I got back home a few hours later. “Hi, I’m back,” I said. As I headed towards my room, my father asked me to join him in the living room. I did.
My father was sitting in his chair with my mother by his side. Something didn’t look right.
“Are you a homosexual?” my father asked calmly but sternly as he turned my laptop around. I hadn’t even noticed it there.
My worst nightmare was staring at me. Ah, shit. “How come my laptop is down here?” I asked.
“I asked you a question,” my father said.
My eyes started darting around as if looking for a place to hide, but I finally looked at my father and answered, “I don’t know.”
“This is a sin!” my father yelled, slamming the laptop shut. He approached me, pointing his finger at me. “This behaviour stops now, you hear? I will not have a sinner in my house! We didn’t bring you up like this, and no son of mine will partake in such disgusting, perverted activities! If you don’t change, I will send you to conversion therapy.”
I looked at my mother for some support or compassion, but she stood there and did nothing. My father stormed outside and slammed the door behind him.
“Mom,” I said, “I’m sorry you had to find out this way.”
“You are a sinner,” she said, slapping me across the face. “You are a disgrace to this family. I would rather have a criminal for a son than a pervert. If you want to remain part of this family, you will cease this deviant behaviour immediately; otherwise, I want you out of this house.”
“Mom, please… Don’t say that. It’s not my fault. I tried to resist these feelings. Believe me, I tried.” My eyes were starting to tear up.
“You didn’t try hard enough,” she said.
“This is how God made me, Mom. I can’t change that.”
Her eyes became dark, and her pupils dilated, “Don’t you take the lord’s name in vain! Why do you insist on hurting us like this?”
“I don’t want to hurt you! Do you think this is to hurt you?”
“Liar!” Her face was so close to mine that I could smell her breath. Then she walked out.
I ran outside, slammed the door behind me, and sat on the front steps, trembling. I couldn’t stop sobbing. I called Chad and asked him if I could crash at his place.
“What happened?” Chad asked.
“My parents found out I was gay! They saw the video on my laptop. The things they said to me were so hurtful. I can’t live here anymore! All that matters to them is what the bible says! They’re ready to throw me out! I don’t mean anything to them!”
“Calm down,” Chad said. “I’ll come to pick you up. Pack your things.”
I went inside, grabbed all that would fit in my duffle bag, and stormed back outside to wait for Chad. I didn’t bother telling my parents where I was going; they wouldn’t care anyway. Chad drove up the driveway, I got in, and we left.
“What did you tell your parents?”
“I told them what you told me,” Chad said.
“Are they cool with me coming over?”
“Yes, they’re fine with it. How are you holding up?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t know what to think. I feel so ashamed.”
“Don’t. It’s not your fault.” As we pulled up the driveway to his house, Chad suggested that I see a school counsellor next week. “Maybe they can help.”
“Yeah, maybe. Thanks for everything,” I said.
As we walked in, Chad’s parents met us at the door. His mom said, “Hi, Elliott, welcome. I want you to feel comfortable here. Consider this your home now. Chad told us a bit of what happened, and we’re so sorry you had to live that.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Hardwicke.
“Come, I’ll show you your room,” Chad said as we walked up the stairs. “Rest up. If you need anything, I’m just across the hall. It will be alright, I promise.” Chad hugged me and went back downstairs.
I sat on the bed, hunched over with my head in my hands, rocking. “What am I suppose to do now? Am I such a bad person?”