Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

The two of them sat facing each other in the living room, the father and the fidgeting male his daughter had brought home to meet him.  From the kitchen came snatches of conversation, the talk in excited giggles of things only a mother and daughter could talk about with such euphoric fervor.  The two men just surveyed each other warily, awkwardly looking for the right words with which to start a conversation.

‘You’ll have to forgive me, but I’m afraid I’m not quite sure what to say in situations like this.’ It was the father that broke the silence.

‘Sir?’ The younger male looked up quizzically. ‘Situations sir?’

‘You see, my daughter has brought home boys before, not many mind you, don’t get the wrong idea, but this is the first time…’ He trailed off, uncertain how to continue. He shifted his weight in his seat, crossing and uncrossing his legs as he adjusted his shirt cuffs before continuing. ‘Have you had children son?’

‘No sir, I’m a little young for that’, the boy answered, shaking his head, ‘and your daughter, well sir, she’s the first girl that I’ve ever really thought about having a family with.’

‘I see.’ The answer seemed to perplex the father, and he leaned forward, hunching his shoulders. ‘Well imagine yourself for a moment, in a few years, with a daughter…’ the father began, pausing to clear his throat before continuing, ‘…imagine that your daughter came home one day, after having been away for almost a year, and never having mentioned that she was engaged, she introduced you to… well…’ he stopped again, the task of putting his current thought into language was causing him obvious distress.

‘What if she brought home a creature like me?’ The boy, obviously keenly aware of the fathers discomfort, spared him the burden of the words.

‘Yes, I’m sorry – you must understand…’ The father, visibly relieved, tried to justify his unspoken but apparent position. ‘I don’t mean you any prejudice, it’s just your species, these couplings – this is all very new to me.’

‘Sir, were my daughter to bring a partner home to meet me, I would have to believe that she saw something special enough in him to want to share her feelings with her family, and I’d do my best to see what she saw too. I’d trust that she knew her feelings for him better than I could, and I’d try my best to be happy for them both.’

The father sat back, and smiled at the words spoken by this strange, alien creature before him.  The boy was right. He had to trust his daughter’s judgement, and this boy seemed to be a decent enough fellow. They’d have their challenges to be sure. Not everyone could understand these inter species unions that were only just becoming known to the public, and were far from common. It was the very least he could to be supportive.

The father raised himself from his chair to tower over the boy as the youth nervously clambered to his feet. The father spoke, and as he did so, he extended one strong chitinous hand to the young man, inviting him to shake it. ‘You seem to have won my daughters heart, and that’s no easy task, so I’ll welcome you then, as the first human to enter our home in peace.’ They smiled, each in his own way openly relieved.

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