June 27, 2065
Dear Diary: Today Mom and Dad are taking me to my Grandpas’ house for the Inhuri holiday dinner. They live in Quedel. They cook a lot better than Mom and Dad. And, they always give me presents. It’s going to rain this afternoon so we may actually get rainbows. That’s even better than a white Christmas!
Rachel and my aunties Katie and Lupe won’t be there though. No one can fly anywhere today. Mom says it’s because of religious people. Why do the religious people have to be so mean?
“Kyra, Elliott, you both sit here and Chelsea, you sit over here,” Charles said as he swept an arm about the table to indicate the places for his daughter, son-in-law and grand-daughter at the family’s Inhuri Day dinner. Now 65, Charles sported a Warhol-mop of fine white hair. It did nothing to hide his perpetually stern, no-nonsense expression.
Turning towards the kitchen, he said “Eugene, come on. Do you need help?”
“Charles, I’m on the phone with Katie and her wife Lupe wishing them a happy Inhuri. I’ll be right there.”
Charles and the guests took their seats around the dining table, which was set with a festive hodge-podge of plates and silverware of different provenances – not because Eugene and Charles couldn’t afford or did not have proper place settings for a holiday meal, but because it reminded Eugene of old-time family get-togethers. It would have annoyed Charles, but his one pleasure in life was Eugene.
Shortly Charles’s husband Eugene emerged from the kitchen, adjusting his eyeglasses with one hand, and holding a freshly opened bottle of wine in the other, all while nestling a basket of rolls in the crook of his Missoni-swathed arm. “Sorry, Katie just called to wish us Happy Inhuri. They miss everyone.”
“Being stuck in Rome for the holiday – I can think of worse punishments,” said Chelsea’s father, Elliott. “But I’m glad we at least could get together. Eugene I love the dreadlocks!” Eugene’s snowy-white hair, now braided into dreadlocks, lay in regimented rows across his coffee-colored head.
The World Court had two weeks ago issued a ruling against a coalition of conservative religious groups, which effectively shut off their broadcast and internet rights due to discrimination against women and homosexuals.
“Yes, dad, retro is a great look on you,” said Kyra. “You know, I can’t say much, but we still don’t know how the HV spectrum was hacked last week. Holo uses encryption cat 6. The sects may have had an insider. I can’t see any other way they could have broken in to get their threat out on Holo like they did.”
“So you mean, the government felt that air security may have been penetrated as well?” asked Charles. “Hence the last-minute ban for Inhuri? I was very surprised – we haven’t seen anything like this for a decade. Not since the court interpreted the Tolerance amendment to ban exposure of minors to religion.”
Eugene sat down next to Charles. “I’m not surprised at all. Must be my roots as an angry black queen, but since we are gathered for International Human Rights day today, I will start the toasts by saying ‘Here’s to people who stand up for what’s right.’ Throughout history that has often been a dangerous thing to do. And we can’t get complacent just yet.”
“Chelsea, what do you think about Inhuri, besides the gifts?” asked Charles as he carefully unfolded a napkin and placed in on his lap. “Do they teach about it in schools? About the Stonewall riots? The founding of Quedel? This must seem like ancient history to you.”
“Grandpa Charles,” said Chelsea, “don’t be silly! I know all about Inhuri and Quedel – Quedel started as the State of Queer Delaware back in 2015. Gays and lesbians moved to Delaware after the big earthquake destroyed California. Then everyone got rights, and we celebrate on June 27th. ”
Eugene looked across the table at his granddaughter and said “Chelsea, let me tell you honey-child, there’s a lot more to the story than that.” Charles fired a ‘you’re not going to tell that story’ look at Eugene. But they could all see that Eugene was indeed going to continue. So they picked up their knives and forks and dug in to eat. And with that, Eugene took over and told the story of how the just-born state of Quedel, and the nation, almost met disaster forty years ago.