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It’s Called Love
Written By: Tammy Ferebee

            I see him as he walks through the door. My nerves force trembles out of me. As he approaches my table, my stomach drops. His expression reveals anger. It’s been four years. How could he still be holding on to so much anger after all this time?
            I stand as he pulls out a seat. I attempt to hug him, but he quickly sits down. I silently pray that no one witnessed the rejection and take my seat. 
            “Thank you for coming.”
            He nods. His expression still unpleasant.
            “How have you been?”
            “I’ve been alright?”
            “How’s mom?”
            “She’s fine. I reckon you already know that though. I know you two have been talking behind my back.”
            “I don’t think you can fault me for keeping in touch with my mother.”
            “I can when I asked you not too.”
            “Well it’s wrong for you to try to keep a child from their mother.”
            “You walked out on us, remember? You ran off with that man. You turned your back on our family values.”
            “I don’t want to fight dad,” I respond quickly. “That’s not why I asked you to come here.”
            “Why did you ask me to come here?”
            “We’ve been working with a surrogate mother and we’re welcoming our first born in about seven months. I’d like him or her to know both sides of their family.”
            His eyes tighten. “You’re having a child?”
            “Yes. My husband and I are having a child.”
            “He’s not your husband.”
            “Well, fiancé. But come May, we’re heading up to Maine to make it official.”
            He shakes his head. “I’m out of here.”
            “Dad please,” I beg as he scoots his chair back.
            “Please what? Pretend to be happy while my son opens the gates to hell?”
            “What kind of pastor are you?”
            “What did you just say?” His tone is frightening.
            “You preach about acceptance. You preach about love. About peace. But you’re turning your back on your own son. That’s not love. That’s not acceptance. You’re a hypocrite.”
            “And you’re a homosexual. That’s against my religion. That’s not how I raised you to be.”
            “No one raised me to be this way. I’m gay dad. It wasn’t a choice. It’s who I am.”
            “Everything is a choice boy.”
            “Do you think I would choose this and go through everything that I’ve gone through if there were an easier way? I’ve lost my family. If I walk down the street holding Derrick’s hand, I’m called a faggot. Why would I choose this if I had another option? I’m gay dad. I’ve been gay all my life.”
            I look at my father and I become angered. I’m tired of explaining this. I’m tired of his rejections.
            “You know what? I’m sorry I asked you to meet me. I don’t want you to be a part of my child’s life. If by chance my child turns out to be gay, the last thing I’d want for him or her, is to experience what I have. Derrick is going to be a good father, dad. A father who won’t turn his back on their child if they decide to take a path other than the one their father pre-paved for them.”
            I smile at the man I used to look up to before standing. “It’s called love, dad. To be a pastor, you should know all about that. Maybe you should re-read that good book you carry around all the time. I guarantee you, it says nowhere in there that it’s okay to turn your back on your child even if they are gay. Homosexuality may be defined as a sin, but hating me is also a sin.” I slide my chair under the table and leave a ten dollar bill to cover my soft drink and tip. “I love you dad. I hope one day you’ll realize that I’m still the same Joseph. I still value everything you taught me. And as hard as you may find it to believe, I still try to live my life as the Christian man you raised me to be.” 
            I head for the door. Before exiting, I turn and walk back over to where my father is sitting silently. 
            “You consider yourself a man of God, right dad?”
            “I am a man of God.”
            “Then why have you turned your back on me when He hasn’t?”

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