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LGBTQ+ Christmas Fiction

I have to drive, because Andrew is a total wreck. He’s sitting in the passenger seat, chewing a fingernail, and his left foot can’t sit still. I peel my eyes off the road long enough to peek at him.


“Hey. It’s gonna be fine.” I reach over, grab his shoulder and gently squeeze. “Besides, aren’t I supposed to be the worried one?”


He lets out a deep sigh. “You just don’t know my parents, Marc.”


“I know I don’t. That’s why I’m finally meeting them.” I smile.


“Promise me you’ll love me no matter what happens tonight. Okay?”


“Wow.” I laugh. “How bad could it be?”


“Bad.”


Andrew and I have been together for a year and a half. We met my parents after two months of dating. But I’m lucky, coming from a very accepting family. My grandparents were all hippies, and they brought my parents up with that same love conquers all attitude. They taught me to be kind to people, and not to judge. They gave me my independence and let me make my own mistakes. And most importantly, they taught me how to love.


Andrew’s parents are blue-collar, devout Catholics. In the past, he’s described them as good people, hardworking and trusting, but with a few blind spots. But he doesn’t seem as confident tonight.


“Look,” I say. “They brought you into this world, raised you, and made you the wonderful person you are today. They couldn’t be that bad.”


Andrew chews his lip and stares down the street at nothing at all.


“Is it the gay thing?” I ask. “Cause they seem okay with you.”


“No,” Andrew spurts. “Yes. Maybe?”


I let out a gentle laugh. “Which is it?”


“With me, it was different. Sure, they had a tough time at first. But they came around once they found out I was the same old Andrew I’d always been. I didn’t suddenly change.”


He looks down at his feet. “So I think it’s less the gay thing, and more of the boyfriend thing. It makes it real for them. Mom will seem okay. She’ll overcompensate, but at least she’ll be bearable. But dad—”


Andrew trails off.


I reach out and grab his hand. “Hey. We got this. We’ll be okay. I love you.”


“I love you too.”


We keep quiet for the rest of the ride. I have to admit, I’m apprehensive. I always knew his parents were going to be difficult, but I figured I’ve dealt with this kinda stuff before. Being gay, you learn to build up armor. But now, seeing how nervous Andrew is, I’m a little on edge. I love him, and I want to be a part of his life. His whole life. Good and bad.


We pull up to a cute little craftsman bungalow. It has a gabled roof, with a porch out front, suspended by tapered columns. Christmas lights line every horizontal surface. It looks very festive.


Andrew and I crunch through the snow on our way to the front door. I have a bag full of presents, and Andrew carries a glass baking dish filled with my favorite potatoes au gratin recipe. Steam escapes under the foil.


On the porch, we pause for a moment. Andrew flashes me one more look before letting out a long breath.


“Here goes nothing.” He rings the doorbell.


In a moment, the door opens up. Standing before us is a kind-looking woman with curly brown hair speckled with gray. I’ve seen pictures of her before, but standing in front of us, the family resemblance is striking. She could literally be Andrew in drag. I’ll keep this little observation to myself.


“How’s my little sweetheart?” She cups Andrew’s cheeks with her hands and plants a big kiss on him. She pulls away and puts her hands on his shoulders, inspecting him. “Look how thin you are. Are you eating enough?”


“Are you serious, mom?” Andrew laughs.


I can’t help but notice that Andrew’s mom hasn’t even looked over at me. Her entire focus has been on her son. I clear my throat. I actually had to clear my throat. Wasn’t trying to be pushy.


Mrs. Thompson turns her gaze to me, wearing a polite, if not slightly cold, smile. “You must be Andrew’s special friend.”


“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Thompson. I’ve heard so much.”


“All of it good, I’m sure.”


“Of course.”


We awkwardly try to figure out of we should hug or shake hands. In the end, we sort of do a half hug with me holding on to her shoulders.


“Well, come in out of the cold.” Mrs. Thompson waves us in.


Christmas decorations cover every square inch of the hallway. Little tree sculptures sit on the entryway table, with little reindeer statues under it. A staircase heads up, adorned with live garland and holly. More Christmas lights run along the top of the wall.


“Let’s shut this door.” Mrs. Thompson reaches for the knob. “Don’t want to heat the whole outside, like your father always says. Speaking of which, where is he?”


She turns toward the house. “FRANK!”


How such a loud sound comes out of such a petite woman, I’ll never figure out. “Frank! Andrew's here with his special friend!”


Boy-friend, mom,” Andrew corrects. And thank god for that. Being called special was a little grating. But I’m on my best behavior. I’ll let Andrew fight my battles tonight.


“I’m watching the game,” comes a gruff reply from somewhere in the house.


Mrs. Thompson shakes her hand dismissively. “You’ll have to forgive Frank. He just loves those Sea-whatevers.”


“Seahawks?” I say. “I was watching the game before we left. Love to check up on the score.”


Oh.” Mrs. Thompson tips her head slightly, clearly surprised. “Well, in that case, let’s go introduce you to Andrew’s father.”


We follow Mrs. Thompson down the hallway and turn into a room whose sole purpose appears to be to watch TV. A massive LCD flat screen TV, way bigger than should be in a room this size, is up against the wall. Surrounding it is a sofa, a love seat and a recliner, all straight out of the 80s. In the recliner is a man in his mid-to-late 40s with graying hair. Despite a few wrinkles, he’s still quite handsome. And again, the family resemblance is dramatic. Seeing your loved one’s parents is an interesting preview of what they might look like years from now.


“Are you blind ref?” Mr. Thompson yells at the TV. “He was clearly out!”


“Fraa-ank.” Mrs. Thompson says in a sing-song tone. “Pause the game for a second. Say hello to Marc. Andrew’s special friend.”


I go stand next to Mr. Thompson, ready to shake hands. He pauses the game, turns to look at me, and makes the slightest nod. “Mmm.”


I think it may have been a hello?


“Frank!” Mrs. Thompson scolds.


Mr. Thompson sighs, then finally gets up. He shakes my hand like he’s trying to win an arm wrestling competition. My fingers are getting crushed, but I do my best to match his pressure.


“Nice to meet you, Mr. Thompson. I’ve been looking forward to it.”


“Um hmm.” His face is expressionless. Then he sits, turns back to the TV and starts the game up again.


“Can I get you something to drink, Marc? Glass of pinot gris?” Mrs. Thompson asks.


“I’d love a beer if you have one.”


Oh.” Mrs. Thompson makes the same surprised look. “No problem. One beer coming up.”


“Thank you so much.”


I wonder how many gay stereotypes I’m going to have to shoot down tonight. Andrew likes beer and football too. I mean, they realize he’s gay, right? Rhetorical question.


“What’s the score?” I ask.


“Hawks up by three.” Mr. Thompson keeps his eyes fixed on the TV.


“Nice. They scored a touchdown since we left.”


Mr. Thompson looks over at me with raised eyebrows. “You don’t have to pretend to like football on my account.”


Andrew cuts in. “Marc’s got season tickets. He’s a huge fan.”


“Hmm.” Mr. Thompson’s latest grunt sounds slightly more approving. “So why aren’t you there tonight? Pretty important game you’re missing.”


“I would have loved to go. But having Christmas dinner with you and Mrs. Thompson is pretty important to me, too.”


Mr. Thompson doesn’t look impressed by my sacrifice. “I would have taken the tickets off your hands.”


“Well, next time I have a spare ticket, I’d be glad to have you along.”


“Mmm.” His eyes are fixed on the TV. “He was wide open, ya bum!”


Mrs. Thompson enters the room carrying two beers. She hands one to me and one to Andrew. “Here you go, boys. Dinner will be ready soon.”


"Anything I can help with?" I ask.


"No, no, you just sit and enjoy yourself." Mrs. Thomason heads to the kitchen.


We sit and watch the game for about fifteen minutes. Mr. Thompson yells at the TV a lot. I make the occasional comment when there’s an especially good or bad play, to which Mr. Thompson offers his typical “Mmm.”


Andrew leans over and whispers into my ear. “This is the most grunts my dad has ever made to one of my boyfriends. You’re doing great.”


I let out a gentle laugh. “Thanks.”


Mrs. Thompson calls us into dinner and we gather around the table. She puts all the food out, and it looks delicious. Spiral cut ham, green bean casserole and, of course, our potatoes au gratin. Mr. Thompson watches me like a hawk, perhaps expecting me to grab food before we say grace. But Andrew prepped me for this, and I sit there patiently.


“Hmm,” Mr. Thompson grunts. “Marc, would you like to lead us in prayer?”


“Sure.”


Oh crap.


I’ve heard the traditional mealtime prayer a dozen times in my life, and Andrew coached me on it a bit earlier. But I’m suddenly drawing a blank. Something about Bless us, Oh Lord, but I can’t remember any of the rest. So I start out slow and wait for everybody to say it in unison. When it gets to the next line, I do my best. “for… gifts… receive… thy bounty… Christ… amen.” and I mouth the rest.


I think Mr. Thompson picked up on this. He looks over at me. “Are you a religious man, Marc?”


Gulp.


“No sir, I can’t say I am. But my parents taught me how to love and respect people. And I know Jesus said to love thy neighbor as you love yourself, and that aligns pretty well with my own beliefs.”


“Hmm.” This was a much more introspective sounding grunt than he’d done before. Progress?


The rest of the dinner goes by uneventfully. We all make polite conversation and even talk a bit about how Andrew and I met. My potatoes au gratin is met with good reviews. Mr. Thompson even has a third serving.


After dinner, we head back to the TV room.


Mrs. Thompson intercepts the remote control before her husband can grab it. “I think Hamilton is showing on the TV tonight,” she says, but then glances over at me. “Oh, I guess I shouldn’t assume that’s something you might like.”


I laugh. “No, you got me on that one. I’m a sucker for musical theater.”


Mrs. Thompson beams.


We all sit around and watch Hamilton. Mr. Thompson in his recliner, Mrs. Thompson on the side of the couch near him, and Andrew and I on the love seat. We have our hands around each other, like we would any other time we sit and watch a movie. At one point, Andrew looks over and smiles. I kiss him and nuzzle him deeper.


Mr. Thompson sees this, then gets up quickly, and without a word, heads to the outside deck. Andrew and his mother both watch him go, with worried expressions. I get up to follow him, ready to defend our love.


“Maybe just give him his space,” Andrew says, reaching for me.


“I’ve got this.” I continue to follow. It’s important for me to make sure Mr. Thompson knows how much I care for his son. This isn’t something I want to hide from or sweep under the rug.


When I head out, I see Mr. Thompson leaning against the deck railing, looking out on the back yard. The moonlight illuminates the snow covered tree limbs. It’s a chilly night out and I can see my breath. I lean up on the railing a few feet from him.


Mr. Thompson is quietly crying.


And he doesn’t even stop when he sees me. Here I was, expecting anger, or at the very least, emotional detachment. But not this. I was ready for a confrontation, but the tears have disarmed me. So I sit there, unspeaking, and let him do his thing. I get the impression he’s a person who will talk when he’s ready.


And after a few moments, he speaks.


“When you have a child, you want them to be happy, and hope that their life will be as easy as possible. This world is hard enough without having to deal with extra crap.”


When I’m sure he’s finished, I reply quietly. “The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life was deny who I really am.”


I turn toward him, and we look each other in the eye. “Mr. Thompson, I love your son. And he loves me. And nothing makes us happier than being together, and sharing that with the people we love.”


Mr. Thompson nods. “I know. I see that now. That’s why I’m crying. I’ve wasted so much time.”


I smile. “The past is the past. All that matters now is what you do in the future.”

December 29, 2022 00:37

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7 comments

15:08 Mar 16, 2023

I love this!

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18:01 Mar 16, 2023

Thanks. :)

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22:47 Jan 03, 2023

Well written and I liked the hopeful ending. Your story brings us into the scene well with a lot of small details which make things come alive.

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00:41 Jan 04, 2023

Thanks for the comments. I'm notoriously terse in my descriptions, and that's something I've been actively trying to improve. Glad you liked the ending. I'm hoping Mr. Thompson's change of heart didn't feel too abrupt.

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03:43 Jan 04, 2023

I have that problem, moving the plot along way too fast as well. For constructive critique I would agree the Dad's change of heart could have been explained more fully, maybe through a flashback or antecode told my Andrew, or more explanation. Also, another suggestion to take a story like yours to the next level, might be to have a subplot, another difficultly between Andrew and Marc, or an internal goal of the MC, that gets improved or resolved at the same time. Anyways great writing.

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Wally Schmidt
09:47 Dec 31, 2022

What a beautiful story and lovely outcome

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18:38 Dec 31, 2022

Thank you! Glad you liked it. It took me a while to come up with the ending for this one. Hope it was effective.

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