BASED IN THE WORLD
M Murasaki has chosen to remain anonymous.
A Forbidden Love
I woke up with a sharp pain in my chest, I looked around to only see my reflection, I could barely recognise the being I was becoming. I sat in my living room eating cereal at 3pm, what had become of me? I wondered to myself. I thought about him religiously; his body that radiated warmth, his lips that only spoken truth in riddles. Growing up black & Muslim and barely coming to terms with my sexuality. I thought about my destiny and if this was to become my reality. I longed for love but not like this, not with a man, please god, give me an answer as to why I’m feeling like this. I grew up reading the Quran, going to the mosque every Week for Friday prayer. I remember the imam reading passages, discussing homosexuality and reading scriptures that reeked anti-Semitism. But alas, here I am gay, and in love with a Jewish Man. The ultimate taboo. A forbidden love.
I was always a peculiar boy, I have always attempted to explicate the theme of romance, whether it was through novels or television shows. I spent most of my teenage years reading light novels in the library and aimlessly thinking about my love. Queerness was never something spoken in my household. It was a taboo subject, an unspoken rule. I used to hide my light novels under my mattress and pray every morning my mother wouldn't stumble upon them, I prayed my siblings wouldn’t come across them. I scoured the local libraries for love stories, love stories that were about people of colour.
He was gentle and loving, his eyes were kind, his smile was soothing. I thought of our future, our fate and our happy ever after. He would joke about marriage and kids, I would awkwardly laugh and ignore the butterflies in my stomach. I was in love for the first time, happy and fulfilled. We would go for long walks and talk about our cultural differences, our love for ramen and all things Asian cuisine. He would wear a kippah and discuss his religion, he could teach me about his religious holidays, his love for Jewish breads and his mother’s dumpling soup, I would smile and say “maybe one day I’ll try your mother’s bread and dumpling soup” and his face would sink. Something was off when he discussed his family. He told me he no longer had a relationship with his family, He was hesitant to tell me the reason, I Held his hand and reassured him. “it’ll be fine” I said, gently holding him tighter. He broke down and told me his family no longer accept him due to him being gay and dating a Muslim boy. I was taken aback. I hugged him and told him everything will be ok.
Months have gone by and we are still going strong. He could talk about getting therapy and I'd encourage him, I would tell him “it’s good to talk about loss” and he would agree but he would never take the steps. He would become distant, and disappear for days with no trace. I would lose patience and call his friends. He would drink regularly and become verbally abusive. He would snap at little things, he would be mean and hurtful.
I would finally muster up the courage and tell him this wasn’t healthy and I don’t deserve to be treated like this, I’ve seen signs of abusive behaviour from my father and I swore to the heavens, this would not be my reality. I refuse to be treated this way, I told myself.
I often caught myself thinking, what is love? As someone who seemed quite inadequate and undesirable, i look back, i remember my younger years; how society has shaped young queer men, how we were often picked apart and remolded. I often question my choices, have societal pressures of what love is, really ruined, what should have been? Are straight relationships the blueprint of what a healthy relationship should be?