While seated in the living room, obsessing over the complications of life, my father walked in. I received a cold stare. I looked away. I felt guilty, and I felt content. I felt bad, and I felt good. I felt confused, and I felt settled. Drawing a long breath, I murmured an apology. He heard me. He ignored me. He hated me. Oh, how I hated him even more.
It was a sunny afternoon. Something about the air told me it was going to be a good day. The goddamn air was misleading – big time. That was the day I slapped my father. That was the day I wished I was born with no hands. That was the day..
I walked into my father’s room. “Dad, I need a hundred and seventy five dollars. My friends and I are planning on going somewhere down south for the weekend”, I said to my ex-beloved father, who was lying on his bed with a newspaper covering his face. His pot belly sank in and rose up, in a continuous fashion, making me uncomfortable about my dad’s unattended health. I heard a grunt. Rejection was in the way. But something about the goddamn air that told me the day was going to be good made me feel optimistic. “Dad, please?” I asked once again. A hand moved the paper off his face. His unshaven face looked me up and down, up and down. Up. Down. Up. “Hundred and seventy five dollars for? I ain’t got money to waste on you so you could have a little gay time” was the reply.
The revelation was a shocker to my very orthodox Christian father. Homosexuality was a taboo, and I was now a pariah. Shallow, you’d say. Heartless, I believed. Heartless, cruel, hateful, merciless.
He was my father. I loved him, nevertheless. I walked up to his bedside and pulled a chair to sit on while he sat up. “What now? Get your gay ass off and listen, Jonathan, I have no money to give you”, he said. As patient as I always am, I didn’t retort. I had no job, I had no savings, and this trip was the only short-term getaway from the vicious and brutal commentary that follows my existence. Emotional torture topped with verbal torture became habitual to my father. I drew a long breath. I gathered all the life left in me to tell my condescending father off.
“Listen, Dad, it’s been three months. For Heaven’s sake..”
“Heaven? Hah! That’s forbidden to your sodomised ass. Should have agreed with adoption seventeen years ago”
Rage was curdling in my blood.
“All you gays will rot in Hell. All you filthy pansies don’t stand a chance to live. Where’s your masculinity, Jonathan?! First you tell me you like boys and their butts, next you’ll tell me you want to marry a woman trapped in a man’s body. I don’t have time for you and your womanly nonsense, Jonathan. When Susanne gave birth to you, I wanted a MAN. A MAN WHO LIKES WOMEN. A MAN WHO DRIVES HIS GIRL TO THE SALON. NOT A MAN WHO HAS FETISHES ABOUT HAVING HIS FUCKING FINGER NAILS PAINTED BY A GUY WITH LONG HAIR AND WALKS LIKE A BLOODY WOMAN, JONATHAN!”
My hand shook as I withdrew it from my father’s cheek. He was too stunned to move. He had reached his peak. It was my father speaking, but all I could hear was a wrathful man who was too cowardly to question his faith. We looked at each other with expressions of disbelief. I saw anger building up in my father eyes. His eyes pierced with rage. “You did not!” he hissed, “You fucking asshole! You SONFABITCH!” He was still too astounded to do anything else besides chant the same words; his voice getting louder each time. I stood up, leaving the chair to fall behind me and marched out of the room. He watched me as I left just as I watched him as he morphed himself from father to a tormentor.
That was the day my life changed. My father’s comments couldn’t get bitterer, but the little love we shared drowned in the vortex of fury and enmity. I moved out the next day. I set forth to choose the path that did not to allow those around me affect what nature chose me to be and do. I may have called him my father, but he chose not to be mine.
- Half of the young homosexual individuals have suffered mental health issues, and 40 per cent have considered suicide (The Independent, January 2014).
- Attempts by gay and lesbian youth account for up to 30% of all completed suicides (The Trevor Project).
As human beings, we must come together to fight this epidemic. We MUST reach out. Change needs to be sought and justice needs to be delivered!
Have a blessed day/ night!