Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Friday, July 18, 2008

Through The Godless Hours (59)

Ayah, there’s something else I need to tell you.” Captain Farid was reaching the climax of his confession. “There… there’s something… wrong with me. In the… the sexual department.” “What? Are you… sick, son? I mean, have you got some kind of disease?” asked the General, screwing up his face in concern. There was a pause. “Not AIDS–” the General continued to prompt, a little nervously now. But his elder son had already cut in. “No, father. It’s nothing like that,” he said, shaking his head. “Oh God, Papa, I just don’t know how to tell you.” But it was time, and he knew it. He threw a sideways glance at his brother. “OK, look. I… I’m attracted to women, just like the rest of us. But there’s something else I like, too. Some other… Look, I’m like, er… different…” And while the General continued to stare at his elder son without comprehending, the grimace that was forming on the face of Farid’s kid brother showed that he had guessed immediately what was coming next. Yudi turned his head away, unable for now to look his elder brother in the eye, while the Captain paused again, swallowing hard. “Ayah, I’m sorry, but at the end of the day I can’t think of any other way of saying it. I… I like… men, father… Men… as well as women. There, I’ve said it. I’m… bisexual – gay, if you like.”

So there it was. He had managed to get it past his lips. It was out. He was out. To Captain Farid, it felt as if a ten-ton weight had flown up and away, off his shoulders and out there deep into space – gone forever, never to return. For there was no coming back from this moment – it was not something that could ever be forgotten, or dismissed. Euphoric, he smiled, glad it was over. But now, in the teak-panelled study, an absolute silence descended. It seemed as though every sound wave had been sucked out of the room, to leave only the latent energy of a residual tension the three could almost feel physically touching them, crackling away like static. It was the General who then suddenly broke the silence.

What? What did you say?” The Captain remained silent, his head bowed. “What?” The General could neither accept nor comprehend what he had heard. For homosexuality was not only something the military forbade, it was also… well, against the will of Allah himself. Leaving his Cabana smouldering in an ashtray, he moved around the beautifully carved desk to place his hands upon his elder son’s shoulders to try and deal with the situation in the only way he knew how. Denial. “Son… Come, now. Calm down. Don’t get confused. What’s the matter with you, eh?” He shook Farid gently, as if he were still a little boy. Both of them even managed to smile, momentarily. “Look at you – you’re all shaken up. In shock. Come, now… Come and sit down.” He playfully slapped his son’s cheek. But the Captain’s grim expression had returned, and he simply reached up to take his father’s arms and gently but forcefully push them away, while the tears once more began to form in his eyes.

Papa, I knew you wouldn’t listen. That’s why I’ve never been able to tell you. I’m sorry, ’Pak… but it’s true. I’m gay. Gay, d’you understand? A fucking bencong, I know! There’s nothing I can do about it!” He sought his kid brother’s support, to no avail. “I’ve been fighting it for years, but it’s driven me mad, made me a monster. At first I thought I could stop it… the urge, I mean. And for a while I did. I kidded myself that it was just a phase, a habit I could kick, but then…” Captain Farid tailed off as the expression on his father’s face went through a sudden and dramatic change. Spinning on his heels, the General moved briskly away, returning to his chair where slowly he turned to face what had finally emerged as the biggest disappointment of his life. His firstborn son, for whom he had held such high hopes, for whom he had covered up so much, protected for as long as he could. A fucking queer. Someone his fellow officers would despise. And worse, a transgressor of God’s laws. Without pause for further thought, the General silently slid open a drawer. “Father–” Major Yudi began, sensing for a second time what was to come. But the pistol was already in the old man’s hand, which he now raised up unsteadily, until it pointed squarely at the Captain’s chest.

“Get out of my sight, you disgusting piece of filth! Get out, do you hear?” he exploded. “You’ve been bringing trouble on this family for some time, and now this!” The General’s bile flecked the desktop as he spat out the words. “Get out of here, you shameless bastard!” Physically shaking, the old man needed Yudi’s support as he then slumped back into his chair. With surprising calm under the circumstances, the young Major gently prized the pistol from his father’s hand and uncocked it, before looking up to see the back of his brother rushing from the room. “And never come back, d’you hear? Never!” the old man screamed.

But the Captain had already left, leaving the door to the General’s study flapping as he careered down the corridor towards the lobby, his hands cupped over his ears in an effort to blot out the sound of the most terrible words he had ever heard.

posted by Kirk at 5:04 am  

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