I faked the most perfect smile as I stood in front of my father.
“I am so proud of you my son!” he exclaimed.
I have waited so long to hear those words but not like this.
“I knew I did the correct thing by putting your name in the ballot”, he continued.
I was stunned for a second, but then I quickly realized that I shouldn’t have expected anything else from him. Now don’t get me wrong, my father is a great soul. Ever since he was a toddler he had dreamt of getting selected as one of the defenders, but unfortunately during his time outlanders weren’t allowed to take part. Soon, as his dreams faded, they became the colors he wanted to fill in mine. All he ever wanted from me was to be selected. But I never understood why he’d pick the world over his own son and why my feelings seemed to be nothing compared to his desires.
He seemed surprised by my question, “What do you mean why?”
“Why did you enter my name into the ballot? I don’t want to be a hero dad. I want to live like a normal teenager.”
“Son, this is something to be proud of, to be happy about. Imagine all the girls that’ll swoon at your feet. You should thank me for it!”
“ Dad, this is probably not the best time to tell you, with my death due date coming soon and all. I’m gay. So the lady swooning part, not my cup of tea! Stop making my death note seem like a sweet deal! ” I replied frustrated with the venom in my voice audible “Sebastian-” he tried to rationalize.
“Why did you put my name into the ballot?” I asked, a bit harsher.
“That’s no way to talk to your dad-”
“No parental figure ever puts their child in a situation that is on par with throwing them into boiling lava.” I cut him off in a cold tone.
Maybe it was the calmness in my voice or the realization of reality, because my father snapped.
“WHAT OTHER CHOICE DID I HAVE?! YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE LIVING WITH THE NAME OF “TRUMP”? YOU KNOW HOW WE ALL HAVE BEEN TREATED JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE WHO IS DEAD DID SOMETHING WRONG AND NOW THE WHOLE WORLD HAS GONE TO ASHES. I THOUGHT THIS WOULD CHANGE OUR FAMILY’S IMAGE.”
“Dad, you are forgetting I’m a Trump as well. I know you still beat yourself over what happened with Mom. We can’t change the past Dad. We both have only each other in whatever that is left of this world. You have not only put my name in the box but also the fate of our relationship.”
It was at that moment that I decided that I’m going to be a hero. Not for my Dad’s dreams or the world, but because I had to survive, I had to live my life by my rules. It is my right. I wiped my tears and got up.
As I walked out the door, I heard his sobs. A wise man once said, “ You only miss the sun when it starts to snow”.
Authors: Anubhi Srivastava and Aditya Iyengar
Editor: Achala Athreya