Mackenzie's Story. Raised in a conservative Christian family, Leah's older brother, Shane, gets kicked out of the house when he comes out to his parents. 9 years later, Leah finds herself in a similar situation, and struggles to cope. Will Shane be able to pull her back from the edge?
The Brightest Beacon
If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 20:13.
This is the exact verse my parents quoted from the Bible the day they kicked my older brother, Shane, out of the house. I was 7 years old at the time. My brother, 19 years old, barely into college, and my parents cut him off from everything. They threw him out on the curb with a single suitcase and a backpack, not even offering him a ride or directing him to a safe place. I didn’t see him for 6 years, until I found him in the phone book at 13, and dared to bike across town to his address. I spent the next 3 years meeting up with him in secret, not letting my parents know about the secret rendezvous with their forsaken son and forcing Shane to remain silent about it, knowing that my parents would cut me off from him if they knew.
I was 13 when I thought I fell in love. She had dark hair, as dark as a raven’s. Emerald eyes. Black skin. She was beautiful. And I was barely a teenager, thinking I knew what love was and having nothing else to compare it to. But I was a girl. And girls weren’t supposed to love girls. I sat in church and listened to the priest when he told us that the world was coming to an end and that this was the first sign. First, they will allow the gays to marry, and then, slowly, the end will come. I believed him when he said that what I felt wasn’t love… it wasn’t emotion… it was sin.
I ran to Shane, anyway. 6 years had passed and I hadn’t heard from him, hadn’t seen him. But I ran. Because who else would understand? I ran and I found a 25-year-old man, happy, with a college degree, a career, a house and a husband. Surely, that should have cleared things up. Being gay wasn’t a sin… and I could really have a normal life. But Shane wasn’t a part of my life. He was a secret cove that I disappeared to when I wouldn’t be noticed. He was a forgotten branch of the family tree. The one link in the genealogy that years from now, my descendants wouldn’t be able to find. And his normal life didn’t comfort me, didn’t give me hope. I only saw that he had it because he was separated from us and from me.
But I was 13, and for the first time in my life, I had met someone that caused my lungs to explode and my heart to palpitate every time she walked by. Maybe it wasn’t love, but it was more than I could say for any boy I had met.