With liberty and justice for all. That’s what they taught in school. Home was a different story. Only those who fit dad’s mold of the ideal man were accepted. Pumping iron was mandatory. It made me look good and was great bonding time with my brothers, but a word of encouragement from him would have been nice. My brothers lived up to Dad’s expectations and followed his footsteps into the service. I tried to please him, but nothing I did was good enough, not even stellar grades.
College was expensive and dad wouldn’t pay a dime. Said the military was the only way to go. Living a lie isn’t for me, so that was never an option. They don’t want my kind. My brothers understood, so did Mom. She used her own money to help. The rest was up to me.
I found a way.
The stars and stripes weren’t the only ones flying when he saw the picture of me in my faded blue jeans and white tank top, old glory draped over my shoulders. Dad freaked out, said I disgusted him. Sorry Dad, it’s a land of opportunity and modeling paid for college.
It’s been years since I posed for that photograph. All the college loans are paid off and I make more money than I need. My family visits often. Dad still refuses. Maybe one day he’ll accept me for who I am. I’ll be here waiting when he does. Until then, I’ll remain true to me.