good thing was, she was driving and therefore couldn’t react with the knee-jerking, eye-popping “what??!” I was half-expecting. didn’t even swerve on the road–I credit years of exercising those tough maternal nerves–but instead, let the silence grow within that closed interior until I wasn’t sure she’d even heard me, what with the chronic tinnitus and all. at least she didn’t start crying, or yelling, or something equally heartbreaking. so I thought I had done a good job breaking the news that her youngest daughter was, in fact, not straight.

(bad timing has always been my bane. born three days late, I snuck into kindergarten several months early, and felt perpetually older than my age. I missed out on my favorite concert once because I had just left town, and almost missed Thanksgiving once because of delayed planes. this time I was sure to wait until after Mother’s Day before I went and dropped the gay-bomb, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. she probably thought it was bad manners, and she raised me better than that.)

fears and worries raised their ugly head when she didn’t say anything at first. then, at long last, she spoke only to ask whether it was that men repulsed me. what? honestly, I would’ve thought she’d ask whether I was sure, how I came to realize it, who I was dating, but she skipped those questions and went straight (ha!) to the “why”. all my easy explanations had to take a backseat with her luggage, and I struggled to tell her that I didn’t dislike guys, it wasn’t that she’d wronged me somewhere since my birth, but words failed to serve as my messengers. how to explain that I found more beauty in any woman’s strength, than even in Brad Pitt’s stubble?

I am a good daughter. don’t feel bad, mom. times might be hard and I know this isn’t easy for you to digest, choke down with wine at big family dinners when you wonder whether I’m going to break open my cover. but I don’t want things to be ugly between us, and aren’t you the one who taught me how to be strong instead of just stubborn?