1986: One Man's Coming Out Story

A simple walk

It was Thanksgiving, 1986.  The sweltering Florida afternoon had given way to a warm breeze blowing in from the beach as the day started winding down.  As was tradition for my mother and I, we set off for our after dinner walk around the neighborhood. We meanered our way through the cul de sac, filled with the traditional meal, talking, walking, sometimes silent in our own minds. She would point out something along the path, grabbing my arm and holding me at the elbow as we turned another corner.  This was years before her hip replacement surgery, so she was a dynamo. With a light sweat on our brow, we continued to make it "just a bit further" than we did the night before. Our conversations were still pretty light at that point, as we hadn't become the friends to one another that we are now, years later.  I was still a teenage boy, grappling with what to do next in life.  I had recently graduated from high school and was playing things by ear. We couldn't afford college, so I was working part time and looking for student loans to help.

We had exhausted the small talk of the days dinner and family madness.  She asked me, as I recall, "What are your plans tonight?  Do you wanna go catch a movie?" 

"Sorry Mom, I can't, I have plans." I offered.

"Oh? Plans? A date?" she countered.

"Actually, yes, I guess it is. I have a date tonight.' I said, realizing that this conversation was about to take a big unplanned new direction.

"Good.  Well, who is she?  Is it with CJ again?" she asked, not knowing the can of worms that we had just opened.

"No, ma, it's not with CJ."  I responded with tight lips as I stared at the road ahead. "It's with a guy.  I have a date with a guy, Mom."

She was quiet for a few moments, I was afraid of her response. "Cool, so I guess that means you are gay."  It was a statement, not a question. She grabbed my arm and pulled me closer to her as we continued our walk.  This one, further than we'd ever gone before.

NowhereNomad NowhereNomad
41-45, M
8 Responses Mar 11, 2010

sounds like a sweet and tender relationship you two have.

I appreciate you guys visiting and commenting... and yes, my mom is super cool! It's funny how often I have told that story and people are like "Wow! That was totally without the drama!" Over the years, this one defining moment with her has given me strength and helped me to realize that she and I can talk about anything. Even yesterday, my sister-in-law commented how Mom and I break down walls and boundaries that others expect, by being friendly and open with one another. Someone recently asked me if she was my sister - funny, because she is closer to me than my sister and a better woman than she's been given credit for. Again, thanks for allowing me to share and for the comments. It's nice to know that people actually read my madness!

Thats real hart warming :)

That was a wonderful story~ Thank you so much for sharing that. Sounds like your Mom is a great person.

Wow man, she truly does sound like a cool mom.. I was admittedly nervous for you as I read through the story, but it appears as if things went very well for you back then and I'm glad. 'Tis a relief in a way.. good story.

It's kinda funny you say that... Mom wasn't the one that knew... it was my stepdad... Mom wasn't even one to know what gay meant at the time... now, she goes to bars with me and is a hit with everyone that she meets when we go out... she's so damned cool! I am truly blessed!

glad 2 hear that conversation went so well :)

Thanks and yes, it was very anticlimatic. The great thing is that she and I now share a bond that has survived years of strife and has grown stronger as time progresses. Through me, she experiences new things and through her I continue learn something new about myself with each day.