My name is Ron Malott and I’m from Kyle, Texas. So being from a big family and there being so many of us, I guess because my twin brother and I were sort of special and in the middle, we kind of felt a lot of pressure, probably put on us by ourselves, but still pressure to not disappoint anyone and to try to always be the best we could be. And we were really smart and so we had to always focus on that. My mom was awesome but when someone’s awesome that’s the last person you want to disappoint. So I feel like a lot of things in my life I did not to please her but to make her proud of me.
So we finished band and we were coming home from band practice and I got to my room to start doing my homework like I always do and my mom came in and I said, “What’s going on? What’s wrong?”
She goes, “Can I talk to you?”
And I go, “Of course you can talk to me.”
And she had a letter in her hand and I said, “What’s that?”
And she said, “I found this doing laundry in your brother’s pants.”
I said, “My twin brother?”
I say, “Well, what is it?”
She said, “Well…just read it.”
So I read it and it was clearly a letter he had written to another guy who was in the military and it was definitely romantic in nature. And so my mom said, “So should we be worried about this? What should we do? Should you talk to him? Should I talk to him?”
And I said, “No. He seems okay.” I said, “Why don’t we just not talk about it now and then if he starts having trouble then we can talk to him, I can talk to him about it, but he seems okay now so why don’t we just…I don’t want to pretend like it didn’t happen, but let’s just say it’ll be between you and me.”
Things got a little better in high school. They never got back to the way things were when we were kids but they got a little better. And then as we went through high school and got to our senior year we had both started working, we had outside jobs. So I would go, as soon as school is over, I would throw my stuff in the back of my car, drive into Austin–I worked at Sears–and I would, because I had to get there and get right to work, I would park in the far parking lot, change my clothes as fast as I could and then go right to work and go inside.
Well one day I was doing that, not paying attention to what was around me because I was getting my shirt and my shoes, tucking my pants in, and I look up and there’s this guy in the car parked facing me, and staring at me and I thought, “Well, that’s really weird.”
So I just closed the door, got my stuff, and ran towards the thing, and as I was walking across the parking lot to go into the store, the car pulled around which I thought was very strange, and it stopped. And the window came down, a little down, and the guy said, “Hey.”
And I said, “Hey.”
And he said, “What’s going on?”
And I said, “I was changing in my car to go to work. Nothing weird was going on.”
So I’m so completely naive now in retrospect, I’m just like, “Seriously?”
So I went to work thinking no more of it. Well he shows up about two hours later into my shift, has obviously found out where I worked in there, and he invited me to go play pool. He says, “I apologize for making you nervous,” and says “Let’s go play pool.”
And I thought, “Okay, he seems cool, he goes to UT, inviting me to go on campus to play pool.” I thought this was going to be awesome. So I call my mom and say, “I’m not going to come home, I’m going to play pool, I’ll be fine.”
So we go to play pool, him and a bunch of girls, and we’re all playing pool. It still hasn’t dawned on me because at this point, I’m not even aware that I’m gay. I’m just like, guys are guys you hang out with, right?
So he invited me to go back afterwards, Pink Floyd had just put their Dark Side of the Moon album out, so I thought that’s cool. College kid, he’s a senior, this is awesome. So we’re there, we’re listening to the album, and he comes and sits down right in my private space which was kind of strange. And he said, “Why are you here?”
Because I think he started to realize that I didn’t understand what was going on and I said, “Because you invited me to listen to this album.”
And he goes, “I’m gay.”
Which completely took me by surprise and he said, “So, stay or go?”
And I was like, “Oh, I’m going to stay.”
So I kissed him and that was the first time that I’d ever had sex that had an emotional connection. Girls are really fun and sex is always fun but that was the first time and it was just like a bell went off and I was like, “Wow. That was…it didn’t take me long to process it because it was so true to who I was.”
So when I went back home I started thinking, well, now I can talk to my brother. Now I have something to talk to my twin brother about.
So the next day, I said, “Hey, listen, I’ve got to tell you something.”
And he said, “What? What, are you okay?”
And I said, “I’m gay. I met a guy last night.”
He goes, “What?!”
And I went, “I kind of know that you probably are because way back when, Mom found a letter and we talked about it…”
He’s like, “What?!”
He goes, “This is amazing!”
So all of a sudden we started doing everything together, we started double dating with our boyfriends, and as exciting and fun as that was, our senior year we started realizing we’re going to have to tell mom at some point. And the fear and the panic of disappointing someone that means that much to you was, we just froze. And we want to move out, too, so, “You tell her.”
And he was like, “No, you tell her!”
“We’ll go in together and I’ll talk.”
So one night when she came home from work, we sat down, we had dinner and afterwards I said, “Hey, Mom, we need to sit down and talk to you and we’ve got something to tell you.”
And so I started out by saying, “I know you think that Donnie is gay. And I recently discovered that I am too. And we also want to move out and get an apartment.”
And she said, “Okay.”
And she cried a little bit and she said, “I just want to know you’re going to be okay. I just want to know that you’re going to find true love. And that you’re going to be with somebody because that’s what you deserve, and I really regret that you probably won’t be a dad because I think you’d be an awesome dad.”
And that was pretty hard. And we hugged, we hugged a lot, and we packed our stuff up that night and we moved out. And that was really hard. But she opened her arms like only a parent can when they’re able to love you like that.
The coolest part about that whole story is that years and years and years later when she was basically dying and in ill health, my husband and I after we adopted our two kids, we moved back to Austin and we moved her in with us. And she lived with us for two years with those babies and so I got to take care of her as she failed, and them as they grew up. So that was a pretty amazing thing to get to do.