By ReBecca Compton
I was fourteen when my grandfather bought me a Furby. I was too old for them and they weren’t really popular anymore, but even though he didn’t smile as I pulled it out of the Walmart bag, he looked so proud of himself. The way he crossed his arms and nodded to me when I thanked him, I knew he believed this would make me happy. I carried it with me around the house for the next few months. I didn’t expect any of my friends to understand him, and that’s ok because they didn’t need to.
He wouldn’t have cared.
He worked for the city’s utilities, and when he walked through the kitchen on his way to the couch, I’d hum The Song of the Sewer. He’d pretend not to hear, but I’d caught him smiling once. He liked that, when I teased him. Maybe it reminded him of my father in a way, though from what I understood Grandpa watched him from afar too.
It wouldn’t have changed anything.
To be fair, I’d never told him I loved him either. But I made cornbread and poured milk over it for lunch on Sundays, and to him, that was better than a few words. Being a feminist, maybe I should have cared that I did exactly what he expected of me by doing all the cooking and cleaning. But I was happy there. It was stable after Mom and Dad left. It smelled the same coming home every day after school. It still does and probably always will. I’ll have to let some other family live there now.
She’s waiting in the car for me because I wouldn’t let her stand in front of him this way. I yanked my hand away when she said I shouldn’t be upset I’d never told him. She loved me, but no amount of whispered conversations in our bed could make her understand the way he and I felt toward each other.
I scratched some dirt aside and placed the pin, pressing it as deep as my thumb could take it. I’d gotten it from our last protest. The one that had my heart racing because it was televised when he was home about to turn on Gunsmoke. Even if his feelings wouldn’t have changed, I knew he wouldn’t have wanted others to see it sitting out in the open on his tombstone. I could see the top left corner of the rainbow sticking out from the dirt, but I didn’t try and bury it better. My last attempt to make it public to him.
“I was going to tell you. I promise.”
ReBecca Compton grew up with three sisters but instead of turning out girly, she’s a comic book fan, gamer, and motorcyclist. When people ask for an interesting fact, she tells them she’s a student pilot, but really, she’ll never top that for the rest of her life. She’s been published by Words, Pauses, and Noises.