Laird wanted to get to know about his mother in ways he had never talked before. Laird didn’t have a strong relationship with his father, in the story it said that his father was always busy doing work, and studying. “Fathers in many families are mysterious, distant, intimidating figures-even more so for boys with homosexual attractions. They are the family torchbearers of manliness, and, as males young and old know, homosexuality is considered the dreaded opposite of masculinity” (Psychology Today). Laird thinks he has disappointed his father.
His mother makes up excuses for why he is always so busy, yet she wonders herself why he won’t spend time with them or even her dying son. She tells Laird that he wants him to get better, and Laird says that he will have to disappoint him again, because he knows he is dying. When Laird clings to his mother, and never talks to his father this is a big red flag. 26% of adolescent gay males report having to leave home as a result of conflicts with their family over their sexual orientation (Gay). Laird probably could have lived with his parents his whole life if he wanted to, but being gay he wouldn’t be able to bring other men home.
After Laird passed, Janet got a letter in the mail from one of Laird’s male friends. He was the only one to write to her about how sorry he was, how he knew Laird, and that he would miss him. This makes the reader think that this was Laird’s past love. You can tell a lot about a person just by their character. Laird never brought females home to his parents when he was growing up and he never talked about girls. When Laird and his mother were trying to get rekindle and strengthen their relationship before he passed his mother asked Laird if he had ever been in love.
Laird answered yes, and his mother never asked with whom, or wanted details, she was happy that he had found love in his life. Another characteristic that may show the reader that laird was gay was when he was a young boy. At a young age Laird would bring his mother flowers from the garden. This shows the famine side of Laird, showing he could have been gay at birth. “Gay male adolescents report becoming aware of a distinct feeling of “being different” between ages 5-7; they also report that they did not yet connect this feeling to the issue of sexuality” (Gay).
Most young males will bring their mothers rocks, frogs, and even snakes. When Dark described Laird’s physical characteristics it appeared that Laird had an illness. The way Dark portrays Laird’s sickness makes the reader believe that he is dying of AIDS. Laird is always cold, and his mother brings him blankets to keep him warm and comfortable. Laird’s mother asks Laird if she can get him anything, and he replies with a new immune system. “Approximately 20% of all persons with AIDS are 20-29 years old” (Gay Family Support).
HIV is a lentivirus, and like all viruses of this type, it attacks the immune system. The name ‘lentivirus’ literally means ‘slow virus’ because they take such a long time to produce any adverse effects in the body (Avert). HIV then turns into AIDS, and then your body is always fighting its self and you end up dying. When Laird admits that he wants a new immune system it is another red flag. Dark described Laird’s eyes as dull, and showed her readers that he never had much of an appetite. When someone has AIDS, they don’t have much of an appetite and they lose weight and become weak (Sahaya).
Laird was very weak in the last week of being alive, he went to grab his cup of juice and had spilled it all over him. There is enough evidence that Laird was gay and died of AIDS. In the short story “In the Gloaming” by Alice Elliot Dark, Dark portrays the main character, Laird as a gay male dying of AIDS. All the evidence above shows that Laird’s relationships, his health, and his overall character come across as feminin. Work Cited Gay, Lesbian, & Bi Teens: Students & Schools. Web. May 11, 2011. http://www. lambda. rg/Gay_student_facts. htm Psychology Today.