Newbie In The City

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Defining Moments. In literature, these types of moments create heroes and villains. In real life though, these moments define who you are and can be as simple as fighting for your beliefs, or simply standing in front of a room of strangers and stating your name and addiction. In our community, many of us have the same defining moment. It happens to be the first time you tell your parents you’re gay.

Three letters; that’s all there is to it.  Gay, yet I have not used the word in a sentence in front of my mother. Being a grown man, I am quite ashamed that I have not told her the truth about me. I was given the opportunity to tell her in high school but I was scared to death of the consequences.

The chance arose one night after a swim meet. My team had just won regionals and my time had qualified me for the state meet. In between the races, parents were idly gossiping about whom their sons and daughters were taking to prom. Since I never dated in high school, some of the parents and their kids speculated I was gay. Unfortunately, some of the parents discussed this issue in front of my mother. Horrified and appalled, she sat silently watching her son’s every movement like a hawk. 

Unaware of the events that had transpired during the meet, I unknowingly got into my mother’s car for the longest car ride of my life. About a mile away from the house, mom started asking the pertinent questions such as “Who are you dating?" and ”Why didn’t you speak to any of the girls during the meet?”

When I told her I was single, not looking to date and focusing on trying to obtain scholarships so I can attend college; my mother slammed on the brakes. With tears in her eyes, mom said if I was gay and she found out that I would be disowned and kicked out of the house when I turned 18, which was only a few months away. Slowly, mom began to push on the accelerator and our trip back to the house was in silence. 

For the next 15 years, we never discussed my lack of dating or the swim meet incident and today I find out that she has terminal cancer. Once again I am confronted with a defining moment. Should I tell mom who I really am or do I support mom in her time of need and continue to be silent on who I really am?