Breathing...Chapter 8

*Before…

I guy shake hands and half-hug grandpa who does the same and pounds me affectionately on my back.

“Welcome back kiddo, you and me and your dad have a lot of stuff to do when you’re not working.”

I fake a smile. “Missed you grandpa, we’ll get things done don’t worry.”

Then grandma hugs me really tightly and she whispers in my ear. “Later tonight when he’s watching his shows I’m coming over. I want to meet Robin.”

Okay...I’m pretty surprised all over again.

*And Now…

I’ll admit that I’m not just surprised but part of me is happy as well. Grandma saying that as well as the really big hug she gave me did help a lot.

And it was a grandma hug with that difference when a woman or a girl hugs another woman or a girl.

There’s something deeper in that lean in, something deeper in the squidge.

It cheers me up enough that the food is cheering me up as well and there’s BBQ that Gramps made and he’s one of those old guys that has his own cooker that’s this old steel drum that was long cleaned out and like cut with a torch and all put together like so many of those old guys do around here.

Seriously they grew up pretty much all poor so everyone had made do.

So there’s BBQ that he made with ribs that were swimming in sauce when they started now cooked so deep and low that they have this almost sort of sauce jam on them.

And there’s ham shoulder which is done with the cap on and smothered in a sauce he cooks down from canned pineapples and other things that is really good but even better after the next day.

And there’s lobster.

We almost always have lobster for any kind of big occasions in our family.

Grandpa of course knows people and so does dad so there’s always a big feed.

And there’s all the sides as well and Grandma has some lobster shelled as well in a bowl and mixed with things for us to make our family lobster rolls with.

Not the hot dog bun ones either though those are good too but it’s grandma’s feather rolls and you pull off the top like a muffin and then pull out and eat some of that tuft of bread in there that’s when you either put in a spoonful of coleslaw in the roll or potato salad and then top it with the lobster and the top of the roll...their kind of more like a slider.

And then well there’s the salads and the sides which are usually pickles and things. Grandma makes this green tomato chow-chow sour pickle that is perfect with the ribs because it cuts through everything.

And there’s corn on the cob and that sort of has me smiling and thinking of camp because to be honest the corn we had up there was really good, better than ours.

We eat and we talk about things at camp for me in stuff I learned and took and the jobs and things and Terri is talking about Halifax and the people she met and some of the customers and people she got to work with.

Grandpa looks at me. “So this Moon Lake is a kind of camp for the queer kids.”

I almost choked on my can of coke.

Dad sighs. “It’s a camp for LGBT+ kids.”

“Good.”

We all are looking at him. He looks at us. “What? I knew things about how you two hooked up and Christina’s a lovely woman even if she didn’t start out that way. You youngsters think this is new?”

He is almost punctuating what he’s saying as he’s cracking open his lobster.

“Well I think it’s a good thing. Look at Christina and all the hell she went through because no one would listen to her or she thought that everyone would hate her.”

Dad says. “A lot of people did and do hate her.”

Grandpa gets that old guy look when they have that air of being indignant about something. “And we damned well don’t talk to those people any more now do we. We nearly lost Christina and I’m not having that happen with my grandkids.”

I’m choking up and Terri’s crying openly and Mom and Grandma have tears in their eyes and Grandma moves her chair over right next to him in this scooch movement and she’s smiling at him until he turns red.

I smile at that because they’re holding hands and I get this moment of seeing time almost peel back and I see the same people I’ve seen in their wedding pictures.

They even kiss and he feeds her some lobster and they do this whole little sweet thing and then Grandma says. “Okay...you both went really far out in the world so let’s really sit and talk.”

Talking started as we were eating and a lot of it was talking about “queer stuff” and it’s not a dig from grandpa but it’s that sort of old school language that they use and Mom and Dad and Terri and I talk about things and I sort of end up talking about the most of it with like the most recent experience and all the things that I learned in camp.

About how it’s LGBTQAIPD+

The LGB stuff’s pretty easy, the T gets into stuff like transgender versus transexual which is usually defines by the dysphoric need that it’s not enough to transition and live as that gender but that surgery and bottom surgery in most cases is required by them. Then there’s the whole non-binary crowd which I really have to explain.

Which is they’re not a boy or a man and their not a girl or a woman and while some of them are in between just themselves.

Which kinda led into the Ace community which can refer to either asexual people which kind of don’t have sexual attraction with other people. Which can go from not really feeling attraction that much at all and would rather just be platonic with everyone to those that feel attraction but just can’t with people.

And then there’s the Ace community that is Agender which means that they don’t really find any connection to gender at all. It’s not the same as being Non-binary which I have to explain because a Non-Binary person still has like normal levels of gender feelings and things and want to be themselves and express that while Agender want to express sort of this gender neutral sort of thing.

It took a while to get through that even with my parents and stuff because for some folks this is confusing.

“The biggest thing we were taught was it’s not either-or...it’s and...All these letters are part of the community because they overlap.”

The I is for Intersex people and they’re included because of the things that happened to them or the way that they’re seen. There’s some of the kids at camp who were Intersex and because of things that were happening to them they were finding themselves too and some where transitioning.

And P is for Pansexual.

Terri asked. “Isn’t Pan just a fancy way of saying that their Bisexual?”

I nod. “That’s something from what I get is pretty much up in the air. Some people see Bisexuals as into either or but not things like non-binary. Others say it’s either or and everything in between and they say that Pan is just fancy Bisexuality. Pansexuals sort of see it as that whole hearts not parts kind of thing.”

“How’s that different?”

I shrugged. “All I can put it down to is the Bi crowd that are the ones that say either or. Both them and the people that call themselves Pansexual say there’s a difference and it’s enough that they’re a thing.”

D is for Demi-sexual and that’s like being Asexual only once in a long time and usually after there’s a long time of getting to know someone the demi-sexual person will feel attracted to someone. It’s not just being picky or being selective or just getting to know someone it’s literally like from everything I found out that there’s like a threshold...a demi can see that person naked they get attracted to for years before whatever happens happens...that and it’s also like being Pansexual because most demi-sexual people will form attractions to who the person is as much as what they are.

Really confusing for them until they start figuring out the demi-thing they might have thought that they “swung” one way and finally sort of came out only to have someone else happen to them.

One of the trans guys told me me. “It’s like you are kinda meh about the whole dating and sex thing then you meet someone and you like Frank-sexual or David-sexual when it hits.” which is how I explain that to them as we’re talking seriously about stuff and eating dessert.

Q is for Queer which is kind of a slur but not as well with the way that the community is and it’s sort of a catchall too. A lot of people that have a lot of different things going on like a trans lesbian or other things might just use queer because it’s easier than trying to tell people what you are and having it sound like some kind of messed up resume.

Then there’s the other Q side which is Questioning.

It’s considered actually an important part of the community and it’s kind of tangential like being queer because you might figure into being part of other things later.

“See we don’t double the Q’s or The A’s because they’re really over lapping things.”

Dad nodded cutting into a piece of cake. “It can be a mouthful.”

I nod. “There’s a lot of stuff with that in the community too and lots of fights and arguing as well. The most common thing is either just to go with the LGBT+ or the LGBTQAI+ in most places these days.”

Dessert is pretty great too we have a lemon cake with is three layers with lemon zest in the icing and there’s lemon pudding in the middle and then there’s pie. Grandma baked a strawberry pie and a blueberry pie.

We’re allowed to have drinks with the adults since it’s a special occasion and we’re all full of food.

So it’s us getting to try a bottle of that dessert wine that’s made with the frozen grapes at the vineyard and stuff which is...really kinda yuck to me and grandpa but dad likes it “in small doses” he adds. And we try some Sherry which I really don’t like that much either but it’s Grams go to. I love the bottle it’s that rich blue glass.

In the end I ended up drinking orange pekoe tea with peach schnapps in it and a little cream which I will have to say was really good with a little of the cake and the strawberry pie.

After dessert we sort of split off Dad and Grandpa to do some of the chores and I’m helping with things there and outside. Grandma’s got the lobster leftovers in the kitchen to be shelled and she has all of the shells in this big roaster tossed in melted butter and they’re cooking off literally getting roasted with some white wine and after things that need to get done we’re doing dishes and cleaning all the little bit meat out of the lobsters and their bodies.

They’re that expensive that we use everything and even as expensive as they are we still splurge a few times a year to get them.

But yeah every little flake is gone through and pulled out and either used or saved. Mom likes to save some of it and freeze it so when we have a big to do or something or like Christmas or something she’ll do Lobster puff like a Crab puff or she’ll do Lobster balls which is little cherry sized ball of lobster and cream cheese with lobster butter and like sweet red pepper and some other things but they’re really good she usually tries to have some joint/knuckle meat to put in the middle if those.

Oh and Lobster butter is what’s in the oven, basically it all cooks down and then you take out the thing and fragile shells and buzz them up in the food processor and dump it all back into the roaster until it cooks down and the wine burns off and you have this butter that’s all roasted lobster flavored and sort of orange.

A secret family ingredient in our seafood soups and chowders….oh and Lobster fried rice….yeah that’s a thing here with us.

Mom usually freezes it and saves it after every feed.

It’s doing all this stuff and having a few more drinks as we’re doing it and talking and it’s Terri’s turn as she talks about some cool people she met and that a couple were girls and that mixed in her head with what I was going through and doing and she figured out that she’s… “Maybe Bi or like Pan or whatever.”

After things are done we’re having another round of drinks then grandma says.

“Why don’t you go and change so we can spend time with Robin?”

I swallow my tea and schnapps. “Are you sure?”

I look at her and Mom and then Dad and Grandpa and they’re all nodding and Terri smiles at me. “C’mon Robin let’s go and get you changed.”



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