Coming out in Croatia

vegetarian? okay, I make lamb

We’re lucky enough to have family who we can go visit out in the countryside. It’s our opportunity to have homemade wine, homemade salami, home cooked traditional Croatian meals and just relax after a busy week in the bustling city. My family are very simple, rustic people with big hearts. They’re okay with the gay thing, but C had some big news to tell them, and we weren’t sure how they would take it…

C had spent the train trip perfecting her Croatian delivery of the dreaded sentence. We arrived unannounced and were taken straight round to the kitchen to be fed. C worked up her nerve, stood up and announced her news to my aunt.

“Marica,” she said. “I am very sorry, but I’m now a vegetarian.”

vegetarian? okay, I make lamb

The news was received far better than we expected, actually, and it was quite the relief. Until we started to talk about Christmas.

“It’ll be lovely,” said Marica. “I’ll kill a fresh turkey and I’ll make sarma, and we can have potatoes…”

“You can just have potatoes,” I said to C.

Marica’s face fell. “Oh!” she said. “Oh! Oh you can’t be a vegetarian for Christmas! Oh!”

“I’m sorry, Marica,” said Clare. “I’m really sorry.”

“Oh, it’s just one day! You can eat meat for just one day!”

And at the risk of ruining Christmas, C agreed to think about it.

They’re 99% Catholic and recently had a heavily supported petition to call for a referendum banning gay marriage, but it turns out that coming out as gay is much, much easier than coming out as a vegetarian in Croatia.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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