Amor y Amigo  
Friend and Lover     

1996: The Crisis

The wet sand felt amazing under the bare feet as we walked the dark beach, hand in hand. The moon was just crossing over the horizon, the full orb still tinged orange as it heaved itself out of the rolling waters of the sea.

And as it lifted higher, it changed colour, casting a soft glow over the beach, we stopped to look, admire the scene. The place was simply amazing, out of this world - so breathtakingly beautiful, so peaceful... so tranquil...

Reaching out he took my other hand... the fingers interlacing as we turned, facing each other... spreading out our arms, moving in closer, our body touching... I raised myself on my toes, lifting my face as he bent slightly, out lips touching... A lightening jolt passed down my spine and I moaned into his mouth... and felt his fingers grip me tighter... his arousal distinct against my abdomen, warm and rigid.

We kissed that way, savouring the moment... the cool waters lapping around our feet.

For a fleeting moment I wanted to drop down, right there, on the wet sand and make passionate love to him, but quickly nudging the thought out of my mind, I went back to kissing him...

Releasing the hands, almost simultaneously, we wrapped our arms around each other... our pelvis grinding in the heat of awakened passion.

“Tonight…” he whispered, finally breaking the kiss, his eyes glinting in the moonlight, “I’m going to make love to you in my own room, in my bed!”

“I can hardly wait, Ankur…” I panted, feeling a frisson of excitement... unconcerned with the logistics of how he'd get me out of the guest room and into his bedroom... or, how we'd explain it in the morning!

“Guess, we need to hurry, or Mom will have someone come looking for us!” he smiled, taking my hand and heading home.

** ** ** **

We went into the library after dinner, and as we sat down a servant entered with the coffee tray.

"Thank you," said Ankur's mother, "I'll make it, you may leave."

He bowed and withdrew.

And as she got busy preparing the coffee, Ankur reached out and took my hand in his, "Ma, Dad..." he said, "there's something important I want to talk to you about."

Instinctively I knew what he wanted to say... 'God, so this is why he wanted me to come along, he wants to come out to his parents, his family and wants to introduce me!' I felt a flutter deep in my gut... and also felt very proud - he was being honest, he was being truthful and that made me proud of him.

"Tell us," his mother smiled at him, serving the coffee.

"Dad... Mom... Adit," he said looking individually at them, "I'm gay."

There was a brief moment of uncertainty and then total silence. As if everything had frozen within a split second. His mother's hand still holding the cup halfway up as she was about to place it before Adit…

"Oh my God, what kind of sick joke is this," she finally said setting down the cup with a clatter. "And why are you holding his hand?"

"Because, I love him and because we've decided to be together."

And then, all hell broke loose!

"What have you done to my son,” she hissed at me, furious. “Oh, God, why did you do this to my baby?”

“Mother…” Ankur interjected.

“Do your parents know? Did you tell them?" she shouted, her eyes blazing.

For some odd reason I answered, "Yes."

"And what kind of parents are they," she said with a look of utter abhorrence, "didn't they even try to stop you? Put you in some kind of institution or something? Leaving a pervert like you to roam free, letting you spoil innocent boys?" she glared, her eyes flashing with unconcealed animosity.

I remained quiet. I didn't tell them, didn't feel the need to... Even Ankur didn't know - about my parents, about the past.

"If you had married," she continued to rage, "you'd have a son nearly half his age!" her eyes hateful as she spat out the words.

"Enough!" Ankur shouted, jumping up from the chair "don't you dare talk to him like that!"

Reaching out I held his hand and he paused, looking down at me, sitting back.

"You have corrupted my son!" she shrieked.

"No one can corrupt another person, Ma," Ankur said, surprisingly calm, "we are what we are. And if you really want to know who 'corrupted' me, well then, it was Ajay," he paused, looking at his family. "Yes, Ajay, your loving younger brother, Ma. And I don’t even want to call him my uncle."

So, that was the 'someone' he didn't want to talk about... I felt like taking him in my arms and kissing him, tell him that everything was just fine... I wanted to reach out, reassure him... but it was neither the place, nor the proper time.

"Shut up," she snapped, "how dare you blame Ajay for your sickness, for what this man has done to you!"

"Blame? He did it Ma, he did it, and I was only ten then, the first time. And you're telling me I can't say it, huh? Just because he's your brother? And Darsh, what about him? You can easily heap abuse on him, blame him for something he didn't do, just because he isn't related to you, huh?"

"Don't compare,” she hissed through clenched teeth, her face an ugly mask of hate.

"Compare?! God, compare... absolutely, oh yes... How can you even say such a thing... compare that bastard with Darsh, no way!"

"SHUT UP…” she screamed.

"And to think, he’s my own uncle... Want to know what he made me do, huh? He forced me to play with his cock... made me kiss it, lick it, and suck it.... suck it, Ma, he made me suck his cock!" his voice choked with the unshed tears.

"Oh my God," suddenly his brother said, getting up, "I think I'll be sick," as he rushed out of the room.

"SHUT UP... For God's sake, shut up..." she went on screaming, hysterical.

"Slapping me when I refused... I used to beg him not to make me do it, but he never listened, Mama, he always made me do it, holding my head and forcing me to swallow his cum!" Ankur went on, the eyes painful with the memory of that distant suffering, of betrayal.

"That was the reason I resisted visiting your family when you sent us over each weekend; and when you packed us off to your parents' for the Christmas vacation. And that’s also why I dreaded his visits."

"Don't talk like that to your mother!" his father suddenly thundered, as if waking up... finding his voice, the shock finally wearing off.

"Why Papa, you can tell Darsh anything you want, and his only fault is he loves me! But I can't talk about being abused by my own uncle, when I was just ten? Can't say that he first tempted me with chocolates, then threatened, and finally beat me to make me do it... why Papa, why?"

"And I absolutely don't approve of that tone of yours..." he said, "especially, in front of an outsider."

"HAH!" Ankur laughed, throwing his hands up, sounding very ugly, "You don't like my tone, Papa? You have a problem with it, huh? Whoa! You have no problem with your bro-in-law stuffing his twenty-four year old penis deep down my ten year throat, but you have a problem with my tone..." he was shaking now as he stood up, his voice raised, yet the words hissing out. "And 'outsider', Darsh, an outsider? No, Papa, he's not... He's a part of me... and as much a member of this family, this household, as I am, as you are... He's not an outsider! Yes, once you throw me out of your life and your family, he too will cease to be a member along with me, then, only then will we, both of us, become outsiders!"

Watching the scene, listening to them, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry... Watching their confrontation, the exchange, I didn’t know if it was plain absurd, or simply ludicrous.

At one level it was all so painfully comical... only if I could disassociate myself from the whole affair and watch the happenings as an unattached observer... But I wasn't outside of it, no, I WAS the cause of it, I was at the very centre of it...

And yet, at the same time, it was all so very sad...

Maybe, his parents could have handled it in a more mature way... differently... instead of the way his mother reacted... instantly antagonising him, pushing him against the wall with no options remaining for him. Maybe, they could have respected his honesty, at least at that point of time, and later spoken to him, made him aware of their disapproval, in private... But the 'maybe' was now just academic... the situation already way beyond mere indemnification...

And his language - so harsh, so cruel, I never even knew he could talk like that! And neither had I seen him angry before. But there must have been so much hurt and suffering within, so deep a sense of betrayal, so much frustration... And now it was like the maddening fury of a river in spate - uncontrollable, unmindful… destructive.

I knew I couldn't do a thing… for he was beyond 'advice' right then; he wouldn't even hear if I spoke. Yet, could I speak? Did I have a say in any of this? This was a very private family affair, and it was I who had brought it on… Yes, I was a part of him, and yet, somehow, I didn't belong there... I didn't fit in... remaining an unwitting, and very unwelcome witness to a very private family altercation.

My position there was absolutely untenable... inappropriate… and improper. The only thing for me to do was discreetly remove myself from that room... But then, where could I go? I couldn’t just walk away... where would I walk to… after all, this was their house!

And so I sat, benumbed... with the rather wishful thought of just vanishing into oblivion!

"For four years," Ankur was saying, unmindful of whether anyone wanted to hear it anymore or not. The hurt and suffering of all those years tumbling out with a vengeance, "four long years, Ajay did it... and stopped when he got married, and that too, only because he couldn't get me into his room, alone, anymore."

"But he still kept trying..." Ankur went on, "trying to corner me in that outhouse they have, and offering to take me on long drives, which I consistently refused, and which you thought," he added, looking at his mother, "was rude of me, insisting that I go with him!"

His mother just lay there, sprawled on the sofa - crumpled, silent and unmoving... the eyes staring vacantly, unseeing, as if drained of all her senses, totally exhausted. And his dad just sat, his face an ugly mask of hateful rage.

"And want to know more? About the time he had his friend to join him? To do the same thing to me as he always did?" his voice a quivering screech as he shook from head to toe, but he kept on.

"God, and you say Darsh is sick, he's a pervert? No, Papa, Darsh does no such thing to me, he just loves me and he respects me, respects me as a person, as a human being. He doesn't treat me like a sex object to be had and enjoyed! And believe me, with him it is so beautiful... so pure... Not a dirty, lewd act of ugly sexuality, like it was back then!

"Shut up," his father finally said, teeth gritted, the jaws set tight, "what do you know of love, of respect; and there can be no love between men! It is sick and against nature and law. This is a perverted old man, misleading you, destroying you, and I will have none of it!” And then turning to me, his eyes blazing with murderous rage, he added, “I’ll destroy you... I’ll make you rot in prison... You’ll never see the light of day again!”

"He's just turned twenty-nine, Papa," Ankur cut in with a hollow laugh, suddenly not screaming anymore; the voice chillingly calm, frighteningly cold, "not an old man! And I'm on twenty, an adult - neither a 'boy' nor 'innocent'. And for your information, he didn't 'mislead' me, nor did he 'seduce' me. It was I who pursued him, and persuaded him! And as for his 'perversion', I've known and done more things than he even knew possible! And as for our age, we are just nine years apart; whereas Ajay was fourteen years older when he first raped me!"

"Now, about rotting in jail,” he smiled, triumphant with evil glee, "you can’t touch him! For I’ll be there in court to tell the world that it was I who did it… so, I too shall have to rot in jail, and you can then live the rest of your life knowing that your son too will never see the light of day!”

I heard the almost animal grunt and looked at his mother - mouth open, still sprawled out on the sofa, in severe shock no doubt.

"You have a problem with him, don’t you?" Ankur was panting now, his breath short and rapid, "Well, I love him and he loves me... and he is more important to me, especially after tonight, and I won't let you insult him any further. I'm leaving." He grabbed my hand and pulling me out of the chair stormed out of the room.

** ** ** **

"I'm sorry..." I said as we entered his room. "I'm so sorry... it was a mistake, my coming..."

"Bullshit..." he roared, cutting me short, "Your coming wasn't a mistake; my belief, my trust was misplaced!"

"Ankur," I said, taking his hands as I looked into his flaming eyes, "now don't just yell and scream, listen to what I have to say, and listen good."

He nodded, the face crimson with rage.

"We're all wrong at times," I said softly, "but now, the best thing to do is for me to leave immediately..."

"What?!" he screamed, cutting right in before I could finish.

I placed my finger on his lips to silence him and smiled.

"I said don't talk or scream, just listen. Think about them, their shock, and their disappointment... We're not here to pass judgment. If we don't allow them to judge us, then we too shouldn't be judging them. Think of it from their perspective... Besides, they are your parents, and believe me, there's no one like parents. So, you stay back and talk to them. See how they feel... what they want..."

But once more he cried out, "What they feel? Damn it, didn't you see? What more do you..."

"Ankur, shh," I interrupted his outburst, "Right now, all of you are angry, and anger blinds reason... Sleep over this and let them also sleep over whatever has happened. I'm sure by morning everything will seem different. Try to make them understand then... about what you are, how you feel. And then let things take their own course."

"And," I added after a very brief pause, "more importantly, I don’t want you to lose your parents over me... trust me, it's not worth it."

"What do you mean, huh?" he cried out, hurt and confused. "And what if tomorrow morning they feel the same way. No, you're not going, WE are leaving now!"

"Ankur, you can be very difficult at times. I told you think it over, but there you go and jump to your decision," and then kissing him on the cheek I added, "Let them rest for the night and tomorrow morning you can again talk to them and see how things turn out."

"I know her, she will never change her mind once made up..."

"OK, fine, in that case you know that I'm always there... no matter what, I'll always be there for you..." He didn't allow me to finish as he wrapped me in his strong arms and hugged me close, his body suddenly wracked by the silent sobs.

Patting him, I kissed him softly... his shoulder, his neck... his ear, "Whatever happens tomorrow, whatever you all decide, just let me know, I'll understand... and I'll always be your friend, Ankur."

Now he was crying openly as he pulled back and looked at me accusingly, "How can you say that? I'm not leaving you... I can't... I love you, damn it!"

"I love you too... I love you very much!" I said, taking and kissing his hands. 'Maybe you won't even understand how much,' I added silently, pulling away.

He refused to let go, clinging on as he cried like a child, "You can't leave me, Darsh."

"I'm not leaving you, get that straight in your head,” I murmured, “I'm just going back, home. You need to be with your parents, alone. They need you and I don't want to be there between you. My presence here will only aggravate the situation. With me out, they might feel different, may listen to what you have to say. Do you realise what a shock it must have been for them? But you know I'm there and you just come over, I'll be waiting for you." I kissed him and turned away.

And I prevailed, I always did…

Refusing his offer to drop me at the station, I left silently into the night, walking out of their home onto the dark street... Alone.

Suddenly all my apprehensions, all my fears... and my terrors had become an undeniable reality right before my blurred vision... taunting me... gloating over my defeat. I wanted to run... to hide; but there was no respite, no escape. In one single, brief moment, everything that I had come to cherish had once more been snatched away from me... once again leaving me rudderless!

After walking about a mile, I stopped a passing truck, and he agreed to drop me off at the station. I returned home the next morning, suddenly feeling exhausted; suddenly empty...

Once more alone.

to be continued...      

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