Final Respects

1) Muse’s next directive: “Fill in the blank: ‘When I first told my family about ___________, they didn’t believe me.’”

When I first told my family about how Pop-pop was gay, they didn’t believe me. I guess it might have been tough to see from where they were sitting. Mom in her rocker every night watching I-Love-Lucy sleep in her own separate little bed, and Dad with his eyes that are always red from the smoke. Me, I get to sit in 5 different seats at school every day because we change classes now. I sit with lots of different sorts. Mom only has the cat and my baby brother to talk to. Dad? I guess Dad might meet some different sorts at the plant, but he doesn’t talk much at home. I don’t think he ever does. You have to talk to people to know things.

Me? I was the first person Jo-Jo told, because we sit together in health class and the diagrams of “Your Growing Body” made her turn as red as her cheer uniform. And Alan Russel just asked the whole 3rd period English class to call him Allison. Nobody even laughed. He’s been wearing lipstick for two years already. Once the gym teacher got over it, the rest of the school stopped noticing. Except May Thomas. She’s been heartbroken about him since we graduated first grade.

So when I told Ma and Pa how it might be nice if we put a picture of brother Miller in Pop-Pop’s coffin with him, I was surprised when they sent me to my room for “disrespecting the dead”.  Then grounded for “smart mouthing”. All I said was, “But they loved each other”. Parents. They mystify me. The rest of my life, I’ve got a handle on. My new schedule with the 5 different rooms all spread out over the school and the 5 different teachers with their 5 different names, desks, and ideas about where I’m supposed to sit. Just yesterday I got a hundred on a quiz on all the capitols. I even pointed out a mistake in algebra class. But my parents? Maybe my brother will figure our parents out. They’re too loud when they talk secretly, and they whisper when they really mean something.

But capitols and variables are things anyone could miss, I guess. I just didn’t expect them to miss the way Pop-Pop looked when he watched Deacon Miller sing in the choir. Always the same squinty glow he had when he peered down at Charlie Brown and the gang when we got the newspaper. And the way they both wore the same cologne, like they were scared to be distinguishable by a blind person. The way they stood locked together, alone in the crowd when they shook hands every Sunday before service.

Even Jesus said, “they know not what they do” so I guess I have to forgive them. I’ll  give Pop-Pop the picture of Mr. Miller with the big smile and brown M&M eyes. It’ll be our secret. I’ll fold it up in the rose I give him before I say goodbye.

 2) My current word count for my novel is: 47,414/ 70,000. 

3) Muse’s next directive: “Write about an appliance, weapon, or vehicle being put to a use for which it was not designed.”

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