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My mind is like a dark abyss and I am falling deeper and deeper into the pit. It is dark and bottomless and I am lost. I cannot see anything. Who am I?
I stare at the blackboard as the class progresses at a dreary pace. When will this class get over? It is insufferable. I wait for his class with bated breath.
And here he comes. God, Professor Mohanty is looking at me. This man can literally see through me. And I wish I could see through his shirt, which conceals the chiseled body of his. Shhh hold your horses. Keep the evil and forbidden thoughts at bay. Concentrate…
Two bodies are entwined. Mine and his. We kiss with an urgency. I feel ecstatic. My heart flutters and I feel as if I am galloping on a horse.
Majestic and amorous at the same time. I open my eyes and it is him- Professor Mohanty. His lips curve into that characteristic lopsided grin. I wake up with a start.
Man…What is happening to me?
This cannot be. This is blasphemous…What is wrong with me? Two men? No, this cannot be happening. It will pass.. It shall pass.
English class. Be still my heart.
Oscar Wilde. Picture of Dorian Gray. I have loved reading Wilde’s short stories.
Happy prince, The Canterville Ghost. This should be fun.
‘Art for art’s sake,’ hmm interesting concept. I dig it completely.
Time passes so quickly when Professor Mohanty is teaching. He is not just a looker but he has a certain aura around him. The way he reads out from those literary tomes.
I am smitten. Is this love?
I am at the library. Wilde..Wilde.. here he is.
He was a beauty, this man. ‘Flamboyant dressing style’ Woah. Known for his plays.
Ohh..charged for ‘gross indecency’. Involved with a younger man… Jailed for two years.. I am trembling. I cannot breathe. I should leave. Rehan, my best friend, beckons me, “Hey man, what is wrong with you? You look pale.”
I have to go. I need to leave.
Get a grip. Now.
Dreams, the mirrors to our sequestered soul.
Me and him. We are making love.
I look at his cherubic face. Oscar Wilde…
I wake up with a frenzy. This is bizarre.
Who am I?
I whimper then I howl. Tears could not possibly cleanse me.
Why on earth is this happening to me?
Rehan and a group of boys chattering, “So, this Oscar Wilde was actually wild.”
I join in.
I deride him. I am uneasy. I despise them…I am angry.
I am angry at myself, at them, at Professor Mohanty and then of course ‘him’, for being so ‘wild’.
Well, I cannot be like him. Look where it got him! He was charged for ‘indecency’. He loved a man. Love as in he ‘loved him’ you know.
And it was way back in the Victorian times. He was put behind bars. Obviously! He was not an honourable man.
What if he was a writer par excellence? He was convicted. I am a decent guy. I cannot commit a crime. I come from a reputable family.
I am not a freak. Am I? I cannot love another man. Can I?
Professor Mohanty is standing right there. I look at him and my heart skips a beat. We have to submit our critique on Wilde next week, he says.
Is this infatuation? But, why am I infatuated with a man? Why? I should divert my attention. Yes, this should work.
Who is the most popular girl in our class? The one the guys were talking about yesterday…what was her name? Damn, cannot remember! Oh, there she is. I should ask her out. She looks like an angel. Should I go now?
Tomorrow, tomorrow I shall..
Everything will be fine then. I am not a misfit.
Dad is wrong. I will prove him wrong.
Just because I did not want to join the family business, he doesn’t get to cast aspersions on me.
I am ok. I will be ok.
The paper is due today. I was up all night.
I turn in the paper. I take a sigh of relief.
I am done. I am exhausted. I cannot take this anymore.
Am I forgetting something?
Yes, the girl… where is she? May be tomorrow. I feel caged.
Will she know? I don’t deserve to be with her. I am an imposter. Yes, that’s what I am.
Professor Mohanty walks in. I try to look away. I should look away.
He hands out our papers. I grab my paper. I got an A. Like seriously? How? I am hyperventilating.
Professor Mohanty asks me to meet him after the class.
I shake like an autumnal leaf.
Does he know? No…
How can he? I never said a word. May be he could make out. Oh God, I was leering at him the whole time. Of course he knows.
My hands are cold.
This is it. Shame on me. A disgrace to the family.
The talk is over. I am transfixed.
Professor Mohanty gives me a glass of water. I gulp it down my parched throat.
He knows. I am such a fool. I wrote an entire page about Oscar Wilde’s homosexuality and how he was not a criminal, how I am not a criminal.
F**k. I divulged more than what was asked. He could read between the lines.
He said he would help me see a specialist, a counsellor. He said it is ok to feel lost. Denial is the first stage he said. He said I am not a freak. He said I will be fine. Love is love, he said.
Tears are trickling down my cheeks unabated. Gosh, I am a mess.
I am not a loser…
A version of this was first published here.
Picture credits: Pexels
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