The words have been at the back of my throat for so long. Just last week, I almost blurted it out on impulse. “I’m bisexual,” I could have said. Two words with a predictably seismic impact.
Maybe if I tell them, they’ll react the way I did at first. Denial. Or maybe they’ll shun me, kick me out of the house. Or maybe they’ll be somewhere between accepting and indifferent, a happy medium that supposedly exists. I don’t expect it though. I don’t dare dream of it.
There is a lot my parents don’t know about me, and I know they can feel it. In the sad, awkward gaps in our conversations, if they can even be called that. In the distance that has been mutually created over the years as I grew to be more leftist. In the attitude, they perceive in my voice when I have a differing opinion. In the tone-deaf lectures I receive, lectures that are neither helpful nor constructive. In the way, they compare me to cousins who have figured life out. In the way, there is an illusion of choice when it comes to making life-altering decisions.
Respecting parents is perhaps the most widely enforced tenet in the invisible contract we sign as Bengalis. But how can I respect the very people who won’t acknowledge or affirm the very core of my being? Telling them means expecting to compromise in some way, and I refuse to part from something I only recently came to terms with.
In a way, I do tell them. When I rehearse the conversation before falling asleep. When we argue and they ask me why I’m acting out in all the wrong ways, I mull over those two words in my mind, over and over, wishing they would just know, just guess the truth. No, not the truth, the reality of the situation, because the truth would imply there was a lie told in the first place.