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A Racing Heart



His heart is racing; palms and neck, all sweaty. Chills making his body tremble.

There is fear. Fear of judgement, fear of stares; the fear from his own people,

residing in him.


He is unable to move. He is stuck somehow, thoughts bolting through his mind.

Thoughts that are impaling his moonlit body like sharp needles.


“You’ll never be as good.” “Be a man.”

“Stop wailing like a girl.”

“It’s an illness and can be remedied.”

“It only exists in your mind.”


It is 3:37 a.m., and all he can think of, lying there paralyzed, is Death. It seems

easier, happier, and at the moment, the only escape from his agony.

A lucid tear is rolling down his left cheek, glistening like a star on his pale, frozen

face. His brother is still sleeping calmly beside him, lost in his dreams.


Last week, at last, he had mustered all his courage and came out to his family and

his friends. Inspired from the changing times in society, he was pretty sure it

would just be another conversation.

How much more wrong could he have been?


Oh, the stares, the laughs, the curse words hurled at him. He could not look them

in the eye. He was humiliated. He ran back to his room and cried himself to sleep

that night.


School was hard. Girls giggling, some shying away. The boys were ruthless, not

even his best friend agreed to sit next to him, thinking he might get “affected by

the disease”. They spat on him, calling him names, and the boys whom he knew

were “infected with this” just sat in the corner.


Quiet. Not a word. NOT A SINGLE WORD OF OBJECTION. Not even from the teachers. He bore everything silently.

Stifled.


Here he lays tonight, amidst his panic and fear and unendurable suffering, unable

to bear the torture. He knows there is no way to get away from this and that he has

to wake up in the same, unchanging, insensitive world tomorrow trying to love

and accept someone he is not.


- Shyamali Tewari

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