School again; Classroom again. Through the window I saw old people walking in the streets. ‘When will I be grown up so that I can go anywhere and anytime, without being stuck in here, in this classroom?’
I turned back to the class. ‘Oh, Dzafer is here. That guy is so big.’ He was two years older than the rest of us, having failed the school year twice. He was a gypsy, left to tend for himself, among 15 or so brothers and sisters.
“Hey gypsy boy, you smell bad.” I said, faking superiority. But I didn’t even know where that came from, and I was scared because he used to tease me and others often and now in the classroom I felt safe. He looked at me with anger.
“You are so dead. I’m gonna beat you up after the school.” he whispered.
I gulped. I knew that was the truth. After the school bell rang, I grabbed my bag and started to run like all the hell was after me.
“I must…escape…him.” I was commanding my legs to run faster as I was panting for air. I glanced back. ‘Oh no! He is getting closer and closer.’ I ran faster, I actually heard the air rushing past my ears. I let the school bag go. It fell on the street asphalt and I, becoming lighter, got more speed. I turned back again, without stopping.
‘Oh wow! Luka and Robert are there, they just stopped him.’ Still I ran full speed on. A couple of minutes later, I barged into my grandma’s home. Gasping for air and sweating on my face and my whole body, I slammed the door shut.
Grandma came. “What is it with you, boy? What happened?” she wore her brown-pink cooking apron.
“Nothing.” I answered. I ran to the bathroom to avoid more questions.
Few minutes later the door bell rang. “It’s ok grandma! I’ll open it.” Through the stained glass I saw two familiar silhouettes.
‘It’s them. They are the best.’ I opened the door. Robert and Luka were grinning and one of them held out my school bag to me. I felt embarrassed and like I was somehow less and lower than them.
“Here you go. We had a little chit chat with Dzafer, he won’t bother you any more. ” They smiled and looked like rescue angels to me.
I kept standing at that door, not being able to move. ‘They care. They both actually care about me. And Dzafer will not bother me any more’. I felt total relief. ‘Great, if anything happens, I have my protectors.’
This confidence in my friends, the knowledge that they cared for me and risked being beaten up in order to protect me, felt sweet and calming. I’ve never received that from my dad. Not even once did I feel protected by him. Also I could not recall a single instance where my dad was proud at me for something, anything. All I got from him was a broken home, a broken heart. I didn’t understand this during those years when the school bag was almost bigger than me, but years after, when I looked at a boy me, it became clear that the male’s love toward me was an issue- I never got enough of it.
Time went by. Puberty came and the teenage thoughts and rivalry set among us, young men. Robert changed toward me. He was there for me, but not like before. As the time moved on he started to call me names and make me feel bad:
“You are nothing but a sissy, Ok? Your name ends with ‘a’ like most girls’ names do. You wanna be a girl?” His face expression was ruthless.
“Stop talking to me like that! What have I done to you?” I shouted back. Many others heard him and I was becoming desperate.
“Well, just as I said, you’re a typical girl. What now, will you start crying?”
I could not recognize him any more.
‘Why is this happening to me? Why can’t I be normal, like the other guys who are strong and know how to talk to a girl, know how to play sports and their names don’t end with “a”? I just want to hide and disappear!’ I was boiling inside, feeling injustice and not being able to do anything about it.
Since I could find no answers and could not even think about these things for more than a few seconds, I continued the self-defeating internal speech:
‘Maybe I am like a girl. Maybe he is right. Maybe there is a reason why my name ends with ‘a’. If not, he wouldn’t be saying that. Maybe I was not supposed to be like other boys, but 0′ Here in the school yard, it felt as if the whole world was looking at me.
‘Look, no one is saying anything to help me. They must be agreeing with him. It must be that I am different.’
An hour later I was home, alone. Immediately I laid down on my bed and started to imagine Robert kissing me, hugging me and doing all kinds of things to me. He was pleased with me and my submission to him. I was his boy, his loved man. In my vivid imagination, I was somebody who was important to another man and there I could prove to him that I am good and not bad.
At the age of 14 I didn’t stop to think what my gay thoughts and behaviour were really about. I couldn’t understand that I was really becoming weaker as a man- the years of feeling detached from my dad got me deeper into the victim mentality and got me feeling like there was something deeply wrong with me. This became visible in my behaviour and other people saw it and bullied me for it. I wasn’t gay, I was weak. But the weakness turned me into gay
All I wanted was to feel good, to have it easy and to be in peace. It took me years to understand that my gay imaginations and later on gay relationships were only my cry and a desire for love. To be loved and accepted and supported and praised by a man. This wound got opened when I was a kid, not receiving what I needed from my dad. And the wound got only bigger and bigger, throwing me, ever more, into homosexuality..