They were on his bed. Sunlight banishing the shadows to the four corners of the room, almost accommodating their bliss. He cupped his face from his hands and kissed him full on the moist lips. He kissed back. A soft gale crept through the open French windows to embrace them, the three rode on. A snigger, soft and knowing at first, heightens to raucous laughter. The lovers break off their ecstatic embrace, their attention on the window, alarmed, naked, and exposed. A face has materialized, hands firmly grasping the window pane, a friend with a gaudy sneer plastered across his puckered lips. Homos! He yells. He lets go. A soft thud is heard as feet hit grass. More thudding and stomping across the lawn. Hoots and screams of mirth.
Two hearts beating like the wings of a delicate bird. Hard to say which one’s beating the fastest. A moment of pure joy dissipates into a moment of doubt. Panic and madness overcome doubt. They all make way for dread which is supreme. One lover rockets off the bed as if electrocuted. He collects his scattered clothes, puts them over his sweat drenched magnificent body, spares a glance at his lover sitting on the bed in shock, exits the room, descends the rounding, never ending staircase, takes the back-door through the kitchen and hurdles across the back garden, all in a matter of minutes.
The house is silent like a grave. A sob breaks in the upstairs room now occupying a shuddering, decrepit soul. Awareness seeps into him. Then he thinks: he saw us, he’s going to tell everybody, my parents are going to know, I’ll be an outcast in school, and I’ll face suspension. I’ll be incarcerated. For him the world has ceased to exist. The mortar of happiness has given away and the walls have come crashing down on him. He’s crushed to a lump of misery in a moment. “Why was I not more careful?” he laments.
We speak of ‘auto-drive’ in certain moments of our life where sudden shock and disbelief have taken control of our senses, our regular motor functions. This solitary boy is similarly driven now. He gets up; he stumbles and falls on the floor. He can hardly feel his feet. He pulls a chair towards the wall-length mirror beside his bed. Face that stares back at him is drenched in tears, swollen, distorted. A soft moan escapes his bloated lips. He bites his lower lip hard, with all his might. He can hardly feel the pain yet he sees the blood escaping the cut and hears the drops hitting the floor. He looks at the little puddle he’s made on the tiled floor. He thinks: how vividly contrasting it is against the milky white tile.
He looks yet again at his reflection with his head inclined to a side. He is deep in thought now. Several moments pass. A sudden illuminating smile breaks. It lashes across his face. His features are altered.
He turns and stares at the window. Curtains bellowing gracefully in answer to the soft call of an eager breeze. This fateful window. This window that revealed his little secret. This window through which the world saw him for what he really is. He wonders whether anything would stay the same ever again.
He exits the room. A tub is filled. He lowers himself into the incensed, welcoming, soothing, bubbly water. He rests his head against the rim of the tub letting go of a lingering sigh of relief. He immerses himself fully into the water. Several moments pass. His head breaks the surface of still water with a soft splash, rest of the body follows. He climbs out of the tub, water dripping across his pale nakedness. He thinks out loud:
“I am now, myself”