We both knew a secret. The tear flooded faces and sniffling cries stayed in my mind. A man was staring at me. His persistent eyes grew dewy. My mother stood up from her seat. The end of her dress covered the floor. Her hands shielded her eyes. Her speech was stuttered sobs.
I wiped a tear from my eye. The man staring at me stayed across the room. We exchanged light smiles and then I turned toward the closed coffin. I recalled my father’s smell—Dior Homme—he always drenched his chest in the scent. I remembered the scent lingering for hours after he left the room. But out of the good memories I shared with him, I spent most of my time fearing him. I feared what he’d think of me.
Not even my mother knew. I never let them know. My father slept with his bible under his pillow. And even with liquor on his breath, he repeated passages from it. I was what he called “one of those sinners”.
I had many girlfriends. It was a sacrifice that attached a chain ball to my ankle.
My mother’s hand was cold. She pressed her palm against mine. The man’s stare was heavy. I glanced at him. It was good to love someone. I wished my father understood.
When I attended a university inAlbany,New York, I met a man. A great man. I didn’t hide anything. We spent nights kissing in the grass of the courtyard and cuddling in our dorm room. The moon was always so full when I was with him.
He blew a kiss at me from across the room. My hand grabbed at the air to catch it. I smiled. There were two deaths that day. My eyes locked on his eyes as I mouthed: “Freedom.”
Aiden Lovely is a member of the LG Writing Group.