That One Kiss

My life was perfect. A kiss ruined it. Just one kiss and I haven’t slept in three nights. Why?

My friends and colleagues are jealous of me. I work with one of the best companies in the world. I got promoted recently. I had the perfect work-life balance. I had achieved a lot at my age. My boss loves me. I own a flat. I was very happy. And then, he came along.

I always knew I was gay, but I just refused to come out. I have a couple of gay friends too. They would always encourage me to come out of the closet, but I refused. I claimed to be ‘straight’ but the truth is I have never had any sexual or romantic thoughts about a girl. I have always been a closeted gay man. I was pushing myself to be straight. I was uncomfortable with my sexuality. I was insecure and scared.

I have had relationships and flings with men earlier. But, not since I moved to Hyderabad. I moved into the city, all excited about my new job. I made a couple of friends too. For the last year, my life had just been revolving around work, friends and parties. Well, not friends, they’re all colleagues and acquaintances actually. None of them are close enough. All I focused on was work. Anytime I would miss my friends, feel depressed or nostalgic, miss gay parties, I would just ignore the feeling. I would go out and get drunk. Smashed. All I forced myself to do was work and party. I ignored a lot of what I was feeling. I refused to accept it. I would put a façade on and tell myself, that I am really happy.

He started working on a Friday. He sat right across my desk. There wasn’t much work and most of us were free by lunch break. I walked back to my desk, after lunch with the intention of packing all my stuff and leaving early. That was when I saw him. An average looking boy, formally dressed, typing frantically on his computer while referring to many files. I smirked. He noticed me. He got back to referring to his files and typing. I walked upto him.

“Hello, Bill Gates! First day at work, right?” He smiled. The dimple on his left cheek was really cute. I got distracted.
“Uh. Yeah. Do you know as to where I could find the history of old corrected bugs?” I was looking at his lips now. They looked so soft and supple.
“Developer?  Why are you on this floor?”
“ Well, they are renovating the interiors on our floor, so a couple of us were shifted to other floors.”
“Oh, why are you wearing formals?”

He looked irritated now. He just wanted to get back to working on his computer. “Well, I assumed people wear formals at big MNC’s but everyone is casually dressed here. Is it because it’s a Friday?” I grinned. New guy. “You really don’t know much about this place now, do you? The HR hasn’t come in today, that explains why you’re so lost. Let’s go outside and share a cigarette and I’ll tell you more about this place.”

He hesitated,“I have a lot of work”
“Oh c’mon Einstein, Milds ok with you?”
“Yea, I am Girish by the way”
“Hi. I am Sameer. I am a user operations analyst.”

After finishing an entire packet of cigarettes, we decided to head out for drinks. I cancelled all other plans for the evening. The cute boy with the dimples was also intelligent and funny. I was infatuated.  I assumed he was straight.

He shifted to his floor the next week and also became a part of the company’s LGBT group.  He came out to me. I pretended to be straight and all queer friendly. We met every day for little smoke breaks outside office and partyed on weekends. Despite being increasingly attracted to him I wouldn’t share too many personal details because I didn’t want him to find out my history with men.

Last weekend was our usual partying routine. I got very drunk and I turned quiet. He insisted on dropping me home, I agreed. By the time we reached my house, I couldn’t walk straight. He put my arm on his shoulder, took me inside and put me to bed. I shut my eyes, pretending to fall asleep the minute I got into bed. He leaned close and kissed me on my forehead. I looked at him, and we kissed. I pulled him into bed. “Sameer, you’re drunk. I better leave” “Yeah, ok.” I was embarrassed. I felt guilty for letting my guard down.  All confused and frustrated, I passed out.

I called a gay friend the next morning. I had to talk to someone. Our long conversation just concluded with how I should accept myself for being gay. I locked myself up after that. Switched my phone off, locked the laptop in the other room and just watched tv. It was a lazy Sunday. I did not go to work on Monday too. All I did was eat, smoke, drink and watch tv. The same schedule followed on for the morning of  Tuesday. Finally, I decided to deal with it and not run away from myself. I started writing. I read old journals. I come from an extremely orthodox background and being gay is unacceptable to my family and a lot of close friends. The journals made me feel nostalgic and depressed at the same time. It made me think, reflect. I have been pretending to be someone else, all my life. But, I couldn’t live a dual life anymore. I like this boy, I need to accept it. I need to be comfortable with it.  I don’t know where things will go with him. I just know I feel strongly attracted to him and I am not going to deny it, this time. I want to face it.  I am going to work tomorrow, meet him for a coffee and ask him out on a dinner date. I don’t care about family and friends right now. They may understand. They may not. But I can’t pretend to be someone else anymore. I am done being scared. I am done caring about people and their opinions of me. I want to live life. I want to do what I feel like.  I am going to come out, to simply be happy and live as me, not as the facade.

I guess, That one kiss saved me.

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