The door tinkled and an old lady came in the coffee shop. She sat on the table behind Steph and the kids. Apple pie, bacon and coffee scented the air and Steph mentally added up the bill in her head whilst praying there was enough in the account to cover it. She’d told the kids they could have anything they wanted and they’d taken full advantage.
Ellie had ordered tuna sandwiches, a coke float and a slice of rainbow cake. At ten years old and built like a rake there was no need for her to worry about calories. For Jake it was a big bowl of tomato soup, egg sandwiches and a massive hot chocolate with all the trimmings, and Luke had gone for a cheese toastie, a large strawberry milkshake and a double chocolate chip muffin.
“So Dad’s a woman? It’s about the most interesting thing to have happened in this family.” Ellie sucked her coke float up through straw. “Is now a good time to mention I prefer girls to boys?”
“Shh.” Jake glared at her. “Don’t let half of the town know that Dad’s a freak.”
The words stung Steph and she took a deep breath. She’d told the kids to express their feelings and she’d thought having the discussion in public might keep tempers to a minimum. She sipped the lemon and ginger tea and considered how to approach Jake’s sort of understandable reaction. Of all the family Jake had always had the strongest of sense of boys wear blue and girls wear pink. Steph cupped Jake’s hand in hers and looked him straight in the eyes. “Look, Jake, how do you feel about Stefan?”
He smiled. “Stefan’s great. Buys the best Christmas presents.”
“So do you think Stefan is a freak?”
“No.” At that Jake looked surprised.
Steph was relieved that he’d given her the way in. “And how would you feel if someone called Stefan a freak?”
“I’d punch them!” His face scrunched up and he held his fist ready to attack anyone who called her best friend a freak.
The old lady at the next table looked at them and sniffed.
Now was not the time to call the nosy old cow out on her behaviour, so Steph swallowed her annoyance and focused on her children in what would be a life changing moment for them. “Some people in our country still feel Stefan is a freak. Until 1980 he was still illegal.”
“That’s dumb.” Jake glared at the world. It was aimed at no one in particular he just glared at the injustice. “Which stupid idiot voted that idea in.”
It had been the general election a couple of weeks ago and they’d been learning about democracy. Steph took the opportunity to go in for the kill. For her own and Nick’s sake the battle with Jake’s feelings had to be won. She sipped her tea. “Still think your dad’s a freak?”
“But do you think Dad is a freak because of the same society that said Stefan used to be a freak?”
“Not sure.” Jake mumbled and focused on his hot chocolate.
“Think about it.” Steph nodded at him and wished she could afford a meal for herself as well. Her stomach rumbled. “But promise me you won’t call your dad a freak?”
“Yeah. Alright.” He turned his attention to the egg sandwiches and made it clear he’d had enough of the conversation.
She prayed he’d taken it to heart. “And what about you, Luke?”
“Huh?” During the conversation Luke had been scribbling on a piece of paper and ignored everything around him, including his food. His sandwiches remained untouched.
“How do you feel about your dad becoming a woman?”
“I’ve designed the ultimate weapon… look...” He held up a sketch of a pole with his cuddly lion tied to the end.
"Best Possible Taste" is very loosely based on real life events.