“Well, well, well – what brings my baby brother here on this beautiful evening?” Arianna Lowell asked her younger brother, Will, as he stood with a dozen white roses in his hand and an uncertain expression on his face. Three weeks ago, she had told her family she was more interested in women than in men. Until Will’s phone call the night before, there had been no communication with the rest of the family. Their father was a minister, and she knew he was responsible for said lack of communication.
“I’m not allowed to come by and see my sister?” Will pushed the flowers at Arianna. His face twitched in a manner that made her uneasy. This was hard for him, she could see. But why was he here, if he didn’t want to be?
“Get in here.”
Normally Arianna was never this rough, but three weeks of not knowing how her family felt had worn her nerves down to nothing. She had no patience as she grabbed Will’s arm, pulling him inside.
The door slammed shut behind Will, leaving brother and sister staring at each other in the front entryway. Arianna’s mouth went uncomfortably dry as Will’s gaze went down to his feet.
“They still love you, Ari,” Will sounded muffled, but his words were still distinguishable. “Mom and Dad – they want to come see you.”
“And try to talk to me out of this ‘sin’?” Arianna laughed bitterly. She knew the score, knew how things went. Will might be a tolerant young man, but their parents were far from it. “I don’t think so, Will.”
“Since when have Mom and Dad done anything less than love and care for you?” Suddenly, Will’s eyes were boring into hers, anger flashing in their depths. “And what have they ever done to make you believe they love you any less just because--” His voice dropped off, leaving the rest unsaid.
The words cut too deep for Arianna’s personal peace because she knew that he was right. As staunchly conservative as their parents were, they had never rejected anyone simply because of what they were doing wrong in their lives. If anything, they were loved more because of it.
“This is different, Will.” Arianna steeled herself. She couldn’t let herself believe her parents were different. If she did, then she had to open up her mind to other possibilities – things she had rejected years ago. “I’m their daughter, not someone coming to them off the streets.”
“Don’t act like you know what Mom and Dad think – you’re not in their heads, so stop painting them with the same brush as everyone else who doesn’t like what you’re doing.” Will’s breathing picked up, his voice rising. “You’ve never been able to separate who you are from the things you do, so you assume that no one else can, either.”
“And you’ll never be able to understand that what I do is a part of who I am.” Arianna’s voice rose, too. “It’s never going to change, Will. I am a lesbian. I love women, and nothing can change that.”
“Same as nothing can change you being my sister.” Will’s voice, amazingly enough, had calmed down. “Or our parents’ daughter. We all love you, even if we dis-“
“You’ve said it before. Her voice didn’t go down.
“And I’ll continue to say it until you accept it, Ari. We don’t have to like the things you do to love you. You can try to push us as far away as you want so you can sleep at night, but it’s not going to stop us from loving you. Nothing can do that – so until you’re ready to accept our love for you, just go ahead and live in your delusional world where everyone who hates what you do hates you too. You know where to find us when you’re ready to accept us.”
“I don’t need to accept anything,” she screamed after him as he headed out the door and off the porch steps. “I’m perfectly at peace, Will. Leave me alone!!!!”
Ariana was left with the sound of her brother’s car starting and the flowers sitting in on a nearby table as she watched her younger brother drive away. She looked away from the street, hating her family and knowing nothing would change that feeling any time soon.
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