Going Home on a Saturday Night
I decided to tell my mom I was a sodomite after chugging down two Bud Light Straw-Ber-Itas inside the Uber I had pick me up from the bar in Brooklyn where I was dancing with my friends. I practiced saying it to myself in the front camera of my phone, but it was too dark in the back of the car to see my face. At first, I used the word gay. I said it about a dozen times before deciding it sounded silly, something a thirteen-year-old says when his mom asks if he still wants Spiderman underwear. The driver would look at me in the rear-view mirror as I recited the line. The first time I caught him looking, I told him I was an actor, and that I was just practicing lines for my big show the next day. I don’t think he spoke English because he didn’t say anything, that or he didn’t care.
I thought of how to walk into the house— if I should take my shoes off first or have them on in case I had to run out while she chased me with a belt. That thought was cut short when I started to feel the amaretto sours I had been drinking earlier rush up my throat. I made a gagging sound and lowered the window and tilted my head out to calm me down, it didn’t help. The driver, who was doing sixty on the expressway, pulled out a clear garbage bag from behind the passenger side seat and handed it to me. The sound of pre-vomitation is universally understood, and I think that’s wonderful. I didn’t throw up, and when I got out, I asked if he wanted the garbage bag back, but he didn’t say anything then either, so I kept it.
I had him drop me off a block away from the house, so I had time to think about what I would say. I debated switching out gay with maricón, but despite taking two semesters of Spanish, and growing up with the language in every room of the house, I couldn’t pronounce the accented “o” without sounding white. I figured sodomite was the mature word, the correct word. Evangelicals like her read it all the time in the Bible. That thought then produced the question: when was the last time I saw my mother go to church? And that led to the next one: who is she to judge if she doesn’t regularly attend Mass? But I’m a fair person, and so I asked myself, as I stood under the streetlight at the corner of the block, can one faithfully label themselves something they don’t constantly practice? Is there something as a part-time Evangelical? Was I only a part-time sodomite? The last time I had had another man’s phallus in my hand was a year ago in the bathroom of a house party, and that was only because he was my friend and had broken his right arm and asked me to help him pee.
I stopped with the questions when the urge to puke came back. My stomach fought against the deep breaths I took to calm down, refused to take no for an answer, so much for mind over matter. So I threw up the three shots of tequila I drank when I first got to the bar, the one frozen cosmo I had after getting overheated in the crowd, the four amaretto sours I had because I kept forgetting where I left each glass and had to ask for a new one after only drinking half of the previous, and of course, the two Bud Light Straw-Ber-Itas. I remembered I had the clear garbage bag in my hand after I finished. I used it to bag my shoes, which were soaked in the mess I had made. I threw out the bag holding my shoes in my neighbor’s trash can and decided to shelve my plans for another night.
Andy Lopez is a Latinx writer based in New York City. He is currently pursuing a BA in Creative Writing from Hunter College. His writing has appeared in The Olivetree Review, Hunter College’s literary and arts magazine, which he has worked on as Prose Editor since the Spring of 2018. Currently, he is working on a chapbook composed of flash fiction pieces centered on a queer character’s experience with entering adulthood. His favorite place to read is on a New York City subway train, preferably when sitting.