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"Voice"- Ishita Bose

voice-ishita-bose

“A careful voice humming through the crowded street, at the dead of the night when all fall asleep, it’s alone and chilly, exhaustion evident in it’s already present misery.


Who knew looking happy for everyone would be so difficult, who knew a simple smile would induce an urge to cry. All it was a muffled voice in the crowd that no one could see or feel. This voice we talk about is not just an abstract thing but also a personality description of a boy, Jay.”


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“All done!”, exclaimed Jay, grunting as he stretched his arms.


Talking about our main protagonist here, let’s learn about Jay.


Jay, an average university student with a small group of friends, is not very social and anonymously posts blogs about a voice which in reality are his own personal thoughts and sometimes frustration about hiding his true self. None of his friends know about it, unless you count his best buddy, Luca, his dog.


Anyways, enough with the introductions, let’s get on with the story.


Standing in front of the mirror, Jay assessed his outfit and completed it with a black jacket. He made sure his outfit made him look as invisible as possible and left his apartment, not without petting his best buddy, Luca.


He sighed as he entered the bus and chose the last seat and took out his earphones, even though he tried not to look around him, yet he couldn’t help but notice this distinct feature on everyone around him, happiness, he muttered something inaudible, most probably a curse and continued ignoring everyone and drowning himself in his music.


It’s not like Jay has something against happiness, but to him putting on a smile is far more difficult than solving algebraic expressions and learning Einstein’s theorem. To him happiness was like a fever dream, something unachievable but no one had to know those thoughts.


As university approached,he took out his earphones, straightened his clothes and put on the best happy face he could manage and climbed down the bus.


He felt a weird kind of chill run down his back, something felt off and weird today but he couldn’t pinpoint what, anyhow he continued his way to the building. Surprisingly the so bubbly and loud building was home to hushed whispers and stares, he wondered if it was just his imagination or were people truly staring at him.


He tried to locate his friends in the crowd and walked towards them once he found them.


“Hey what’s up with everyone today? Y’all okay?”,Jay asked in a tone which could be only described as an awkward attempt to be funny.


His friend suddenly put his arm on his shoulder, “Man I hope you know that you can trust us with whatever it is, it’s scary to read so and even though it’s weird I’ll try my best to be a good friend.”


Jay just stood there trying to process his words when his other friends said something along the similar lines and the other students looked at him weird and walked straight ahead, some even avoiding eye contact. He was surprised but nonetheless he tried not to question them since he knew they wouldn't answer.


The bell rang indicating the start of the class, it was extremely awkward for Jay, he felt all eyes looking at him, some sincere, some weird and some plain mocking. He tugged on his jacket sleeve and chose the last seat as usual, he tried his best to ignore the stares but it was becoming too overwhelming with every passing moment.


As the classes for the day came to an end, he sighed in relief and wanted nothing more than to run back home.


“Jay, I would like to meet you in my office right now.”


Jay was left even more confused than before. He tried to recall if he did something wrong or not but nothing came to his mind as he followed his class teacher to her office.


As he entered the office he did not expect a man to be there already, he greeted the unfamiliar man and sat down following his teacher’s instruction.


“Jay, I’m glad you decided to come out, these issues are difficult to talk about in our society, you know how people can be, yet you are so brave for doing that, this man you see here is a professional and will try to help you out of your situation. Trust me, it’ll all be fine with his help.”


All blood drained from Jay’s face as he tried to process everything that happened today, he completely froze, a million thoughts running in his head. He felt like he was paralysed and just couldn’t breathe. He heard voices but he just couldn’t move, finally after what felt like an eternity he regained his senses only to drown in his own tears. He was incapable of replying to whatever his teacher said and abruptly got up and ran.


He ran as far as he could, he ran until his legs gave out and tried his best to calm down with no success, tears blurring his vision and a pressure constricting his lungs, he felt as if his chest would explode. He looked around himself and recognized that he ran to the lakeside, he sat on the grass and with shaky hands took his phone out only to find notifications flooding his phone. He opened those notifications and found his assumption to be right.


He accidently posted it on his public university blog page rather than his anonymous one. He felt everything shattering and for what felt like the hundredth time today, he sobbed alone while the chilly environment engulfed him. After mustering a little bit of energy he walked towards his home, tired steps guiding him home.


“First of all, before starting the blog, I’d like to thank everyone for reading, though I’m not sure how I get so many views? Do you all like reading my miserable lives so much or is it because you like to compare yours with mine and stay happy? *low chuckles*


Anyways whatever the reason might be, thank you.


The voice is awfully quiet in the day-time but the loudest at night, if you listen to it carefully you’ll know how hard it is trying, how bad it is fighting with itself, continuously telling itself to change and that it’s just a phase but then again what is the voice? What is it’s base? What is the reality?


Yet sometimes it cries while screaming loudly into oblivion, why do I need to hide? What is my fault? Am I wrong to express myself?

What can I do if I like a voice who’s of the same gender as mine? What can I do if I’m jealous of all the voices that sound happy? What can I do if I wish to be louder? Stronger? Prouder? Will I keep on living as a muffled voice?


Today the voice seems even more heavy and lonely,a careful voice humming through the crowded street, at the dead of the night when all fall asleep, it’s alone and chilly, exhaustion evident in it’s already present misery.


Who knew looking happy for everyone would be so difficult, who knew a simple smile would induce an urge to cry. All it was a muffled voice in the crowd that no one could see or feel. This voice we talk about is not just an abstract thing but also a personality description of a boy, Jay.”


He re-read the blog he posted and cried, his tears all dried up by now yet the cries won’t stop. He kept on blaming himself for such a stupid mistake, he saw the looks in everyone’s eyes, he saw how his friends flinched and felt awkward while touching him. He remembers how most of the people he used to greet avoided his eye contact, probably just avoided him in general. He remembers how his teacher said that the man will “help him out of his situation”.


Help him out of what situation? He did not know if he should laugh or cry. Yes, he was gay. He had been gay for a long time but his inability to express himself made him suffer all these years, he drowned himself in depression until he found blogging as a way to cope and vent, but now he felt everything shattered. He did not know how to face everyone, he opened his article again which was still being talked and commented on.


He did not realise when he fell asleep, he woke up with a throbbing headache and dried tears on his face. He wanted to forget about everything. It all felt surreal.


He entered the university building and tried his best to ignore the stares, he found his friends in the corner and waved to them only to get an awkward smile back as they immediately got up and left. He controlled his urge to cry and went to attend his lectures, everything was so painful, the stares, the whispers, everything.


Just as he thought things couldn’t get any worse, some students approached him laughing, “Baby, I got you a lipstick, and he got a headband from his girlfriend” the others kept on laughing. They kept asking him to dance, to dress and slowly started pushing him.


With each push they passed a comment, Jay saw his friends passing and yelled for help but they all ignored and walked in the opposite direction, “how could they be his friend? They were scared of you confessing to one of them or having inappropriate thoughts, how disgusting.”


“I have a girlfriend, so don’t think inappropriately of my touch.”


And their laugh echoed.


The homophobic and mocking comments just shattered him completely, suddenly everything felt hot as a rush of adrenaline coursed through his body, everything felt bad, hot tears running down his cheeks, he felt as if his world stopped and then everything blacked out.


YEARS LATER


“Thank you for attending everyone, hope to meet you all next time.”, Jay smiled and exited the auditorium.


“Your speech was wonderful, just killed it!”

“Yeah, Jay is getting better and better, at this rate my popularity will go down”


And Jay laughed on hearing his friends' words, but this time his laughs and smiles were a true one.


“Come on guys, you guys rocked it too!, anyways I’d love to stand here and chat but I have somewhere to be so I’ll take your leave.”


“Jay, stop being so formal and just say your boyfriend’s waiting”, one his friends teased.


Jay smiled shyly and left.


He got in his car, and switched on the radio, soothing melodies filling the space as he drove. His life took a big turn after university, that incident still gives him chills but now he has people to fall back on when he’s scared, people who are trustworthy.


He still remembers that day when he collapsed on the campus and everyone left him to probably die? He remembers waking up in the hospital, he remembers crying himself to sleep, he remembers locking himself in his home but he also remembers the kind nurse who is presently his boyfriend, he remembers how he was taken to therapies where they helped him not to come out his situation but to accept it and love himself, how he learned that loving someone is not a stigma and depression is not a call for attention. He moved out of the city to a small town where he studied literature and made genuine and sincere friends, he never stopped writing and in no time he became one of the known bloggers who also is a guest lecturer and attends seminars at times. He smiles, a real one and gets out of the car forgetting his past and stepping towards a better future.


“The voice hums beautiful melodies under the moonlight, singing about starlit skies and warm blankets, the voice slowly mingles with a soft tone and together they dance as warm breeze blows past them, the voice is smiling and free, cheerful and complete finally. This voice we talk about is not just an abstract thing but also a personality description of a boy, Jay.”



------ THE END ------








© 2021 Ishita Bose

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