Birth of a Liberal
a Short Story by Raquel Swann
Monica seemed to be in a rush to get home from school this day. The look of confusion and worry fell upon her face like ominous storm clouds rolling in from a low pressure system. Even when she reached the front porch of her house, she paced back and forth trying to find the right words. She knew there were questions that must be answered, and she knew that her Dad wouldn’t be so willing to alblige. She saw her Father’s red F-150 nestled safely under the the ceiling to the car port. He was home as he usually was this time of day. She ran up the steps and opened the door clumsily against the dry wall alerting her parents to her presence.
“Monica, is that you?” A soft friendly voice called out from the kitchen.
“Yes Mom. Is Daddy home?” Monica responded, her voice quivered a bit.
“I’m right here, Pumpkin. What’s goin’ on? You seem a bit frazzled,” asked her father. He was a big burly fellow, with a full beard and an even fuller belly. He held on tightly to his suspenders that held up the size forty-eight jeans wrapped around his portly body. He saw the look in his daughter’s eyes and jumped to conclusions. “Baby, if this is about a boy, Imma bout to hurt somebody, real good.”
“No, Daddy, it’s not about a boy. Can you call Momma. I juss wanna talk to you both about something we learned in school today. It’s a bit confusin.”
“Oh lord, here we go. Did you have that sexual class all them parents are squakin’ about in church? I can fix that real quick. Charlene! Get in here!” The man took a seat on the sofa and with just one finger directed his daughter to do the same on the recliner directly across from him. In these cases he always felt just a bit more powerful being able to keep his distance from her and give his version of advice. Of course, that involved an hour long lecture.
“Kay, Robert, I’m about done in the Kitchen. Makin’ some of Mom’s famous beef stew tonight. It can be left for a while. What’s all the commotion about?” Charlene wiped her hands upon her apron and took a seat right next to her husband, as usual.
“What’s this about, Monica?” Charlene asked sincerely. She was worried about all of the possiblities and scenarios that could come up in the life of a sixteen year old girl. The horrible things that crossed her mind made her cringe and already begin to get frustrated.
“Look, it’s not a big deal. I’m just confused about some things. We went over government today in class and I learned about the many differences between the Democrats and Republicans, ya know?” Monica began, “and as usual we talk about these sorts of things so I just wanted to talk.”
“Okay Monica – I can tell you real quick that the Democrats are demons and the Repulicans are righteous. Just put the ‘D’ with ‘D’ and the ‘R’ with the ‘R’. Real simple. Even works if you want to put the word ‘Dummy’ in, your choice,” responded Robert proudly and confidently.
“Well, that’s what I wanted to talk about, Dad. I don’t necessarily think that Democrats or Liberals for that matter are dumb. I kinda see their point, a little,” Monica waited and watched her father purse his lips together and shake his head in disgust.
“Now, that is ridiculous! In the mornin’ I’m gonna give this teacher of yours a call and give her a piece of my mind!” Shouted Robert.
“Better yet,” Charlene added, “We’ll go down there and talk to the principal.”
“No, no, no. Mom, Dad, stop it. This was just an open discussion – Ms. Connelly didn’t give any opinion or try to sway any student in a certain direction. I just thought about it and I sort of agree. I don’t know why. I just do.”
“Okay, What in hell do you agree with?” Robert clasped his hands together and glared at his daughter, waiting for her answer.
“Well I just think people should live how they want to live. I mean if someone wants to choose a certain lifestyle they should do what makes them happy. As long as they don’t break any laws, that is,” Monica wore a half hearted nevervous smile. She knew she had crossed the line.
“The laws of the land were made to be followed by the Almighty God himself! Not you or anyone else could change that my dear. I hope we’re not talking about what I think we are talking about,” Robert Shreiked.
“Monica, you know the Bible better than anyone. You know what is right and what is wrong. Is this talk over?” Charlene stood up, hoping that she hand ended this nonsencical talk.
“I know what it says, but-”
“But nothing, young lady. Now you’re crossing the lines. These are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Sinners in every form should be punished. Damned to the eternal fire!” Her father was furious. Charlene sat back down upon the couch and grabbed his hand tightly.
“But how is love a sin? Even in the story of Sodom and Gamorah it speaks about lust, not love. It’s not so much the Democrats I support but…”
“Oh! So this is what we taught you? You know better than this! If you are talking about the Gays – they all go to hell. They are sinners, abominations, animals, disgusting, lustful people who are aligned with the Devil.” Robert was beyond angry. He raised his hands into the air and talked to God aloud. Murmurs of forgiveness for his daughter and for strength for his family to get over this curse.
“My lord, Monica. This is just bad. You need to go to church and say a prayer!” Her mother implored.
“I don’t know. I just don’t know,” Monica said, tears streaming down her face, “I’m so confused. I know in my heart what the Bible says, but I just can’t bring myself to believe that a God so forgiving would be so against his children. Everyone sins. You and Dad sin. Grammy and Grampy sin. This is not murder, it’s not rape, or adultry. I mean you had an affair once, Dad. Mom forgave you?”
“How in the hell do you know that? Charlene did you tell her that?”
“No Robert, I did not tell her anything.”
“I’m not stupid. You were sinning every day with that woman Dad!”
“I asked for forgiveness,” Robert said softly, clearly ashamed that his daughter knew about his indescresions.
“Why can’t someone else ask for forgiveness? What makes you better than them in God’s eyes? Only he can judge what is right and what is wrong. Not you or you,” Monica pointed at each of her parents.
“Where is this coming from? Where is all this coming from?” Charlene pleaded.
Robert shook his head and placed it in the palm of his hand. He was astounded at the turn this conversation had taken.
“I don’t – wan – want to go to hell,” Monica sobbed. She wiped her eyes and shook her head. Her mother and father offered no remorse or kind words to help her finish her thought. They watched her cry and waited for her to finish her thought. “I’m gay. I’m a lesbian. Do you wish me dead! Do you wish me damned to hell!”
“No,” Robert said.
“No, baby girl,” Charlene added. Water spouted from her eyes and ran off her cheeks onto the floor.
“I support all people. I still believe in God. I just want to be me and not have others judge me. It’s my life and when judgement day comes, I can feel it in my heart that God loves me. I’m not aligned with the Devil. I’m gay. I’m not a murderer, a rapist, a thief, an adulterer, or a liar. I just want to be happy. I support all my friends who have went through this and offer them my love and support.”
The room was silent. She was brought up a conservative child, but now there stood a liberal woman. Monica never said it aloud but she believed all races should be treated equally. She knew that the woman’s role in the household was more than just a companion to a man. She realized that the world she lived in seemed wrong in may ways. As far as she was concerned, all people should have the life they desire, free from persecution. It seemed right in her heart. How could she be wrong if it felt right? Spreading hate was never the way to bring people to the lord. Spreading hatred and using scare tacics had the opposite effect. Monica’s life had changed, forever.