Friday, 20 November 2015

One More Afternoon

Liam stares at the date he, moments ago, wrote on a piece of paper. September 23rd 2015. He draws a sharp breath and has to balance his forehead on his hand to keep himself from falling forward. It has, today, been two years since his mother passed away. It has, today, been two years since he came out to his lovely mother. It has, today, been two years since he uttered those words aloud. "Mummy," he had whimpered, being easily reminded of feeling like a vulnerable boy ten years before when he'd hurt himself. "I'm gay," he had said.

Earlier that day a doctor informed Liam, his father and his sister that his mother had just one afternoon left until she would pass away. Without using words to express it, it was abundantly clear that all three of them wished a miracle would prevail. They, again, silently followed spoken suggestions of using time wisely. Unfortunately, September 23rd 2013 was not a day miracles were on their side.

They each got ten minutes separately with Ellie Sparks, the light in Liam's life. It took one minute of crying in those ten minutes for Liam to stare at his mother helplessly, who was rubbing his hand as best as she could. She took a breath and slowly almost asked, "Son?"

"Mummy," Ellie tried to nod with as much strength as she could, and she smiled encouragingly. "I'm gay."

As soon as Liam saw his mother's smiling eyes and proud smile, the tears stopped and he held his breath to listen to his mother's quiet but loud words. "Liam, you're the brightest, loveliest thing. I am so proud of you and always have been." The words got slower and much heavier. "When you can, you tell your dad and you tell your sister. Don't be afraid. You are to them what are you to me. And you must never stop living a life full of happiness."

Liam began to cry again and his mother cradled him one last time. "Can you promise me that?"

Liam lifted his head and gulped. "I promise. I promise. For you."

"No," his mother was almost stern but her soft eyes betrayed her. "For you."

Liam closes his eyes and then reopens them, forcing himself back in 2015, and attempts to focus on the essay title ahead of him. University is becoming hectic and stressful, and Liam has found himself to be slipping behind in workload. As it piles up almost before his eyes, his desire to face the world with part of who he is known to anyone who dares to notice becomes quieter.

Ten minutes later, giving up on understanding this essay for a day, Liam gathers his things and rushes to the library door, almost needing to be back home. As he walks through the door, taking no notice of his surroundings, he pushes the door into a guy with an unsealed paper cup, the hot drink pouring all over his legs. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry!" Liam exclaims and the guy stops wincing and puts out a hand to insist he shouldn't apologise. "I shouldn't have been standing right by a door." He uses a napkin to wipe his leg. "Especially by a library door where everyone inside will rush out of in the hope to run away from responsibilities!" Liam laughs and the guy smiles, "The coffee was cold."

"Oh thank goodness. Can I buy you another?"

Liam can tell he would refuse, but then he catches his eyes and for a moment too long, they are staring at each other. Liam is instantly aware of the guy's deep and interesting green eyes and his thick eyelashes. "Why not?"

The guy's smile encourages a funny feeling in Liam's stomach and Liam's eyes divert to the ground, a cheesy smile threatening to take over his whole being. As the two of them begin to walk to the student coffee house on the corner, Liam is aware of the guy's every movement. As they quietly queue and order saying as few words to each other as possible, Liam feels giddy with the knowledge that he is definitely being stared at by this stranger. He is definitely enjoying the attention.

When they walk back out into the surprisingly warm, late September air, Liam feels a wave of confidence at the sight of the coffee in the guy's hands. "So you like it milky with no sugar, for future reference."

The guy nods with a grin. "And for future reference, I'm Kyle."

"Liam," he smiles back.

With another surge of confidence, Liam brings out a pen and nods his head to Kyle's cup. "Can I?" Kyle's seemingly normal easy way falters with a shy smile and he hands over the cup. Liam scrawls his number on the cup and grins, "For future reference."

He turns and begins to walk away, his confidence still there but mixed in with a giggly nervousness he wishes he could explain to his mother as soon as he gets home. He aches, then, for just one more afternoon with his mother and a cup of a tea. If he could have that chance, he would tell her everything.


A Chance & A Hope,

The Girl in the Moonlight.

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