By Clandest Singh
Special to The Post
It had been a long treacherous week.
Everything I did was under the watchful eyes of my mother and uncle.
Several attempts to sneak my phone away from its place of confiscation failed. The internet cable was removed from the computer. There was no way to contact anyone for help.
I was trapped in my own home by the two of the people that I love more than anyone in this entire world. All I could do was wait.
Wait to see what would happen.
I remember wishing every night before going to sleep that I would not have to wake up again.
I remember praying for an escape. It never came.
It was the same as always, my uncle would take me back to the same room I was confronted the very first time and interrogate me.
He would ask me heinous questions such as, “Who are you gay with?”
Because according to him, you couldn’t be gay until you were… converted, I guess?
He would demand to know who my boyfriend was, even though I never had one. He would make up elaborate stories in which he questioned my modesty and would try to force me to admit to them. This wasn’t the same uncle that I loved with all my heart.
This wasn’t the same uncle supported my mother as she raised us single-handedly as my dad drank himself away. This wasn’t the uncle that I would, even to this day, happily lay my life for. I saw something different in his eyes.
Today was like no other day, the yelling, the tears, the accusations, the occasional physical abuse and threats, the treatment of not being in existence.
However, this day my uncle said something different. The words still echo through my ears to this day.
”There comes a moment in a mother’s life when she looks at her son and swells in pride. However, there are some women who are unfortunate to see their sons grow up to become leeches. There comes a day when she punches her stomach, lamenting the day her filthy offspring was born. You dad was this filthy offspring, and you are this filthy offspring. I have no problem taking this filth away either. Either you change your ways, or you will die. I don’t care if I go to jail, but I will kill you. Keep that in mind.”
With that he left and I sat there in the room, numb.
I couldn’t feel anything.
I felt as though all of my soul had just drained and I was an empty body just propped up onto a chair. His words were harsh. His eyes were murderous. His body posture was tense.
This man was serious.
This man was going to kill me. I would become another name in the list of people killed by their family in a twisted Punjabi construct of false “honour.”
I am in no way saying that Punjabi culture holds this value. Punjabi culture is a rich and vibrant culture, but some of its descendants hold a perverted view of so-called “honour.”
Such “honour” that caused the death of so many - such as Jaswinder Kaur who was killed by her own mother and uncle.
Such “honour” that strangled the voices of the oppressed. Such “honour” that was thirsty for blood.
The thought made me wretch. My whole body felt numb.
This is the man who promised to always be there for me.
This is the man that would carry me through the bazaars of Punjab on his shoulders.
This was the man that always treated me like a son. With a heavy heart, I trudged my way to bed and lay down.
I spent the whole night thinking about those words.
How easily he could execute them.
It was the summer after grade 12. Everyone was on vacation.
I wasn’t going back to high school. No one would know that I was missing.
Well I guess it was happening then. I was going to die.
I spent a few more hours staring at the ceiling, crying, reminiscing, and wishing I could have my old life back again.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I was going crazy. I needed an escape.
I prayed for one every day, but if I didn’t get a physical one, an escape in a hearse would do.
I got up and walked to the kitchen. I went through the drawer and picked up a knife.
I looked at it, the blade gleaming in the dim stove-hood light.
This was it. No more abuse. No more accusations. No more torture. No more pain.
I held the sharp edge of the knife against my left wrist.
Relief was one, swift, deep slice away.
Part IV of this series will be published next week.