I never write micro-fiction, short stories around or under 1,000 words. It's very hard to create a story that I want to write, while reducing details down. Even a single chapter of my shorter stories are usually around 2-3K words. This was a real challenge for me and I am glad I tried to write less.
I called my story Reverberations, because I wanted to show how events shape us and how we grow up from these events.
I took the idea of Pride similar to others and wanted to create a retrospective. However, I am not part of the HIV/AIDS generation of the 1980's (I was just born at that time), nor am I part of Gen Z, who are now enjoying a level of openness and expression unknown to many from prior generations. I wanted to reflect the generation in-between and the events that shaped Gay Rights in the last 22 years.
Here's how I organized my story:
(Wednesday, October 13th, 1998)
Matthew Shepard's was assaulted and left outside of Laramie, Wyoming on October 6th 1998. He died on October 12th 1998 due to the injuries he suffered. National news would have started picking up the story the following day.
This is a formative experience for a young gay kid, you learn that you can die for being openly gay. Caleb's first reaction are fear and shame, it's not his mother's admonishment, but his nascent sexuality. A lot of us around 10 or 11 sort of started knowing about our sexual preferences, but learning to fear it is something I wanted to capture in this short scene.
(Thursday, June 26th, 2003)
This is the famous Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court Case ruling occured on this date, which ruled 5-4 to end Sodomy laws, which had made homosexuality basically illegal in the majority of the United States. The US Supreme Court
Caleb has been living in fear for 5 years about his sexuality, the court ruling gave him something, a release from the fear and anxiety. This is also the beginning of his legal career choice, since he saw hope for the first time in his young life that things could change. On a relationship level, Caleb had been attracted to a new boy in the neighborhood, Jason, but he had feared making any provocative moves. The Supreme Court ruling gave him more than just a release of fear, it also gave him courage to pursue someone.
(Monday, May 17th, 2004)
Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that Gay Marriage was legal in the state on this date. It became the first state to allow gay marriage as a result.
Caleb and Jason were in a relationship, the implication is that they had fooled around as 16 years olds do. However, both didn't know what or how to move onward with what they had, being gay does not follow the same heterosexual formula for relationships, i.e. there's no end goal of lasting relationship prior 2004. Seeing the potential for a future together helps both boys stabilize their relationship.
(Monday, November 10th, 2008)
November 2008 was a momentous time, the Great Recession was happening due to mortgage lenders extending home loans too aggressively to people, who couldn't afford the payments and were defaulting, Barack Obama became the first African American President of the United States, and in terms of Gay rights history, Proposition 8 passed in California, which banned gay marriage.
Caleb is in college, he's studying law, but he begins to question his own values and struggles. His parents had lost their home due to mortgage lenders and his sexuality even in a place of safety like California had been denied acceptance. Jason delivers the coda for the story here to support his lover and partner, because that is what they see in each other now.
All I know is you and I are here right now, I got you and you got me. We didn’t need the world to approve of us.
What was gained between Caleb and Jason may have come from Court rulings, but the substance of what they found in each other afterwards cannot be denied by popular decree. No matter how much corrupt real estate backed money is flowing through anti-gay coffers for laws or bans, there was no going back into the closet.
(Friday, June 26th, 2015)
This is the date of the US Supreme court ruling all gay marriages across US was legally binding.
This marks a change for Caleb and Jason, they are not only married literally, but also symbolically joining the wider world. Things aren't perfect, but there's a lot of hope that more improvement could occur. Caleb also begins his new job as an assistant District Attorney, wanting to join a system that he viewed has granted him a new lease on life.
(Monday, June 4th 2018)
Another US Supreme Court case was rendered on this day, the court found religious liberty allows denial of services by religious adherents to gay customers.
Caleb is running into a dead end, being used as a token staff member in his office to show tolerance and acceptance, while his career is held back. Denial of service due to religious beliefs against gay people, while empowering religious liberty appeared to be a new set of Jim Crow laws (the name given to the famous laws that denied services to African Americans and others in the US during late 19th to mid 20th century). Caleb was unhappy with his lot in life.
(Monday, June 15th 2020)
This is the recent Supreme Court case that extended Title VII of Civil Rights Act to gay people and transgender people for anti-discrimination.
Caleb has moved on from his old post and living condition, he moved to the east coast (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, ect) and is still with Jason. While they are locked in their home like most people due to COVID-19, they had hope for a brighter future after this court ruling.
If I continued this story, I'd probably chronicle Caleb rise to Appeals court judge and eventually, the US Supreme Court