A Little too Introverted Public Kiss
A Short Story about a Shy, Gay man finally Opening Up
This is the quaint story of Harry Tristem, an introverted, gay man who is afraid of his sexuality being revealed, and hence, leads a dull life of quiet desperation. Harry works for a publishing house. He grew up in a Christian family. Hence the apprehensiveness towards being seen as “noncomplying”.
And as fate would have it, one fine day, he chanced upon a new guy in the office. That man was slowly approaching his desk.
He was too stunned to speak or act rationally.
Nevertheless, his mind went on without his will:
Jesus! This is the kind of beauty that’s only seen on TV.
Those brown, deep eyes come with a mystery of their own.
That soft jawline begs to be caressed. (Normally people prefer a strong jawline, but hell with them.)
Those delectable lips — bridges to Heaven!
That all-knowing, innocent smile — gives me a purpose to liv…
“Excuse me, sir. Are you Mr. Tristem?”
Harry doesn’t find his voice. He just nods. He begins cursing himself for entertaining such “unholy” thoughts.
“Hi. I am Scott. The editor-in-chief sent me to you so you can show me where I begin work?”
“Come on, Scott. I’ll show you,” Harry somehow managed.
And that day was the beginning of an awkward, painful journey for Harry.
It only took a couple of days for him to realize that he was hopelessly in love with Scott.
Each time he was around Scott, he would struggle to resist his urges. He would struggle to collect his thoughts, would stutter in his speech, and couldn’t concentrate on his job. He’d show all the signs that a human who’s in love shows. Scott did observe the awkwardness when he was around but didn’t say anything about it.
The unfortunate part was that Harry believed that it was wrong to look at a man in this manner. He was worried that it might hurt Scott if he got to know. He was torn apart between religion and his feelings for Scott. Neither could he convey his feelings to him, nor could he live with them. He felt miserable, to say the least.
One day, Scott approached him hesitantly. “Hey, Harry. I just want to ask you something.”
And then, Harry knew his Judgement Day had arrived.
Scott began his volley of questions: “Why do you behave awkwardly around me? Why do you never speak straight with me? Why do you never look me in the eye while speaking to me? Do you have a problem with me?”
Now, Harry had to provide answers to him. (It was more like having to account for his crimes.)
But then, Harry kinda lost it. He couldn’t bear it anymore. And, he did the one thing he never thought he’d have the guts to do, even in his dreams.
Harry Tristem grabbed Scott’s face and, in the center of the office, right in front of everybody, kissed him hard for a good 10 seconds.
After the kiss, Harry said to Scott, “You get it? This was it.”
Now, the entire office was watching them, like it was a movie. Harry first felt a bit embarrassed, and then terribly afraid, afraid at having offended Scott and having to face the repercussions, and embarrassed at having behaved impulsively, and that too in front of his colleagues.
Harry didn’t know what to say. He stammered, “Scott, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…”
And Harry now witnessed another happening, and this too, he couldn’t have imagined in his wildest dreams.
Scott grabbed Harry’s face and returned the kiss. And, after the kiss, he sported a coy smile.
“Finally, mate. Couldn’t decide which of us was shyer.”