Flames erupted inside me, burning me whole until I was nothing but ashes, ready to blend in you. Just you.
Life is uncertain. When you expect the world to accept you with open arms, it kicks you in a way that makes you doubt your own self worth. In my twenty five years of life, I had never been so unsure as I was now. Thinking about my life decisions, regretting everything I ever did in my whole life.
Was I born different?
Am I different?
Many questions raced my mind.
I looked down at the message that had popped up in my phone, staring at it wide eyed. I knew it wasn't the best idea. f**k! It wasn't even close to mediocre. Last night was rough. With tears, anxiety and lot of fear that suffocated my chest; last night, I had booked an appointment with a therapist Kyle always talked about. Alderic Hudson. He was one of the best rated therapist in the town.
But when I booked the appointment last night, they had said the therapist was very busy. They said I wouldn't get an appointment until next week. But today evening I got a message that I was rescheduled for tomorrow. I wasn't prepared to meet a therapist to cry out my problems, I had never disclosed to a single soul in my life, let alone a stranger. I was twenty five, for God's sake. Too old to cry out.
"Theo! The breakfast's ready! You'll be late!" Mom screamed from downstairs and I cursed under my breath, tucking my shirt in as I brushed the comb through my hair.
The aroma of food filled my nose as soon as I walked downstairs. Dad was ready to leave for his studio and smiled as soon as he saw me walking in. His grey hair made him look more aged now. He was old. But I would be lying if his age didn't made my insides to twist. Who liked their parents growing old? Seeing them turn weak in front of your own eyes?
"Good morning, Dad." I greeted him and he smiled, tying his shoelaces.
"Good morning, son. Couldn't sleep last night too?" He asked, frown etching his face and my eyes widened at his words. I licked my lips, laughing nervously as I waved my hand, sitting in the chair.
"You know how private jobs are, right? Our client Mr. Lorenzo wanted new designs for his hotels as soon as possible. You don't worry about me, Dad. I'm perfectly fine." I lied to him and he looked at me unsure but didn't say anything.
"I know but do not stress yourself for too much work, Okay? Take care, son. I'll see you at dinner." I smiled nodding my head at him.
Only if he knew.
I was nervous.
But when am I not?
The silence in the room felt more like someone's funeral. Maybe it was mine. People were gathered here to mourn for my death. But what would my parents say when people would ask them the reason of my death? Overthinking and fear killed him? They would all say: Poor Theodore Roosevelt, died in a therapist's office. Unable to keep his heart from almost leaping out his chest. Would they remember me as a good person? Or would they be happy for my disappearance?
I sighed, shaking my head. Bloody hell! No one dies from overthinking, Theodore! Unless if you're an exception, which I was.
I wasn't normal. I didn't had interests like any other man. Women never interested me. The first time I experienced my crush, it was from a magazine, I was reading. And it was a man. When boys fascinated about women, I was drooling over men. But things got worse on my twenty fourth birthday when Mom started looking for girls to marry me with. She doesn't know that I— I am gay.
They never asked me if I liked men. If women didn't interest me? You haven't yet met the right woman. They all said. Why can't people understand that love doesn't see the gender of a person. My eyes don't filter the genders when my heart beats for a certain guy.
But the thing is I never dated a man too. I was just too scared. What if someone gets to know that I prefer men over women? Won't they stop loving me? For I am not what they had always thought I was? I remember being bullied in my highschool for staring at a boy. World never accepts the different. They don't understand different.
"Theodore Roosevelt." The woman on the desk called me, halting my train of thoughts. I rose my hand up, enough to gain her attention and she motioned towards the cabin that led me to my therapist. Alderic Hudson.
I licked my lips, standing on my feet as I took small, almost forced steps towards his office. How can I discuss such fragile matter with a stranger? How can I tell him that I am too coward to accept that I am a gay?
The door squeaked open and I walked inside the small cabin of Mr. Hudson. As soon as my eyes gazed up, I froze. My feet refused to move forward as the man in front of me, sitting in his chair looked at me with a polite smile. Kill me, sweet Lord. Do me some mercy and kill me already.
Alderic Hudson wasn't an old fifty years old man but strikingly young, in his last twenties. He looked hardly two or three years older to me. His sandy hair were elegantly styled back, his brown, piercing eyes looked no less than a weapon and his chiseled face— it made me gulp. One could easily tell the guy loved to be fit. He wasn't bulky, he was lean but muscular.
He was dressed up in a white button up shirt and probably some dress pants, I couldn't see and a pair of tailored coat. He was my therapist? He looked no less than the perfection when I looked no more than a destruction. My dark locks were unruly; I hadn't even put a single effort as I had wore a full sleeved t-shirt and a pair of jeans— the informal attire, since I had a taken off from my work.
"Please have a seat, Mr. Roosevelt." His deep voice made my insides to curl and tremble. I bit my lips, nodding my head shakily as I sat down on the chair, adjusting my glasses as I tried not to look at the man in front of me.
I knew, it wasn't the wise choice to come here.
How, in the name of Lord, am I supposed to voice my emotions to him? That I...... that I am a gay and he had f*****g gained my attention?
"I'm your therapist— Alderic Hudson. You may call me Alderic or Mr. Hudson, as you may feel comfortable with." I slowly looked up, for the first time thankful for my glasses to protect me from looking into his brown pools directly.
Like hell, I'll call him by his first name. It's torture enough to be in his presence, especially when I can't just keep my eyes off him. It wasn't like he was the most handsome person I had ever seen but his aura attracted me differently.
"Now, if you don't mind, Mr. Roosevelt, can you please introduce yourself?" He asked, holding the pen in his fingers and I quickly averted my gaze.
Why the hell am I so bad with eye contacts?
"I'm Theodore Roosevelt, twenty five years old." I managed to speak out and he nodded his head, looking at me very patiently, the expression on his face was tender, soft but something in him felt daunting too. Like a hidden part of him.
"What do you do for a living, Mr. Roosevelt?"
"I'm a civil engineer, working at penny and cents." His eyebrows shot up, his lips twitching slightly, impressed as he scribbled something. What possibly could he note down this early? We haven't even started a proper conversation yet.
"That's quite a reputed company, Mr. Roosevelt." He noted, leaning back on his chair. "Tell me more about yourself. What do you like to do in your pass time? What's your favourite hobby? Anything you'd like to share, hm."
I gulped, licking my lips as I tried to look into his eyes. You're twenty five, for heaven's sake, Theodore! You can look into people's eyes.
"I love painting. I'm not very good at them but..... they feel like an escape. Other than that, I don't think I do much, Mr. Hudson."
He nodded his head, encouraging me. His attentive gaze made me shiver. As if he wasn't just listening to me. I haven't missed how his eyes would often swallow my whole frame. I also noticed, how not even once he let his gaze waver from mine. They were on me, the whole time. As if reading my eyes, reading me. From within.
"You said, you paint to escape, Mr. Roosevelt." I swallowed nervously, nodding my head.
"From what?" He asked and I suddenly felt the conversation was turning so much more personal. I was going to reveal something to him, I had never said to anyone else. Not even to my family.
I felt scared, ambivalent to tell him about my real problem. It wouldn't have mattered if the man sitting in front of me would've been a fifty year old therapist, and not some twenty seven looking man with pretty eyes, staring at me like I was his next meal.
Mr. Hudson waited patiently waiting for me to voice out my problem. Never did his eyes twitch, nor did he looked irritated that I was taking too much of time to let things out. He waited patiently for me. And something inside me twisted to let everything out. This is the chance to crawl out of the darkness you've surrounded yourself with, Theodore.
"I turned twenty five a month ago. And since then, my Mom is forcing me to meet some women and girls for marriage, to spend my whole life with. And I.... I had been lying to her since almost half a year now, that I looking for the right girl for me when there is.... there is no woman!" He nodded his head, asking me to continue silently, encouraging me spit the actual thing out, instead of beating the bush around.
"But I— I don't like women. I.... I like men. I am a gay, Mr. Hudson. But I'm too scared to admit everything to my family. They..... they think, their son is normal, that he likes women but how do I tell them that men interest me? And I can't sleep properly, thinking about everything."
I finally let everything out. Okay, maybe not everything but it felt so good, to finally let the burden fall from my shoulders. My eyes finally looked up, to meet his brown ones and I saw something changing in his brown, endless pools, they called eyes. No, it wasn't disgust but something— something I couldn't yet point out but it made me tremble from within.
"One, Mr. Roosevelt, there's nothing to be ashamed of your sexuality and two, you are normal. The fear you're facing is also.... normal. I won't say, your fear is acceptable but I'd say, it's normal because it's not easy to accept the truth in front of everyone."
I had expected him to be disgusted from me but he rather looked...... calm. Composed. But again, he was a therapist, what else could have I expected from him. It was his job to be patient and calm.
"Now, Mr. Roosevelt, I'm going to ask you a few questions and I hope you'd open to me, so that I can help you out. Are you ready?" I swallowed nervously, nodding my head and I felt his brown eyes boring into me, with an intensity that threw me off the shore.
"I get it, Mr. Roosevelt, first few meets are little..... scary sometimes but as your therapist, I need to know if you're able to understand me and I am able to understand you. For that, I would really appreciate if we could have verbal conversations. You may ask me to stop any moment, you feel things are getting too much for you. Okay?"
"Very well. You told me you had trouble sleeping. Since when?"
"Around a year." I replied and he noted it down.
"Do you take any pills to sleep, Mr. Roosevelt?" I hesitated to answer to his question, but decided to answer it none the less.
"How frequently?" He asked again and this time I looked down in shame. I suddenly wished the ground to open up and swallow me whole. But Mr. Hudson was very patient, he didn't clear his throat, neither did he pester me to answer but sat there silently as I took my time to muster the very last bits of my courage.
"Almost every night." I mumbled and slowly looked up, his eyebrows had shot up and a flick of disappointment crossed his eyes as soon as it got dissolved back.
"So, Mr. Roosevelt, you're telling me, you've have been taking a sleeping pill every night. Please let me be sure if you've taking these 'pills' since a year?" If he was disappointed, he didn't let it reflect in his voice. But then again, why would he be disappointed? He charged to listen, not to care for somebody.
"Not a year." I mumbled, embarrassed and he leaned a little back, the tenderness was still persistent on his face and somewhere it was messing with me.
"No?" He asked, not really convinced and I didn't blame him.
"No. Not a year, Mr. Hudson; probably ten months." Like that's any better, Theodore!
"And did you atleast consult a doctor before having those pills, right?" He asked calmly, politely and it scares me more. His calm face didn't gave me of what his mind must be thinking of me. About how much of a coward and foolish I am!
I gulped at his question. Did I? I adjusted my glasses, trying to look away from his brown pools of eyes— they made me wish to hold his hands. His eyes were different— enchantingly different.
"Ye—yes." I stammered and I saw a small smile slipping on his face as he shook his head, scribbling something on his paper again. His smile made me flush red. This man had no idea how painfully beautiful he was. And how dangerously attractive.
"Would you like to try again, Mr. Roosevelt? Maybe this time with a little more honesty?" His tone wasn't condescending, not even a bit; instead, his voice was soft, gentle and it made my heart to beat loudly. He may have sensed my discomfort, for he smiled, this time in assurance.
"I know you're trying, Mr. Roosevelt and I also understand how hard it must be for you." No you don't. "But I can only help you when you are willing to tell me the truth. I am here for you." Thump. Thud. My heart was almost on its edge at his words, I blinked at him. And he slowly nodded his head, trying to prove his words. "It's my job to listen to you." And that's how my heart got shattered again.
"I..... I was too scared to go to a doctor. Hospitals aren't one of my favorite places." I said, clenching my eyes shut and he pushed a glass of water towards me and I took it gratefully. The water felt blissful against my parched throat.
"Thank you for your honesty, Mr. Roosevelt. But I would suggest you to stop taking those medicines without a proper consultation. I hope you are aware there are certain side effects of sleeping pills. I'll help you with some breathing techniques that can help you with sleeping a little easily."
And for the remaining session, he explained me how I can sleep without a sleeping pill. But I knew, I would need them. It's been a year, I had been dependent on them.