C was the second guy that said ‘hi’ to me when I first entered the branch in lieu of my new posting. His hazel eyes, gleaming in the annoyingly flickering lights (courtesy of the SAF’s ‘budget’), seemed to pierce right through my soul. C was an officer, slightly taller than me, and probably a million times fitter than me (I was slim though – a little underweight actually). And despite my initial thoughts of C to be a fearsome, merciless, NS-obsessed tyrant, he turned out to be one of the most friendly and thoughtful persons in my branch. He also happened to be my direct superior that I reported to, and also someone that I eventually grew to like.
He treated me rather well from the start – acts of kindness such as asking if I would like anything from outside (if he was coming into camp) or giving me rides home whenever he had the car often made me think of him as the oasis in the desert of hierarchical depravity known as the army.
Branch life was rather pleasant and exciting – breakfasts at the mess, occasional tea breaks, peppered with the ubiquitous “jetpack” and the obnoxious trolls in our branch. One night, as we were working overtime, I took a little shut eye after spending nearly 3 hours tagging a silly nominal role (that really was a HUGE arrow my officer had to catch). I was not woken up by a rude jerk of my chair (which was branch culture) or an annoying whistle in my ear, but a soft peck on my cheek. My ears went red as I slowly woke up to the sight of a rather mortified officer. C had a betrayed look in his eyes, one which I identified with from experience. His eyes were teary, and he hastily turned away and started walking to the door.
I instinctively chased after him, caught his hand and pulled him into a tight hug. It was rather ironic at that moment, at many levels so much more than one. I whispered “It’s all right” into his ears, although I had no idea in hell what was going on with his bizarre behavior, and proceeded to ask him to confide in me. And he did.
He was about to commit suicide.
I was shocked beyond words – how could someone with such a bright future like him want to take his own life? He explained, between sobs, that he came out to his parents the night before, and they went into a fit, told him that he “wasn’t their son” and could just “die in a drain”, and told him to “get out of their house”. He left the house that night, with nothing more than his bag (it did look unusually bigger in retrospect) and pretended that nothing happened the next morning as he stepped into the office. His kiss, not intended to wake me up, was ironically supposed to be his final confession so that he could pass peacefully into the next life without any regrets.
After recovering from the momentary shock, I gave him a long hug which lasted nearly a minute, with his tears soaking into my pristine No.3. And although no clothes were taken off that night, we spent the night in each other’s soft embrace, on the cold hard office floor.
The next day, I went to the ops warrant in our branch and asked if there were any unoccupied bunks (under the pretext of wanting to stay in since I lived quite far). Miraculously, he said that there was and that the branch people could use it if they liked (it was a 6 man bunk) but the SAF wouldn’t be liable for any accidents if anything happened since we are not required to stay in. From then on, C would stay in the bunk (even during weekends) and I often stayed over a few times in a week, sometimes “visiting camp” on weekends, much to the annoyance of my mother who accused me of being “army-obsessed”. We eventually had sex – it was great, but the emotional bond that we forged in the fires of his tribulations gave both of us more contentment. We fell in love.
Life went on. C’s anger with his parents was evident, sometimes he told me how much he hated his family, but he transformed it into a fuel for success. He wanted success extremely badly. Success would be his revenge. Without any external distractions, he managed to score splendidly on his SATs, make it to an Ivy, and secure a scholarship in light of his previous academic and CCA/CIP achievements (he’s your typical high flier), all within the short span of a few months.
He ORD-ed a year before I did, and eventually went to pursue his degree in America. I studied locally, only spending time with him whenever he came back for his holidays. The limited time I spent with him only made my heart grow fonder. Our relationship lasted through university and now we are both working adults. Both C and I are doing rather well now – we recently moved into our new apartment after sharing a rented room for quite some time. There are many who will think of this as the end, but there is still one last part.
I know you read this page C, and as your friend, lover, and soul mate, I hope that you will find it in your heart to forgive your parents, as I did for mine a few years back after they said some very hurtful things when I came out.
I secretly spoke to your parents recently. They do regret their words and actions – I see it in their eyes. You’ve hated them for long enough and it’s time to let that anger go. This Saturday, instead of spending your birthday again solely with me (not complaining here), go visit your parents and make peace with them. I’ll be holding your hand every step of the way.