ANIMIZE Magazine Volume 3 Issue 5 September 2018 - Page 45

PRAY THE GAY AWAY

Michael and Zach Zakar

My heart sinks for Mom. I am struck by the thought that everything that has come after my father, which includes Bridgette, Joey, Zach and me, has not once brought my mother joy. I understand her marriage wasn’t ideal, but I always believed that the four products of that arrangement were her true happiness. Why was I trying so hard to bring her joy, when the very thought of me gave Mom indifference. Alongside not understanding homosexuality, she has been battling depression for years.

Mom continues, “My life has never turned out like I wanted. Now I have to deal with you two? One disappointment after another.” After hearing this last line, I am no longer angry. I feel nothing. The past nineteen years have meant nothing to Mom. My entire life has meant nothing to her. Barely able to calculate her words I say, “Do you regret having us?”

“It’s all my fault, I wish you two weren’t born.”

On the day I was born, Mom and I had 27 minutes before Zach was born. 27 minutes. That’s how long it was just Mom and I. She saw me first. She held me first. She loved me first. Things were much simpler then.

Zach sits there pretending to be unaffected, but I can feel his heart aching. Zach and I don’t want…will not…never will…feel bad about who we are and we don’t want to make Mom’s depression spiral even deeper, but at the same time, I can’t be responsible for her happiness. Mom has taught us many things, and some of those things we continue to take with us while others have fallen away or don’t match our own belief system, which we are building for the first time. Perhaps we should start returning the favor. I realize that it’s time we teach her. There comes a time in every parent/child relationship where the teacher once again becomes the student. Now is that time for our family.

In Iraq, the topic of being gay isn’t discussed, isn’t praised, isn’t something Iraqis comprehend. All Mom understands is that when someone in Iraq is gay, they either get stoned or killed. I convince myself she didn’t want me to be born because she doesn’t want me hurt. It’s better to have no life than a hard life.

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