A kid trying to figure out where he belongs. A prejudiced world starts in his home.
|Each Christmas Trevor unpacks ornaments. They are a combination of old and new, carefully wrapped in tissue and memories. Now that his parents have both passed, some really pull on the heart strings more than others. He remembers making a few in school. His Mom used to meticulously wrap up styrofoam cups adorned with tinsel hearts. One was torn and it wouldn't take much to crush it. He misses her gentle touch so much. Then there was his father who he had to walk on eggshells around until one special year.
They had been decorating the tree and he was dancing with his Mom, Nancy. She used to speak of wanting to be on American Bandstand. They were older parents and Nancy always said Trevor was such a wonderful surprise since he was a menopause baby. He didn't know what that meant and wasn't going to ask. Right now she was teaching him some dance steps and he was attempting to do something called "The Stroll" with her.
His Pop, Clifford, exploded, "You are prissy, Trevor. No son of mine should act like that. It's embarrassing!"
His Pop's face was beet red with sweat running from his hairline into the crevices around his bloodshot eyes.
Trevor knew he shouldn't push him. He already had high blood pressure but Trevor was tired of the sarcastic remarks.
"What's that mean, Pop? What's prissy?"
"You walk different, like a dog wagging it's tail. Don't tell me you don't know. It's just not natural for a boy." Pop walked to the bar, poured Chivas on ice, then moved next to me. He always claimed I was the cause of his stomach ulcer.
I swear I could smell and feel heat rising from that fire churning in his belly. I knew what was coming.
"You going beat the prissy out of me, Pop?"
Pop was a New York City beat cop, towering over me at six feet and weighing two hundred and fifty pounds. It wouldn't take much, a couple of swings would pulverize me.
If he only knew how much I wanted to be like him. Not a bully but a normal guy. When other guys my age were talking about how hot girls were, I just didn't have those feelings. I wanted to move like other guys. Guess he thought I loved being pinned to the floor and beat up as I’m called "a frigging sissy". Those guys gave me an icy steel look of hate and revulsion.
The saddest thing is I would come home to see the same look in my own father's eyes.
So I would retreat to my room, put on Michael Jackson, and cry. His lyrics mimicked what I was feeling.
On this day he reached out to grab my arms. I closed my eyes, waiting to be slung against a wall.
Suddenly, a memory popped up.
"Hey, Pop, remember when we used to feed the ducks? You would try to walk like them to make me laugh. You said it looked prissy. Guess you hate ducks."
His face suddenly changed from a thunderstorm to a gentle rain. .
A laugh erupted from his furnace belly.
"You gotta admit it, kid. I sure make a great prissy duck."
He embraced me.
By Kathie Stehr