They invited me to their house-warming party, though I’d never met them. They aren’t even married.
Loud rock music greeted me before I entered the garden. Other guests clustered around beer cans. The hostess was smoking, her bare arms boasting brazen tattoos. She introduced me to her partner – equally tattooed, equally smoking. In his free time he’s a DJ at a seedy nightclub. He was offering guests Red Bulls with vodka. I helped myself to tiramisu and found a seat. At the end of the table sat a person of undefined gender, equipped with a massive German Shepherd dog. A seven-year-old girl with a coy look revealed her underwear as she pranced around and fluttered seductive eyelashes at the menfolk.
Everything contravened the norms and values I had deliberately adopted as a young man. Revulsion mushroomed in my heart. But I’m no longer young. In the meantime I’ve learned a thing or two. I’ve grown. I’ve experienced tolerance, sympathy, kindness, generosity, love. I want to love people, even people whose race, religion or lifestyle differs from mine. Yet deep in my soul the distinctive features of that crowd screamed at my conscience.
How can I leap over my own shadow? Am I willing to? How can I love such people whose very being grates against all the attitudes I adopted in my youth?