generation gap

by Jaden G., 18

My father repeats his question. 

“If I told you I wanted to be a woman,” he says, his words pressing into me like his fingers pressed around the kitchen counter edge. “What would you say?” 

I know what he’s doing. His question is hypothetical. He is Before me, challenging me to stay in his time. He wants me to stay where people have definitions. Standing After me is Their time (Our time?) where definitions are decimated. No ashes remain.

I pick up a blade and slash twice. Once through Before and once through After. I toss the weapon aside. 

“Okay,” I tell him. “I would say, okay. I would not fight you.” 

He scoffs. I throw him a rope from where I stand, valleys on either side. 

“I would love you.”

He doesn’t catch it. The valley grows wider. 

Fort Collins, Colorado

first published in Blue Marble Review