Hello? Hello? Who is this? What time is it? What? What’s wrong? Why are you calling in the middle of the night? Huh? Say again? Am I hearing you right? What? Are you serious? You’re sure? How do you know? How long have you known? Why haven’t you told me before now?
And, why have you waited until the dead of night to tell me? You thought you couldn’t? I’m your Mother, right? Don’t you know you can tell me anything? You were afraid? How could you be afraid of me? But, what about your sister? What? You told her before you told me? She’s happy for you? Are you kidding? Is she crazy? And, your Aunt? You did? What did she say?
Well, are you surprised? Why did you tell them first? Is the Mother always the last to know?
Who else knows? All your friends here at home know? Every one of them? And their parents?
What do you mean ‘it doesn’t matter’? It doesn’t matter to whom? Don’t you know I have to live here? Dear Lord, what will the neighbors think? How can I face them? And the minister? The congregation? You know you can’t go back to church, right? What? Are you insane? It’s what?
What is this “white, patriarchal bullshit?” What does that mean? Is this what they’re teaching you up there at that college? Are you taking some kind of class—what do they call it?—Sex
Studies or Poetry and Philosophy or something like that? You’re not? Well then, what is this about? Have you gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd? Then how is this even possible? Are all your new friends this way? Do they all live this lifestyle? Is one of them your—oh, Heavenly
Father!—little friend? Or, is this just a phase? No? It’s not? Did they convert you? That’s how it’s done, isn’t it? Well, you do know The Good Lord understands and will forgive your sin when you repent, right? Oh, it’s not a sin? And, you don’t need forgiveness? Since when? Are you trying to be funny? Haven’t you read your Bible? What do you mean you don’t have your Bible any longer? Don’t you remember that I had to work extra shifts to get that before you left for that God-forsaken place? You did what with Leviticus? You wiped your what with it? Is this true? Why are you being so disgusting? You’re not? What do you mean you don’t care what I think? Well then, why have you called me? Why have you told me at all? You just want me to be unhappy, don’t you? You don’t? Do you think you can change? Are you sure? Can’t you try? You can’t or you won’t? What do you mean you don’t want to? How can this be? How can you want to be like this? You know there is therapy for this kind of thing, right? And, you don’t expect me to believe I raised you to be this way, do you? You expect what? But don’t you know you’ll never be happy? Don’t you realize you’ll always be alone? Don’t you know you’ll die from some horrible, unspeakable disease? Don’t you see you’re exactly like your father? And, don’t you remember what happened to him?
Billy Clem teaches writing and literature outside Chicago. His work has appeared in Counterexample Poetics, Radical Teacher, Moon City Review, and Elder Mountain.