It was a typical hot and humid DC afternoon. He walked three feet in front of me around his parents' house to the backyard where thirty of his relatives were already grilling and combating the summer heat with cold beers. He came home from New Jersey to celebrate his niece's first birthday and invited me to come along. He had actually invited me several weeks ago but I didn't take him seriously until he called me the day of asking if I was ready to go. I frantically ripped through my closet to find my straightest looking shirt and put on the best bro face I could.
As soon as we arrived, he went to say hello to his parents and his brother whom he hadn't seen in a month. I immediately dove for a barbecued drumstick like a wild savage hoping to avoid awkward introductions to people who had never seen a gay Asian boy disguised as a straight white man before.
His older brother, who has always derived joy out of teasing him, started talking loudly. "How come you still haven't brought home a girlfriend yet? It's been three years in college and a month in New Jersey and you still can't get a girl?"
I eyed a platter of deviled eggs and popped one in my mouth. And then ate two more. Okay three.
His mother interjected with a smile, "Oh come on now, leave him alone."
His brother continued. "Maybe he doesn't even like girls." And started laughing with his friends.
I grabbed the an ear of corn and gnawed on it furiously trying to drown out their conversation.
He had already had a few drinks and looked upset. I could tell he was deep in thought but figured we would go up to his room later and talk about it in privacy. And then make out. Instead, he turned toward his brother and shouted, "Yeah. You're right. I don't give a shit about girls. I am gay and _____ is my boyfriend." He looked right at me and I stared back, doe-eyed and hungry, sitting in a cheap lawn chair under the shade of a tree.
I quickly looked straight down and began taking non-stop, successive bites of watermelon, hoping to avoid the eyes of thirty or so conservative WASPs and their judgmental babies.
He walked towards me, took the watermelon from my hands, and threw it on the ground. My eyes were still fixated on the wasted fruit when he grabbed the back of my head and kissed me hard on the lips. He smelled like charcoal and tasted like beer. I tasted like watermelon.
He took my hand and pulled me up, leading me quickly towards the front of the house and back to his car. He never turned around to see his family's reaction, but I looked back for one last glimpse at the scene we had just caused. Mouths were still open in shock and no one was speaking. And I stared longingly at the cake that had yet to be cut and served.
But this isn't really what happened.
2 days ago