< 300 words. Prompts: face, three, Mark; pride month coming out.
|"We each have three faces: one we show to the world, one we show to our loved ones, one we never show."
Toshiro was explaining his culture. Half of the freshmen feigned interest; half just wanted the hour to end.
"How did it go?"
"One teaches everyone, a few listen, fewer learn."
"Always so philosophic."
"No, Mark. Just being realistic."
"So when will I meet your parents?"
"When will you tell yours that you're gay?"
They always came to this impasse. The injustice of it all.
"Your folks accept your girlfriends. Why not me? Because I'm Black?"
"Você não entende." Toshiro slipped into his native Brazilian whenever he was upset. His folks knew about Mark. But they were 100% practical about love. Do you want children? would be the first thing they'd ask.
"Do you want children?"
"I'm not ready."
...and until you are... Toshiro thought.
At Blondie's they ordered the usual brew. The barista pointed to beaded braids in the corner.
"You mother's stewing."
"Time to face her." Tochiro grabbed Mark's arm and steered him to meet his makeress.
She looked squarely at her son. "Sit down." She waited to pounce.
"What's this I hear ..." Mark stiffened as she paused. " ...about you goofing off and barely passing the mid-term."
Toshiro mouthed, "I warned you."
She turned to Toshiro, eyes blazing, voice rising, beads clacking, "And what good is a future son-in-law if he can't talk sense into my son."
The barista arrived wide-eyed, sat two cappuccinos down and disappeared.
"Look, Toshiro, yes I know your name, Mark can't make it alone. He needs someone."
The three sat in silence until Mark's mother got up.
"Dinner tonight at 7 and I expect you both to be there ... with answers."
Toshiro raised his cup and grinned. "Children?"