a sense of pride





a sense of pride lgbtq stories
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greenleaf
greenleaf queer writer of colour.
Autoplay OFF   •   a year ago
A conversation between a daughter and her father.

(A short story based off the dialogue prompt: "I said okay.")

a sense of pride

"Okay."

"What?" She paused her music and removed her headphones. Her father was standing at the bedroom door when she twisted to look over her shoulder.

His work clothes were stained with mud, his cheeks lined with stubble, and he was holding a small box in his hands.

"I said okay." He looked, for once, uncharacteristically nervous.

"I thought I told you to knock before coming into my room," she said mildly. There was no heat behind it, but he grimaced and clapped a hand to his forehead.

"Sorry, I forgot again," he muttered, but she shook her head and swiveled her chair around completely to face him.

"Forget it, it's fine. What did you want to talk about?"

"I just - " he began, then stopped. Shook his head a little and hefted the box in his hands, though it couldn't possibly have been heavy.

"I've… been wrong about things." He took a step forward. "Many things, as it turns out.

"I've… been wrong about things." He took a step forward. "Many things, as it turns out. And I just wanted to say that it's okay. You're okay. Everything you've told me is okay."

It was as though a cold fist had clenched her chest. She stared at him. "What is this about?"

He looked the most uncomfortable than she'd ever seen him.

Well, perhaps not the most - the first would have to go towards the time of The Incident, as she sometimes called it in her more bitter moments.

"When you first told me about yourself, I was in shock." He looked out the window, though there was only dark sky to see.

"I thought I'd known everything there was to know about you, and then there you were, revealing such a huge part of yourself that I could never have even guessed at, not after all these years."

Her blood was ice.

"I couldn't understand it," he said. "My beautiful baby girl, and it was like there was suddenly a stranger standing in the living room.

"I couldn't understand it," he said. "My beautiful baby girl, and it was like there was suddenly a stranger standing in the living room. I thought you were lying, at first. I thought, 'There's no way I could not have known about this, so it has to be a lie.'"

She tried to speak, but the words stuck and closed off her throat.

He took another step forward. Her father had always been one of the tallest people she knew, and that second step brought him right into the middle of her bedroom, halfway towards her.

"I was angry," he said. "So angry."

And, oh, he was.

It was as though every moment of that awful night had been engraved behind her eyelids, and already she could hear again the shouting, the crack of broken plates, her screams of fury,

the tears that had come hot and thick and unstoppable after she had slammed the door to the very bedroom in which they both now stood.

The memory of it, heavy and wrenching, unstuck her throat.

"That was unfair," she said numbly, and looked down at her shaking hands. She didn't know what else to say.

"It was."

"It was." She looked up in shock. Her father had reached her, and knelt to look into her face.

"It was." She looked up in shock. Her father had reached her, and knelt to look into her face. His eyes were kind, and tired, and fond, and filled with regret.

They were shiny with tears where the light hit them right.

"It was unfair. I shouldn't have been angry, and I shouldn't have taken it out on you." He sighed. "If I was angry at anyone, it was myself.

"It was unfair. I shouldn't have been angry, and I shouldn't have taken it out on you." He sighed. "If I was angry at anyone, it was myself. I felt, somehow, that I'd failed as a father - "

" - not because you'd turned out this way," he took her hand before her face could close off from emotion completely,

" - but because I couldn't fathom how I had missed such a big part of you for so long."

"It's not that big of a thing," she said. She gripped her father's fingers.

"You keep saying that, and it's really not. It's - well, fine, maybe it is, kind of. At least, I know it's important to me." She blinked up at him.

"You keep saying that, and it's really not. It's - well, fine, maybe it is, kind of. At least, I know it's important to me." She blinked up at him. "But it's not all I am. It's a part of me, but not all of me. I'm still the same person you've always known."

He smiled, a bit sadly. "So much," he murmured. "I have so much to learn. I tried looking online, a bit. About what you called yourself. I won't lie, I still don't understand it completely.

He smiled, a bit sadly. "So much," he murmured. "I have so much to learn. I tried looking online, a bit. About what you called yourself. I won't lie, I still don't understand it completely. But I was hoping…"

"What?"

"That you would help me learn, after tomorrow."

Her vision was blurry. "And what's tomorrow?"

He put the box in her lap. It was open. She used the hand not gripping her father's to reach inside, and stopped at the feeling of soft cloth.

"It's a flag," he said when she gaped at him. "Something I found online, while researching."

He tugged her upright, out of her chair. "You should go to bed. I hear our city's Pride parade is tomorrow, and the organizers on the website recommended to arrive early if you want a good spot."

"Dad," she said, reeling. "Dad."

"I have a long way to go, to - to apologize," he said. "And I am - sorry, that is. So, so sorry."

He wrapped his arms around her and she hugged him back, tightly, bewilderedly, as if he was the only solid thing left in the world. The flag was silky smooth in her grip.

They were silent for long, long moments. She breathed in his familiar scent of cashews and cigarette smoke, and his steady heartbeat thudded in her ears.

"Will you be there with me tomorrow?" she asked, and felt rather than saw his slow, spreading smile in response.

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