One spring day, DC turned into the sahara. Walking down Florida Ave in the midday heat, I hear the voice of David Attenborough. Nothing can survive on the surface of the desert for long.
It’s just me and the dung beetles out here. The sun cooks my skin. The heat blurs the horizon. My throat is caked with dust and I struggle to swallow. So much for spring.
I’m running on 4 hours of sleep. My gay roommate was up all night coughing and stomping. Repeatedly banging the toilet seat up and down for some reason. His cough cuts through walls. Even when he’s sick he’s an unholy nuisance. This man was made in a lab. He was scientifically designed to be as obnoxious as possible.
I will have children to spite homosexuals. My ultimate revenge on this man will be passing on my genes into the future. And not just replacement level reproduction. Mexican catholic family, west african or indian level. There will be unending pregnancy and child rearing for my dutiful wife.
I’m going to get married to a white woman and have as many white children as I can. We’re all going to live in the same house where I grew up. I’ll teach my children to never apologize for being white or heterosexual. We’ll have a lush garden with kale, lettuce, and tomatoes. A chicken coop and a ready supply of free range eggs. Maybe a goat or two.
A big yard for children and chickens to frolic. My chickens will be named after chapters of the bible. And my children will have plain American names. George and Frank. Sally and Mary. I’ll tell them I love them everyday and that they come from a long line of decent, middle class, midwestern people.
They will not watch television or have iphones or androids until they are 16 at the earliest. 18 would be better. We’ll have shared meals, quiet conversation and silence. No needless noise. They will fear and respect me. Their brains will take shape without constant input from mind frying entertainment. They’ll be capable of forming thoughts, using logic, and reading books without fidgeting or checking for inane texts and emails.
A family isn’t a democracy and children don’t have the same rights as adults. As a father my word will rule. The kids will be free to have their own thoughts but I won’t follow their fancies. Some things I’ll let slide. I’ll demand modesty and teach them gratitude. They’ll love learning but despise pretension and hubris.
There will be books to read and things to build. They can work with their hands and develop their minds with wordplay and conversation. I’ll support their interests but refuse to indulge their excesses. They’ll play sports and love healthy competition. I’ll show them grace in victory and defeat; how to learn from setbacks and profit from loss. I’ll treat my wife with respect and show my children how they should one day love and honor their future husbands and wives.
My children will understand the value of loyalty and the importance of trust. The need for belonging, for being a part of a larger whole. It starts with the smallest sphere of the family. Parents and children together, living for each other. Then it’s on to the next circle, the wider neighborhood made up of other families. Then it’s the larger community that encloses the neighborhood. And then finally the nation. When it comes to humanity, there will be a misty appreciation. But we won’t be sacrificing anything close and familiar for the sake of the foreign.
They’ll respect the best in institutions and authority without blindly obeying or submitting. They’ll learn when to lead and when to follow. When to speak and when to remain silent. And when it’s time to fight and when it’s time to walk away. They won’t seek out violence but they won’t deny the reality of conflict either.
Music will be a treat but not a constant. They can play instruments but they won’t be making noise all day long. I won’t tolerate trashy or abrasive songs glorifying rampant, unfeeling fornication and violence. Religion is a tough one. I haven’t figured it out for myself yet.
At the very least I won’t condemn religion. I won’t be sarcastic or glib about man’s best efforts to deal with death and answer haunting questions. Science is no substitute for a higher truth. I won’t abandon their souls to a cold, meaningless universe. They might not be devout but they won’t think religion is for rubes. They won’t be sarcastic in front of the sacred.
When they’re old enough they’ll rebel. Hate me and their mother and think they know better. Pity me and my narrow minded ways. Forget their past and disown their ancestry. The world will encourage their youthful delusions. I’ll be out of touch, uncool, or worse. In their eyes I’ll become bigoted, a fossil, dead weight holding humanity down. They’ll deny everything they were taught and wish they were raised differently, with more freedom to be themselves.
They’ll leave and rarely visit. Call and count down the seconds until the conversation is over. Yawn during holidays and smoke weed in the basement. My boys will lust after women who waste their time. My girls will want boys who break their hearts. They’ll have fun but feel a deeper yearning that remains unsatisfied. Something will be missing but they won’t know where to find it.
And then they’ll come back. I’ll have grown old alongside their mother and it will be the first time they see it. My face lined and loose. Their mother falling asleep on the couch in the early evening. But an old, tired couple still loving and devoted to each other. Happy to have their children back. Still tending to the biblical chickens in the backyard.
My adult children will see their father and mother closer to death, as mortal beings nearing the end. The fragility and transience of life will shake them. They’ll know why their parents gave them the gift of life without being able to explain it in words. The love they felt as children will return, strengthened and matured.
They’ll realize that life is bigger than their thoughts. More than their desires. And that we must live for something other than ourselves. They’ll become curious about their ancestors. They’ll return to their roots and reclaim what they formerly disowned.
Then they’ll hate annihilating death with the power of a renewed love. Rather than longing for extinction, they’ll refuse to accept it. There must be something more, something beyond. They’ll start with children of their own. And caring for the people that cared so deeply for them. Then they’ll consider an afterlife, a genuine eternity. A reunion of everyone connected through blood and severed by time.
All of this will happen because I lived a year of my life with a homosexual man who annoyed me more than any other living person ever has. I was a slumping nihilist without a future until hatred showed me how to love. For all of you in despair, there’s still hope.