Too all the big sisters out there, how would this make you feel? How would you react when the person you love most in the world told you that they have reached their dream. They are going to the one place in the world that will accept them for who they are and they can blossom into the beautiful flower they were born to be?
This moment was pinnacle in my life. The words appeared on my screen in late July. My brother had got his results and was indeed, going to London.
His dream was always London, the fast life, the party lifestyle and the opportunities excited him. One of the most prestigious universities in the world want him. I could tell from the message how happy he was with this form of acceptance. For the first time in his 19 years of life, a place wanted to use his individuality and special talents and help him grow into the superstar he dreamed of.
Me? My heart sunk when I received the message. He is my little boy, my little bird. London didn’t deserve him, he belonged here with me. But of course, I bite my tongue and congratulate him in big capital letters telling him of my pride. Of course I was proud, I wasn’t surprised that he was accepted. Zachary is super talented and one of those people that are rememberable simply for their presence in a room.
What made my heart sink was the version of London I had in my head and I still feel it in my heart today. The insignificance of London people. In London you are just a person, a person in a mass of other people, everyone in London is there for a reason, they are all individuals also striving for the same dream. They would run over you just to be the next person in line to get their daily Starbucks. What about my boy, no one in London would care to look after him for me, they would use his talents to their own advantage and again I wasn’t wrong as this is what happened.
But Northern Ireland is not any better than London, for one, Zachary’s beliefs and him as a person was ultimately rejected by Northern Ireland itself. Zachary’s gay, Zachary has always been gay. He was gay and proud of it. Zachary has had many partners, one is particular stands out.
Introducing Tom Arnold – him and Zachary were the ultimate IT couple, I argue to say that they are one of the best looking couples to walk the face of this earth, everyone else was irrelevant other than Tom.
Northern Ireland does not accept Zachary or Tom. We have not yet legalised gay marriage or gay rights into our justice system. So why would I want Zachary to stay here, Northern Ireland is segregated and too small for my boys dream. But still the dread fills me beyond belief.
London is the life of the UK, you haven’t made it unless you go to London. Zachary had already taken a year out, I can’t stop him and nor would I have wanted too. If I could do it all over again I still wouldn’t stop him. If I had, he would have blamed me for tying down his wings.
So I do what I thought was right, I start my collection box of all the things I believe he needs. Each week I collect something new:
1. A Yankee Candle to make his room smell nice
2. Vanilla syrup for his coffees (1 litre)
3. Colouring pencils
4. Acrylic paints
5. Oil paints
6. Fake tan
7. Eyebrow pencil
9. Tanning mitt
10. Sketch books
His list of essentials got longer and longer as I began to collect everything.
Now I walk into Easons and Waterstones and I see the paints I bought, the sketch books that quickly became his favourite and I am close to tears. I want to buy them for someone, I want him to draw in them once again.
But I can’t, because he won’t.