Alex didn’t come out to his mom until three weeks after high school graduation, when he hugged her right before he got in his car to drive to L.A. and leave Paragon, Indiana forever.
They’ve never really talked about that moment since, but Laura was not particularly shocked. And as far as she was concerned, it was just one more reason for Alex to get the hell out of there.
Laura’s a single mom, and she raised Alex and his half-sister, Delilah, on wages from a job that she could never get enough hours at. For a lot of years, they were on welfare. The economy was tanking everywhere, and Paragon, Indiana had never been a good place.
Alex never really understands why his mom doesn’t want to leave Indiana too. To him, after all, it’s the worst place in the world. But to Laura, Indiana is the land she loves, endless corn fields, and sunsets over the hill. It’s hard work, always, but it’s the only kind of hard work she’s ever known.
When Alex was in high school, on the evenings neither of them had work, they’d sit on the porch and have a beer together while another day ended. In another family, it might have been the time when she told stories about their family and her own history. But she never did, and it’s been up to Alex to go elsewhere and make his own story.