrush, and a change of close in case the worst happened and my dad kicked me out as my friend’s parents did. Somehow, I knew things wouldn’t go that far, but it didn’t hurt to prepare for the worst. I wanted to have a plan just in case.
My hand became a wind-up toy as I removed a fully-charged phone from its charger. On the phone, I had the numbers of my most trusted friends programmed. They’d help me out in any way they needed to, even if that meant having me at their house for a day or two.
Once more I checked myself in a mirror in my sister’s bedroom to go over what I’d tell my Dad. He was more closed minded than my mom on these subjects. My mom didn’t scare me so much, since she said herself that her only concerns are our safety and education. I knew she wouldn’t get the big splash my dad might.
In any case, I ran my fingers through my thick, dirty blond hair that draped down to my shoulders. My baby blue eyes seemed to have a staring contest with those in the mirror. Due to the semi-chilly weather received in Texas, I wore my scarlet sweater under my black jacket bathed in rhinestone crowns.
Closing my eyes, I played back my friend’s words of encouragement in my head. “You can do it, Ash! They need to know the truth,” my friend Miranda said earlier that day. She vowed to let me stay with her if the worst happened.
On my wrist, concealed by the sleeve of my jacket, I wore a bracelet she gave me many months ago. It fixed itself around my arm with two buttons and had a rainbow design. Wherever I went, whether or not people saw it, I had it on.
Reminiscing over it, over her, I decided to send her one last text before telling my Dad the fateful truth. Flipping my Razor open, I swiftly tell her: “I’m about to do it, wish me luck!”
I waited impatiently for about a minute, although it felt like hours, until finally I felt my phone vibrate in my trembling hand. She never took long to respond, especially to me. Talking to her always calmed my nerves, even in the toughest situations. Just seeing my best friend’s name on the text message made me take a deep, relaxing breath.
I flipped my phone open once again and let my eyes roll over the message. It read: Good luck bffl(best friend for life). Go for it!
What most people didn’t know (and probably couldn’t know), is back then I had more than a feeling of friendship for her. Not knowing what to think of it, I kept trying to fight it off like it was some powerful villain trying to destroy the world. After a few months, those feelings only escalated and got stronger. Finally, I had to accept that I had a crush.
No longer could I deny that every time we hugged I felt an electric shock run through my body Every time we saw each other, I found it impossible to breathe and had to force myself. I knew people disapproved, and knew I’d lose friends over the matter. Regardless, I couldn’t rid my feelings. Each attempt I made left feeling deprived. Over time, these emotions rose like a thermometer in the summer, unable to keep the mercury down.
Many people refuse to understand the struggle attached to liking a person of the same gender. I only gradually told a handful of people, but even then I began to feel the wrath of homophobes.
Weeks before I decided to tell my parents, I informed a close friend of the nefarious truth. Though she promised to be my friend forever, that offer was promptly revolked when the word “gay” came up.
The next time I saw her, I had walked into the restroom during lunch. There she was, staring at herself through a foggy mirror. How she could see herself, I had no idea, but she noticed me quickly and remarked, “I think you’re in the wrong restroom. This one’s for girls only!”
That stung me like a scorpion, and the only thing I though to do was attack back. Smartly, I said, “no, I’m in the right one not sure about you though!”
Rolling her eyes, she continued, “you know what I’m talking about. I don’t want you looking at me.”
“Then close the door!” I snapped. Taking a deep breath, I told her, “Look, if it makes you that uncomfortable just wait outside until I finish.” Until that afternoon, I hadn’t experienced the harsh oppression people can have against those who are different from them.
After the incident, I dreaded the idea of “coming out of the closet.” as it’s called. I though everyone in the world might react that way, including my parents. But I knew I had to spill the beans that night, or I probably wouldn’t have said anything for a while. As my parents, they had a right to know the truth.
I stepped out of the room, greeted by the fresh smell of gingerbread cookies and the flickering lights on the Christmas Tree. He never waited for Thanksgiving to pass before putting one up.
My dad sat on the couch, watching his Monday night football game. I sat next to him and hid my bag behind the blood red sofa. He didn’t seem distressed or angry, so I decided the best time to tell him had arrived.
During commercial, I managed to pronounce, “I need to tell you something.”
“Tell me anything,” he invited, putting the T.V. on pause. He sat inquisitively with his Dallas Cowboy’s jersey on way too big.
My heart accelerated like it was running a 200 meter track while my stomach did cartwheels. Finally, I choked up the scariest words in the world, “I like girls.”
At first he laughed, thinking I was joking. It took him a second or two to realize I meant it. When he finally realized it, his smile grew slightly. For a second he remained silent, and then assured, “that’s alright. I don’t really agree with it, but it’s your choice. I love you anyway.”
Relieved, I gave him a hug and told him thank you. I knew he didn’t particularly enjoy the idea, but at least he tolerated it. To this day, he does what he can to support me in the relationship I’m in. It’s not easy for him, but only an outstanding dad pushes aside his personal views because of his love for his daughter.