I stared at an old photo of my father and I. He and I sat down together on the couch happily with bright smiles. I love my father and he loves me. You see, my parents have five kids. Jessie, Julia, Jasmin, Jasper and lastly me, Julius, their only son. So, of course he and I have a strong connection. He’d always take me out to watch movies with him, play catch, eat out, and all that ordinary American father-son stuff when I was a kid.
My parents are migrants from Haiti, they came here in the mid eighties to have a better life for themselves. Although the States wasn’t how they imagined it, they still managed to live comfortably in our lovely home here in Miami.
I put the photo down and sighed, for years I’ve been keeping a secret away from my him. My mother found out on her own months ago and I told my sisters about it the second I felt different. My mother was disappointed, but she eventually came around and accepted it. My sisters were elated and made me felt special, well except for Jessie, she’s super religious. It was hard for me to accept it at first, but I’ll proudly announce that I’m gay.
My father is a tough man, although he’s rather small in stature, he’s well respected in the community.
I’m afraid that when I tell him this, our relationship will shatter.
I’m afraid that he’ll disown me and never look at me the same, or never look at me as his son.
I’m afraid that he’ll stop loving me and treat me like a stranger.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that homosexuality is the biggest no-no when it comes to Caribbean parents and elders, it’s just not acceptable. My parents are avid believers in Christ, they attend church every Sunday and sometimes attend these weekly bible studies. It took awhile for my mother to finally accept me for who I was, and only God knows how long it’ll take my father’s-- and that depends if he’s even open to accepting!
I sat on the edge of my bed with my head in my hands, staring at my feet. How am I going to say this the right way? Is there a proper way to come out? I screwed up when it came to my mother, she found out from eavesdropping. I actually want to have a conversation with my father about this! He’s going to be home soon, so I need to come up with the perfect way to say all of this.
And I need to now!
I heard the front door open and heard heavy stomps approaching my door. My bedroom door creaked open and there he stood, still in his security uniform. His eyes were filled with anger, my heart raced at an abnormal speed. Did my mother tell him? Did my sisters tell him? Shit, I told them not and they went behind my back and told him anyway!
“Julius, I just got off the phone with Coach Kurtis and he told me that you quit the baseball team this morning.” He said, “Is everything all right?” He asked.
I exhaled, feeling a wave of relief. But this wouldn’t last long.
“Umm, I don’t really connect with the sport anymore dad.” I replied nervously.
“You don’t? I thought you loved baseball! You and I used to play catch all the time, remember?”
I laughed, “Yes, I remember.”
He invited himself into my room and sat beside me on my bed.
“I sense something off in you, Julius. You know can tell me anything. Is something going on at school?” He asked, this time with worry.
For whatever reason, my vision became blurry as my eyes filled with tears. Hearing him speak to me in a tender tone broke something inside me, I knew I had to tell him but I don’t know how!
“Dad, I’m sorry! I’m so so sorry!” I cried, I sobbed into his chest, soaking his top.
“There, there. Everything will be fine, go on. Tell me what’s going on, and I promise you I’ll stand by your side no matter what.” He said as he wiped my cheeks with his thumbs.
“I can’t lie to you or myself anymore. I keep telling myself that I’m happy, but I’m not.” I said with a shaken voice, “Dad… there’s something I really want you to know. Please promise me you won’t get upset.”
Dad placed his hand on my shoulder, “I can’t promise you that I won’t, but I’ll try my best.” He chuckled.
He and I laughed briefly. This is it, my time is here.
“I’m… gay,” I said bravely.
His eyes widened, shocked at what I had just hold him. I closed my eyes tightly as I felt instant regret, I desperately wanted to go back in time and take back what I just said. I failed him, I just know I did!
“That’s okay, son. That’s… amazing,” he said calmly.
He brought me in for a warm hug, tears started to roll down my cheeks again. If felt like the anvil that sat on my chest for years has been lifted, for once I truly felt free, freer than bird soaring the through the morning sky.
“I love you, Julius. You’re my only son,”
I smiled, “I love you too, dad. I love you too.”