Ronnie’s Birthday Gift


Ronnie was 18, almost. He was looking forward to his birthday. Within weeks he would be done with high school and he was going away for university – not far, but far enough. School was not fun. Sure, he got good grades and was something of a math wizard, but he had no real friends in school and his life was a fake.He was particularly looking forward to leaving his girlfriend. Not that Annie was not a nice girl, but she was not really his girlfriend. She was for show. Everyone knew he was gay. His classmates, his girlfriend, everyone – except mum, dad and little brother Stevie. Especially Stevie. Stevie was gay too and quite open about it. Everyone including his boyfriend knew he was gay – except for his parents.As far as mum and dad knew, Ronnie had a cute and smart girlfriend whose parents they were friends with, and poor Stevie was so into his sports and sports buddies that he never seemed to have time for girls. Ronnie would have Annie over for family meals and be shown off to the rest of the extended family as ‘good as married already.’ Stevie would bring his friend Nick and they’d hang out together in his room playing video games. Really, they did. Everyone knew Nick and Stevie got together, but nobody knew where and when.For his birthday, there was the usual family event, a backyard barbecue with dad’s famous ribs, mum’s salads, a wide variety of non-alcoholic beverages and the usual family guests – mum’s sister Elizabeth, her husband Dick and daughter Becky, all as square as a suburban home; her other sister Rose and her şişli eskort perennial boyfriend Pete, he of the famous handlebar mustache and the too-tight sweaters; dad’s brother Mike with the glamourous and brain-dead ex-model wife Sandy, dragging their three daughters in their mum’s choice of sexy outfits, each girl more depressed and dull than the next; his other brother Steve (inspiration for little Stevie’s name) and his second wife Sally, she of the Mohawk and ridiculously short skirts; and his divorced sister Bonnie with her twins Hugh and Helena, brilliant minds but dull as caves.The party carried on as usual. Nick and Stevie appeared and disappeared, up to his room to play, visited by mum with platters of food. Annie was there too, of course, hanging out with Sally to protect her from Mike and Pete’s too-invasive questions. Ronnie hung out with Sally too, avoiding the same overly invasive questions. Presents appeared – the expected tools for university dominating the table. Pencils, paper, computer accessories, textbooks, preppy clothes and meal plans. Woo-hoo!! Mike’s girls showed a sign of life, clubbing together to buy him a camera, and Steve brought his regular golf-related gift – shirt, cap, and sleeve of balls, along with the invitation to play golf with him over the summer. Sally wasn’t so pleased with the gift, apparently, and bought a pair of headphones and an iTunes certificate. One condition, no Bieber. No chance of that! With school over and 6 weeks to pass before leaving, with the job at the phone şişli escort store occupying only a few days each week, with the prepared ‘breaking up’ with Annie in progress, Ronnie could only pass off Steve’s golf invitations so many times. Eventually he had to don the gear and head to the range.Steve was obsessed with the game (aren’t all golfers?), a passion Ronnie did not share, though he didn’t exactly hate the game. He’d played before and not completely embarrassed himself – the only sport he had ever played and not hated. Playing with Steve was like playing scrabble against a dictionary, not a fair match. The joy and relaxation that Steve got from the game, though, rubbed off a little on Ronnie. Steve got time away from his nice but intense wife while Ronnie got to get away with someone who didn’t constantly ask overly-personal questions about Annie.One visit to the range and Steve declared that Ronnie was ready for the course. Not true at all, but whacking balls to nowhere didn’t exactly excite Ronnie either. So, next Tuesday was the day.He borrowed dad’s once-used set and hopped into Steve’s car for the ride to the club. They stopped off first at the drive through coffee joint and stopped in the lot to drink the coffee and eat the bagels. Something was up, Ronnie thought.He was right.”Ronnie”, Steve started, pausing a moment before adding, “Annie’s a nice girl.”Oh no, thought Ronnie, here goes again.”Yeah, I like her,” Ronnie replied.”Not as much as Pete, you think?”The comment took Ronnie aback. Was Steve mecidiyeköy escort suggesting something? Annie had mentioned hoping to get a real boyfriend when he left, but she wasn’t thinking about Pete, was she?Steve picked up on Ronnie’s confusion. “Annie’s a nice girl and I can see why you like her, but you don’t really like her, do you?”Ronnie did pick up on that one, but struggled for a response. Did he foresee the mock breakup? Did he know something about her he thought I didn’t like? Did he know she was a fake? Maybe he wondered why we never really kissed? He doesn’t know the real….”Like I said, I like Annie and I think that you like her too, but she’s not really your girlfriend, right?” He wasn’t finished but took a pause before continuing, “you would rather she was a he, am I right?”Ronnie could see from his face that Steve knew. Finally, someone in the family had caught on! But was he the only one? Did everyone else know too? Was he only fooling himself?”Does anyone else know?” Ronnie asked.”I don’t think so,” said Steve, suddenly more relaxed. “And I won’t say anything.” Then he added, “Let’s get back to the house. You don’t really want to play golf, do you?” Actually, he had persuaded himself that it was not such a bad option, but heading to Steve’s place was not a bad option either. Steve had the biggest TV in the family and, though not a big TV watcher, this piece was hard to ignore. Anytime he had been to Steve’s before, everyone ended up either watching TV (or playing video games, of which he had two), playing on the sloping pool table in the basement or hanging out in the flash kitchen which he’d installed for Sally but which she rarely used.The drive took half an hour but little was said except to talk about university and complain about other drivers.

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