Have you ever wondered what it’s like is to wake up in the morning feel like you are 10 or 20 years older, with pristine numbness in your heart, and you feel unlike a human being? Well, in some niche you will find where your life is heading to but it’s always too late for a realization or sometimes it occurs too early with numerous hindrances. Hard facts, yeah?
It’s certainly hard for me, living in a society with cultural norms, being a subjective subjugation and prejudice is the only thing you face first thing in the morning and also before you sleep, it’s a sheer wreck of emotion on a daily basis, except that you don’t have to pay for it, it comes with free scorn!
Love for a man from a man is considered wrong in this society where the internalization of homophobia happens even within the gay community itself. Even though transsexuality is something common in Malaysia and people are slowly breaking free from the usual stigma, homosexuality seems to create new chaos, at least in Malaysia. People are more comfortable with pedophiles than the term homosexuality.
Jay and I were together for 3 years and it all started 6 years ago. I was 16 and smart enough to access internet and got my first computer. Growing up as an Indian in an orthodoxed family, you have to put aside your interests and behave like a “Man”, they say. I was 10 when I told my parents that I wanted to learn ballet but instead they sent me to Tae Kwando class. Dance is for girls, the first stereotype I faced.
I got to know Jay through PR (Planet Romeo, a gay dating site) 3 years ago. We first started chatting casually and going on outings. He was a good guy and possessed all the characteristics that I ever wanted in a man. He was an engineer in one of the private firms. We were happy for the first 12 months. We shared a lot of things, except his secret. I was in love with him, and I confessed my interest towards him. He asked me to wait, and that’s how our awkward dinner ended.
We were indulged in love for the last 2 and half years. He introduced me to his parents as his best friend and I did the same. Isn’t it funny and sad when you know someone is your better half but because of your orientation you couldn’t tell your parents that he is the one you want marry. Wait, marriage? Informing parents? It’s an alien term for Christ sake.
He was living with his parents and I was still studying at the time. He would come and stay with me at my hostel. We had many intimate moments together. Saturdays and Sundays were always the best days of my life. It wasn’t just about sex but the acceptance and the feeling of having someone important in your life taking care of you. The way he caresses my hair and he kisses my forehead, I wish the time would just freeze. How do you feel when your partner leaves you every Sunday and you have to wait for the week to be over just to get together with him, and just because of society’s perception and stigma you can only hold hands within the lock of four walls but in public you are just his “friend” and nothing more? I’m really jealous of straight couples; at least they have freedom, freedom to love.
Yeah, we couldn’t possibly get married legally; we can only be closeted gay couples. But, it was as usual, until 2 months ago. I was sick. I went to see my therapist and he got my screening done. Normal prescription was given and I felt weak and in worse conditions even after 2 weeks of medication. The doctor asked me to wait for my test report and then he told me I have been diagnosed with HIV. I’m going to die soon.
I called Jay and…I kept quiet. I couldn’t talk. I wiped my eyes without realizing that my face was drenched with tears. I ended the call without saying anything but I heard him say “Hey, Ram, say something, why you are quiet?” My life was too quiet for words. 2 days after knowing my status, I received a call from Jay’s parents. I was in my room with closed curtains so there’s no way for light to penetrate in, as if the sun light will kill me instantaneously. “Hello, Ram? Jay got in an accident on his way back from work. Could you come?” was the single line from a trembled voice.
Before the crash, Jay received a text message from me. “Jay, I’m HIV POZ”. The last word I heard from him was sorry as he begged for my forgiveness. It’s a miracle to get Mr.Perfect in a gay relationship despite all the stigma, and it’s hard to get a loyal one. Jay left me with the stain of his memory that kills every part of my cells with every tick of a minute.
Hope and faith is the two poles that I cling to while counting my days and waiting to see him again, at least in different dimension. If only people had given us the chance to live the life we wanted, Jay wouldn’t have died and I wouldn’t have to spend the rest of my life alone with sickness. We are not sex symbols, we are not selling ourselves for pleasure and we are not topics of entertainment. We are human; just like you, if only you had given us the opportunity, but instead I live a stranded life, in the middle of the metropolitan, with his love and memory!