Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Woman Of Two Faces



A Woman of Two Faces By Bissme S


I was her secret. And I was tired of being one. I wasn't expecting her to shout our love from the roof top of the Twin Towers. But I didn't want her to hide me, either.
I couldn’t totally blame her. She has a lot to lose if we display our feelings, openly. Ours is a society that is not comfortable with two women falling in love…with two women lusting for each other.
But I didn’t want to live my life in fear anymore. I was tired of dancing my life to everyone’s tune. It is about time I create my own tunes and dance to them. So I ended our relationship. But less than a year of our separation, she was in my arms, again. As always, she never failed to seduce me back. I always had difficulty letting her go. She is a drug I cannot live without.


*****
The first time I met Jennifer, we were hardly 10. Her family was our new neighbor. Everything in her house was regimented. Her family was so prim and proper, full of manners and always had a smile on their faces. They were so God fearing. Going to church on Sunday was a must.
Truly, it was like having the Van Trapp family, from The Sound of Music, living next door to you. The only missing elements were the guitars and banjos in their hands, and songs from their mouth.
My family was totally the opposite. We can be a little unpolished, hippy, moody and outspoken. Swearing and profanities are the second language in our house.
We have never stepped into a church. My rebellious parents believed government uses religion as a tool to make its people submissive.
“You can never be vocal in church,” my father used to tell me.
“You have to accept whatever the priests said.”
My father was convinced all priests are government’s agents that are out to spread government propagandas in a subliminal way.
“In that way, the government can control us forever,” he said.
“We do not need to go to some church to see God.
God is in our heart.”
We were like The Osbournes.  But only more funkier and better looking. Can you just imagine the scenario of Van Trapp and The Osbournes living as neighbors? We were so different like heaven and earth. We had so little in common. Our parents hardly speak to each other. It is only the adults that take differences rather seriously.
But Jennifer and I were children. We were too young to take any notice of our differences. We wanted friends. We wanted to play. And that bonded us.
*****


The older I got, my feelings for Jennifer changed. I wanted her to be more than my best friend. I never had the guts to reveal what was in my heart. I would get extremely jealous when guys shown any interest in her.
But Jennifer was different. She was daring. She made the first move. Passionately, she planted the first kiss on my mouth and the rest was history. The first time we make love, we were hardly 16.
“I like you when you get jealous,” she teased me once.
“You look so beautiful when you get jealous.”
Jennifer was a woman of two faces. In front of her parents and her church going friends and relatives, she had the face of the Virgin Mary – So pure and innocent.
Once their back was turned, she was a wild sexy siren that could even put the famous stripper Rose Chan to shame. I loved both of her faces. I loved both of her contrasting personalities. Everything about Jennifer fascinated me.
I really believed Jennifer would be the first and last woman I loved. I really believed our love story would have a happy ending .But I was extremely wrong.
*****


Eight years down the road, imagine my utter surprise, when Jennifer presented me with her wedding card.
Seeing disappointment was dancing all over my face, she said: “There is a time to be wild and then, there is a time to be practical.
“You will always be the love of my life. I will always treasure what we had. Now, it is time to move on.
“I must do what is expected of me. I must get married. I must have children. I must make my parents happy.  You should do the same.”
Her words didn’t comfort me. I didn’t want her to treasure what we had. What I wanted was a happy ending. I was furious with Jennifer and I vowed I would never see her again. But I never kept to my promise.
*****


Eight years later, we met up again. A tragedy brought us together. When Jennifer cries, I am always there to wipe away her tears.
Her husband was killed in a car accident. I didn’t attend his funeral. I didn’t want to see Jennifer again. Within a few weeks of his death, she was in front of my door steps. She still looked stunning. Her eyes were moist with tears. I melted. I forgot about the pain she brought to my heart. I took her into my arms and into my heart, again.
*****


Our relationship was sailing, smoothly. The sex between us was even better than before. It was if the separation never took place in our lives. I really believed this time around, our relationship would have different outlook.
I hope we would not be so secretive. I hoped we would be living together like a married couple. Once again Jennifer dashed my hopes. Once again Jennifer broke my heart.
“My parents are conservative and religious,” she said. They will not allow two lesbians to be the parents of their only grandchild. They will be afraid that their grandson will grow up to be a gay.
“They will go to court and take away my son from me. I cannot live without Jason.”
I had almost forgotten Jennifer was now mother of one. Her son Jason had just turned six. It is so strange that her parents would think if children are brought up by gays, they will end up being gays. Our parents were not gay yet we ended up being one.
Once again, Jennifer has becomes a woman of two faces. To the world, she is a grieving widow and a dutiful mother. Her son is her life.
And when she is in my arms, she is a different story altogether. She is reckless, wild and too difficult to be tamed. Her life has been one big lie.
*****


Often Jennifer and I would have intense argument about hiding our relationship like some military secret.
“Please understand me, I cannot take chances,” she said.
“I could lose Jason,”
I would admit I was being difficult and sometimes a little selfish. I was tired of her treating me like a second class citizen. We did nothing wrong. We have nothing to fear. We were just two women in love. 
“Sometimes I wished your son is dead and then we would not live a life of lies, any more,” I said to her, cruelly.
A slapped landed on my face. It didn’t take us long to forgive and forget… to kiss and make up ... to be in each other’s arms. Like I said earlier, Jennifer is a drug I cannot live without.
*****


Eight months down the road. What I said become a reality. Jason was killed, brutally. A few Indonesian robbers entered her house when Jennifer was not around. Mercilessly, they slashed the maid and Bobby to death.
Like any caring mother, Jennifer cried, uncontrollably. She had to be institutionalized. The media had a field day with the story, pointing the finger at the Indonesian immigrants for the rise of the crime rates in our city.
****


Eight months later, Jason has become the forgotten news. Jennifer was discharged. She did not want to go back to the house where her son was killed.  She came to my place, instead.
“I do not want to be alone,” she said
“Can I stay with you for while,” she asked me.
I looked at her with a wide smile and answered “You can stay as long as you like.”
****


Nearly a year has passed. Jennifer has not left my apartment. It has become like a home to her. More and more of her things have shifted from her house into my apartment.
People were whispering about our close relationship in a negative light.  But Jennifer didn’t care. She didn’t want to be alone. She wanted to be in the arms of someone who loved her, dearly.
“You are the love of my life,” she said to me in one of our intimate moments.
If only she had known the truth, she would not have uttered those lovely words. She would have hated me.
But I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t want to be her secret any more. I was tired of being alone. I did what I had to.
I hired some Indonesian goons to break into her house when she was in my arms. Their main mission was to kill her son and the maid, and make the whole things look like a robbery that had gone wrong.
Jason’s death was truly necessary for us to be really happy. Jennifer was not designed to be a wife. Jennifer was not designed to be a mother. She became a wife because the society wants her to. She became a mother because the society wants her too. She danced her whole life to the music that society   has set for her.
If Jason dies, there will be no more lies…there will be no more charades… there will be no more secrets….Jennifer would have no reason to be a woman of two faces. Finally happiness will enter our lives. Finally we can be together, forever.
Initially, my conscious used to bug me. I cannot believe I could be so evil to kill a child for my own happiness. But over time, I learned to kill my conscious… I learned accept what happened was for the best…I learned that sometimes one needs to be selfish if one wants to be happy.
*****


Last night, Jennifer had a terrible nightmare where she had seen a vision of Jason covered in blood. She woke up screaming and tears in her eyes. I was there to console her. I hold her close to my breast and whispered: “Hush! Jennifer! hush. Everything will be alright. Rebecca is here, to take care of you…..”




The End


PS: This story was translated in Bahasa Malaysia under the title Wanita Dua Wajah and had appeared in the first Malay-language anthology of queer writing  Orang Macam Kita. Thanks to the publisher Matahari Books and the editors of this anthology, Azwan Ismail & Diana Dirani I

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