"Keep your prejudice in your pocket and wave goodbye with your empty hand."
It was our second meeting. Meena was dressed in tight blacks, with a red scarf falling to his wrist. I had called him several times the week before to schedule the next interview, but he had had family issues and duties that stole his time. He offered me a cigarette as he lit his and sat on the chair in front of me. I welcomed him with clean lungs and open ears.
"I have said too many goodbyes this month to say hello again." He said smiling, then continued: "I ran away."
His family couldn't rely on their hopes for him anymore, and neither could he. They wanted the soon-to-be-husband with the decent job and manners; the one that pulls his family strings together and sings in that same rhythm. That's not him, even I knew that. He came out of their shell. He now lives in his own place; his own covers.
Perhaps it's the feminine hand movements or the sound in Meena's voice that made me see he's got more of his mother's side than his father's. However, when he mentioned her, his face drew the disappointment in him; as though all of his pride was shaken by her abandonment of him.
"It plays in my mind at least every night before sleep; how my mother turned away when my father asked me to leave."
He took off his golden bracelet and put it on the table between us.
"This is hers. All I'm left of her smell."
"Ironic is not their ignorance in my eyes or my life in theirs, it's the space within. I used to despise the air between their skin and mine. I used to worry with every breath I released that I'd spill my heart. I used to hate my secret, when love was all it was to me. Freedom is wellness for the ill or rebellion to the oppressed. It is paradise for lovers and warmth to a chest. Freedom is me, in its wildest form. Their limits are gone."