Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Microstory 1873: Disturbing Others

In my day, in my country, homosexuality wasn’t just frowned upon, it was outright illegal. I’m talking death by a thousand cuts, illegal. While the rest of the world was coming to terms with it—and in some parts, embracing it—mine was strictly against the so-called lifestyle. I didn’t think much about that sort of thing while I was growing up. I just dreamed of having a real family. I was too young to recall my parents, and the people who ran the orphanage either didn’t know anything either, or didn’t care enough to give me an honest answer. One thing I’ll say is that they were not abusive. They gave us very little food, mind you, but I think that was less their fault, and more due to a lack of funding. But they didn’t hurt us, or execute unreasonable punishments, or any of the other things that may become the catalyst for your favorite creepy horror film. I knew about the homophobic thing, but I was so young that it never came up. Until it did. One day, two twin sisters were introduced to us. One thing I remember noticing about them is that they never wanted to be apart. They held hands the entire time, and I’ve since wondered whether that had to do with whatever trauma broke up their family, or if that was just the way they were. One of them happened to be assigned the bunk under me, while the other was right next to her. The problem was, this whole codependence thing didn’t go away just because the lights shut off. That night, they asked me and the girl on the other top bunk to come down, and then they dragged one of them over, so they could sleep right, right next to each other, just like they probably did at home. I remember finding it funny that they didn’t ask, but it didn’t bother me. It didn’t seem to bother the other girl either. The two of us were friendly, but we weren’t friends. Not yet anyway.

The next morning, our surrogate mother came into the room to make sure we were awake. She immediately noticed the joined bunks, and scrunched her nose at it, but she didn’t make the twins put them back as they were. She didn’t even say anything. She probably wasn’t worried about it setting some kind of precedent, and since boys and girls were obviously separated into different rooms, it wasn’t going to cause any other problems as we grew older. I think it didn’t quite occur to her, though, that two unrelated girls were also part of this sleeping dynamic. But seeing her face is what made me realize it was a little weird. But not that weird, right? Well, we made it work. The twins were happy, and I was getting to know my new friend. It was a lot easier to whisper to each other in the middle of the night without disturbing anyone else, so that was a pretty special perk. As you may have guessed, things changed over time. We were both aging, processing hormones, and developing feelings. I honestly can’t say if she ever felt the same way about me as I did about her, and looking back, it might have been best if I had stuck around to find out. But I was so scared, and I was just thinking about myself. I knew that my feelings were real, and they weren’t going away, and the only way I was going to survive was if I left. So that’s what I did. With no money, no connections, I fled the country. It was easier than you would think. Other refugees were fleeing for other reasons, and as long as I always hung around an older woman, people would just assume that we were together. I lived like this for years, crossing borders, and spending some time on the other side before moving on. It wasn’t until I crossed the ocean before I felt comfortable being myself, pursuing my truth, and living without fear.

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