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

Monday, February 28, 2011


Odelia By Bissme S

The first time Adam met Odelia, they were hardly 17. His family was her new neighbor. His family was a born again Christian.
“You can forget to pay your taxes and you must not forget to go to church on Sundays,” his father often said.
For the longest time Adam and his family had abandoned god, church and religion. Their crusade to love God again happened when Adam’s father had a dream where Jesus was giving him a tour of heaven.
“The beauty of heaven is so amazing,” Adam’s father said.
“I can’t find the right words to describe the beauty I have seen.”
At the end of his dream, Jesus whispered into his ears: “Follow the road the God had chosen, heaven will be given to you on a silver platter.”
Adam’s father was convinced Jesus had entered in his dream to save their souls.

Odelia’s father was jumping with joy to get a neighbor like them. Her family was a born again Christian, too. Her father had a similar religious dream too.
The only difference was her father’s dream sounds more like a nightmare, a scene out of a B grade horror film. Her father had seen hell where sinners were punished without mercy.
“Snakes of all sizes were swimming on the floor,” her father said.
Since the nightmare, everyone in her family was forced to become religious.
“We do not want to go to hell, do we?” her father said.
In her house, her father was like a dictator and his orders should be obeyed without questioned. Odelia hated the fact that her family had become a religious freak.
“Youth is a time to enjoy life and not be wasted on god and religion,” Odelia said.
“When you are old and wrinkled, you will have a plenty of time to repent and do all those godly things. I am wasting my youth away.”
But Odelia never had the guts to against her dictator. Odelia was more afraid of her dictator more than God.
She pretended to be religious…She pretended to be madly in love with Jesus …She pretended to be excited about angels, devils, heaven and hell. She was miserable. She was no different from a caged bird that was crying for its freedom.
“I hate God,” she often screamed.

When Adam entered her life, she was no longer miserable. A woman in love is rarely miserable. But her heart was shattered into thousand pieces when Adam told her that women do not attract him.
Coming from a religious family, the attraction for his own kind was making Adam miserable.
“I didn’t want to be sent to hell,” Adam said
“I wanted heaven. I wanted to be cured...I wanted to be a better man… I wanted to walk on the road that
God had chosen.”
It was then Odelia manipulated her way into his heart. Like most women, Odelia wanted her love story to have a happy ending. She convinced him that her truelove would cure him… Her true love would transform him into a better man … Her true love would make him walk the road that God had chosen
“Heaven will be yours if you learn to love me,” Odelia told Adam.
Instantly they became lovers. It didn’t take long for wedding rings to be on their fingers and became proud parents to a healthy baby boy that they named Andrew.
Odelia, truly, believed love, marriage and fatherhood would make Adam happy. But Adam wasn’t happy. Adam was in misery. Adam was wearing a mask and a man who wears a mask can never be happy. Adam never wanted to be a husband. Adam never wanted to be a father.
“I had changed so much that I had become a stranger to myself,” Adam said to his image that reflected in the mirror.
Then came a day, Adam was tired of living a life of lies. Adam stopped his car at a railway track. Totally naked, Adam ran towards a moving train. Adam didn't leave behind any suicide note. Adam didn't have to.

Odelia was totally heart broken over his death. For months she suffered depression. But Odelia can’t be sad forever. She was a mother of one. Odelia had to take care of their son, Andrew. Odelia had to be strong. She had no choice.
The tragedy in her life had pushed Odelia to find solace in religion. The God she hated once had become her new best friend.

Years had passed. Andrew had grown up to be a fine young man with a secret buried in his heart. Out of the blues, one day, he unloaded his secret to his mum.
Odelia was shocked. Odelia was speechless. Odelia went into her room and cried her hearts out. But a few hours later, Odelia was standing in front of him, looking calmed and composed. The first thing she did was to hug him. Both of them had tears in their eyes. Wiping away his tears, she said to him: “Do not worry, I will find a cure for you.”
Odelia sought the church’s help. Andrew would be send to a religious rehabilitation program where he can repent and finally walked the road the God had chosen him to walk.
“Heaven will be yours if you learn to obey God’s rules,” Odelia said to Andrew.
Of course Andrew did not protest. Like always, he let his mother run his life. Oddly enough, Odelia was certain Andrew would not walk the same road as her husband did.
“God had failed me, once,” she said.
“God will not fail me again. He would not let me lose my son. God is great. God is not that heartless. God is not that cruel. God is great….”

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Portrait Of A Mother

A Portrait of a Mother By Bissme S

My mother hates me. I was only 10 when those words were tattooed in my right arm. Years later, when I was an adult, I had a plastic surgeon to remove those words. But I didn't feel any different. It was then I began to realize those words were not only written in my arm. They were written in my heart... in my mind... and in my soul. Those words would never disappear. Those words would haunt me for the rest of my life.

It was my mother who had paid a tattoo artist to crave those words on my right arm. Initially the tattoo artist was reluctant.
"I don’t tattoo young boys," he told my mother, sternly. When my mother showed him a lot of money, instantly, he was singing a different tune. My mother hated me from the day I was born. Her sole purpose in life was to bring misery into my life.
"Why do you hate me so much," I asked his mother, once.
She didn't have any rational answer.
"Not all mothers are meant to love their children,” she explained.

Every child wants their mother to love him and I was no different. I would go various lengths to get my mother to love me. But nothing worked.
"Bobby, don’t try so hard to win my heart because you may discover my little secret,” my mother told me.
“What secret,” I asked with so much curiosity.
“I may not have a heart in the first place," my mother answered. Looking at my shocked expression, my mother simply let out a huge laughter.

Tragic past are known to turn humans into heartless monsters. But my mother didn’t have any tragic past. She had a great blissful childhood years …the kind orphans would dreams of. Her parents had showered her with so much of love.
On her dying bed, my grandmother said to me: “I have raised a heartless monster. Stay away from your mother. “She will only destroy you. She will only hurt you. She is not born to love anyone.”

My mother was lucky in marriage, too. My dad had loved her with all her heart and practically worshipped the ground she walked on.
But she felt nothing for him. She didn’t hide her feelings. Out of frustration, my dad took his own life. He went to nearest train station. All his clothes were on the ground. Totally naked, he ran towards the running the train.
In his suicide note all he wrote was: “I cannot go on loving a woman who would not love me back.”
My mother showed no emotion over his death. But my grand mother was furious beyond words.
“If you cannot love anyone, why did you get married? Why did you become a mother? Why did you have a husband? Why did you have a child? Why? Why?...” her mother asked her angrily.
Calmly my mother simply answered: “I was bored and I wanted some toys to play with.”
Those words were enough for my grand mother to end ties with her own flesh and blood. Till her last breath my grand mother didn’t want to see the heartless daughter she had raised. Like always, my mother didn’t have any ounce of regret of what had taken place.
“Life is too short to wallow in regrets,” my mother often said.

My best friend Patrick refused to believe me that my mother does not love me.
“It is simply impossible for a mother not to love her own flesh and blood,” he said.
One day, out of blue, Patrick bumped into my mother and me. Quickly he took the opportunity to ask my mother:
“Do you love Bobby?”
Patrick was expecting her answer would prove me wrong.
“I wished I have not given birth to Bobby. I wished I had picked him from the trash,” she said with so much seriousness.
Indeed her answer shocked him. Slowly, Patrick learned that not all women are meant to be mothers.

In one of my attempt to win my mother’s love, I decided to paint her portrait. It will be the best work I have done. Indeed her portrait was a masterpiece that impressed critics and art buyers. But my mother was not impressed.
“Don’t feel bad Bobby. A lot of people have no talent,” she said.
That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. I was determined that I would stopped loving my mother. I just packed my bags and left. My grand mother was right. My mother was born not to love any one. My mother was dead for me. I vowed that I would never see his mother again.

Years later I found myself breaking the vows that I had made. My fiancée Sarah desperately wanted me to have a better relationship with my mother
“Oscar Wilde said you must never marry a man who hates his mother because he will end up hating you,” she joked
“I do not want you hate me,” she added
She was eager to meet the woman I hated…the woman I loved… the woman who brought me into the world. She was convinced time changes everyone.
“Your mother could have become a better person, “Sarah said.
“Leopards can their spots but not my mother,” I said.
In the end I give in to what ever Sarah desired. So one late evening, we found ourselves in my mother’s living room. I expected that my mother would treat us with hostility and uttered words that would offend us. Our conversation would be sour and short. Our visit would only last for less than ten minutes
But I was wrong. My mother was kind to us. She hugged me and the bride to be many times. She even shed tears of happiness.
“This is bracelet has been with our family for generation,” she said to Sarah.
“My husband’s mother gave it to me and now I am giving it to you.”
The following weeks all of us shared a closer bond. Sarah and I often visited my mother. She was even helping us in our wedding preparation
“I want nothing less than five grand children,” my mother teased us.
Sarah and I blushed with shyness. Our wedding was six weeks away. Excitement was written all over our faces. For the first time in my life I saw love in my mother eyes. May be Sarah was right. Time changes everyone.
Happiness was dancing in my life. Finally, God has showered me with a mother I wanted. But I should have realized God doesn’t like happy endings.

One night I went to my mother’s house. It was really strange to find the door to my mother’s house was unlocked. When I entered her bedroom, I found my mother and my fiancée were in intimate position. I was speechless. I was shocked. Sarah was covering her face in shame. She was in tears. But my mother was smiling wide.
It was then I realized that the kindness and the love that my mother had showed was a charade. She seduced Sarah into a relationship and make sure that I saw them in a position I should not see them in.
My mother just wanted to break my heart. She wanted to bring misery into her life. My mother didn’t change at all.
The wedding was cancelled. I simply cannot forget the image of my mother and Sarah in the same bed, sharing kisses and having their naked bodies pressed against each other.
I never saw both of them again. I prayed that our path would never cross again. Some pains are impossible to forget. Some betrayals are impossible to forgive.
Sarah never saw my mother again and my mother has no intention of seeing Sarah any more. My mother had no use of Sarah any more. My mother got what she wanted. She wanted to see me in misery and she had her dreams come true. Indeed, not all mothers are meant to love their children.