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Creative Nonfiction


Stumbling Through

Kylee Mauldin

All questions are multiple choice. Once chosen, answers cannot be changed.

1. A girl struggles with coming out to her Mormon family. Does she . . .

A. Finally feel confident enough to share this part of herself and sit down with her parents to tell them her truth.

B. Get confronted by her mother due to her choice in cheesy romance novels and stumble out of the closet.

2. After coming out, she is met with . . .

A. Her mother’s bright smile, lips stretching wide. Her father’s gentle, reassuring hug, conveying all the things he cannot put into words. An easing of the tension locking her joints.

B. A stilted conversation, head buried in her hands, blinking back tears as she is bombarded with questions of how this could have happened.

3. She is then asked . . .

A. To share more about her life, giving her parents a chance to know their daughter more fully after the release of this secret. To explain things that her parents don’t yet understand about what it means to be queer and how she came to understand this truth about herself.

B. Not to act on it and told that she cannot share this information with her siblings. To talk to a therapist about how she became the way that she is. If she was molested as a child and if that made her queer.

4. This reaction from her parents . . .

A. Reassures her that it is okay to not be straight and aids her in embracing who she is. She can’t help the smile pushing against her lips, the giggles bubbling up in her throat. Anxiety leaves her body in one heavy sigh. She is floating high above the clouds, basking in the sun.

B. Has her stomach dropping, hands shaking. She feels sick, the feeling starting low in her stomach and quickly overtaking her body. The closet door, which had been pried open a crack, slams shut, deadbolt clicking firmly into place. She later sits in the bathtub, silent tears streaming down her face.

5. The conversation ends with hugs and . . .

A. More reassurances that she is accepted and loved. Tears dance in all of their eyes, offering release to tensions so long held. They all know that this moment does not change anything about their relationship.

B. Disappointed eyes. Her father mumbles out “I love you” but cannot make eye contact. Tears build as her mother’s face crumbles, and she wonders how she could have missed the signs. The girl wants to run, to scream, to go back to a time when she could still hope for a better reaction. She can’t see the path ahead.

6. Years later, she is finally comfortable within herself. She finds someone she loves spending time with, someone she wants to share her world with. She . . .

A. Brings her home to meet her family. Her parents tell embarrassing stories over dinner, smiles lighting up their eyes. Her siblings later tell her how much they loved meeting her girlfriend and suggest elaborate double dates.

B. Only tells one of her siblings about this relationship, knowing her parents prefer not to be reminded of her sexuality. Feels like she is drowning, lost under the pressure of navigating a minefield full of the things they don’t talk about.

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