“That’s Betsi right there. Betsi in a bright sunny day”

“He used to cut your hair. Do you remember him?”
“Who? Oh, Uncle Sebastian?”
“Yes, I used to take you for haircut to his home until like you’re in grade 2?”
“Uhm-hmm, he is fun! Why did you stop taking me to him? He always gives me a bob cut Dora would die for”
“Ahahaha I know he is the best!”
“So, what’s about him?”
“Well, I stop taking you to him because when you’re in grade 2, I started to wearing a hijab, your grandma kept telling me to keep you away from him because he’s going to give bad influence, and your dad told me his concern”
“What the hell? Uncle Sebastian is a fun person! Why did you listen to those? Isn’t he your bestfriend since childhood?”
“He is my bestfriend. He’s crazily better than any friends I made until now. But I have your dad — my husband and he was gotten into some crap with his friends back in the day, and he took your sister away to an Islamic Board School his friends built that costed a thousand dollars when we barely make any rupiah, and I was scared he took you too”
“You never told me that. I’m sorry. I always thought Uncle Sebastian was busy because you told me that. But after that with dad is over you could contact Uncle right?”
“No I couldn’t, more like I didn’t. We moved around remember? I kept thinking about you and your sister’s first day in school, I was busy working, your dad was away for a new job, we couldn’t afford a nanny, so I couldn’t think anything else”
“I changed school 4 times, and just fine, glad you were thinking of me. So.. you telling me this has something to do with Uncle Sebastian right?”
“Yeah, it has. Last week I went to your late grandma’s house, back in that neighborhood, doing some paper work to sell the house and I thought of him. I thought, ‘It’s not a bad thing to meet him now right?’ all my way to his house I kept thinking how to say sorry and I will hug him tight, and get him to cut my hair. But when I arrived he wasn’t there anymore”

“You know why he was a really great friend of mine? Because he never ever forced me to do things I don’t like even to think things I don’t like, unlike your Dad, or your late grandma. And I knew he was different since grade 6. He liked to braid my hair and joked around I was more manly than him and I wouldn’t get a guy to marry. But he never ever told me to like his preferred sexuality, he never told me to like the thing, gay, or gay people. I don’t agree with it and he respect that. The only thing he ever said to me when he was coming out at 21 birthday was, ‘I know you know, that I’m gay and dying to be a girl like you someday, but this is me, Sebastian, your childhood friend — the one who you always friend with, asking you to not hate him for the choice he makes. I’m still me and I ask you to please stay liking me, please stay be my friend’ and I was bawling in tears and mad because it took him so long to finally be honest with me. And I know I would never leave him because of the gay, and that I always liked him, I liked Sebastian my childhood friend”
“You never leave Uncle Sebastian because of that, you’re still his bestfriend by trying to meet him even after a while. You didn’t forget him”
“You know he always pouted when you called him Uncle. I called him Betsi since forever but I thought it was going to confused the child of you if I told you to call a guy my age a feminine name”
“Yeah, you always called him Betsi. Okay, so where did he move his salon? Come on, I get you to his new place. I bet Uncle Sebastian already complete a transition now and would be glad to see you”

“Betsi did a complete transition but he died after the operation, the clinic was illegal, the doctor wasn’t even sure he could do the operation, it was all mess but Betsi did it anyway because big hospital charged more than he had. He was tired of waiting and I will never forgive myself to not be there for him, for Sebastian my childhood friend..”
“..this is the first time I cry after heard the news. Because I just realised that Betsi literally dying to be a girl like me and he never knew he did it. Betsi was a girl, oh God, let Betsi be a girl up there. You can’t suffer her twice, she had enough and please tell her I’m sorry, tell her I still like her no matter what”

“Betsi I’m really sorry”

Like what you read? Give Zulfa Noor a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.