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finding my identity

By @tomitajapan

Thu-thump, Thu-thump, Thu-thump. My heart starts to throb during dinner. C’mon Yui, there’s nothing be afraid of! The one thing that would scare me is being disowned by my own parents. When I look at my dad, he gives me a wink, which makes me reassure for one moment that everything was going to be okay.

Halfway through dinner, the phone rings. My mother comes back tearing up. A friend from church had accidentally come out to the wrong friends and ended up in a gay conversion camp. Their parents are friends with my parents, so my friends’ mother called to tell us that she had committed suicide due to gay conversion. Tonight, was not the night to come out. What if they already know and they’re just waiting for the right time to say something? Or maybe they would send me to a gay conversion camp if I came out? This could go either both ways for me.

As I was getting ready for bed, I overheard my parents talking about the news they had received. “I can’t believe they did that, what if that was our own child?!” My dad shrugs his shoulders and reaches out to comfort my mother. “Did you notice that Yui was especially quiet tonight during dinner? Maybe it has to do with her friend from church?” I try to quietly as possible close the bathroom door but it’s too late, my parents have heard me already. My mom calls out to me. “Yui, is that you?” I turn around and walk towards the dining room. “Y-yeah?” I reply only for my voice to crack. My mom starts to get emotional again and looks to my dad for support. “This is for you guys, just read it when I’m asleep” “Chotto matte kudasai!” My dad calls out to me, but I’ve already made it to my room. Quietly and slowly, I close the door but leaving it open, enough to hear my parents. “Why did she have the need to tell us, we already knew.” I hear my dad blowing gently onto his tea before clearing his throat. “Maki, I think Yui was afraid about what happened to Kai, might’ve happened to her.”

The following morning was especially quiet during breakfast. No one said a word between me and my parents. My older brother was busy studying for college exams while my younger brother was watching some Pokemon on his tablet. “Yui,” my dad begins. “There’s something your mother and I would like to talk about. Thu-thump. Thu-thump. Thu-thump. Not again! As my older brother, Sosuke starts to clear the dishes, he gives me an I-know-you’re-in-big-trouble look. “What’s this about, am I in trouble?” My dad starts to laugh but I give him a look. My dad sets down his tea.

“We know you like girls.” A little off guard, I immediately choke on my miso soup. I take a sip of my icy water that helps me stop coughing. My mother gently folds her newspaper. “It’s okay if you want to date girls, we still accept you for who you are.” I start to tear up. A minute flies by and I get a text message from a friend asking where I’m at. Almost forgetting that I have school today, I excuse myself from the table and drive to school.

***********************************************************

By the time I get to school its lunch time. I head to the lunch room and find my group of friends along with my my girlfriend. “Kob-eeeeee!” I give my best friend, Monte Miller, a look and then call her M&M, which she absolutely hates. She slouches back into her seat. “Sorry Kobayashi, was that better?” I nod in approval. “You missed out in Japanese class.” My half Japanese-American girlfriend, Maki Yamamoto, makes some room for me. “Well, what exactly did I miss?” Maki pulls out a medium zip-loc bag out of her backpack. It is filled with candy sushi. Maki motions for me to open my mouth, which I do. “You’ll never guess what happened this morning with my parents.”

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