Husband of My Homophobic Sister Ch. 19

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Husband of My Homophobic Sister: Chapter 19 — “Why do you have such an issue with gays?”

Content warning: Mentioned abuse of a child, reference to homophobic parents, and internalized homophobia. This story does not represent the opinions of other people with religious beliefs. It’s fiction and represents only this single fictional family belief.

I opened my laptop and notebook, wrote down tasks, and started my process. I often glanced at Nate, but I was pretty productive. Soon, however, I noticed that Nate worked consistently for hours without moving around or even drinking. By lunchtime, I had stood up and moved three or four times. Twice of that, I was exercising lightly. But Nate was just immersed in his screen, and by the pace of his fingers, I could see he was tired. It was after noon when I told him we could go eat.

“Sure, I will just finish this paragraph.”

I sat there and watched him work. It was fascinating. He was hyper-focused, but he also looked really exhausted.

.

He looked at the clock and frowned.

“Damn it. Ok, Richard, you just go. I need more time. I will eat later.” He said as he was double-checking everything was saved.

“What?”

“Fuck!” he exclaimed.

“What happened?”

“Nothing, sorry, it’s just if Ashley didn’t have to stay in that room, I would have eaten by the computer.”

“You haven’t touched the water or tea I’ve brought you.”

“Sorry, there are just really a lot of things I need to do.”

“I am not that petty, Nathaniel; I was talking about your health. You need fluids. Could you please drink this? Or are you not thirsty?”

.

He chugged it down like he hadn’t had a drink in days.

“I was. I forget to eat or drink sometimes when I work.”

“Right.”

“Do you have ADHD?”

“What? Why?”

“You are getting into hyper-focus and forget to do normal things while working.”

“What does that have to do with it? No, I don’t.”

“Are you annoyed I broke your focus now?”

“I think anyone would be.”

“True, but is it like an itch you cannot scratch and just feel nervous and anxious?”

“Yes. But I was taught to work this way since childhood, so I don’t think it’s some disorder. Do even adults have it as well? I heard about it only in regard to children.”

“You seem annoyed.”

“Ok, you win. Let’s go eat. Come.”

.

I put a hand on his leg, sitting him back down.

“Nathaniel, wait.”

“Richard, it’s not that I can’t focus; I just have a lot to do, and I am under immense pressure.”

“Sure, sorry. I suppose I projected onto you.”

“You have ADHD?”

I started laughing. “I believe I have.”

“I don’t know much about it.”

“I didn’t either, but many things made sense once I learned about it.”

“So, you self-diagnosed?” Nate looked a bit amused now. As if trying not to hurt my feelings, but he was doubtful for sure.

“You can say I can’t be 100% sure, but I implemented a few strategies about how I work, and it helped me immensely. The way you work, no food or drink, it will burn you out.”

He looked as if it wasn’t me telling him that he would get angry. Instead, I saw his face calm down as if he forced it that way. It was fascinating to watch this process, and I am glad I did see it. So, he is not always composed. Nate just knows how to work with his emotions. I like it. I never saw a person like that.

.

I thought about it for a second and decided to push my luck further.

“Can we do an experiment?”

Nate looked amused. “What kind of experiment?”

I took his hands in mine and kissed each finger while thinking about it more.

“You need to write this book?”

“It’s not a book. It’s project documentation.”

“Ok, I digress. You need to work on something.”

Nate chuckled. “Ok, where are you going with this, Richard?”

“How about you work with me.”

“Elaborate, please.”

“I work in segments. I learned I am the most productive if I take breaks and move. It may sound cheesy, but how about you give me one day to try it?”

Nate laughed. “I work differently than you, Richard. I appreciate the thought, but I worked my whole life like this. I don’t feel the need to change.”

“Nathaniel, I definitely won’t force you. It was just an idea. I thought you had already made breaks before. Like when we were working out weeks back.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t have a Damocles’ sword above my head then.”

“Sure. No worries. Then let’s go eat.”

He looked at the screen and sighed. “Sure, let’s.”

.

Nate stood up, and I could see he was bursa escort sore. I shook my head and tried not to judge. It’s his life.

We heated the meal he had cooked yesterday, and I told him about my breakfast with Ash. He was genuinely happy hearing that.

Then we came over to Ashley’s door, and all sat eating from our bowls on the floor.

I must admit it was fun. Nate was really charming and entertaining. All of us were just really relaxed. As if I spoke with friends from childhood and not my hated sister and her husband.

.

I don’t remember how, but the conversation steered into Nate working on my desk. Well, I think Nate mentioned it in passing, but Ashley just became silent for a second

“You are working on Rick’s desk?”

We looked at each other. Should we worry? Nate smiled comfortingly

“Yeah, I have to say it’s a big help. Richard has an amazing setup, and with all that writing I need to do, editing is hard on the little screen of my laptop. I bought my own monitor, but it hasn’t arrived yet.”

“Right. That’s really nice of you, Rick.”

“Why is everyone surprised when I do something nice?”

“It’s not about being nice, Rick. You always had a huge problem sharing things. Since childhood.”

“It’s not that bad, and people change.”

“True, they do,” Ash said slowly

“Nate even drove my car, and I was ok with that.”

“Where did you drive?”

“Ben had a birthday party,” Nate said. He looked at me like he was trying to figure out what I was trying to accomplish. But, in all honesty, I didn’t know myself. I just didn’t like that people thought of me as a selfish person.

“Who is Ben?”

“My best friend from college.”

“I thought that was Courtney.”

“Yeah, she was there also. She is married to an amazing woman, and they have a little son. We all were at Bens and Peters. Their daughter loved Nate. He is amazing with kids. You should see him.”

She was silent. Nate looked at me disappointed, and yes, I knew Ash didn’t like hearing about my gay friends. I have most probably just destroyed her mood. And on purpose. I knew that she would be uncomfortable, and I overshared on purpose for that reason. Well, I just wanted to put it in her face. I regretted it later, but no one can take back words they say, really.

“So, you have been to a birthday party with Ben, his partner Peter, I presume, and they have a daughter. Also, Courtney was there with her wife and their son.” She repeated. Her voice had some cold sadness in it. But I didn’t hear the disgust in her voice. I suppose that’s good.

“Peter and Ben are married.”

“Right. And why were you there, Nate?”

Nate, at this point, just sat there staring at me in disbelief, knowing full well I was trying to hurt his wife. I got us all into a precarious situation, and there was no way from there.

“We were hanging out with Rick when Ben called, and Rick asked me if I wanted to go. I suppose he didn’t want to leave me here all alone, or he asked it in the heat of the moment as I was in the room.” He called me Rick. Twice. He was angry with me; I could tell it from his look. Fuck. What was that good for?

“They are nice people, Ashley. I think you would like them if you gave them a chance.”

“Maybe.”

“Well, I have to go now. I have a lot of things to do. I will come later, Ashley.”

“Of course, dear. Thank you.” She opened the door and pushed her bowl out. Nate took it, stood up without a word, or glance at me, and went into the kitchen.

.

“I will go work now, too, Rick. Thanks for the company.” Ash said from the other side of the door, and soon I heard a chair at her desk.

I just sat there feeling dumb. I went after Nate to the kitchen, but he was already on his way up.

“Nathaniel?”

He looked at me. “That was unnecessary.”

“Why should I be feeling guilty about having gay friends? You are being unreasonable.”

“It’s not just about that. It was the way you spoke. Your tone was like you were looking for a fight. And you spoke about meeting a bunch of your friends while she is locked in one room, and yes, you know she feels uncomfortable about people with different sexuality.”

“None of that is my fault.”

“True. Still, you could have taken a different approach.”

“Maybe. Are you mad?”

“No, just disappointed, but it’s not my place to judge you. I just hope you two would be nicer to each other, and I had my hopes up a little bit.”

“I think we still have a long way to go for that.”

“Maybe.”

“I will go work altıparmak escort now, Richard.”

We came into my room.

.

“Why did you call me Rick back there?” I knew I sounded like a petty little boy right now, but I was honestly upset about that.

“Because I know you care about that, and it felt right.”

Have we really developed a code for calling each other? It may sound weird, as in all my relationships, my partners usually made fun of how I distinguish between nicknames or just overlooked it mostly. Did Nate just naturally pick up on it? Why is he matching my weirdness in such a captivating way?

Thoughts about how our relationship was doomed anyway crossed my mind again, and I felt anxious about it. I really want to be with this man. I came over to him and hugged him tightly. I felt like a boy feeling safe in his arms when everything around is tough. We hugged for a moment, and then he kissed me, stroking my cheek.

“I don’t want to live with you on borrowed time, Nathaniel. I want to be able to see what we could become.”

He blinked as if trying to suppress tears and kissed me again.

“Me too, Richard.”

I exhaled and let him go. We both need to get back to work.

.

I finished a few things and called a few people. Exercised while thinking about my following tasks and worked some more. Just a regular working day. I kept looking at Nate, still intensely buried in the screen. I decided to at least have him drink enough, and every time I went for water or to move around, I brought him a glass and kissed his nape while he drank it. I even kept track of how much water he had. I really am changing.

The evening came, and I turned off my computer and work sim card. Then, I headed down to cook dinner. Kiss, smile, and back to the screen – that’s all Nate did. I hope it’s worth it, and he will be done soon.

.

I came to Ashley’s door and knocked, asking if there was anything special she would like to have. We exchanged a few words, and I was off to the kitchen. I love cooking. I am not the best cook you can find, and my meals don’t look video-presentable, but I think they are tasty. I made a meal and called Nate down.

It took him a couple of minutes, so I spent it talking with Ash, and I had to say I started to give her a chance. I think these meals and talks about nothing brought us a little closer.

We ate, and soon after, Nate excused himself and went to work. I hated that. But I respected it. I had a time in my life when I was the same.

So, it was only me and Ash sitting on the floor talking. I learned about the company she has worked in for over ten years. It’s small, but she is dedicated to growing it further. The way she spoke about it reminded me of Peter talking about Sheila. She really loved it, and given that they have only about 50 employees, Ash knows each of them as well as their families.

Then she talked about her church, but after a while, she picked up on my resentment of this institution. I think both of us were thinking if we wanted to go into this territory.

.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Yeah, please.”

“Why do you have such an issue with gays? Did our parents teach you to hate us that much, or do you think it’s right on your own?” It may sound unpleasant when you read this, but I haven’t felt it like that. My tone was inviting, and I just really wanted to know.

“They didn’t teach me to hate homosexuality. I never hated them. I never hated you either.”

“You said you did.”

“I know, I was trying to bring you back to us, and I made lots of wrong decisions on the way. Soon, I saw what it created and felt angry at you for leaving. I was mostly mad at myself for being unable to make you stay, but turning that anger on you was easier.

“I wouldn’t leave if I thought you wanted me here. But everyone made me feel like I didn’t belong there. Like I disgust you.”

“Only part of you.”

“Sorry?”

“We were trying to save you.”

“What?” I sat back and leaned to the door staring at them with anger growing inside me

“We all hoped you would choose the family over being homosexual.”

I was so glad now for the door between us! I don’t know what I would have done seeing her say that. I instead stayed silent. I was so mad!

“We were worried for you. I still am.”

“Why?” I rather kept my responses to a minimum. I felt I was shaking from anger, but I needed to understand once and for all.

“Do you know what happens to gay people after they die?”

“Their brain shuts down, görükle escort then their bodies slowly rot.”

“I believe in Heaven and Hell, Rick. And all my life, I heard about the torments of Hell.”

“I know. I did hear that, too, remember? It was mom’s favorite disciplinary method, and when that was not working, it was grandfather in the basement. To save us from eternal torment. I feel sorry for you that you grew up believing that.”

“And I felt sorry that you grew up resenting that idea. I remember I was scared for you. I cried myself to sleep for months after you told us, praying to God to let you go into Heaven.”

It would be ridiculous if her tone wasn’t this sincere. She was hurting, and I could hear it in her voice.

.

“So, for you, was all that beating worth it?”

“I believe they did it to ensure our afterlife, yes.”

The worst part was that I knew she was being genuine.

“What God would want children to suffer like that?”

“I don’t like this notion of only a good God. Parents discipline their children because they love them and want the best for them. I think God is just like that. He is loving but also has to discipline us when we stray from our path.”

“You just became our mother in the end.”

“And you became our father.”

.

The sheer terror she unleashed in me with those words was worse than anything I could think of. My body was shaking so hard that if I were on a piece of furniture, it would be shaking with me. I tensed my fists, and my knuckles dove into my skin. I think the only thing that could be worse now would be her comparing me to our grandfather.

“That is not true! I would never let my children fear my father-in-law and let him do the things he did to us while looking like it doesn’t concern me one bit!”

“He believed he was doing right by us. Mother also.”

“Bullshit. And even though I know that’s the truth, I will never forgive any of them for that. Do not ever tell me I am like him!”

“I didn’t mean that. I meant some of your wording, reactions, and attitude are similar to his. I didn’t want to get into this, Rick.”

“I don’t give a fuck if I pronounce some words in the same way, have similar features, or what you meant. I am never going to be like him! Do not ever compare us.” I growled. I was furious and hurt.

“Why do you resent them so much? They loved you. I loved you!”

“You all loved the idea of me you conjured in your heads, good straight Christian too scared to voice his opinions.”

“Rick…”

“What if no God exists and there is no Heaven or Hell? What if all that suffering and all that tough love were for nothing? And all of you ruined our family for that?”

“And what if you die and find out everything you just said is wrong and God exists, and you won’t be living in hell for a measly 70 or 80 years… but for eternity?”

“Then I will spend every moment remembering the happiness I had when I actually lived!”

“I wish the two of us could find a way to understand each other.”

“I worry that it is not a matter of understanding, Ashley. I worry that it’s a matter of choosing. I have chosen a life that fulfills me and makes me feel complete, alive, and true to myself. You chose to live in fear of Being you only suppose exists.”

“I know he exists.”

“And even if he does, are you sure he disapproves of two adults loving each other just because they are the same sex?”

“I wish I could hope he doesn’t.”

We both were crying at this moment. I tried to compose myself, but I was literally shaking all over my body. This was too much!

“I need some space, Ashley. I am not angry, just exhausted. I will go now.”

“Sure. Bye. Richard.”

I turned back at the door hearing her say that. Tears ran down my cheeks as I stepped up the stairs.

.

I came to my room, and Nate’s welcoming smile froze upon seeing me. He jumped to me and took me into his arms. There, I just completely broke down. I was crying like a little hurt child. He sat me on the bed and leaned on the backboard holding me. Silently stroking my hair and kissing my nape as I was crying myself out on his chest. I don’t remember when the last time I was this hurt and exhausted. All the memories of me growing up, the fear, and the emptiness came rushing back from deeply hidden parts of my memory. Mother’s threats, father in his chair reading papers while I had to step down to that basement. Grandfather’s belt. Everything made me feel small, vulnerable, and insignificant. The fear and knowledge that no one will save me, that they think it’s justified, were always worse than the pain I felt even for days after that.

My cries became sobs, and slowly, my body stopped shaking and fell into a silent void. The last thing I remember feeling was Nathaniel’s hands on my back and my hair holding me safe, and the sound of his beating heart calming me into sleep.

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