Coming out, as a father

He started talking almost before he got to the bus stop. He loves the heat. He works on a removal van, he’s got one job today then he’ll enjoy the sun. He hates the way people complain about the heat when they’ve been complaining about cold and rain the rest of the year. I agree. I like the heat, and this variation is fashionable among the English this year, who like to agree as well as talk about the weather. He is a sweet enthusiastic man, who says how lovely it is to go up through the Rec then the woods and down to S- Lakes. You don’t need to go away! I enthuse. Yes. The sun on the water, not a beach exactly but-

He goes there with his son. His son’s a really lovely boy. He’s not boasting, it’s not that he’s saying he is a brilliant parent or anything, but his son has a lovely personality. The bus comes and he starts the same spiel with another woman. He loves heat. He hates people complaining. He has a lovely son.

He’s got this bouffant thing going. That’s the fashion nowadays I suppose, says the father whose hair is short. She says she hasn’t seen him for years, would not recognise him now probably.

He’s-

I didn’t catch the next bit, but the boy is gay or bi. The father whispered, and if he did not want me to hear I am pleased that he did not read me but bothered that he would be ashamed. The boy said he looked at boys, and felt- The woman says you’re learning who you are, finding what you like, at that age.

“I tell him, ‘I’ve got your back’,” says the father, definitely. He repeats it.

I talk to learn what I think about things, to see how it feels to articulate particular opinions, and to find what others feel. He could be testing the waters, finding out whether others are homophobic, talking himself in to acceptance of a thing which disappoints or frightens him. “I’ve got your back” is how I would hope a father would be, and it should not need said unless the son is in trouble. There is such progress! And we still have a way to go.

Langrenee, Echo and Narcissus

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