“Well,” said father, getting up and going to the window, he stood feet apart and his hands clenched tight behind his back, “ what are you going to tell your grandma when she arrives?”
“She can’t Edward, mother just wouldn’t understand.”
Belinda’s mother quickly got up and turned and faced Belinda.
“This isn’t one of your silly insensitive little jokes is it? Because if it is, it’s not bloody funny! ” she said and stormed out into the kitchen slamming the dining room door behind her.
Belinda was just eighteen; she stood staring at the back of her father. She had hoped for some support from her parents; but they just seem to live in another world, their world. What about me, she felt like screaming at them, don’t I count for anything? She felt lonely, hurt and isolated as the tears started to well up in her eyes.
“Well is it?” asked father turning to look at her, and as he did he noticed a single tear trickling down her cheek and quickly walked over to her.
“Do you think it was easy telling you?” sobbed Belinda, “I just could not go on any more living like this, all this pretence.”
“Come here,” said her father kindly, and putting his arms around her whispered “you’re still my little girl aren’t you?”
Belinda nodded and hid her face in his smelly old jumper that he used for gardening.
“Are you ready?” asked Marjorie to her husband completely ignoring her daughter, “I don’t want to be late picking her up from the coach station this time.”
Edward let go of his daughter, planted a tiny kiss on the top of her head and gave a sigh and walked over to his wife who was standing by the door.
“I thought you might have changed” said his wife as they closed the front door and left Belinda alone in the house.
Belinda stood and watched their car reverse out of the drive, and listened as it joined all the other traffic on the road, then turned and slowly walked into the back garden and to her little tree. Father had planted it when she was born and she always took all her troubles and problems to it. Mother was always too busy with her life and Belinda felt she was an intrusion an unwanted intrusion.
Father tried to help but was weak and always sided with mother. She loved her grandma but could she understand. She only ever stayed a few days.
‘I don’t want to outstay my welcome,’ she once said and just called a taxi and left.
“I just feel I have no one!” she shouted at the tree, “no one give a damn about me and never have.”
“I do,” said an old voice behind her.
“Grandma!” exclaimed Belinda, “mum and dad have just gone to meet you.”
“I got a taxi, I tried to phone but no one answered. Last time I came to visit I stood waiting for over an hour, not too good all that standing at my time of life; but what about you, why all the tears?”
“I tried to tell mum and dad something and …”
Belinda just let the words trail away as she looked down at the roots of her little tree.
“It is not easy for people to understand unless they are homosexuals themselves you know,” said Grandma with just a hint of a smile. “I never told Marjorie; in my day you just kept quiet about that sort of thing. “
“But what about Bert” stammered Belinda, “you both seemed so happy together.”
“We were,” laughed Grandma, “perfect match!”
“I just don’t understand,” said Belinda looking incredulous at her grandma.
“To the outside world Bert and I were married and that pleased everyone, and we were also very good friends. We had two children Rupert and Marjorie and no two children could have been more well loved than they were I can tell you.”
“Aunty Gwen!” shouted Belinda, “your friend who was always at your house and now lives with you, I never thought, if never entered my head.”
“And you’re granddad had his friend, remember Bert he always went fishing with weekends?”
“Why didn’t you tell mum?” asked Belinda walking back into the house.
“Because I knew she wouldn’t understand, but I think now is the perfect time to tell her, don’t you?” smiled Grandma taking off her coat and accepting a cup of tea from her granddaughter.