Parents vs Boss by Rachael Llewellyn
Parents vs Boss
Does it ever bum you out that your boss knows you better than your parents? I mean, on one hand, it makes sense: your parents get you for evenings and weekends, your boss gets you the rest of the time. But on the other hand, you love your parents and you hate your boss.
So how does that make sense?
You trudge to the office and you put on your office voice and you pretend to laugh at your boss’s sexist jokes. You count the seconds until 5pm.
Your parents know that you are:
a complete loudmouth
a big sister
a scholar with a BA in Economics
a poet but not a good one
allergic to shellfish and penicillin
And your parents know that you:
tell terrible jokes
have a boyfriend you love and that they really, really like
speak English, French and Welsh
work for a company that sells home insurance
studied ballet until you were fifteen and sustained three ballet-related injuries
love comic books but hate comic book movies
wanted to be a fire truck when you were four
told them that you were going to marry He-Man when you were five
like to lounge around in your pyjamas on your days off
wear contact lenses
like autumn best
prefer rainy days
But your boss knows you’re bi and your parents never will.
You ticked a box on a form when you applied for the job. It’s not that easy with your parents. There’s no box to tick, no form to fill in that would set out your identity for them in a neat, clinical box.
You love your parents, so you clench your fists and bite your tongue when your father – who keeps a photograph of you in his wallet – describes bisexuals as ‘sluts’. You try and keep your food down during dinner when the topic comes up and your mother – who framed your graduation photo above their bed – explains that a bisexual partner would never be able to remain faithful. And when your brother tries to tell her that with that logic, you couldn’t trust your straight partner to stay true because everyone has an actor they’d definitely ditch their SO for, she tells him that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. She tells him never to date a bi girl.
You rehearse telling them and imagine their misery, their ruined cookie-cut view of you: the scholar, the poet, the ballerina.
So you hold your head high. You’re happy and in love and you’re with someone who loves
understands you. You’re educated and healthy and you have a steady job. You’re a loudmouth who makes terrible jokes and writes terrible poems. You’re bi and though your parents don’t know, you’re proud of that.
You are glorious.
Rachael Llewellyn is an English novelist. Her previous work includes the Red Creek series (Down Red Creek and Impulse Control, both with Sulis International Press), and her short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. She is currently a PhD candidate at Swansea University, and is completing her thesis on trauma and memory in folklore.