By H. M. 

My queerness is quiet. It’s mine to keep. It lives on the sixth page of my diary. Maa only reads the first five. It holds hands under covers and touches toes to toes in the dark. It breathes content sighs when the bedroom doors shut. It’s light, nearly translucent. It reflects the light that filters in through my window. It bows its head in my grandmother’s kitchen. “Yes, Ammi. I’ll marry well, Ammi. I’ll be happy, Ammi.” It dares to find itself in an archway in the sky that follows the third downpour in April. It clings to the memory of the two boys on the subway, yesterday, holding hands. “Look at us,” it remembers their intertwined fingers saying, “look at the beautiful things we can hold.” 

My queerness is private. It’s a love that affects no one but me. It is healing a pain that its never even touched. It is the first in a long line of martyred hearts. It exists in the sliver of light beneath a shut door and in the trickle of water along a car window. It is grand in its invisibility. My love is kind, and patient. It is letting go of the burden a lineage of hurt can bring. It is graceful in its silence. It moves like a summer breeze. It is all-consuming – it changes my life. It is also small enough to tuck under my pinky. It is resilient. I will love. I will love if it’s the only thing I do. I will love even if I’m the only one to feel it. 

I celebrate my queerness in silence. I smile when the woman on the television kisses the hand of another woman. I close my eyes and dare to wish the same for me. The only pride parade I’ve ever been to is the one I hold for myself in between these four beige walls. It looks like a stack of subtly colour coded books on a bookshelf. It smells like days old jasmine perfume. It 

sounds like a wave of opportunity, crashing against the shore – like the distant roar of an ocean of all the things I could be, and of those I could someday have. In these four walls, where no one is looking, my queerness and I glitter in a thousand colours under a midnight moon. We thrive. We hum songs of love and hope. We dance to their broken beat, heads thrown back, hearts beating wild. 

My queerness is quiet. I’m the only one who can hear it. It sounds like a thousand fireworks in a desolate sky.