Eden


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I wonder what my parents would think about all these ruminations of otherness. My father found gay porn on my phone before, when I was sixteen. He confronted me during his trips here over
Gawai Dayak(noun)
A festival for the indigenous peoples of Sarawak, Indonesian Kalimantan and the interior of Borneo.
, when he could stay for an extra day or two because of the holiday. He asked me over the last dinner we had before he flew home.

I told him I just ‘thought about it,’ at the back of my head I was thinking if I would still finish the
tuak(noun)
Tuak is an alcoholic beverage made of fermented rice, yeast and sugar and drank in parts of Indonesia such as Sumatra, Sulawesi, Borneo, and parts of Malaysia such as Penang Island and East Malaysia.
he brought over.

It was a phase, I said—it is decidedly not. He asked me if I was seeing other women, I told him yes. He asks me who, I told him my friends—this is true, too. My father asked me to stop sleeping with men, that I have a future to think about, that I have him and my mother, that just because he’s not there I couldn’t just do whatever I want.



I knew the reason behind my father’s fatalism about queerness. His adolescence must’ve been inundated about news about the HIV epidemic. I realised that the moment I detected the regret in his voice when he talked about Freddie Mercury, that he’s sorry that Freddie was gay.

There’s a price to freedom, he said. I almost wanted to tell him I was sure I am the last of our bloodline.



As for my mother, I knew she realised I was different when she asked me about the women I’m seeing, and how well I’m getting along with them. She wasn’t insistent about it. In the beginning I thought she was just hoping for grandkids. But, after that June night, my father told her about my dalliances with men. Now, every time, she teases me about my compatibility with a certain lady I’ve been talking about, I feel the weight behind it.

So maybe this is why I want to stay here, at least there’s an illusion to chase, even if nothing will come out of ambition. I can’t face them any more, knowing I could never give them peace.


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