MY SECOND CLOSET I remember that liberating time, six years ago, when I finally came out to my family.

“I’m Gay”, I texted my parents. There was a stench of enslaving freedom. Liberty! But never did it occur to my imagination that I would be deliberately shoved inside a second closet five years later for causes irrefragably generated by my deeds but for reasons beyond my understanding. It was dark there. When I saw my parents for the first time after that text message, I was surprised how they welcomed me in open arms. My sexual orientation is part of me, they said. And it is me they love. I was especially surprised by how my father patted me at the back. Relief. I am still loved. I am their son after all – their gay son. The thought that their acceptance was not in tune with the sermons of priests and ideas of pastor friends against homosexuality, personalities they highly respect and believe, clenched my heart and can sometimes, until now, bring me to tears. Coming out was the highest respect I ever gave to myself. I was always able to spoil myself and please my favour without fear of scrutiny from my family. I was free going along with my loud gay friends without fear of judgment from my parents. I was free to flirt with other guys and to find love. Although it was the flirting that outweighed the other. It was in 2011 when I got the news which pushed me, with tremendous energy, into my second closet. Like a Pandora's Box, it may divulge chaos that will strike at the very heart of my morality and dignity. It was when I feared for rejection and judgment more than any other. Point came that I even feared for my life. I dreaded the disappointment and dismay from my parents. Sorrow was the least that I wanted to give them. No, I never wanted it for them. But when it reached their knowledge, they accepted me again. Open arms. No reservations. Their love, care and support gave me the light that never compromised with darkness. There was guilt – and it was unbearably heavy. My heart felt like being crumpled, crushed, and burned for multiple times when I see pity in my parents’ eyes everyday. I never expected, though, that my father – the firm and disciplinarian father I knew – would be the very one beside me on my

bed waiting for end. I was then lost from the circle. Nobody knew where I was. I was incapacitated for a long time. Just when I was ready to let go, God gave me undeserving opportunity to rend. “Peace be with you! Do not be afraid! You are not going to die!”, He said in Judges 6:23. “Go in the strength that you have, I will be with you”, He added. His eternal message sparked my perseverance, created my character, and inflamed my hope. God ran to me, held me up, hugged me, and breathed into me a new life. I guess I am now strong enough to live a tougher life. When very few friends knew, they cried with me. They did not judge me. They accepted me – the entire me. Some of them I got reconciled with. I am sure glad I made true and irreplaceable friends. It is a fact that I was, and still am, a sinner. But a sinner like me does not deserve a kind of family and friends I have today. Came 2012 and I have reconciled with myself again. The warmth of heavenly light made me well. Revived! I reached this age and realized that I am ready to find, and be found by, love. I long for that warm rosy blush on my cheeks. I desire for that joy which livens up my soul. There is a caveat though: it entails coming out from my second closet. However, I cannot just open it up and let the milky white beautiful skeletons (fashionably tied with red ribbonettes) fall and scatter into the floor! I guess I got ready for love at the wrong time. Or is it really a wrong time? This dilemma again of egg versus chicken. Shall I endure the barricade of thorns outside the closet door to go out and find my prince charming? Or shall I wait for the open-minded, freethinking prince to rescue me from my second closet? Will I take the risk of my life?

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