A Forever Closed Door: Posted on Reedsy Prompts for the Weekly Contest
Getting kicked out of the house is an unfortunate reality for many young queer people after coming out to their families. Whether it is the fact that their family is religious and does not tolerate homosexuality, or just plain ignorance these are usually the cause. It is an unfair and unjust situation in which parents do not support their child and instead push them away.
Neil had known that he was gay for what seemed like a long time. Never having a girlfriend all through school despite his mother’s persistence in telling him he needed to find a girl to date. Taking minute stares at some of the boys at his tiny high school making sure to not get caught. Trying his best to keep it all under wraps because he lived in a small town. A town in which everyone knew everybody and there was no way to keep secrets for long.
His buddies on the baseball team often made fun of him for not having a girlfriend. He was a good-looking guy and plenty of girls would try to flirt with him. He just ignored them though, while being pleasant to them about the fact that he was not interested in them. Neil could not divulge his secret though to his close friends, it would be the end of his social life.
After graduation, he knew it was time. He would be going off to the state college in a bigger city and he felt the urge to come out. He felt fear on the day he had planned to have his parents and younger siblings sit down so that he could talk to them about who he truly is. He helped his mother Joyce bring the food to the overly large wooden table in the dining room. Shaking with anxiety he almost dropped the porcelain plate of biscuits. Recovering from that he placed them in the middle, the centerpiece of the meal.
As they all joined at the table, including his brother George and his sister Felicity they said a prayer. This always made Neil uncomfortable because according to the church they belonged to, his very existence as a gay man was a sin. Before they dove into the food Neil cleared his throat audibly and said in a quivering voice,
“I have something I need to tell you guys.”
Joyce looked at him with annoyance at the fact that he interrupted her while biting into a piece of bacon.
“What is it, honey?”
They all turned their heads and looked at him.
“This is hard to say but it is time that I come clean.”
His father named Colton said with irritation,
“What did you do?”
Fearing that he may be in serious trouble he replied,
“Nothing bad I swear but I need to be honest with y'all.”
“Well spit it out!”
Neil sighed and then responded,
“I am gay.”
His father looked at him with surprise.
“I am gay.”
Then Joyce looked at him with defiance and said,
“No, you are not.”
“I know that this is hard for you to understand but I am gay. I have known this for a long time.”
His father abruptly stood up out of his chair and said loudly,
“I will not have this conversation in my house.”
Feeling some tears coming that he tried to hold back, Neil said meekly,
“Dad, I am sorry but I needed to tell you all the truth.”
Joyce started to get angry while his siblings just looked at him shockingly but stayed absolutely silent.
“Listen to your father, we will not tolerate this.”
Disappointed but thinking that he knew they would not take it well. He got out of his chair and went upstairs to his room. Ascending the steep stairs and racing to open the door to his room. His family just let him do that as he laid down on his messy bed and cried. Later in the day, his parents came into his blue-painted room.
“Your father and I have been talking about this and we have come to a decision.”
Neil sat up and looked at them frightened at what they were going to say next. His father went up closer to him so that their faces were almost pushed together.
“After you go off to college at the end of summer do not bother coming back to this house.”
Before Neil could respond his father slapped him across the side of his face. This prompted Neil to start crying again and he rubbed the place where his father had hit him.
His mother looked at his father angrily and said,
“Colton you didn’t have to do that!”
“Yes I did, I needed to teach this boy a lesson.”
The room fell silent and Neil took in the gravity of what his father said about him not being able to return home after he went off to Louisiana State.
“Mom, Dad, please don’t do this.”
Joyce looked at him with a mix of sadness that she had to do this to her baby boy and rage.
“We have no choice but to do this to you son. We decided that this would be the best way to show you that your homosexuality will not be allowed in our family and this house.”
After Joyce said this, they left the room and Neil continued to cry throughout the night. He didn’t have the courage to go downstairs to eat.
Come the time of his move to Louisiana State, there were no tearful goodbyes. All of his things that weren’t going to be brought to his dorm room were put into storage. So, he left in his old beat-up car and went on to college. His family wouldn’t even drop him off to the university or help him move his stuff into the dorm.
When he arrived he was devastated but also in a way relieved. The whole summer after he had come out to his family had been a nightmare. At least now he could escape this and start over.
In order to pay for his day-to-day costs, he got a job on campus in the library. This helped him to pay for his books and his meals. His engineering degree demanded a lot from him timewise but he managed to pull it off the whole year. This made him proud of himself, he had made friends and was able in some ways to be his authentic self. He even managed to find a boyfriend but they still had to play it safe to avoid ridicule.
At the end of the year, he had scraped together some money to be able to afford a small apartment off-campus where he had a roommate. Since classes were over he had to get a job at a grocery store for the summer to be able to afford his living expenses. This was hard on him and he was worried that doing this all four years would be beyond difficult. What if he couldn’t do it? He wouldn’t be able to go home to his family if things didn’t work out. So, he knew that he had to stick it out and do the hard work.
One evening despite his apprehension he called the family’s home phone. His mother picked up the phone even though she did not recognize the number. Neil had not given it to her.
“Neil, why are you calling me.”
“I just wanted to talk to you.”
“Fine but you are still not allowed to darken our doorstep.”
“I know, I know but I just wanted to inform you that I am okay.”
“Well, that is good to hear. Despite my anger, I have been worried about you constantly.”
“Of course, I’m your mother.”
“Really, because a mother wouldn’t throw out their son,” responded Neil with utter anger.
“Well that may be true but you gave us no choice. You have violated everything we believe and I will not stand for it. Have you stopped this absolutely vile way of life?”
“No, and won’t ever mom.”
“Then don’t ever bother to call me or your father again,” said Joyce with displeasure.
“Fine, I wouldn’t want to talk to you anyways, not if you are going to treat me like this.”
He didn’t give her time to respond, he just hung up the phone enraged.
Confiding in his roommate that gave him support and an unbiased ear, he took comfort in her kind words. This was the end of any relationship he had with his family, he decided that it was not worth it to reach out again. They didn’t care about him in his eyes and he figured there was no point in caring about them anymore.