Him and his wife met at a church youth group. They discussed: Christ, family, politics, real marriage, fake weddings.
“Children have to be raised by both a man and a woman. That’s it. They need that balance to enter society. It’s not fair for them to brought up in that confusion. What kind of life is that?”
She smiled with him, agreeing that every man and woman needed to find the one. That the family was the pillar to society. That love between a man and a woman was true and unshakeable.
A while later, and after marriage, they had many children. Many little feet on hardwood floors in a house surrounded by a white, picket fence. A white swing set in the back yard. Tomato vines growing on the side of the house.
After the last was born, the seventh in a row, She died. She died on the street taking out the compost. A stray get away car drove over the corner bend that there driveway was on and struck her while she was behind the bin, picking up a stray chicken bone.
He was left with many little feet stomping on the hardwood floor. He healed, as best he could heal, after a few years put space in between him and that trauma. He didn’t move on. It hurt him to try at love again. He fathered his kids with help from his family who consistently kept close contact with him. Kept telling him that Christ gives the strongest ones the hardest lessons.
Easter came along. Many little feet hopping in his parents back yard. Looking for chocolate eggs, and gummy bunnies, looking to fill their baskets the fastest, looking with dodgy glances at who is filling their basket fastest. He stood watching from the bay window. Slowly breathing. Arms crossed in front of his chest. He was slightly anxious. Wondering if this was a message: An estranged uncle of his — the gay one — would be here, today, for the first time since before he was born. He had never met this uncle before. Only once or twice he had heard of him. The most recent hearing of, what seemed like many years ago, was when his wife was asked to leave his mom’s kitchen after the phone rang. He remembered her mouthing silently “the gay” to him and his siblings and cousins as she softly tiptoed out from the kitchen door. He remembered hearing his mother turning on the microwave, but he didn’t here her opening its door. Neither uncle or nephew new much at all about each other, this much he knew.
Dinner came. Many small feet came to the table. Many small feet from other siblings, and cousins came to the table. His estranged uncle picked the empty seat across from him. He thought maybe he recognized a familiar look in his eyes. Something familiar about his uncle made him warm enough to almost smile. His uncle, unsure if this was a blood nephew, or nephew in law, innocently asked, “ So, how has life been fairing you?”