My father nodded, smiling. "Yeah, I know."
She turned back, visibly upset, trying to catch her breath.
She was holding together better than I was.
He was proud that I was able to talk.
I apologized for not doing so sooner.
She caught her breath. "Well, I'd thought about it before, and I just figured that straight or gay, I hope you're monagamous."
I told her that I was and intended to remain so. (She doesn't need to know the specifics of our definition of "monogamy".)
She shrugged, shook her head, started to say something, went back to dinner.
He asked me how we met.
I gave my prepared lie, knowing that "online" would have been a worse answer, and called my beloved a guest of one of the teams at the ACM World Finals, because there are some things that really won't ever affect their lives for them not to know, and I'm only comfortable by degrees.
My mother observed that I was sick then.
I shrugged, noting that I didn't have much of a choice but to be social then, and that things progressed almost entirely online afterwards anyway. (Back to truth again.)
I don't remember how the conversation went after that, but it did, for a few minutes.
I chose that point to break down crying more uncontrollably than before. I'm not sure why.
He hugged me.
She hugged me.
He told me that it was okay, and he understood, and I didn't have anything to worry about now.
She told me that she'd always love me, no matter what.
I cried harder, apologizing, trying to speak but it didn't really work.
She asked me what I said.
I apologized for not being sure she would, even though I knew I had no reason to doubt.
Now she was crying as much as I was.
He repeated that I can trust them.
We all eventually caught our collective breath.
That's two fewer secrets to keep. And the rest really won't affect them, and I hadn't been having to go out of my way to maintain them anyway.
I probably should have done this months ago.