Six days and counting. I grew more and more uneasy with each passing hour, at least that’s how it felt. Vi and Zari were excited, though, and spending time out and about with their friends that would be going to different colleges. So I was able to stay in my room, staring at the plaque. Big family. Me? How could I have a big family if I was too scared to come out to my mom? And I knew she’d understand. She loved Uncle Kyle, and he was her brother–she’d love me just the same.
Uncle Kyle. I looked up from the plaque and wondered if I should talk to him.
Uncle Kyle was at home the next day, thankfully by himself. His husband was at work and their daughter–six-year-old Cassie–was spending time with her older sister, Ellie. So we were completely alone with no one to listen in or interrupt. And when I said I needed to talk seriously and privately with him, he turned off his cell phone.
We sat down and I had no idea where to start. How to even bring up this subject. He sat patiently, waiting for me to talk so finally I began sputtering and stammering. Unable to get anything said properly until I took a deep breath and tried again. “Uncle Kyle,when did you, uh, realize that you were, um, you know–into guys?”
He raised his eyebrows but didn’t seem too taken aback by this. “I was a bit younger than you. I had this huuuuuuge crush on one of my classmates and he was my best friend.” A sad look passed over his face. “His name was Kenyatta Bee. I admired him, and wanted to be with him. I mean, I guess I didn’t know for sure at that point but I figured I was. Y’know? Then Ken, he told me one night that he was too then he asked me to the prom!” Uncle Kyle laughed, shaking his head. “He had guts, that’s for sure. Seeing how brave he was about it helped me be all brave about it too.”
“You married him, right?” I asked quietly, feeling so stupid for blundering into something like this. “He’s Jake and Ellie’s father, right?”
Uncle Kyle nodded. “Yeah. He died before you were born, in a car wreck. I felt as though my world had shattered. I–I pretty much lost it. But… thanks to Rion, Temp, your mom, your dad, and Milla I finally started to ease out of my grief. But I never thought I’d love again–until I met George.” He brushed his hair back and looked quite weary. “I still love Kenya, and always will. George knows this. Just as I always know he’ll love his first husband.” Then he stopped and smiled at me. “But now I am WAY off subject of stuff and probably boring you.”
“No, it’s ok. You’re not boring me,” I promised. “So you had a crush on a guy? And that’s how you knew?”
“There were other indicators,” he said. “I never felt any attraction towards a female in that manner. I had female friends, of course, but never thought ‘wowzers is SHE hot’!” I laughed at that and Uncle Kyle grinned.
“But what if… say, some girl just came up to you and started flirting with you–I mean, not now of course, but when you were single. And she was all flirty with you then kissed you and you liked it…” I trailed off, nervously looking up into his face. “What if one day that happened and you started thinking maybe you were, you know, straight?”
Uncle Kyle ran his fingers through his hair and let out a loud sigh. “I doubt that would happen. As I said, I’ve never had any feelings for any girls in my life.”
“But what if you liked it?” I asked again, stressing the word like. “A lot? A lot-a lot? And suddenly you realized you, um… liked… girls… yeah, it’s stupid. Just forget it.” I looked away, feeling even more stupid than before. Uncle Kyle reached out, as if wanting to stop me from getting up so I slowly sunk back down.
“Seb, did a guy flirt with you and kiss you, and you liked it?”
“Who told?!” I shrieked, fear breaking over me like a wave. He just stared at me and I went brilliantly red. “Oh. Right. Um. Maybe?” I slumped back, covering my face. “Okay so yes! It happened and nobody knows about it and you can’t tell anyone!”
“I’m not going to tell anyone,” he assured me. “I promise.”
“But you think I should tell Mom and Dad,” I mumbled through my hands.
“Well, no. Not exactly.”
I peeked out and saw he wasn’t joking. “But you came out when you were younger than me!”
“I’m not you,” he pointed out. “I do think that something like this is something that should not be kept secret. However, I also think that something like this shouldn’t be told just because you think you should.”
I lowered my hands, feeling more confused. “What do you mean?”
“If you are positive you are gay then yes you need to tell your mom and dad. Except you shouldn’t tell them until you are ready to tell them. Just because other guys have come out when they were your age, doesn’t mean you ‘have’ to. You need to feel comfortable with it and with the way you’re acting, it’s something you’re still scared of.” Uncle Kyle bent forward, looking into my eyes. “Am I right?”
“Y-yes,” I whispered. “It’s just–I just–I don’t know. That’s the problem, I mean I think I know. I am pretty sure I know. But do I know?”
“That’s a question only you can answer,” he replied, smiling gently. “But don’t go rushing into anything just to find out. Take your time. And even if you still don’t know but you want to talk about it with your parents then go ahead and do that. Tell them you’re not sure, that you’re still confused. But only when you are ready to tell them.”
I nodded, feeling a bit better. He was right. “I want to tell them. But I don’t think I can right now, and I shouldn’t force myself,” I said, almost like a question.
“Forcing yourself to do something like this isn’t good. There are times when a secret does need to be told, even if it will make you uncomfortable. Like say Zari got some girl pregnant,” he said and I snorted. “That is something that needs to be told. So yes, tell your parents and yes, someday soon. But not immediately, not if you’re not ready. Okay?” He reached over, messing up my hair.
I shrank back, trying to smooth it back down. “Thank you. When I’m ready I’ll tell them. I just hope I can keep it secret from Vi and Zari.”
He stared at me with big eyes. “Oh jeez. Good luck with that. You three can read each other like a book!”
I groaned and stood up. “Don’t remind me.”
Dad hired a moving van so we could get our beds and other stuff to our new apartment. He and Mom spent the night, helping us getting things set up. The next day it was more emotional than I thought when we said our goodbyes. We made promises to call all the time and keep them updated on everything, and agreed they could come visit–so long as they have us plenty of warning. And by that I mean, so long as they gave Vi and Zari plenty of warning.
Then they waved at us from the car, taking off to head back to Sunset Valley. Vi, Zari, and I headed back up the stairs to our place and it felt so strange when we went in.
“Wow, this is it,” Vi said, stretching her arms and turning to look at us. “Guys! We are seriously on our own now! Like, seriously. Officially.” She dropped her arms and grinned. “Our own place.”
Zari pointed up, as if he had an idea which apparently he did. “Yeeeeehaaaaaw! We need to celebrate. I’ll order some pizza. Oh! No! Maybe we should go out!” He spread his hands out. “There are some great party places around town.”
“We can’t go to a bar,” I pointed out.
“We’re eighteen,” he said. “Yes we can.”
“Then go ahead,” I said with a shrug, turning away from him.
“No, let’s not,” Vi said, stepping closer to me and putting an arm around me. “You know he’ll never go out and we should spend the evening together to, you know, celebrate.”
I looked at her and she beamed at me. Then I looked at Zari who was shrugging. “Okay,” he said. “Cool. So pizza and a movie marathon.”
“You order the pizza, I wanna talk with Seb for a bit.” Vi dragged me towards my room and shut the door. I faced her, ready for whatever she was going to go on about. Well, hoping I was ready. “I needed to talk with you seriously for a moment, ‘kay?”
“Fine with me. What do you need?” I asked, going over to the window and peering out at the city.
She came up behind me, slapping her hands down on my shoulders rather roughly. “You are a scaredy-cat.”
“No, I don’t mean it to be mean, but you are.” She turned me to face her and I glowered. “You’re scared of people, you’re scared of the public–and that’s okay. But you shouldn’t just hide in your shell forever!” She frowned and then gave me a tight hug. “You’re my brother, Sebby! I love you! And I just don’t think it’s too healthy for you to wallow around this apartment except for classes this entire semester.”
“I don’t see the point in going out to a bar!” I complained.
She sighed, flipping her hair back. “I don’t mean that. I was just kinda hoping you’d, you know, make some friends or something. This is college, we’re adults now–we’re leaping into our future, our new lives, headfirst and that includes change and growth. And not as much shell. Okay? And I’ll be there with you to–“
“Vi.” I looked down, not particularly liking the fact my sister was giving me this sort of lecture. “I appreciate this. I do. But part of my, um, growth and change includes not just… you know, following you and Zari around…” I looked up at her. “Or doing whatever you say. If I make friends, I make friends. If I don’t, I don’t. B-but I’m not going to go do something because it’s what you think I should do.”
I reached over, putting my hands on her arms. “I love you too, but… this is my life. I know you’re just concerned for me but I really just want to figure things out myself, and plow on ahead myself. I can’t be so dependent on you and Zar!” I let go and stepped back, giving her a small smile. “I have a lot of things to figure out in this new life of mine, and I want to do it at my pace. Okay?”
She stared at me for what felt like ages but then she smiled and gave me another hug. “Okay,” she agreed then she messed my hair up, grinning at the scowl I had as I tried to smooth my hair back down. Why did everyone do that? “Now come on, let’s go figure out what movies we’ll be watching tonight!”
The title of this chapter has changed. Originally it was called “A New Life” but then I remembered the first chapter in the first gen was called that and I don’t want any repeat titles so I have changed it.