The Consequences of Dissonance - Chapter Thirty
I decided I would stay up in Steamboat until Sunday in order to spend a bit more time with my mom and Jared, though the latter I tried to avoid for the most part. It did, however, give me a chance to head out with my mom on another few of her forays out with the dogs. The mountains were comforting, and the more I thought, the more I had to share with my mom who, I felt, was much easier to talk to than many others in my life. She seemed eager to get out of the house, as well.
So Saturday came, and found us following the dogs as the dolphined through the snow, leaping up above it to either side of the trail rather than plow through it. They would occasionally get tired and find their way back onto the packed down patches to trot along with us, but as soon as some noise, real or imagined, made its way through the trees, they were back off into the deeps, leaping through the heavy powder. Less adventurous, my mom and I stuck with the trail and occasionally called after the dogs when they made their way out of site.
“Mom,” I asked as we watched the dogs forge ahead. “What do you think of me being bi?”
“Oh, I don’t mind. You’re the same person, after all,” she shrugged. “Why, what’s up?”
“Oh, just thinking,” I trailed off, waiting until we wrangled the dogs back in to continue. “It just feels like I’m coming out all over again, is all.”
“Well, I’m certainly having more conversations and stressing out more about this than I ever did when I came out in the first place.” I thought for a second before amending that, “Well, maybe not more stress. Still, a lot.”
Mom laughed, “Yeah, you stressed yourself out pretty good about that. I can see what you mean, though. We all seemed to worry a lot about you and Kris.”
“Had to work to keep myself from worrying, too,” I added. “Just didn’t want to scare myself away from the relationship.”
“Well, yeah,” she trailed off. “That was partly intentional, I guess. However subconsciously.”
“Huh? How so?”
“Well, at least on my part. I just felt you were rushing into things, is all, and I wanted you to think about that and make sure you weren’t.”
I held my tongue for a few steps, counting to ten in my head. By the count of fifteen or sixteen, I calmed down. “Always looking out for me,” I joked. Better that than taking it the wrong way.
She nodded and we walked alongside the two panting dogs to the edge of the property. Finally, standing near the fence, she turned to me. “So do you have something else worrying you? Besides the second coming out and all.”
I shrugged and racked my brain for the root of what was really worrying me. “Well, my friend Jamen came out to me in part because of it.”
“Yeah. Kinda made me realize how lucky I had it when I came out. His parents didn’t do so well,” I continued on with the story he had told me the night before.
“Ouch,” mom winced.
“Yeah. Now I almost feel like I’m squandering my relatively positive experience by dating a girl. I don’t think he really believes that but, well, it’s hard not to feel bad.”
We turned back toward the house and called the dogs with us, walking slowly as my mom replied, “Yeah, I can see how that would be a little strange from the other point of view. Do you think that maybe he likes or something that you’ve had your bit of drama with him?”
“I dunno. It’s possible, I guess. We talked a little but to be honest, haven’t done a whole lot of hanging out during the semester. I don’t want to just confront him on it and make things all weird by asking, but who knows? I guess we’ll see how things work out.”
She smiled and nodded, then, “Just don’t… lead him on or anything. I don’t want to see you hurt by weirdness, but I’d rather you not hurt anyone else, while you’re at it.”
I shook my head violently. “Of course not. I’m a little paranoid about hurting others, I think.”
She nodded and added, “Better to err on the side of caution there. You can really mess a person up for life, hurting them like that.”
We walked the rest of the way to the house in silence, each with our own thoughts. Me, I was wondering why my mom had ended the conversation like that. It’s the fate of ever child of divorced parents to wonders about the causes of their separation.