Nahil /

“July 29th, 2018

            Family outings were never really my thing for a long portion of my teenage years. But after constant nagging from my parents, and my brother and sister forcing me to go without them joining us out of their own hypocrisy, I decided to attend yet another wedding. This time I was excited however, because the bride was someone I really enjoyed being around when I was younger. I had many memories with her and so I wanted to be present for her big day. Little did I know, this would be my big day too.

The wedding was standard much to my ‘surprise’. I sat down, I ate food, I watched the bride and groom do their thing and I met up with families that I was supposed to remember but I obviously didn’t. Time went by like an arrow. A boring arrow. An arrow that wanted to stay in the quiver but because of his brother and sister not going, he was forced to go. Once our family reached our way up to the bride, she looked at me towering over my family and said, “Wow! Nahil, you’ve grown!” The joy she had on her face was so beautiful. Even if weddings are drab for me, the satisfying feeling of someone I loved very much to find their significant other was so beautiful to me. I was happy for her. But much to my surprise, a lot of people at the wedding weren’t as joyful.

            The car ride back home is something that will be imprinted in my head for the rest of my life. Like a burn scar on my chest, or a ribbon around my finger that will never unravel.

“Nahil, do you realize that the bride is a Hindu woman, and the groom is a Muslim man? Because of that, it’s wrong for them to marry.”

            Oh lord, here we go again with this religious traditional garbage again. That was my initial thought, but I remembered that I had to compromise with them, since they have different beliefs than  I do.

“Pa, they are two consenting adults that genuinely have feelings for each other, what’s so wrong here?”

“Allah says it’s wrong, can you imagine the pain the parents are going through?”

“Can you imagine the anxiety the kids are going through knowing that they are disappointing their parents because they LOVE each other?”

            This is where heat in my eyes started to flicker. Like sparks flying out of rocks hitting each other. The conversation was progressing and I started to become angry. I shared my views that I feared sharing for the longest time. But then again, I’d been disconnected from my family for a while, as if I was just a random person that was Air Bnb’ing with four other people. That’s why family outings were never really my thing. I knew this conversation was going to progress into chaos.

“Papa, I don’t think the same way you do. I’m part of a generation that thinks progressively. I’m not modest like you are and I’m probably not the ideal Muslim you raised me to be.”

I expected my parents to be let down, and disappointed. I always expect the worse because there was always a lot my parents didn’t know about me.

“If you aren’t a part of our community, which are you apart of?”

My brain was on red alert now, my parents are suspecting of something I’ve been hiding from them. My heart started to sink lower and lower the more we inched closer to home.

“I feel like I belong with people that embrace colour, music, celebration and fashion. These people helped me when I was supposed to get help from you. They did your job for me”

“What do you mean? What were we supposed to help you with?”

My throat had swelled shut out of panic. My words came out thinner and thinner, I became scared. My head became dizzy, like marbles rolling in my head.”

“I was so scared in high school and middle school that people would judge me on how different I am. I was so confused on how random people would help me, but you wouldn’t.”

“How are you different?”

The car had reached its destination. We were back home, and my eyes started to burn. I will always remember the flood of tears pouring out of my boiling head. My words came out with clarity, but my voice was different, each word has its own pain.

            “I always thought that you would kick me out because I liked boys. I was scared and you couldn’t see that…”

            My mother got out of the car and opened the door to the backseat, to embrace me, and comfort me.

“I’m sorry, we didn’t want to confuse you anymore.” My mom said.

“What matters is, you are our son and we love you.” Followed my dad.

            Years and years of pain, pressure of being the perfect Muslim child, anxiety and confusion, anger. All of it was calmed by one fateful night.

The bride was right, I really did grow.”

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