I am Steve and I see colours. I don’t for how long it has been but I see them every day and everywhere. I have tried to close my eyes to them, I have pretended they were not there but the longer I did that I have come to realize that colours exist in all shades of them. I lived in a crowded city on the edge of the Atlantic. A city whose mere mention of the name can leave you drunk in awe. It never sleeps, the lights never dim and the colours I see can be found in its nooks and crannies.
I have felt that I was different from my peers, from my earliest years. I loved to dance and make meals. I didn’t like to play with the boys, I thought them rough and brute. Like the boys could read my mind, they seem to reciprocate this feeling, it was like we agreed to keep to ourselves. I always knew they had their reasons.
I have been told I talk like a girl and was very touchy. This statement was to make me cry. I felt pained, though; not because of the words themselves but the sentiments I felt the words carried with them. I felt that the boys were punishing me for keeping more female company. I felt emasculated and invisible. In their quest to make me feel bad, they succeeded. They thought it would bring me back to their fold, instead, I resented them all the more. I saw the world, relationships, and gender roles in a different light and I grew in my belief. I liked what I liked and that was it.
In school I made friends quickly, not because I could play football, my sheer intelligence and handwriting attracted them all, both boys and girls. Not all the boys were drawn to me, I gave them their space. Their attitude towards me didn’t change the way I saw the world. I still liked what I liked and didn’t mind the others.
I believed that the world is flat, that no one was taller than the other. I believed that we have just one God and he is a father to us. I believed that people are the same, what should set them apart is the wealth of creativity they can bring out of themselves and the good service they can render to humanity; that women can be generals if they have what it takes. I believed in good and evil and that no one can escape the consequences of their actions. These beliefs formed my morals and my appreciation of the world.
One day, I saw the picture of a man who had been manhandled and killed. He was accused falsely by his enemies and sent to an early death. His mother was there. She saw all he went through but she did nothing. I was enraged. How can one watch her only child go that way? Was it because it was God’s will or because she was a woman. Whenever I thought of the people who killed that man, I was sure that they would be languishing in the lower echelons of hell.
Often, I would look at those pictures which portrayed the horrific treatment meted out to him and felt great pity for him. I came to learn he was a holy man, he was divine, sent from God to save me. I came to learn that he loves me. I couldn’t help but love him too, hopeless romantic that I was.
But I realized too that he wasn’t the only person I loved. I loved girls and the boys, even more, especially those with fine facial features. Anyone who gave me the attention I showered with lots of affection. I didn’t grow out of my effeminate nature and soon the boys were back to taunt me. They told me to man up, to put away childish behavior, it didn’t make sense to me what they said. I feel my feelings and let them roam. Many times my heart was broken because I didn’t get the affection back. I didn’t understand what was happening, I just let my feelings roam.
As time went on, I came to love the man who was brutally killed even more. I prayed to him and devoured his every word, as was written in the holy book. His life inspired me, I fell in love with him again and again till I told him to make me his own. He visited more than once, even in dreams he came to me. I enjoyed his company and the peace he gave. I told other people how much I loved him and all he does for me. Then the story changed. The boys called me preacher, priest. They didn’t expect that my life would take that turn, but it was better than being with the girls. With that, they let me be. It might seem like I took on camouflage to escape their taunts, no it was not. I was in love, in love with the man who was killed, though I still saw colours.
The other boys watch football and laugh, they make a lot of noise after a match. I watch football and yawn, I never remembered the names of any of the players, even the coach. I preferred to be alone, to study, and be the brains of the class. The more I did this, the more I differed from the rest. I felt my friends tolerated me only for the sake of what they could gain. I grew reserved and choosy of people. I longed for one friend who would be mine, who could love me as much I could give love.
Now, there are no friends I keep. I change friends like the clothes I wear and I don’t bother to keep in touch. I still like boys but I feel I am weird, unworthy of anyone’s company, maybe lacking in social skills. I have fallen in love with a lot of guys and fallen out of love with them and only a few of them knew. Some of them became friends with me eventually. Others, they became lost in time.
I am still here, liking what I like and feeling what I feel; still seeing those colours I have always seen. I know what they are now, see them in all their crazy. Though I have not blended in with them, I continue to wear one of them. In my heart I feel like a hypocrite, I feel like an angel with a tail and the devil’s horns. My name has remained Steve and this is the beginning of my story.