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19th February
posted by amber

The Question

My father asked me to move in with him the other day. He said, “Since your mother died, Simon, the house is too big for me, so I either want to sell it or maybe I can turn the upstairs into an apartment for you.”

Possibly my initial reaction, nothing more than the unguarded expression on my face – surprise tinged with just a touch of horror – wasn’t all that he’d hoped for.

“Hear me out, son. I know you like your things just so in your own place but I think we can renovate to meet your expectations.”

“How are you going to afford this, Dad?”

“Call it your mother’s gift to you. The inheritance she got from Auntie Lil has been sitting in a bank for six years, earning interest.”

“You two were going to use that money for a trip.”

He looked down. There was no need for him to answer. She’d been sick nearly all that time. No use either for me to suggest he spend it on himself. If I didn’t let him spend it on me, he’d give it to my sister. Neither one of us needs it. We’ve both done well. But she has kids so maybe it could be a university fund for them.

I was about to suggest this when he got a strange expression on his face and asked, “You’re not gay, are you, son?”

So – at last – the question had been asked. I’d been expecting it for years. Ever since the questions about when I was going to bring a nice girl home to meet them stopped. Ever since the comments started; comments that didn’t sound like questions even if they were.

“You should see Simon’s apartment, he’s such a good decorator.”

“Most men can’t cook, but Simon knows his way around a kitchen.”

“Simon’s such a good dresser. He has a real sense of style.”

These remarks came mostly from my mother. I think my father was too embarrassed to skate even that close to the terrible possibility. Yet now he’d come right out and asked. I suspect my mother’s death taught him things about love and wasted opportunities.

I hugged him – more unusual behaviour for our family – and said, “No, Dad, I’m not gay. And no, I won’t move in with you. But there’s an apartment available in my building that I think would be perfect for you.”

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

This tale is a return to my roots of story-telling, back to the days when my best friend and I used to challenge each other to make up tales about people we saw on the bus or walking downtown. This was inspired by a man I noticed at a bank.

1 Comment

  1. Celeste

    Hi Amber,

    Here are 2 first line suggestions to a future short story for you:

    Her cousin and her had just landed in France, the land of their ancestors. Having spent a lot time together growing up in Canada, they…………..

    Keep up the good work Amber!


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