My grandmother dies.
My mother calls twenty-four hours later. Arrangements have been made. My brother the minister will conduct the service. Visitation is Monday, the funeral is Tuesday.
"We'll be there," I say. I'm wrong.
Clyde, my partner of seven years, is not invited. Mother explains that at a time like this, seeing Clyde by my side would exceed her capacity to cope.
Off the phone, I'm livid. I conclude aloud that, after this, I'm done with my family. I'm tired of the unapologetic slaps in the face, the lapses in communication, the casual disregard for the value and significance of my relationship with Clyde. "I'm tired of being a patient teacher," I say. "After this funeral, if they can't accept who I am, they can just get along without me."
Clyde says, "If you start putting conditions on your love for your family, how can you teach them unconditional love?"
This, you see, is why I love Clyde.