The Big Elephant in the Room

Sitting in my father’s house; listening to his glorious stories and adventures as he tells amazingly fabricated tales of interactions with the people coming and going to his workplace. Pretending that life goes as normal. Or even talking in deep voice about political stories; all suitable for movies such as Hot Shots! and Naked Gun. Stories of pro-government heroic acts as they stand against the “conspiracy” that is going on against Syria.
I pretend to pay attention as I exchange empty looks with my sisters; remembering that a cousin just got out of detention for almost two months; who told us different stories of torture and pain inside. However, according to my father, my cousin is delusional and also is mistaken for falling for the lies of the anti-government people.

Like always; he glances at me then tells me that it’s about time for me to get married to a woman. Insisting on the word woman.

I sit aside and look at the big elephant in the room; he has known for almost 14 years about my homosexuality; yet, he keeps ignoring that fact; like millions of other facts, and he insists that life goes according, only, to his views.

I remember sitting on the floor in the corner of my room; I can’t move my arms because my elbows might hurt too much. I can hear my father, outside my door which is locked from the outside, foaming and cursing me. His voice cracks sometimes; and my sisters are crying and asking him to open the door to me and let me out. My side hurts; I left my t-shirt and look; a big nasty red spot is covering most of my right side and the marks of his leather belt are glowing with black, blue and red marks. I cry frantically and start calling my mother’s name in my heart hoping she would hear me through the boarders; she has left me and my sisters to my father after a nasty divorce.
I was fourteen; and I just came out to my father: he wasn’t pleased with it. He reacted the way he knows best.

My Coming-Out story is not your typical “hey dad, I want to tell you something that I’m struggling with and I need your support” but rather the “I hate you and I want to break free from you. Oh, and to piss you off, I want you to know that I slept with another boy last night!”. So, I didn’t do it because I was brave or inspiring, but rather because I was stupid and bitter.
I remember the phone call my father gave my mother that night! “How could you do this to me?” He said, like she has deliberately raised me to be gay just to piss him off, or like my sexuality has anything to do with him. “See what you gave birth to? A woman! A fucking woman!” My mother was calm, almost indifferent to hear his voice “let him be,” she said, “let the boy be whoever he wants to be; there is nothing wrong with him.”
That was the first step my mother took to be the woman who supported me, loved me the way I am and spend hours researching homosexuality to teach me who I really was.
The second step was for her to send her brother to get me out of my father’s house and on to hers.
The third was to buy me a CD player and the Ray Of Light Madonna album.

I ignore the nose; leave the room with my father and his adventures, try not to tip on the toes of the big elephant in the room and goes to the kitchen to smoke.

When I was 19, my father pulled a gun in my face. I could see in his eyes, back then, that he could very well pull the trigger and end this long struggle between the two of us: Me: the gay son who was kicked out of the house at the age of 14 and now lives on his own with *gasp* a boyfriend. Him: Muslim man; naturally homophobic. I couldn’t see determination in his eyes, though, what I saw was fear; he was more scared than angry, he seemed like he was the one facing the gun, not me.

Fast-forward seven years: This half-Syrian, half-Lebanese man is still alive and kicking. Still gets insomnia at times; dreaming of the sound of the bullet that never came; still tells the story to his friends trying to overcome; still wanting to just let go. Yet, every time this story is told; it gets more engraved in my brain.

I don’t believe I’m out of the closet now because of courage; I’m out of the closet because of necessity: I’m worried that if one day; someone I love, someone I look up to, someone I care about, might find out about my homosexuality; then pulls a trigger at me. I take a shortcut and just tell them right away.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. speedzero
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 14:26:25

    I don’t care
    I am what I am
    I say what I say
    that’s who i knew and who i liked


  2. Trackback: Damascus, I think we’ve got a problem « Sama Says

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