Otherwise known as my fantasies.
"This will work. I promise," I reassure Betsy.
"I know, I know..I'm just..nervous," she's smiling halfheartedly, that I'm about to die in front of my parents I don't know what to do I'm freaking out but I'm trying to hide it smile. I take her hand, hoping to calm both of our rapidly beating hearts in the process. We walk inside.
I see that nothing is different. A huge entryway, a staircase 3 paces to my left, stairs leading down to a small unused family area.
"We're home!" calls Betsy, her voice shaking. Her parents walk in and hello's are exchanged. As they hug, not even noticing me at first, I see that both pairs of eyes are more sunken than before, and her father's hair is grey, her mother's white. They really are nice, I think to myself. Then they turn to me.
"Um..Betsy? Why is Rowan with you?" her mother says, still looking at me quizzically. I smile sweetly, trying to help as much as possible.
"Mum? Dad? We need to talk." Betsy leads the three of us into the kitchen. At the table, we sit across from her parents. I take her hand under the table and squeeze it. I catch her eye and try to tell her, just like we rehearsed, love. You can do this. I don't think she gets it. Her palms are sweaty and shaking. For some reason, I'm fine, just worried about her. Something about her being so nervous makese me calmer, like I need to be there to protect her.
"I know this is going to be hard for you to hear," Betsy begins, "But you need to listen to everything, EVERYTHING, before saying A WORD. Ok?"
"Ok," they said simultaneously.
"I'm in love."
She gives that piece time to sink in. I try to read her parent's expressions. They both seem excited, but more than that they seem relieved. Relieved?! That makes me beyond angry. But I hold my tongue, knowing that this is for Betsy, not for me.
"With a woman."
Shock. As I expected, this is the first thing I see. Then..I'm not sure anymore. Her mum looks like she's trying to suppress the mountain of emotions that are probably toppling over her. Her Dad looks like he just swallowed something rancid. Neither of them say anything. Good. This is going better than expected.
"I've waited 9 years to tell you this, ever since 7th grade when I came out to myself. But I knew that I needed to wait until after I got out of the house. I bided my time. Let you live your lives, while I lived my real life outside of the house. And in 7th grade I fell in love with a girl who I was surprised to find loved me back. Then she broke my heart then she mended it slowly over a period of 6 years. I haven't been able to tell you this because of how ignorant and conservative and close-minded you are, and I'm done with it. Right now you have to make a decision. Take me as I am, or tell me to leave and never come back. Stay or go. If you let me stay, know this: thank you. If you tell me to go, I will happily. It will not change my decision to move to New York City and be married to the lovely woman sitting next to me at this very moment." Betsy's face is red, she's shaking more than ever, and she looks like she's about to start bawling. But to me she looks strong, independent. Her short, shaggy brown hair hangs over her left eye, her eyes remind me of a puppy dog's eyes in the way that they melt me, and her style blows me away. I feel like I just walked out of a dumpster sitting next to her, yet here she is, telling her parents that she will marry me in NYC while at the same time indirectly saying yes to my proposal.
The 'yes' I've been waiting for for 6 years inspires my next comment.
"Mr. and Mrs. Snider?" I say, not knowing what else to call them, "I need to say something. I have been with your daughter for a very long time, and I've gotten to know the real her. I know the life that she's had to live at home, I know how sweet she is to you, to me, to everybody she meets. I know her. And you need to know something. I will to anything to be able to openly love your daughter. I can love her just as much as any boy could ever; more, actually. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I hope she feels the same way about me as I do about her. If you take this away from us..you will lose a daughter. I want to spend the rest of my life with her. Please. Just..please." I notice that I've dropped Betsy's hand and I'm standing up...oops. I sit down and look at my toes, knowing that if I could blush I would.
A long pause. Maybe minutes, maybe hours. When you're nervous and embarassed time moves differently.
"Are..are you sure?" her mum's voice is hoarse, even though it's only been about 10 minutes.
Out of the corner of my eye, I watch Betsy nod. Great, I think, I've made her cry. Damn it.
"Then..I guess that's that," her dad says, "There's no changing you, Betsy. We may not agree with you, but we will never lose you over something like this. Stay. Please."
We hug. All of us. I notice that her parents still won't speak to me, but at least they hugged me. This is a start. And before I know it we're all crying, relating stories of the past and acting like..well, like a family.
Afterwards, when we get back to our small apartment, we sit down. I take her into my arms and tell her how proud I am of her.
"Me? What about you? Where did that come from?" She looks up at me.
"I..um..I'm not sure. I think it was long overdue though," I say, grinning.
"I have one badass fiance," now she's grinning.
I lean down and brush my lips gently against hers.
"Fiance..I like that."