Fiction

Journey


The town I had know all my life existed no more. This place before me is new, more flashy, more colorful. Though it bothered me a little, a small ray of hope glittered within me.Did those neon advertisement boards and huge buildings glare at me with hostility or were they offering their welcome smiles? Why do I still feel that I am an unwanted guest in this place which once was my home? It was midnight already. And it looked as if the city had no intention of sleeping.It was brimming with life.And did that sign read night club, good God? I smiled inspite of all my worries.This place sure has changed and all I could hope was that the people in here had changed too!

I had always hated that small conservative town in which I grew up. I had never associated it with something other than pain and shame.But I have to confess that I had always missed this place. Could I ever get back the intimacy I once share with my birth place ?A sense of loss descended on me.

My home was just five minutes drive from the hotel. May be not my home, the house that used to be my home.The house that I had stopped calling home ten years back. Should I have not returned? My life was not an easy journey, but finally I had found happiness.I had started enjoying the process called living which once was pure torture. May be I should not cut open the wounds that I had learned to ignore, may be I should not open the gates for the pain that I had finally gotten rid of .Should I not spare myself from all the emotional turmoil and humiliation that awaited me?

I still had the option to go back and pretend this whole trip never happened. only if I could do that! If things were that easy, if i could just wipe of all the bad memories, if I could get rid of all those baggage from the past! If I could out live the guilt of abandoning my aging parents and my family, without offering any explanation! Did they already accept that I was long dead or were they still waiting for me to turn up on their door step as unexpectedly as I had once vanished?

The memories, the days I had spent in that house!

Those days….when I had kept myself wrapped up in an emotionless mask, scared of opening up to anyone. When my life was imprisoned within the walls of that house.

Those days… when my heart froze when I caught someone looking at me,anxiously wondering if they had found out my dirty secret? The shame, the heavy weight in my chest that never went away.

Those days..when nights were wet and tasted salty from the tears that I cried. When every sigh that escaped my lips startled me.

Those days….when my life was a battle against myself. I fought my impulses, I fought against my dreams, I fought against all prospects of happiness!

I was chained, I was helpless. The legacy,the honor of the family, the future of my siblings…the reasons were numerous. My heart bled, I knew I was different but I tried to ignore the signs. Did my father, who always complained that I was not man enough, ever realize how hard it was to live a fake life for thirty years? Did my mother, who prayed to every known God for my well being , realize that what I needed was not prayers but a word of reassurance?

My soul had started shrinking within me, I could feel it. In the darkness of the nights, the huge vacuum within me would scare me. I was tired of putting on an act. I was broken from trying to hide my true self.And the prospect of living endless years in that nothingness , it was beyond imagination. Even then I would have survived, if they had not pressurized me to live a life of lie.

The wedding, my wedding, was planned. No consent was sought, it was a duty to carry on the legacy! But I had my secret, I was different….no one seemed to understand. My protests were marked down as silly excuses.Every second ticked off like a count down to an explosion. The fear, the helplessness and the exasperation!

Going away was not a choice,it was an obligation. I would have ceased to exist had I stayed back, if I had continued my old life. Just like that, I left.I left no departing note, I took nothing with me other than my certificates and id cards.I just ran away from the life that I had always loathed.

Would they have understood had I confessed, instead of just disappearing from their life? Would they have accepted me if I had told them that my sexual identity was not what they considered normal?

Why had I not stayed back and fought, why had I never tried being myself? The question often bothered me.I often came up with excuses like they would have never understood or that it would have wrecked my family! But lately I realized, I was ashamed of what I am!I had not accepted myself and how did I expect my family to understand.

But things have since then changed. Last few years have been kind to me.I have a decent job. I have finally found love and married. I live in a society were I am not looked down upon,at least not always. I have started accepting myself as normal and that itself has made my life brighter!But the huge void in my heart still remained, inspite all these years and distances.

May be tomorrow is the day. The day that would witness the union of my disjoint past and present….!Maybe tomorrow is the day I would win my family back.

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