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Shades of Love

J. Ann Davenport


"I really think we can get through this," Sandy said. "It’s time though; you know it’s time, Sam. It will be tough in the beginning, but we will all be better off in the long run. They’ll get used to the idea."

"Two years is too long to hide." Sam agreed, crossing the room to sit beside her. "I love you, Sandy, you KNOW how much I love you."

"I know," Sandy cried. "All my life I’ve waited for someone special to come into my life. I just never knew . . . I mean, you were there all along."

"I’ve always known," Sam stared off into space. "Fourteen years ago . . . we were what, twelve? thirteen?"

"No! You were fourteen," Sandy argued "In face, it was your fourteenth birthday party, remember?"

"That’s right, my mom has always had this thing about birthday parties in the park," Sam remembered. "And you were there with you dad, right?"

"Oh, yeah," Sandy rolled her eyes. "Visitation weekend with good ole’ dad. That was the summer before he fell in love with that waitress in Illinois. Let me see. She was two . . . no . . . three wives ago. Now I don’t know where the hell he is."

"Shh," Sam said, taking her hand. "That doesn’t matter anymore; all that matters is us."

"I know," Sandy said as she watched Sam’s fingers gently encircle her hand. She marveled at the contrasting shades of their skin. "So you’re OK with this then."

"I have to be," Sam said. "Mom and Dad will be here any minute. Is dinner about ready?"

"Soon," She said. "Have you told them that we are living together?"

"I told Mom," Sam said. "But she has no idea. I’m sure she thinks it’s separate bedrooms. You know . . . platonic."

"Yeah, platonic," Sandy winked. Sam lovingly kissed her on the forehead and walked over to the window.

"This is gonna be harder on Dad," Sam said. "He and I were always buddies. He never went to a game without me. I just don’t know . . . ."

Sam stared out the window for what seemed like hours.

Waiting was the hardest part . . . and the scenarios, so many scenarios. "I just don’t know what to say to him." Sam seemed more confused that ever.

Then all of a sudden there they were pulling into the parking lot. Mom, Dad, and . . . Aunt Mae?? "Holy shit, They’ve brought Aunt Mae! Why in heaven did they bring her?"

"What?" Sandy asked. "Who’s Aunt Mae?"

"It’s my mother’s sister," Sam explained. "She thinks I’m still thirteen. Look Sandy, I’m still going to tell, them even with Aunt Mae here, But I’ve gotta change clothes."

"What’s wrong with jeans?" Sandy asked.

"You’d just have to know her," Sam stated flatly. "She believes in dressing for dinner. Her husband is a preacher. Please, just answer the door and tell ’em I’ll be out in a minute."

Just as the bedroom door slammed shut the doorbell rang.

"Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds. Come in," Sandy motioned toward the living room. "Have a seat. Sam will be out in a minute. Would you like some tea?"

"Please, Sandy, you’ve known me longer than that. Call me Mary," Mrs. Reynolds said. "And this is Mae, Mae Jenkins. Mae, This is Sandy. Sandy is Sam’s "

"Roommate," Sam interrupted, still wearing jeans. "Sandy is my roommate, Aunt Mae."

"Why look at you," Aunt Mae exclaimed. "All grown up. It seems like yesterday you were just a bouncing bundle on your Daddy’s knee."

"I’m twenty-eight, Aunt Mae," Sam reminded her.

"Not till tomorrow," Aunt Mae said, pinching Sam on the cheek. "I’ve brought you a little something," she said pulling a small box from her huge, overburdened purse. "Go ahead. Open it," she urged.

Sam saw the tears welled up in her eyes and somehow knew what was inside. A quick glance at Mom confirmed it.

"It’s not . . ." Sam’s voice trailed off.

"Yes, it is." Mama smiled. "It’s Grandma and Grandpa’s wedding bands. You knew they would be yours one day."

"You were their only grandchild," Aunt Mae added. "We wanted to wait until you got engaged, but . . ."

"But I’m twenty-eight and still not married," Sam finished the thought.

"That’s OK," Mama said. "You’ll meet someone, honey. Just give it time."

"Well, Mom," Sam looked at Sandy, "I have meet someone. In fact, it’s the person I intend to spend the rest of my life with."

"What!" Mama asked.

"When did this happen?" Daddy stood up.

"Well . . ." Sam searched for a place to start. "You might want to sit down."

"I don’t understand," Mama said.

"Me," Sandy said, taking Sam’s hand. "It’s me."

Daddy sat down, almost missing the couch. His face was sallow and frozen in disbelief. Mama began crying.

"How could you hurt her this way?" Daddy demanded, putting his arm around his sobbing wife. "When did you decide this?" he asked angrily.

"I love you both," Sam said sympathetically. "I knew this would hurt you, and I’m sorry. There’s just no other way to say it."

"But you’re our daughter," Mama cried.

"I know, Mom," Sam went on. "And I still am. This is not something I just decided one day, Dad. It’s who I am," Sam finished.

"Do what?" Aunt Mae finally caught on. "Samantha Diane Reynolds!!! Are you trying to tell us . . . that you’re gay?"

"No, Aunt Mae, I’m not trying to," Sam said. "I just did."