I look out the window, the sky is obscure, raindrops fall and fly away, merging with the dust sitting in the heavily polluted windows. I realize the bus is now moving at a confident speed. It’s only a matter of time before getting to my stop.
“I should be watching The Devil Wears Prada with Nicholas and his sister,” I think. But instead I’m just sitting on a grimy metropolitan bus, constantly pulling out my phone, turning the screen on, and turning it back off as it goes back into my school uniform’s oversized pocket once again.
I suddenly feel ill. I should’ve just told her about my plans to see a movie with friends… she’s been supportive of my extroverted ways. She would’ve let me!
Or actually... no; I’m 15 years old, it’s a school night, I’m doing horribly in math…physics…chemistry… shit. even I understand those are valid arguments to keep a young boy home.
While I exhaust what the fuck I’m gonna say, a feeling of discomfort unknown to me takes over; I can’t decipher why being caught this time feels so mortal. I get myself back in the moment, only to notice a crucifix pendant hanging from the driver's rear view mirror, I’m now fixated on it as it swings violently in every direction.
I suddenly wish I paid more attention to understand my mother’s interpretation of catholicism. Her immense, sometimes asphyxiating love, is evident to me. Her morals are not.
Could she be selfless enough to understand I met with Nicholas, my first gay friend, to better understand myself? Would I have to lie every time I wanted to see my new friends as I grew older? I was tired of hanging out with people who couldn’t grasp just who Audrey Hepburn was or who’d have the audacity to watch a movie dubbed. Nicholas understood my teenage fascinations and my appreciations for foreign cultures beyond my own knowledge.
The bus stops abruptly, I’m here. Using my arm as an umbrella, I run towards the shopping plaza’s arch door. It’s only been a minute out yet I’m soaking wet and miserable already. Retrospective as ever I wonder… Is this my own epiphany about coming out? — whatever. I don’t have the time or the right age to dwell in this question.
With no excuses yet in mind, I rush myself towards the coffee shop we’ve chosen to meet at. As I approach her; I notice she’s distracted on her motherly iPhone addiction. I admire her beauty one last time before greeting her.
“Where were you? What’s going on?” - she righteously asks as we look into each others worried eyes. I immediately realize I’m done with feeling guilt and carrying dead weight. I give her no time to ask more questions.
“Mom, I have to be honest. I was with my friend Nicholas. He’s gay” - my half-baked statement comes out. I await to respond to her follow-up question. But there is silence only.
“What are you saying? Are you gay? You’ve had girlfriends before” - She proposes in shock and disbelief.
I'm paralyzed. I really want to say “no mom, I’m not gay. Or bi. Or straight. I’m just myself. The son you've always known; passionate about the arts and proudly sensible. Slightly annoyed at how everyone likes soccer except for me.”
I keep this revelation hidden in my thoughts. The idea of adopting a label for the rest of my life at 15 haunts me. As my brain processes a thousand possible scenarios at lightning speed, I can only conclude I don’t want to hurt her.
She is silent, but her tender facial gestures demand for answers. Time is running out.
“I’m bi……curious?” I slip effortlessly, lying under oath.
I know that will at least buy us some more time to figure things out...