SHAME

Short Story by Ananya Aloke (Entry No. 10)

I finally spoke. Kai listened, gave me some advice, listened again and then got angry. The kind of anger that will make you laugh even when you are in pain.

I was in a lot of pain before I could reach out to him. He was never my friend. Kai was another artist but not from my circle as I was not from his. He was from East Germany, I from India. I had not thought for a moment then that one day he would be supporting me… “But that is why humans are together!”

He had an angry outburst when I tried to lighten the conversation by telling him on our written chat that I was ashamed to tell anyone I was missing something. He begged me to talk to my parents. He could not accept that I had been hurting for so long without reaching out. Because I deserved happiness. No one had said this to me before. I told him it was hard because I loved my parents too much to explain my mental illness to them. And my parents loved me still more than that.

“I am old enough to be your father! Trust me. Perhaps you could tell them…” All day I kept trying to explain why it was hard. And my phone kept beeping. He was trying his best to talk me out, to get me some help, to force me to reach out. His anger was the one of the best gifts I got. It surprised me and destroyed my shame.

I have not reached out after all this time. But that day, a huge burden of shame was lifted from my chest. When I feel pain again, I can at least tell myself that I have nothing to be ashamed of.

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