Nancy had returned from a major shopping spree with all the things she thought her youngest would need for freshman year away at school. There were the usual items such as socks and underwear and toiletries. When did Tim get old enough to shave she wondered as she stocked the disposable razors and shaving cream away. The last week in August was still a summer away, but she was the type to never put off till tomorrow if it could be done today. It would have been easier if Big Tim hadn’t passed away from a heart attack 2 thanksgivings ago. She had warned him that he was too old to play touch football with the boys but he insisted. Part of her was still so very angry at him still for leaving her behind to become both parents for the boys. Part of her, a very small part was in a perverse way happy for him to go so fast – happy and hugging his two boys after running an interception for a touchdown; not to linger with cancer or Alzheimer’s or some such malady that hits most people as they age. Tim and his Brother Alan’s last memory of their father was a happy one and her anger and sadness wasn’t ever going to get in the way of that. She had no idea how to be a Father to two boys but she’d figure it out. Once in a while she’d try and guess what Big Tim would say or do, like which shaving cream was the best.
She hummed an old tune from the summer she met big Tim, some old love song by Abba or Natalie Cole. She couldn’t remember exactly, but she could remember how it felt to be with Tim when that song was on the radio. Nancy was putting the new socks and underwear away in Tim’s dresser when she discovered a notebook underneath the clothes. She knew it was invading Tim’s privacy but curiosity got the better of her and she began to thumb through the notebook. It was a diary of sorts, from Tim’s senior year of high school. One page was devoted to deciding on which college invitation to accept (University of Kansas, not Nebraska). Another couple of pages were about movies and music or sports. That’s when it dawned on Nancy that there were no mention of girls in the diary. Not a one. She thought back to prom and remembered that Tim double dated with Alan because Alan was seeing one of the McAlister twins and insisted that Tim double with him and Amy McAlister so Alan could take Bridget. Alan was always talking about Bridget which filled all the conversations in the house. Again, Tim never mentioned girls. It was then she knew. Nancy went from shock to disbelief to acceptance and finally to disappointment. Not disappointed in any way with her first born, but in herself. That she wasn’t approachable enough, open enough, accepting enough that Tim felt comfortable telling her that he was gay. It was then and there she knew she would convey in every way imaginable to Tim that her love for him hadn’t diminished, but increased in the span of 20 minutes.
She’d wait for him to broach the topic and then when he did she’d put her arms around her courageous son and tell him that she loved him more now than ever – if that were even possible.