If I Were A Boy

It was exhausting being dragged around, having to wear something nice because it's a posh place where there's a view of the Atlantic Ocean and there's nothing under $50 listed on the menu.  It was my Dad's birthday and my uncle's wife's birthday as well.  One of those quirks in the universe where my mom's twin brother married someone who has the same birthday as my Dad.  Two birthday celebrations in one, so it was as extravagant as it can get.

Briefly, we watched the Kentucky derby before starting on a four-course meal.  I had wine all throughout because it was my only company.  I was obviously left out in senior conversations except when referenced about how bright my future could be.  A wife, a house, and a dozen kids.

Aren't you about the same age as those guys who set up Facebook? My uncle, who I was never in good terms with, asked me in his rather annoying American accent.

I guess, I replied, then finished my glass and signaled the waiter for more.

Maybe one day you'll get to think of something like that and become a billionaire.

Uh-huh.  Bottoms up, signal to waiter.  He was becoming more and more fond of me.

It's probably all in my head.  But I was thinking, hello pressure, we meet again.  I can imagine my cousin, a gay cousin, laughing his head off if I were talking to him.  It was December of 2008, I was in Bed when my cousin saw me.  He did a double-take, screeched, flipped over, then went berserk.  After the initial hysteria of him seeing me there, he said he had to go to the CR, and then he came back and went all hysterical again.   OhmygadIcantbelieveyouregay!  And then he was eased out when a group of guys swarmed over me, but not before telling me how relieved he was for seeing him there.

Three months later, he came out to his family.

He messaged me once over YM and said, good luck cousin, the pressure's on you.

He got it right.  Let's see, a little introduction.  My cousin is from my father's side of the family, the one expectedly meant to carry the last name for generations to come.  My Dad has two siblings, one eldest sister and one younger brother.  My unabashedly gay cousin was my uncle's only son.  My aunt's only son in a children of six (five girls and one boy) is gay as far as I can remember even when we were little.  One of those things that everyone knew but no one really acknowledged.  My brother died four years ago.  That leaves me the only supposedly straight guy from my father's side.

Isn't it funny, my cousin would say, how we're all gay?

Yes, can I blame our genes for it and avoid the whiplashing?

I don't wanna be in your shoes when you're 30 and you're still unmarried.

It was all that wine.  I jumped back to four years ago during the wake of my brother.  Everyone was telling me, it'll be alright.  Get married early and give your parents a lot of grandchildren.  You can afford to start your family now and your parents are going to the US, so they can very well afford to take care of you if you decide to have a family.  I tell you, once you give them grandchildren, they'll be happy all over again.

Back at the dinner table, there was all that talk about my cousins (from my mother's side) getting married and having families.  I was getting very uncomfortable in my seat.  I can hear the ocean beckoning me to come, be swallowed by the waves.  It was quite tempting since I don't know how to swim and will thus drown.

I excused myself and told them I needed to go to the bathroom.  But I didn't.  I walked out of the restaurant to get some air.  It was getting too stuffy for me.  There was a cool breeze that greeted me when I stepped out, but it had gone dark and the lights were dim, I could barely see the ocean, just hear the slapping of the waves on the shore.

This is my view, this is my horizon: an overcast with a promise of rain, perhaps a storm.  I felt cold, in every possible way that one could feel cold.  There's a buzz in my head and it's not telling me anything except that I should go back.  I've been out for awhile and there was still dessert.

I got back on my seat, finished my wine, and asked for more.

What did you ask for your birthday? My uncle asked my Dad.

Grandkids would be enough, my Dad said.

I winced for about a millisecond and then I laughed and smiled politely.  When the dessert came, I asked for another glass of wine.


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