I light my third cigarette quickly, so my mom doesn’t see my hand shaking.
If she is shocked at all, she doesn’t show it.
Mom, I like girls.
Because I’m 26 years old, and I text my mom to tell her I’m gay.
She just laughs it off, and tells me to come home. To come stay at the house. That she would be the last person to tell me to try to make it work with Jake if I’m not happy.
I lean my forehead on the heel of my hand and exhale slowly. Smoke curls around my wrist, and dances up past my fingertips, the thick scent of tobacco resting in my unruly hair.
“So, what are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know, mom. I think I’m going to stay there until spring. Stick it out until winter is over, then try to find a place.”
She looks at me skeptically.
“It’s the most practical. I don’t have the money to get a place for the kids and I right now.”
I pick at my fingernail until it bleeds. All ten of them are ragged; chewed to the quick.
“What did Jake say when you told him?”
“I haven’t told him. Only that I’m leaving. I don’t know what good it would do me to tell him I’m a lesbian. I can’t answer the questions he will ask.”
More silence. I chew on my fingernail some more. Bite. Spit. The sting. The tiny line of blood.
“You’ll have to tell him. Eventually. He deserves to know.”
“He deserves a lot of things I can’t give him. Like an explanation.”
I snatch my half empty pack of cigarettes and make for the screen door. The giant Siberian husky laying in front of it barely lifts his head when I open it into him.
“Just think about it. That’s all I’m saying.”
I shove the door harder and the dog slowly gets up and wanders out of my way.
I turn around and meet her gaze.
“Your mother loves you no matter what. Everyone else will either come around, or they will get over it.”
I nod softly and let the door fall shut behind me.