I LOOKED AT her teary eyes. “Don’t you love me?” she asked. I could not do anything except stare blankly, coldly. She yearned so much to hear what she wanted that she completely forgot the turmoil I was going through. She was the one being clueless here but I didn’t blame her, not once. I loved her and couldn’t see her sad, couldn’t imagine cheating on her. But then how was I to tell her that I didn’t love her anymore? She would be devastated. No! I couldn’t. Just one last lie and I promised myself I wouldn’t lie to her again.
“Tell me,” she continued, “Why?” She looked at her watch. “It’s dark. Your father must be waiting. I don’t want you to have to answer him again,” I mumbled. “And what will happen to my answers?” she asked.
I looked to the farthest tree possible; I knew she was looking at it with me. Images from the past flashed in my mind. A year ago, we had appeared for the All India
Pre-Medical Test. Her exams hadn’t gone well and she was upset. I knew I’d done well but pretended otherwise. In our collective gloom, she forgot her sorrows and instead tried to cheer me up.
But now, there was nothing but silence between us. The trees we had been looking at had merged into the night’s darkness. She was staring at a couple cuddling in the cold; I tried not to look as I sank further in my guilt. We walked into the subway and I looked at the tile work, anything to avoid her gaze. I was ashamed to accept the truth. As we came out of the subway, she whispered, “Is there another girl?” “No! No! You know that…” I replied immediately. I knew she believed that I could never cheat.
A month after the exams, the results were out. I was assured a seat in the best college in the country but, unfortunately, things weren’t as good for her. Her father blamed her for her lacklustre performance as he desperately tried to pull out his resources to get her into a decent college. At the time, I was the only one she could cling on to for emotional support. Once she made her way to a good college, we professed our love for each other.
That love was lost somewhere now. We were now walking in a deserted alley, dimly lit by the blue coloured lanterns hanging from the branches of a peepal tree. On any other day, we would have kissed passionately there, but the situation was different now. She held my hand, perhaps for the last time, and said, “Please!” I looked at her and then turned my guilt-ridden gaze elsewhere. “I don’t know,” I sighed. She loosened her grip as she turned away and I did my best not to stop her.
I had once stopped her. She’d fought with her best friend in college. We were in my hostel room; I knew something was bothering her. When I asked her about it, she clung to me and wept in my arms as I consoled her. Suddenly, she wiped her tears and got up to leave. I held on to her and pulled her closer. We kissed.
She was leaving again now, but this time instead of stopping her, I volunteered to drop her. She refused but I walked her till the bus stop. Silence. Something was bothering me; it had been there since I was a teenager. That repressed thought was at its loudest now.
We reached the bus stop and I could just about say, “Shruti?” when, unfortunately, the bus arrived. As she stepped in, she looked at me and said, “I thought it would be easy for you to say it’s over,” and disappeared into the bus, wiping her eyes.
She left me rotting there in denial and chaos. That day will haunt me forever. Till I come to terms with the fact that I’m a homosexual.
Anonymous is 20. He is studying medicine in Delhi