Love is Love


1. Prologue

The scripture says that being gay is a sin. That’s what my dad told me once. Kneeling down, undoing his tie just enough to show that he forgot to do up the top button that morning, he explained why the men at the counter ordering an anniversary cake were holding hands. My father was an honest man, the orthodox ways of his father passed on as he dressed in a suit each and every day, even if he didn’t have to. So when I tugged on the crease in his pants and asked in my quiet child voice why they were allowed to do that, he said they weren’t.

Hell is all that await them boys, he had said, setting his hat back on his head and facing forwards. I was turning four that day, and when we got up to the counter, my dad wiped it off with the hanky in his pocket. I asked for the blue cake with Spiderman on it, blurting out something about him being the coolest super hero ever. He glared at me, then looked up at the old lady behind the stainless steel counter, she was frowning.

He removed his glasses and cleaned them on his jacket, speaking in his firm tone that no, I didn’t want the Spiderman cake; I wanted the one with puppy dogs on it. All I could do was nod. The woman had him fill out a yellow form as I waited silently, not tall enough to peak over the counter yet; I let my eyes drift around the store. The men who had ordered the cake were browsing the fruit selection of the store, laughing at what each other had said.

Another man passed them, and spit into their basket. How he could tell they were gay was beyond me, they just looked like two normal bachelors from afar, as long as they weren’t touching. One of them just stared at the man; a slow and painful was promised in his eyes. The other directed his lover away, smiling kindly at the man as he pushed him towards the apples. I wondered if their love was real. Maybe they were just dating each other to piss of their parents.

“Aspen Jean,” I looked up, my father was glaring again. “Come here, I don’t need you to be seeing any of that, just sick and wrong.” The woman at the counter leaned down to him.

“Hafta’ agree with that one, those type of people get in ‘ere everyday and taint the whole store. I said we ought to keep ‘em out, better for the impressionable young minds.” My father nodded, pulling out his wallet to pay the woman. “Just need some religion to cure them up,”

I curled my eyebrows and raised my hand to my fathers, letting him cuff his fingers around my wrist. “Doesn’t God love all his children daddy?” He ignored me, pulling my arm up to set my bottom on his shoulders. The woman left the counter, grabbing a cake and quickly scrawling something on the top layer. Checking the paper once more, she grinned, her gray and brown teeth making a snide smirk, and put the plastic cover back on the tray.

My father took the cake with one hand, and the receipt with the other. “Thank you ma’am,” He said, shoving the folded paper into his pocket and headed for the door. I grabbed his hair, steadying myself on his shoulders. “Careful Aspen, that hurts.” I made a humming noise and let go, wrapping my thin arms around his face and resting my chin on the crown of his head. He said nothing until we got home and told my mother of the sinners at the grocery store. She just shook her head and began preaching about their tainted souls.

I ate the puppy dog cake in silence.

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