By Secret Writings
Illustration by Sanika Dhakephalkar
Far away, hidden from the world, when two souls meet in the darkness of the night, the world comes to a standstill. One such rainy winter night, as I tuck myself into a warm blanket in front of the heater trying to work on my laptop, my phone flashes. I realize that a stranger is waiting to meet me.
The memories of the first night we met are still clearly etched in my heart, a night wet with rain. His curly hair, his calm and blissful nature, an air of slow smiles about him and everything he did. I loved luxuriating in his presence, the warm male glow that came out of him when we were together. I can never forget the intent, faraway look in his eyes when they rested on me for the very first time.
Each moment gone by is a step closer to reaching the other side of the mountain I cross tonight, on this yet again rainy winter night. I’m dressed up in a long black jacket, wearing my favorite fragrance and an umbrella in hand. “Will I ever get there?”- is all I can think of.
For yet again, I have set off to be with my dream. A dream that no combination of words could ever describe. I realized that this time, my dream looked a little different- his hair now cut shorter and his body frail, it felt as if he was leaving something unsaid. Wait. A lot unsaid.
Instead, he says it all with his touch. Sometimes he rests his head on my lap, and sometimes he hides it in my chest. He holds me firm, close to his heart and kisses my hand a hundred times. As we kiss, our bodies leave no room between us. “Why can’t all our nights be the same?”- is all he wonders as I gaze at him.
I so wish to love him, to caress him, to hold him close to my heart, but I resist. I know that dawn will make us strangers again. What we desire is against societal norms; we have tied the nuptial knot with women, and the undeniable fact is that we are both men.
He architected and decorated his dream house himself. All I see as I look around are very bright, pleasantly colored paintings made by him with urdu/sufi names on buildings. He loves singing, cooking, playing with colors and doing agrarian work.
A person filled to the brim with every possible quality, is today broken into pieces. He swings between two different identities within himself. “At times I feel I am gay, at times I don’t” he says. The lies he says to himself every moment of every day are now tearing him apart.
Undeniably realizing that he is his wife’s sole culprit, he says that it’s been only a few months since their marriage and that his wife complains about lack of love. He says that every night in the bed with her is a grave punishment – for both perhaps. He feels crushed by the burden of societal norms, and it constantly plays on his mind whether society will ever accept him for what he is.
“I had a girlfriend in college, but that was because everyone else had. And so it was out of pressure that I had one too” he says.
“I met someone in Delhi before my wedding; I knew I would never get a chance ever again after marriage. We were together for 15-20 minutes, but he did not miss the slightest chance to pleasure me immensely.” He feels relieved of the burden as he confides in me.
Dawn breaks and it is time for me to leave. We pull up our pants and button up our shirts. I hold him close, kiss his lips and step out of the house, the shadow of the full moon still waiting to embrace us.
With a few unanswered questions, a sting of happiness and a pinch of sorrow in my heart, I walk back towards the mountains. Each moment of the next day, I wait for a call, for a text from him. But it feels as though someone shabbily woke me up while I was living my favorite dream.
He sends no message, he replies to none. We are strangers again.
I wonder how to go on with dual identities living inside of us. Just how long will the wait last to truly love? Yes, we have deceived our wives, but what about the rules that society imposes on us? Do we have to bear with such cruel norms all our lives?
Perhaps, we will have to spend our entire life in S.W.A.G. (secretly we are gay).