"You're just being...you need to choose," she said as they came to a stop at a red light.
Her son sat there, staring pointedly forward. He didn't trust himself to look at her right now. After a long beat, he spoke up.
"Why?" he asked, barely keeping the anger out of his voice. He didn't even bother to reiterate that this wasn't a choice; that he couldn't just switch one on or off. He was tired of having that argument. Mostly because it was never really an argument. It just felt like he was talking at a wall whenever this was brought up.
The light turned green and she let her foot off the brake.
"Because," she said resolutely, resorting to the typical parental response - or lack thereof.
"Because...?" he asked in a leading fashion. He hated when she did this; when she just said 'because' like that was a valid answer. He knew why she said it. She didn't have anything else to say, but she be damned if she looked ignorant or intolerant.
She took a deep breath through her nose. She didn't like to discuss these things. She was raised in a very black and white world, and she was apprehensive of the gray her son constantly confronted her with. It's not that she hated it, or her son; she just preferred not to discuss things she was unfamiliar with.
"I just want what's best for you," she said, merging onto the highway. He had to bite his tongue not to yell 'bullshit' at her. That was another thing she didn't like - cussing. He settled for rolling his eyes and crossing his arms.
She sort of knew this was a cop out answer, but she couldn't say what was really on her mind. She resorted to this social script she'd heard on countless occasions because it was easier to say some vague phrase someone else has already said that to articulate her actual feelings.
"That's rich," he mumbled.
"What was that?"
"I said 'that's rich'," he reiterated, "and that's a cop out," he tacked on. She gripped the steering wheel a little tighter.
"Don't use that tone with me," she said, falling back on another overused saying from the Parental Handbook of Cliches. He took a deep breath. He was tired of not having this conversation. He was going to see that they both said everything they wanted to. Here. Now.
"I'm bisexual," he said, trying to steer the conversation into his lane, "and I don't think I understand."
"Understand what?" she asked, a little knocked off balance by the word 'bisexual' actually being verbalized.
"Why..." he asked, lowering his tine and trying to sound as sincere as possible so as not to put her on the defensive, "and please don't just say 'because'...why do you want me to- need me to chose?"
She was not expecting this conversation here. Or now. She'd put it off so many times, half hoping for her son to just drop t so she wouldn't have to face this head on. She'd never had to deal with anything like this. Her life had been simple, easy, scripted, normal! Nothing like what the world was becoming. Growing up, things had order and very little deviation. She wasn't prepared to deal with this...this liberty. This freedom to pick and choose and make it up as you go along. Her life was planned.
"I'm scared," she said, finally. Her own answer surprising her. For all the traffic outside, the cab of that car felt like the inside of a vacuum. He was absolutely astounded at having gotten a real answer out of her.
"Scared of what?" he ventured. Her? Scared? What did she have to be scared about? Her reputation? Her perfect little cookie-cutter life? His mind, like the car, was travelling a mile a minute. He tried to dial down his internal dialogue enough to hear her response.
"I'm...this is-this..." she took a moment to gather her thoughts into an intelligible sentence, "I've never had to deal with anything like this. I guess I feel a little lost." He seemed to absorb this confession from his mother, In all his life, he'd never heard her say that she was lost. She had a plan for everything. He turned his body towards her as much as he could in the limited space of the car. He sat for a moment as he thought of what to say next.
"I feel a little lost, too," he admitted. She furrowed her brow. He was lost? Selfishly, she took a little comfort in the fact that she wasn't alone. She turned into the driveway and parked her car. Taking the keys out of the ignition, she turned to her son.
"I guess now's a good time to find some answers," she said, the promise of an actual productive conversation waiting for them inside the house.