The Closet

“You need to go out more, Rihaan,” his Ma always tells him. Little does she know just how real that need is, he thinks with a wry smile.

He has known he was gay ever since Aryan Sharma had smirked at him in ninth standard, and Rihaan’s stomach had suddenly turned into a butterfly conservatory.

After tons of websites, discussion forums and Youtube videos, Rihaan had realized that it was high time he came out of the proverbial closet. But the closet was just too comfortable. Not to mention, delightfully free of parents or friends or the quintessential Indian relatives.

But his life was conflicted between the two fragments of his own existence- Rihaan, the-straight-by-day and Rihaan, the-gay-by-night, for it is at night that he gets to talk with the people who truly understand him and feel his pain.

And his parents? What would they say? Rihaan’s intestines churned every time he thought about the look on their faces when they would find out that their only son was gay. He’s beginning to think that his parents would take the news of him being a cocaine addict, much better than that of him being homosexual.

That’s it, he decides to man up (oh, the irony) and spit it out.

Rihaan breathes in as much air as his lungs can hold and walks towards his parents, who are now engrossed in television.

“Ma. Baba. I’m gay,” he exhales.

His mother turns towards him, stands up, and crushes him with the force of her embrace.

“Why did you wait so long, son?” she whispers, stroking his hair gently.

As Rihaan struggles to hold the tears back, he feels a warm, strong hand on his shoulder.

“We know, Rihaan.” comes his father’s gruff voice. “We’ve always known,” his father says.

Maybe the closet wasn’t quite as nice as I had thought, Rihaan thinks.

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“The Closet”

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