If there has been anything I've learned in my life time is that when people are face with something they don't understand, many people fall into two categories; stubborn or ignorant. I know there are other types of people, and even a mix of a few group. I shouldn't be just lumping people together, especially after a...recent revelation I've had, but I'll get to that later. Anyways, I've met a lot of people like this. Having lived in the class I've lived in for so long, you meet people of both categories when running into those of a higher position.
In a way, they're very much alike. Neither group is necessarily stupid. Even someone who had an excellent education or someone quick witted can fall in either group. Both usually just react to a situation based on what they believe to be truth. Most importantly, they both usually have no idea they're in either category. They don't realize that they might be wrong. And that's where the similarities stop. Someone who's stubborn, even when proven wrong, doesn't learn. Either that or it takes a long time for them to accept it and usually they don't fully do so. Someone who's ignorant, however, does learn or at least tries to. I like to think I fall into the ignorant category. The thing is, I never realized I fell into either category until just recently.
It happened one day as I was coming home from work early. I work as a butler for an older business man named Mr. Rechwall. He gave me the day off for my son, Henry, was sick with a bad case of the flu. He's a reasonable man, but part of me believes he gave me the day off less so I could care for my child, and more for the fact he didn't want to get sick himself.
I expected the house to be nearly empty for my wife was out of town visiting our second child, Andrea, who had asked her to help her decide on decorations for her upcoming wedding. However, when I entered the house and went upstairs to check on my son, I quickly found out that was not the case.
I stood there, mouth agape and unable to move, as I saw my son not pale faced and unwell as he had appeared this morning, but naked and curled up in bed with another equally naked young man. My knuckles were white as they gripped the door handle. A flurry of emotions were flying through me at that moment. Shock, denial, disappointment, betrayal, but most of all anger. How could he have done this? He already had a young lady he had been courting, a Miss Abigail, and he goes on and decides to cheat on her! With a man no less! A man, who upon a second look, was her own BROTHER!
I didn't make as sound as he slowly awoke with a calm smile. That smile quickly faded and reformed into a look of fear as he saw me and whatever grimace of rage that had carved itself upon my face. I was practically shaking as I tried to keep myself from exploding, and he started to as well but for a very different reason. This began to rouse his partner, who looked upon me with a very similar expression to my son, though tried to move protectively in front of Henry as much as he could.
"D-Dad?" Henry had said, barely above a whisper, "P-please, Dad. I can ex-"
"Get. Up. NOW," I growled through clenched teeth. It was all I could do to keep from yelling. The young man, Robert, had tried to stop him but he obediently got up. I grabbed his arm and pulled him away from the bed before turning to Robert, still sitting on it. "YOU," I said, still trying to keep myself under control but failing,"You have ten minutes to put your clothes on and GET OUT. If you're not gone by then I'll throw you out myself, decent or not! Do you understand?"
He looked from me to Henry. He didn't move until Henry gave him a short nod. Then he scooped up his clothes off the floor and ran out of the room.
I heard a rustling noise as he tried to dress himself as quickly as possible before slamming the front door shut and leaving. I then turned to my son who was once again looking at me in fear. Without a word I dragged him along the hallway to the bathroom, him apologizing and pleading all the way. I then shoved him inside. "Draw yourself a bath and clean yourself up," I said, "I want you downstairs in thirty minutes. You and I are going to have a VERY serious talk." He nodded meekly, not looking me in the eye. I then closed the door and went to find him some fresh clothes. Leaving them outside the door, I headed down to the kitchen where I began to pace. I had always thought myself a good father. I spent as much time as I could with them when they were growing up, made sure they focused on their studies so they had a better chance for a more prosperous life, and tried my best to make sure they had a strong moral backbone and go on to live a good, Christian life. It appeared though, that my best wasn't enough.
When Henry had finally come down stairs, I had calmed down quite a bit. He on the other hand, looked like he had spent the entire time crying. He was still sniffling as he pulled up a chair. It honestly hurt to see him like that. I wanted to forgive him on the spot, but I had stopped myself. This wasn't like a bad grade or breaking something on accident. He had to understand that what he had done was wrong.
"I assume you know why you're in trouble," I said to him, expecting him to respond.
He sniffled a few times before responding, "I-I slept with another man," he said, still not making eye contact.
"That's only part of it," I said trying to get him to continue.
He looked up in confusion. "I-I lied this morning about being sick?" he guessed.
I rubbed my temples at this point. "You've got to be kidding..." I said, "You were cheating on Abbigail!"
A look of realization dawned on him. "Oh," he simply said.
"Really? 'Oh'? That's all you have to say for yourself?!" I snapped, "You were betraying the woman who loves you and who you chose to court for her brother for Christ's sake!"
"Dad it's-" he started, but I never let him finish.
"I raised you better than this!" I continued, "What? Did you think because you couldn't get her brother pregnant everything would be fine? That you could sleep with him all you wanted and not get caught? How do you think Abigail would feel if she knew? Do you even care about her at all?"
"Abby knows!" he shouted, tears starting to fall down his face again. I stopped talking after that, my mouth hanging agape. I didn't even know respond to that. She knew? For how long? He had just gone out with her two nights ago! "Abby's known all along," he admitted, "She and I were never together, sh-she helped s-set up a plan so that Rob and I could see each other. She pretended to be with me around you two and their father so you wouldn't find out."
I blinked for a second, letting this new information sink in. "You've been lying this whole time..." I said, quietly and confused, "Just so you could go and have sex with another man?...Why?"
"Because I love him!" he said, still crying, "It's not about sex. He's one of the most amazing men I've ever met and I just love being with him." I stood there completely silent as I listened to him talk. For the longest time, I had thought homosexual men were either extremely sex crazy men who had a particular fetish for the male form or they were pedophiles. I never once thought it had anything to do with actual love. I have never been a hateful man, but I had never been very interested in the subject in general so I never really looked for information. Occasionally I'd hear stories while at a pub or a blurb in the newspaper, but nothing...positive. Any stories I had heard about it, were never about two men being in a loving relationship, only about men being caught in some scandalous act. Thinking back to how the two had acted when I had caught them, and to what my son was currently saying, it became a bit more easy to see that my previous thoughts weren't the case at all.
"He's funny, and sweet, and caring..." he described, staring off with an expression I had seen many times on my daughters' faces when they had fallen for someone. "He's strong and gentle at the same time. He's not always the sharpest tool in the shed, but he always knows just what to say to make me smile," he continued, "His hair always manages to be messy in the nicest of ways and the way his nose crinkles up when he laughs is just adorable!..." He looked up at me after that, smile falling again. "Please don't hate me Dad," he said looking down again, "I'm sorry for upsetting you. Honest! Just please don't throw me out or..."
Before he could say another word, I wrapped him a hug. I held him tight, like I had long ago when he was still afraid of lightning or that a monster would be hiding under his bed. I felt terrible. His last few words had really shaken me. What kind of father was I if my son feared I could possibly bring myself to hate him or even throw him out over something like this? One that didn't deserve his love, that's for sure.
"It's ok Henry," I whispered, "I should be the one apologizing. Not you. I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry...I should never make you feel like that. Can you ever forgive me?"
He was silent for a few seconds, not moving before he decided to return the hug. "I forgive you," he said.
I pulled back and smiled at him before sitting down in a chair in front of him. "Henry," I said, "If you want to continue to see Robert, I'll be ok with it."
He looked surprised. To be honest, I was a little surprised with myself as well. "You mean it?" he asked.
I nodded before speaking again. "I'll try to see if I can talk to him later and let him know,"I said, "I believe his father still has him working in his butcher shop with him, right?" Henry nodded. "Good. Now, I do have some conditions," I said, "First, I want you to stay in school. I don't want you to end up working in a factory one day. Secondly, and I know this seem unfair, but you can't be having sex under my roof. I wouldn't let your sisters do it, I'm not letting you. Now, what you do once you're living on your own is none of my business." "Thirdly..." I continued, "I'm going to have to give him 'the talk'."
"Oh no," Henry groaned bringing his palms to his face, "Not 'the talk'...please!"
"Again, I did it for all of your sisters' lovers, I'm doing it for yours too," I responded.
"You didn't do it for the German guy!" he retorted.
"That's because he didn't speak English! What was I supposed to do, draw pictures?" I argued. He gave an annoyed huff and slumped in his seat.
"Hey now! I'm being nice here! I could ground you for a week for faking sick this morning, but I'm not. You had me very worried, you know that?" I said,"Anyways, Lastly...I just want you to continue to live a good life, alright? Don't gamble, don't go out drinking every single night, be respectful to others, that sort of thing. Alright?"
He nodded, smiling. "Good," I said, "There is one more thing we need to talk about though."
"What's that?" he asked me.
"How to explain this to your mother," I said.