Accept Me For Who I Am
Sarthak Parashar | 7 Min reads | December 13, 2017

"Shattered days and broken nights,
He survived them all.
Soul in pieces, heart in segments.
He never craved this fall."

As he saw himself in the mirror, he knew it's going to be just another day. The day would pass by as usual, just that he would return early from school since it was Saturday. But he'd still feel humiliated by one or the other in school. He'd still wish to live the day to the fullest and eventually fail to do so. He'd still crave someone's support and as usual would not get any. He'd still miss his friends who were not in his class anymore, but his dreams would extinguish that.

Last few months haven't been easy for Kabir. He has lost many people and at the same time he has gained few. From his realization of being gay to his decision of not expressing about it to anyone, everything has contributed to what he has become now. He knew that he was different and he was proud of that. And at the same time a small segment of his soul regretted it. Because he knew people wouldn't accept him for who he is. He was scared to accept the reality in front of the society. 

Being Kabir wasn't easy. It has never been. It is heartbreaking to feel attracted to someone you know who cannot be yours. It is even worse to feel attracted to someone whom you shouldn't have. Also being a guy world expects you to be tough and strong whereas Kabir was more on the sensitive side and preferred discussing over things than taking up fights. Everyone in his class cornered him calling him a cry baby. It's tough to keep all those chaos inside a heart filled with emotions. It is difficult to cope with all this on daily basis after dealing with hectic academics and a lonesome social life. But within this, he still nurtured his world of endless fantasies.
As he stepped into his school early morning, his best friend bowled over him from behind. Then accompanied him till the corridor of their class, only to be separated by the walls of divisions. His relationship with his best friend Rohan wasn't any less complicated. Since last year, he had started feeling some sort of unusual affection towards him. But ultimately, he came into realization that it was wrong to bring in such thoughts. His surrounding added to this dilemma. He knew his small town of 21st century India would not accept his sexuality yet and for the years to come. 

The day at school started and the duration of four classes did not take much time to finish. And that day Kabir had come with a motive in his mind. He had to speak up to Rohan after all the brainstorming. He had been thinking about this since a long time. Hence, after classes he searched for Rohan, but could not find him anywhere. He was very well aware that he could not tell him that he felt for him more than a friend but at least he wanted his best friend to know who he was. Finally, after walking around a bit he could see a recognizable figure standing at a distance. He ran to him and held his hand. And took him to an area where not many people were around.

"I got to tell you something."

"What is it? You don't seem normal."

"I am not and I don't know how you will react to the whole thing."

"Ab batayega bhi?"

"I am gay Rohan."

"What? Stop Kidding Kabir. I still remember how we used to crush on that new girl in class. Try this joke on someone else."

"It was a lie. I never liked her."

"But you guys were dating each other. She had accepted your proposal."

"I just wanted everyone to believe that I was a normal guy too. In couple of months we weren't very comfortable with each other and we decided to break up keeping boards as a reason."

An appalling silence followed this and in every passing minute the space between them grew more and more awkward. It was difficult for Kabir to even stand there. He felt a tinge of guilt. He had dated that girl with a fear that she would accept Rohan and he wouldn't have been able to see Rohan with someone else since Kabir truly loved him. But at this point he couldn't admit that to him because he knew their friendship was at stake. Hence, with an odd mixture of emotions he moved towards the school bus without turning back even once. He felt broken and devastated. He kept walking till the parking area where the bus, like every other day welcomed him with an empty window seat, exclusively reserved for him. He got in and sat there silently, not crying but craving to.

"Had a bad day?"Asked Utkarsh, offering share of his chocolate.

The school bus was bearable for past 2 years only because of Utkarsh, a senior at school. Kabir and Utkarsh shared a bond no other junior-senior ever did. He was one of the very few people who knew about his identity and respected him for who he is. 

"Worse."

"What happened?"

"I told Rohan that I am gay."

"Then you should feel happy. You did something really brave."

"I didn't even wait to see his reaction. But my gut feeling says that he'd laugh at me or may be hate me."

"He wouldn't. He's a nice guy. I'll talk to him anyway. Now eat this chocolate before it melts over my hand in this scorching weather." Said Utkarsh with an affection of an elder brother.

By the time he finished his chocolate, bus reached his stop. Hence, he stepped out, but before the bus could disappear from Kabir's sight, Utkarsh signaled him to smile. And Kabir finally gave him a smile, though faint one but worth all those efforts.

The afterhours were spent studying without any distractions. The evening came in with the usual orange summer sunset, something Kabir wholeheartedly adored. He usually loved strolling till his Table tennis academy which was two blocks away from his house. As he reached he saw Rohan waiting for practice. Kabir went close to him but they didn't talk. Two pair of eyes didn't meet that day, like they usually did. The reason was so unfathomable, but so pure to be felt. Without any talking they continued their practice sessions
After the practice, Rohan had sensed that Kabir was not okay. But Kabir left early without waiting for him.

"Kabir."  Shouted Rohan before he could leave the premise.

Kabir turned back and Rohan pulled him and forcibly made him sit behind his scooter. Kabir already knew where they were heading to. Their usual spot, the tiny hill in the middle of the city. It provided an exquisitely enchanting view of the city lights along with the calmness of nature.

They sat there, both holding an unplumbed emotion in their eyes.

"Why are you so upset, Bhai?" Said Rohan breaking the uneasy silence.

"I told you something unusual about me and it's not easy face you from now on."

"So,what?  It doesn't change things between us."

"I was just worried about your reaction."

"Kabir, we're living in the 21st century. Did you really think I was so narrow minded?"

"I just did not want to lose you." Said Kabir with those rare tears in his eyes.

"You never will." Said Rohan while placing his hand over Kabir's shoulder. 

The day ended with Kabir closing his eyes to sleep while having not even a slight tint of regret. He just had a smile; the kind of smile the walls of his room had never witnessed since a long time.

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