DID YOU SEE THE PICTURE?

A Marriage Equality Story, by Rich Paschall

When Eddie went into the army, Marge and her husband Edgar decide to leave the Midwest and head for Arizona.  As each year went past, Edgar found the winters difficult and the summers impossible.  When the spring and fall brought allergies on and the summer humidity brought increased breathing difficulty, the decision was easy.  It was time to go south.

Marge received a transfer to a Mesa, Arizona store and Edgar was sure he would find work if only he could breathe easier.  They took their daughter with them although she had reached 21 years of age.  She did not know what she wanted to do in life and a change seemed like a good idea.

Eddie had worked for two years after high school and then decided the army would be his best start in life.  After the army, he would use his benefits to go to college and make his life better.  While in the army, he lost weight, matured and became a handsome young man who made his parents proud.

Even though Marge was a rather conservative type, she learned to use social media and followed along on facebook and twitter hoping to see more of Eddie.  He was on facebook, but actually used it very little.  When he posted some pictures from a Middle East cook out with his fellow soldiers, his proud mother shared the pictures all over the internet.  Eddie did not post much after that.

Marge spent some time each day, and a lot of time on her day off, posting on facebook and reading internet articles.  She would “like” things she thought were good and sometimes comment on postings and news stories.  Although she did not consider herself very political, she did seem to agree more with Republican postings than anything else.  Her friends started avoiding posting political items to her page.  It was better that way.

Whenever Eddie was on leave from the service, he visited friends in Chicago and then went on to Phoenix to see his parents.  When Marge would ask Eddie what he did in Chicago and who he saw, she got vague answers.  Eddie said little about his personal life.  He told next to nothing about friends or the service.  His mother thought it was just a phase that young men go through.  She figured he would tell her a lot more when he got out of the army.

When he was nearing the end of his time in the service, Marge asked Eddie if he would join them Phoenix or return to the Midwest.  He told her he would move to Chicago.

“Chicago!” she exclaimed.  “Why do you want to move there?  It is not safe there.  It is expensive to live and the job market is not the best.  You can get a job here.  I can help you.”

“I want to go to school there,” Eddie explained.  “I have friends there.  I will get a job, don’t worry.”  He spent months assuring his mother he would be fine until the day came when he got his discharge and went to Chicago.

Eddie saw his mother’s facebook postings on a regular basis and that only convinced him to keep his personal life to himself.  He got an apartment, a job and made friends.  He enrolled in a city college with his army benefits and was happy with his life.  He assured his mother that all was well.

After following along on facebook, Marge decided she did not like the direction the country was headed.  She did not like the liberal policies and she would definitely vote a more conservative ticket next time.  It was easy to find friends online who agreed.

One day, an old friend from the Midwest called Marge.  She was excited about the latest news and could not wait to talk to her old friend about it.

“Hello Marge, you must be so excited.  I must tell you I was so surprised.  Did you see the picture they just posted?”

“Picture?” Marge asked.  “What picture? What are you talking about?”

Her old friend just laughed.  “Why, the wedding picture of course!  Did you know they were going to city hall?  Did you know which day it would be?”

“Who are you talking about?” Marge demanded.  A long silence followed while Marge’s friend wondered if the whole matter was actually a secret.  It seems that Eddie was tagged in pictures by others, but he had posted nothing himself.  The friend thought carefully about what to say next.

“Oh, it is something I saw on facebook.  Perhaps you should go look at a few pictures that Eddie is tagged in and we can talk later.  OK?”  After some vague promise to call back soon, the old friend hung up and Marge raced to her computer.

The PC started slowly and facebook seem to take extra long to load up.  It was no different than usual, but this time the wait was maddening.  Finally Marge got online and found the pictures that her old friend referred to.  There was Eddie at City Hall getting married.

Photo by  Giovanni Dall'Orto

Photo by Giovanni Dall’Orto

The fact that Eddie married without telling her in advance was upsetting.  The fact that she did not know the other person at all was also upsetting.  But the most surprising part of all was that the groom took another groom.  Her handsome, white, middle class son had married a handsome Hispanic man of about the same age.  In one picture, they were looking deep into one another’s eyes as if they were truly in love.

Marge was stunned.  She had no idea that Eddie was gay or loved the young man she had seen in the photos.  After she stared at the pictures for a while, she started reading back through her facebook posts and “likes” to see if she had said anything negative about Hispanics or gays.

14 thoughts on “DID YOU SEE THE PICTURE?

  1. One day, while still a little kid in Brooklyn, I was across the street with my mom and she was speaking with a neighbor. Me being a fairly precocious tike, said something that shocked and surprised the neighbor to the point where she questioned my mom allowing me to say it. “Why do you let him talk that way Mrs. T?” Mom, of course, hadn’t batted an eyelash and responded “It’s the only way I know what he’s thinking.”

    I dare say that there may have been many opportunities for Marge to better know her son. Unfortunately society often forces us to ignore, or deny, the clues. Hopefully she’ll be able to recover from her initial shock and rebuild the relationship with Eddie. I think negative remarks about Hispanics is the least of Marge’s problems.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Family issues and Facebook – they don’t necessarily go together unless you live and breathe social media. Being the dinosaur that I am, I use Facebook as an on-line, advanced telephone directory. Do I miss out on some things? Yes. Do I care? No. If someone wants me to know something they can tell me, and they can find me living and enjoying the real world not on line all day. Choices – we all have to make choices. 🙂 Happy Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Having rather recent experience with this, I’m glad to say I didn’t have to go look for negative comments about any group. It wasn’t all that much of a surprise. I think we (parents) always know who and what are children are … often before they know it themselves. My mother sometimes quite shocked me by saying something about me I hadn’t realized was true. Like when I was going to Israel to live and someone said it was harsher conditions there than I was used to, and my mother answered by saying “Marilyn doesn’t care about luxury and things.” It was true, but I hadn’t realized it.

    If you are paying any attention at all, you know.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A great story. I do find it sad that he wasn’t able to talk to his mother about his life. I must say I don’t do much with Facebook – just post photos. I have to be careful as I don’t want my ex-hubby to find out too much about what I am up to.

    Liked by 1 person

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