The Hummingbird Wars

Danny sat down on the couch and stared at the floor. He felt nervous. He wanted to get off the couch, flee his home, and never look back. No doubt his parents wouldn't be happy with what he had to say, but he was tired of hiding it. He was tired of living a lie. He could only hope they would understand.

Danny jumped slightly when he heard the key in the lock, but maintained a calm composure when his parents walked through the door, snow from the recent blizzard blew in behind them. They greeted him with warm smiles, hanging their winter coats in the closet and setting their packages near the door. They'd gone shopping this evening, just a way to spend time together and have some fun. Danny tried to keep his breathing smooth and even, tried to look at anything but them. He found himself answering their questions with an unwavering voice.

"Hey sweetie, how was school today?"

That was momma, always curious about his day.

"It was fine. Not much happened. Just have a little bit of homework to do." Danny took a sudden interest in his hands and stared at them as if they were foreign to him.

"That's nice, honey. Dinner will be ready in about an hour. Why don't you get your homework done and we can all watch a movie while we eat?"

Danny nodded, tempted to not say anything at all. He questioned whether he really wanted to break this calm routine he had with his parents. If they took his news badly there was no doubt they wouldn't be watching a movie tonight. He would be surprised if they even felt like eating dinner at all.

"Actually,, I have something I want to talk to you about. It's kinda important. Both of you, actually. I wanna talk to both of you."

Momma gave him a strange look, but nodded and both of his parents sat on the love seat opposite the couch.

"Go ahead, honey."

"Umm...this is hard to say. I mean, I know you both love me and I don't want that to change. I just..." Danny fought to keep his breathing under control. His sudden urge to hyperventilate didn't help matters and his heart felt ready to burst from his chest.

"I I mean, I know that I'm, um, straight." He ended the last word on a whisper and waited for the questions and arguing to begin. They didn't disappoint him.

"What?!" That was mom, just plain mom.

"Hush now, Alicia. Can't you see this is hard for him to say?" Momma grabbed mom's arm and forced her to stay sitting.

"Don't tell me to hush Cindy. This is big stuff. Heterosexual? My son! Absolutely not. Are you even sure, Danny? You can't be sure! You're too young to make this kind of decision!"

Danny jumped to his feet, ready to defend himself against this verbal assault.

"It's not a decision, mom! I just am! And I am not too young! I like girls! Is that so hard to understand?"

Cindy got up and moved between her wife and son.

"Everybody just be quiet. We can figure this out, ok? It's not as bad as it seems!"

Alicia angrily ran her fingers through her hair. "You're right, Cindy. Maybe it's just a phase. He'll grow out of it and settle down with some nice young man one day. We just have to be patient."

Danny fought the urge to push momma aside and slap mom. "It's not a phase, ok? I pretty much know that I'm straight. It's just who I am. There's no changing it and I'm not going to grow out of it!"

"Danny, just be quiet." Cindy put her hands on Danny's chest and guided him down to sit on the couch again. "Let's talk about this." She shot a warning look at Alicia, who rolled her eyes and settled against the back of the love seat.

"Now Danny, how long have you thought you might be straight?"

Danny closed his eyes and clenched his fists.

"I don't think I'm straight. I know. I've always known. I've always been interested in girls. I've just been too afraid to tell you two. I was afraid you'd react like this."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean? Your momma and I are very loving parents. We can't help it if you choose to be different. Do you even know what this could do to you? What if your friends from school found out?"

"I know! They wouldn't understand."

Alicia stood and started to pace the room, her agitation radiating from her in waves.

"Of course they wouldn't understand. You'd get taunted and picked on. You might even get beat up! Do you really want that?"

"No mom, I don't," Danny sighed, already tired of the bickering.

"Alicia, please sit down. You're not making this easy for him."

Cindy pleaded with her eyes, but Alicia ignored the pained look on her wife's face.

"Now Danny," Cindy started, "what brought this on? Why are you telling us now?"

"Yeah," Alicia spat. "Why couldn't you just keep your choice to be hetero to yourself?"

"Actually," Danny sighed, "I have a girlfriend. She's really nice. I want you both to meet her. Her name's Heather."

"Heather? Heather Kasky? That little breeder?!" Alicia started shouting.

"Alicia..." Cindy began.

"Don't Cindy!" Alicia turned to Danny. "Danny, do you have any idea what people think of her because she's straight and out about it? Do you know what her fathers are going through because of her? They're scandalized! They can't go anywhere without people talking behind their backs. Do you want to do that to momma and me?"

Danny couldn't contain his anger any longer. "I thought you two would at least support me!" He yelled, angry tears fell and clouded his vision. "I don't care what other people think as long as you still love me, but I guess I can't count on that, can I?"

Cindy stood and grabbed Danny's hand. "Come on, sweetie. Why don't you do your homework now."

She led him down the hall and into his room, leaving Alicia to pace in the living room. They both sat on his bed, Cindy wrapped her arms around her son.

"Of course we still love you, sweetheart. And we'd like to meet your...girlfriend. We just need some time, ok? Just a little time to adjust. I'll talk to mom. Don't worry about a thing."

Danny nodded as Cindy kissed his forehead and left, closing the door. He pulled his book bag on the bed and took his algebra homework out. Then the screaming began.

"I won't have a hetero for a son! I just won't have it, Cindy!"

"Alicia, please. Be quiet or he'll hear you. Can you honestly say this changes anything?"

"Of course it changes things! It's unnatural. Why can't he be queer like the rest of the world?!"

"Now you think about this for one minute, Alicia. Do you really think that everyone in the world is gay? There have to be at least some heterosexuals out there. There's no way Danny's the only one. I was reading a magazine the other day and it said that at least 10% of the population is straight. What do you say to that?"

"I say they're all sick!"

"Alicia! If you can't control yourself and at least give Danny a chance, then maybe Danny and I should just get out of your way. If you think he's sick for being straight, then what do you say about me, because I support him!"

"You can't honestly, Cindy..."

"I can and I do! This conversation is over! When you feel you can accept our son for who he is, you can give us a call!"

The living room went quiet and a stillness settled in the house. Danny waited on the edge of his bed, his homework forgotten and his ears straining to hear what would be said next, but there were no more words. He heard footsteps coming down the hall toward his room, but they stopped about halfway there. The door to the hall closet opened and he could hear someone rummaging around in there. He realized, then, that's where they stored their big suitcases for long trips, like the one they took to Hawaii two years ago during summer break. He'd liked Hawaii. It was warm everyday and he felt freed from the cramped streets of the city, not to mention he'd acquired an awesome tan. He thought, suddenly, that there were probably not going to be anymore of those trips to see the ocean. He abruptly realized that his coming out had cost him more than just dinner and a movie tonight.

The closet door slammed shut moments before Danny's door was thrown open. Cindy entered with two suitcases, one of which she gently placed on the floor by his bed.

"Only pack what you need, sweetie. A weeks worth of clothes, toothbrush, toothpaste...that sort of stuff. Forget your book bag. You won't need it for now. We're going on a little trip," Cindy said, a little out of breath. She tried to force a smile, then turned to pack her own suitcase.


She turned and looked at Danny. He sat on the edge of his bed, still, looking at the suitcase on the floor and swallowing back his tears.

"I'm sorry, momma. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen. I just..."

Cindy came back into his room and gathered him up in her arms. She rocked him back and forth and whispered, "I know, baby. I love you. Don't be sorry. Never be sorry for just trying to be who you are. Now come on. We've got to go."

Danny nodded, picking up his suitcase and putting it on his bed. He opened it, but turned back to momma and said, "Thank you."

Her smile this time wasn't forced and it reached all the way to her eyes. "How does Florida sound, sweetie? All this snow is just doing nothing for my complexion!"

This story is © 2006 by Jessica See. It cannot be copied or distributed or posted to another site without permission of the author (for permission or to get in touch with the author, please email her at