A few couple of eyes were scanning me except his. I offered him tea. While he took the cup his, briefly, eyes met mine but only to look away. A good looking, well-educated, high earning man was seated in front of me but seemed uneasy for the reason I had no idea of. As they mentioned he was at the peak of his entrepreneurship career. My parents seemed happier to meet Ajay in person. They asked him usual questions and had casual conversation. He answered everything he was asked but his complications and strain could be witnessed clearly through his face. His parents embraced my parents in affirmation without even his consent ( which was extremely surprising). But then my father asked to grant us a little time for my seal of approval and decide only after that.
“We should allow them both to spend some private time together so that they can confer and know each other better. After all, It is a lifetime decision and we should not act in haste,” he added. His parents didn’t seem much agreed to my father but they were not left with any other option rather than saying ‘Yes.’ They all left the room and kept the door ajar. But Ajay’s parents seemed troublesome. Their silent, perturbed expressions said a lot. They stepped out of the room as if they were being dragged.
For a while, we, Ajay and I, sat in the silence not knowing how to start a conversation but then I broke the silence, ‘Ajay, you can look at me straight. It will be easier for us to exchange our views, to know each other.’ To my surprise he stood up and marched towards the only window in the room. He seemed lost in his own world as if not listening what I told or asked. I was perplexed by his unusual behavior. He suddenly start strolling around the room from one corner to another, without saying a single word or may be he was unable to find the right words to describe his situation or may be he didn’t want to share anything to me. Although, it made me anxious but I held myself back and asked him patiently again, ‘ I can see that you are not comfortable at all. Is this marriage is forced? See, you can share if you want to. Marriages should never be forced. If you love someone else you should make me clear but I can’t bear this silence of yours.’
He again looked out of the window to the infinity but when he turned to me, the pool of tears could be seen in his eyes. ‘I am sorry, Ayesha, I don’t want to marry you. In fact, I can’t. If I won’t speak up today, our lives will be destroyed. I know you won’t understand, nobody did but it’s important for you to know that I am a gay. You can blame for this, make my fun, hate me or judge me bad but this is the truth. Do you think that I am a normal human being with a conventional morality, ordinary emotions and regular feelings? Do you think that I too have all rights to spend my life in the way I want to? Do you think….’
“Hey! relax, just relax,” I interrupted him. ‘It’s alright. I completely understand,’ I added to cool him down but I was dumbfounded to know the truth. I had never ever encountered any gay previously. He was the first. In fact ,I had usually found people making fun of such couples and exchanging silly jokes regarding the same. That was the first time I perceived the seriousness of the matter, his true emotions and intensity of his love. His inner fears of not being accepted as a normal human has been revealed when he asked for my acceptance. His dismays and disappointments flooded out when he looked straight into my eyes. I could see the pain and dilemma he was suffering.
‘Do your parents know about it?’ I asked.
‘Yes, they do but it is unacceptable for them. They want me to get married, support a family and put up with screaming kids to live a normal life as they do, as I am supposed to spend. They feel ashamed to accept my oddness (as they say), my gayness. They feel ashamed because I am not like them, not like you and not like how I am supposed to be. I have accepted myself the way I am and frankly I don’t want anyone to accept me. I don’t care what do they think and how do they think about me. I am changed. I am new. I am tired of making others understand me,’ he exclaimed.
I told him that he took the right decision at the right time. ‘You are not unusual, Ajay. You are as normal as we all are. As long as you don’t consider yourself normal, none other will. The way you have shown your courage to accept the fact, you made me believe in the purity, the naturalness of such relations. You can bring a positive change with your attitude. I am extremely pleased to meet you in my life and respect you the way you are. If not life partners, can we be friends? ‘ I offered him my hand. He smiled back and nodded. His smile relieved me.
I held his hand to assure him my agreement to his apt decision . We walked out and with our expressions his parents understood the scene. They seemed angry and upset with him but were silent.
I explained the matter to my parents. Suddenly, their views towards Ajay changed. The person they were not tired of praising 30 minutes ago suddenly became offensive and alien for them. And that’s how I assume our society is but the fighters are still fighting to get fit into the so called balanced society. The society which cannot overpower and destroy murderers and rapists but the innocent humans in love.
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