A Matter of Perspective
by Elias Scott
My parents and I yelled and screamed at each other until the sun came up. They felt hurt and betrayed. They called me names and I called them names and called them out for the way they'd treated me after I came out of the closet. I called them hypocrites and even called them assholes once or twice. It was like the courage had been locked up inside. It helps sometimes when you just don't give a shit what people think anymore. But you have to realize I couldn't have done any of this before Frank. I was too fragile. I had to be the chameleon. I had to see life differently. I had been that miserable boy sitting in the rain and now I was the Brave Prince and feeling powerful. It's hard to explain.
Frank had given me so much. Had made me confront so many things I'd been afraid to think about or do. He changed my life. And of course if I talked to him, he'd tell me, "No, Will. You did it. You were the Brave Prince."
Well, like John Donne said, "No man is an island complete onto himself." I had felt like an island in the middle of a huge unpopulated ocean. I was as fragile as expensive crystal and teetering on the edge. But I wrote Frank and he wrote me back. I can't thank God enough for that. My parents wanted to know why I talked to Frank and not them. You know the answer to that. They wanted to know why I lied. You also know the answer to that.
The rest of that night was like a roller coaster. We'd be yelling and screaming at each other as we sped down a hill. This Brave Prince cried, his mom cried, and the room quieted as we headed up the next hill. My dad looked like he wanted to cry. Looked like he'd lost his son again. But I saw a bit of hope in his face. He was struggling to hide it, but I could see it. It went on like this until the sunlight came through the window.
It was Saturday and it was raining. I said, "I'm going for a run. We can talk when I get back."
"You can't go out in the rain," my mom said.
"Yes I can and I'm going." I dressed in a pair of running shorts and a tank top, knowing that it was going to be cold, but I wanted to feel the rain slap on my skin and think of the picture of that boy sitting in the rain that Frank sent. I was going to take control of my life. I was shivering when I returned and to my surprise, my mom ran up and hugged me when I walked into the house. My dad ran his hand through my wet hair. "You're all wet."
I looked up and smiled. "I know."
Life is strange at times. It had been a terrible night. We'd said so many terrible things to each other, but as I stood there with the water dripping off my body onto the floor, I felt loved.
It took time, but my parents and grandparents decided that they liked having me around, liked doing things with me, and loved me. They never apologized for their attitudes before all this happened, but they didn't need to. I'd told my parents in the argument that night that all the kids at school accepted me and didn't care if I was gay and they should too. In the end, that's what they decided. So I'm going to college on the condition that I don't contact Frank again. No amount of arguing would change their minds. It's a big price to pay, but I know Frank will understand. Someday, I'll be out of here, and I'm going to find that old man, give him a hug, tell him he saved my life, and I love him. Then I'll add, "And don't forget Frank, life is a matter of perspective. It's the way you look at things that counts. You taught me that, and that's why I'm still here. Thanks."
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