O Dear Henry
Jasmyn Gaggiano, Grade 10, Gilroy Santa Maria College
He shivered, trying to work himself up to what was to come. He looked up and faced the audience, the friends and family of his beloved. He couldn’t do it, he couldn’t stand in front of them and tell them how much Henry had meant to him. What if they didn’t like him? What if they hated him and kicked him out of the funeral? That would be terribly embarrassing. He couldn't deal if that happened. He’d been through too much. He scanned the crying faces of the members of Henry’s devastated family and friends, locked eyes with Henry’s parents and quickly averted his eyes. Henry was a catholic, and so were his family. What would they think when they found out that their dear Henry was gay? They surely wouldn’t like it, he thought. But everyone was staring at him, he couldn’t back down now.
He took a few steps, forcing a brave smile onto his face and stepped up to the microphone, he gave the top a little tap and cleared his throat.
‘My- my name is Simon, some of you may not know me. I was um, I was Henry’s friend. Well, not just his friend. Ah- we, we, were l-lovers. He was my North, my South, my East and West. I loved- love him so much. I- I know you’re probably all very shocked and I’m sorry to spring this on you. I hope- I hope that you can all forgive me. I just wanted to tell you all, friends and family of Henry, that I loved him very much, and that I wanted to have a future with him. I- I know that’s impossible now-’ He broke down in the middle of his speech, sobbing uncontrollably, so much that he had to cover his face with his hands.
He didn’t expect to break down in front of everyone, embarrassed, he wiped his eyes and looked back at Henry’s family. ‘I’m sorry- I can’t, I can’t do this’ he backed up too fast and accidently knocked down a stool. The same stool that held the frame filled with a blown up picture of Hen- he looked down at the photo and was shocked to see the picture that filled the frame. It wasn’t just a picture of henry, but one of Henry and himself. Kissing and clearly enjoying themselves.
Hang on, if they had a photo of Henry and him kissing, then, surely they knew about them being lovers…. Does this mean they weren’t angry? That they possibly didn’t hate him? He looked up at Henry’s family, made eye contact with every single person. And they all gazed back at him, with a smile on their face.
Then from the middle of the crowd, Henry’s mother, a short lady with short grey brown hair clipped back, stood up and quietly minced over to where he was standing. She gently wrapped her arms around him and whispered into his ear, ‘Welcome to the family, son.’