I was staring at the blue sky again. Thinking. Mulling. Pondering. In front of me, I could see a building, shining a bright gold. When I looked at the clouds, I could see a face. A face I had encompassed my thoughts in these past few weeks.
I had not noticed someone creep up behind me. “Hey,” he sat, next to me. I could see his eyes were as dense as most. I turned, and looked at him. Though I was a day older, he was taller. Larger. Perhaps it was due to the upbringing. He hadn’t a potbelly like mine. “Just thinking some stuff,” I answered.
“Life in Singapore must be hard, huh,” I heard him clack open a canned drink, then gulp. I was sure that wasn’t beer. He was not even sixteen yet.
“Yeah, it is.” I agreed. Above me, the clouds morphed into a face I was thinking of. Speak to me, I pleaded to the clouds. Speak to me again. Of course, I knew my pleas would never reach him.
“Let’s head inside,” he suggested. We both walked into the company around the rectangular table and sat down. I could hear the sound of the folding of paper. The notes to be burnt to heaven. I joined in, letting my delicate fingers gently push against the golden pieces. Suddenly, the discussion was about me.
“Max,” I heard my fourth uncle speak. He was the cheery one, always making jokes, even at such a sorrowful occasion. How suitable for him to be the one changing the focus of attention to me. “Do you have a girlfriend?”
I jolted. A question I had never prepared myself for. What do I say? What do I say? I could feel the audience noticing my pause. I shrugged in response. “No, I guess.”
“Then--” he was cut short by my eldest cousin. “Are you gay?”
More stares. I hated that question. It was against my moral values to define my sexuality. But nobody around the table knew that. So I had to play along like a tame little puppy.
The audience seemed to notice my hesitation, and translated it as unwanted news. Fourth Uncle was first to break the ice. “We won’t blame you,” he said. I could see the eyes around the room fill themselves with a simple want to know. I could tell they really wouldn’t blame me if I was. That was what their eyes showed. Never doubt someone’s eyes. At least I knew these were my family, the people who would accept me no matter what colour I wore, what I become. They would respect whatever life I chose, as long as I was a good person.
My eldest cousin taunted again. He acted all fairy-like. “I mean, we wouldn’t mind, yeah?” I managed to smile at that stereotypical image of gay people. At least I knew I wasn’t like that.
I closed my eyes, winced again at the image of the perfection of my dreams, then whispered, “I guess I’ll never know until I experience it.”