crossposting my column in PINK PAGES - the premier LGBTI webzine.
It was a crazy summer afternoon. I was out on a movie date with a friend…a friend who I knew since the past 3 months. I picked corner seats, the cozy ones, aloof from the rest of the crowd. Our intentions were definitely not noble. Within a while, the lights went off, the screen was lit and the Dolby was on. My hands touched his, and we exchanged a kiss. His hands moved over my body and I ran my hands over his. He suddenly got scared. He jolted, he shook and he stormed out of the theater. I followed him out. He was crying in the corner next to the popcorn stall. I went over to him. Hugged him, looked into his red eyes and understood something was indeed wrong. I didn’t know what to say to him. I did not want to say the wrong thing and cause him more pain. I was scared. I thought it was my provocation that was the reason behind his tears. I watched him in despair and did not know what I should do to show that I cared. I did not say a word, just held his hand…and did not let go of it till he spoke to me. He continued weeping profusely and I just watched him in the dumbness and stillness of loud silence.
He gave me a tight hug and drowned his head in my chest as if he was hiding from the rest of the world. He and I sat gazing at the moon, letting our silences speak. After a long pregnant pause he delivered his first words “thank you”. I acknowledged with a nod. He smiled. Took a deep breath and started speaking. And now, he was speaking as if he was possessed. He wasn’t bothered of who was watching him cry and swear. He turned pages of his life backwards, to reach the age of 8. He was at home then with his aunt. Alone with his aunt. His parents had gone for an overnight wedding. They were to return only the following day by noon. His aunt, a young 20 something, college going girl, thought it was the perfect opportunity to call her friends’ home for a party. She called a couple of her friends and asked them to get booze and cigarettes. They came and the music was set blaring. The smoke engulfed the room. My friend, the little boy, was introduced to all his aunts’ friends then was asked to go and sleep in the room. The time passed, and the boy slept oblivious to understand what was happening in his house. As he slept the volume of the music blared. At unease, he woke up in the dead of the night. He walked in the darkness to the loo. He passed by the Hall where he found his aunt getting cozy with her friend. He came back from the loo and when he was on his way to his bed. He was stopped by one of his aunts’ female friends. She was scantily dressed. She lowered her cleavage and asked him to touch ‘it’. He detested. He was scared, but he obliged. She kissed him and went naked in front of him and she felt him up too. He dint know what was happening. But he just knew that he was not feeling nice about it. That little child had an irreplaceable dent in his mind forever. He grew away from the girls in his class. He never liked the idea of marriage. He always spent time lost with himself…he grew up to be an introvert loner.
When he had his first night fall, he was furious and curious at the first feel of sperm. Furious, because he thought he had some female disease and had started milking from the wrong side. And he was dead curious about what was happening to him and in him. Days passed, the issue recurred. He woke up spending time and life in the closet of silence. He wondered why he got aroused thinking of his classmate who happened to be of his gender. While his friends always talked of and stalked girls in the neighbouring school, he would spend time ogling at boys. He found endless joy in just being with that special boy in his class. The days he would get to sit beside him, when his leg would touch his and the days when he would get a chance to brush on him just with no one actually knowing of his innermost feelings…these were the days he would very eagerly look forward to. He was happy on one end, and on the other he was scared and troubled. He had no one to share his feelings. He thought he was different, sometimes he thought he was cursed. He felt special for his classmate, and called him his “best friend”. He went from school to college, and they continued to be classmates till graduation. It was at graduation that his classmate started dating a girl. And he felt completely left out. He woke up to the existence of his sexuality amid devastation of losing his beloved eternal classmate, his best friend to a girl. Best friend is many-a-times, though not always, the nick for a crush, especially when language and understanding is challenged. Like we see in movies, in frustration and the undying urge to find himself and be himself he found refuge in alcohol. He thought his instinct towards men was because of his sexual abuse in the growing years. He was in a state of ambivalence, a state where he wanted to have sex with men and also had a feeling of extreme aversion towards it.
My friend hugged me and cried. For a long time. He confessed to me that meeting me and getting cozy was just because of the similar past of child sexual abuse that we had experienced, something that I was open and candid about. And this was something that actually prompted him to share one of his worst kept secrets with me who was just a couple of chats old. Thereon, I met up with him, everyday. Not to judge or to preach or to support him. Not by kind words or the usual “see positivity all around you” talk, but just by listening. I realized pain is such a binder. And listening is an art. Glad I could listen. That was one of my first memories of counselling… by chance though. Sharing makes a lot of difference…sharing of tears, sharing of joy. I call it the “flint stone effect”. Though not everyone can come ahead and speak openly about their bad childhood experiences, the ones who can, if they would, it would help someone find that one friend who serves as a flicker of hope.
…the hope to find oneself in this quest and to realize the power of Aham – the “me”.