This is Me

“And for the afternoon forecast, we will continue to have light showers until roughly 4:00 p.m. Then we will clear up with partly cloudy sunshine..”. It was a regular every day afternoon. Mama was sitting on the couch knitting up a blanket. The colors of bright pink and baby blue mixed with a light lavender purple. She always liked mixing it up a little. Like she always said, “It’s better to have something a little different. That’s what makes it so special and stand out from the others”.

SLAM! “Hi baby how was your day?”

“Just leave me alone mom I’m not in the mood”

“What’s wrong? To much homework today or something?”

You could hear it in his voice, the choking up, pain, embarrassment. There was no way of getting out of saying there was nothing wrong. He didn’t reply. Instead, he just scattered off to his room and slammed the door. “I’ll just give him a little while” she said out loud to herself. “He needs to cool off before he breaks something”.

Mama finished off watching the news and flipped through the channels. Nothing seemed to be on that grabbed her interest so she just sat in the quietly in the living room knitting away. After about an hour, she decided to go and check on him. He seemed so upset that she just couldn’t let it go. Whatever mood he was in, always seemed to affect hers. She could be having a bad day and if he walked in and gave her a smile, it would change her whole world around. “Baby?” She slowly opened the door and discovered him laying on his bed, facing the opposite direction of the door, face down in a pillow. Quietly, she closed the door and walked over to the foot of the bed and sat down. “What’s wrong?… you know you can tell me anything right?”. “I don’t think I can this time mom.” He was so upset, you could almost feel it. The anger, the tension in the air. She had never experienced this type of behavior from him before. She thought to herself that maybe she should leave the room but her mother instincts quickly kicked in and she kindly demanded that he tell her what was wrong. “You know you can tell me anything Mauricio, I’ve been here since day one and never have I made you feel uncomfortable to the point that you couldn’t tell me things. Have I? That’s what I’m here for.”

He lifted his face from the pillow and wiped the tears from his eyes. “I just don’t know how to explain everything”. “Have you had anything to eat today? You sound hungry”. He kind of chuckled. “No, the food was nasty today”. “It’s always nasty, its school food” mama said with a big smile on her face. She always knew how to lighten the mood. “Let’s go grab something to eat shall we? Your choice”. He quickly sat up and with excitement asked “Could I drive?”. “Yeah you can, but you better not wreck my car.. and you better put a smile on your face and keep it there!”. Quickly he jumped out of bed and threw on his shoes. “I’ll be out in the car. It stopped raining but it’s still kind of damp out there so make sure you walk on the side-walk instead of the grass” mama said while walking down the stairs. “And be careful walking down the stairs, it’s wet from your shoes”.

After waiting for about 10 minutes out in the car, Mauricio finally jumped in the driver’s side. “What took you so long?” mama questioned. “Your a dude, I thought you would be out before I was.. what were you doing up there, putting on your makeup?” she laughed a little but then she noticed his face wasn’t so bright anymore. “I’m just playing hun. Your fine. Cheer up and drive okay?”. With a fake smile, he agreed and backed out of the drive way. “Where you wanna go mom?”. “It’s up to you baby, you know I can never decide anything”. “How does freeway restaurant sound?” he asked with hope in his voice. Mama shook her head yes. She was so hungry that she didn’t care where they ate. Afterall, all she wanted to do was to talk to him. She was a little nervous because he always opened right up to her but she figured it was just a long story so she tried not to worry.

“Table for two?” the waitress asked with grin on her face. Her hair was in a sloppy bun, thrown on top of her head. Her makeup smeared with bags under her eyes. She looked pretty rough. “Yes please!” mama exclaimed. As the waitress showed them to their seats, mama looked over at him and noticed he was looking nervously out the window. Negative thoughts immediately started running through her mind. Did he do something bad to someone? Did he get caught stealing? She had no idea. “My name is Debbie and I’ll be your waitress for today. Could I start you off with a coffee or anything?”. “I’ll have a coffee, 2 cups of creamer and heavy on the sugar please. Mauricio?”. “I’ll just have a lemonade please”. “Okay I’ll be right back with your drinks”. What was only a 1 ½ distance between her and her son seemed like 5 feet. She felt so weird, uncomfortable, that she started squirming in her seat. “So.. can you tell me what happened today that upset you so much?”. Mauricio looked so scared. His skin looked flushed, his eyes blood-shot red, goose bumps all up and down his arms with some what of a frown on his face. “I was messed with at school… harassed… I guess you could say”. The volume of his voice got quieter and quieter as he spoke. Almost as if he was hesitant to say anything. “Are you kidding me? Your 18 years old and about to graduate. They still do that? Wow. What about?”. He looked down at the table with his arms crossed. Rubbing them up and down with his hands as if he was cold. “So we had some free time to do whatever because class was almost over and..” he stopped. He looked so scared to the point that he looked as if he was going to pass out. “Mauricio, just say it please”. Mama was getting so impatient. She had been waiting hours to find out what was going on with him. She hated when people dragged important things out that needed to be said. “and I decided to pull my phone out and watch some video clips over some reality shows. Well I ran across RuPaul and I clicked on it. I wasn’t paying attention to how loud my volume was on my phone cause I didn’t have my head phones and a few guys over heard one of the accents of the people and they came up behind me and started making rude ass comments. I was so close to knocking them out mom, I swear!”. Mama was a little confused. She had never know him to watch anything like that. Let alone know what the name of the show was by heart. “Well that’s messed up”.

“I’m sorry about your wait, the drinks are on the house. We had to make a fresh pot of coffee and we ran out of lemonade so we had to make some more”. The waitress rushed in with the drinks and sat them down so quickly that they almost spilled over. She had her hands full. It seemed as if she was the only waitress working and there were 6 other tables that were either waiting on drinks, meals or waiting for their check. “What can I get for ya?”. Mama looked over to him and gave him a wink and informed her that they were still deciding so she could come back when she was ready. With relief, she said okay and took off with a smile. “So what was wrong with you watching the videos?” mama asked. Hesitantly he said, “They started calling me gay, faggot and asked me if I was taking lessons on how to talk like a fag”.

His eyes started to fill up with tears right in front of everyone in the restaurant. He just couldn’t hold it back anymore. “Mom I’m gay!”. Just as she took a sip of her coffee, she spit it out. She froze. With her mouth dropped open, coffee spilled on the table and the cup shaking in her hand she looked shocked. “Your what?!” she asked. “Yeah, I am. I’ve been meaning to tell you for a while now but I just couldn’t find the words to say. I hope you don’t hate me for it because I still love you with all of my heart. I just can’t hide it anymore”. “How long have you been this way? When did you decide this?” mama seemed kind of angry and irritated. Mauricio started to regret telling her. With his head bent and tears falling out of his eyes like water dripping from a faucet, he responded in a low voice “I’ve always been this way. I don’t remember when I first started liking guys, I just always have. I don’t know how to explain it”. “Well why? Why are you chosing to be this way? There are a lot of beautiful girls out there who would love to have a man like you. Your still to young to make this kind of decision. Did you get your heart broken by a girl or something? Why men?”. Mama tried to calm down but it just hurt her so much. How could he just wait to tell her after all this time? She couldn’t understand. “I thought we had a closer relationship than this Mauricio. I told you that you could always tell me anything. Why are you waiting so long to tell me this now?”.

There were so many questions that he didn’t know how to respond. All he could try to do was explain it as best as he could but the anger from earlier that day got the best of him. “How could you be so selfish? Did you ever think that maybe I was afraid to tell you because I thought that you would never look at me the same? Like you would be ashamed of me? I didn’t want to lose the bond we have. Your not only my mom but my best friend. Why do you think everyone at school made fun of me? Because they knew. Because I wasn’t afraid of losing them. They don’t mean anything to me but you? You’re everything to me. I’m sorry if I disappointed you but this is me mom! Take it or leave it. I can’t hide who I am anymore. I thought you always said being different is special? That being different is what makes something stand out from all the others.. I thought that was a good thing to you”. Mama was so shocked. She didn’t know what to do. He had never spoken to her like that before and the thought of him being gay was never a possibility in her mind. But that is not what upset her the most. “Mauricio, I love you with all of my heart. I’m not upset that your gay. I’m just upset that you felt like you couldn’t tell me because you were afraid of losing me. I am your mother, you may outgrow my lap but you will never outgrow my heart. You may grow up, change.. but one thing that will never change is the bond we have. Your MY best friend. My son. I will love you for who you are no matter who you choose to be or who you are born to be”.

The room was quiet. A few tables finally received their check, paid for their meals and left. The other tables were across the room finishing their meals or just having small talk and coffee. As mama looked around, she spotted the waitress heading toward their table. “Hi, did you guys decide on your meals for today?” she asked as she refilled their half empty glasses. “Oh! Yes, I’ll have whatever he is having”. Mama looked over and gave him a wink. “I trust him.. he always seems to make the right choices”. Mauricio looked up with joy in his eyes and a smile on his face just like his mom. “We’ll just have a number 5. Cheeseburger and fries if that’s okay?”. Mama laughed and said out loud, “I was thinking the same thing. See? Were not that much different apart”.

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