Friday, November 11, 2005

TWICE THE MAN

It was a brutal beating. Dennis suffered a broken jaw, a broken arm, a hideous black eye, and bruises on his arms and back. It was a beating fueled by pure hatred; mercilessly executed by someone bigger and stronger. It was his older brother, Junior.

Their mother was hysterical. She was shocked to see his older son letting loose on his little brother as if he were a rabid animal that had to be killed. The sound of the older boy’s fist pounding on the young boy’s chest and back reverberated into her heart; stifling her breath until she passed out.

It took two large men from the Barangay Hall to collar the drunken young man and to stop him from further pummeling his almost lifeless little brother.

Mr. Yu heard about the beating the next morning. He asked his wife to look after the store while he rushed to the hospital. In a cab, on the way to the Orthopedic Hospital in Quezon City, Mr. Yu remembered when he first met Dennis for the first time. He was barely 14 years old then. Like a seasoned salesman, he showed him and his wife samples of hair accessories of his own creations. Mrs. Yu was so excited she placed a big order immediately.

It was a big hit in their Divisoria store. And from that time on, Dennis has been supplying them with wonderful and sometimes outrageous pieces that their customers would always rave about. Mr. and Mrs. Yu consequently became the young designer’s wholesale distributor of his hair accessories. He was an instant success.

Dennis is gay; never wanted it and never asked for it. From as far back in his childhood as he could recall, he knew he was different from his older brother, as well as from the other boys. He had lots of girl friends, playmates actually, but it was their brothers he would crave to be intimate with.

Even at a young age, Dennis decided to accept himself for what he truly is – a budding homosexual. He realized there was absolutely nothing he could do to change the fact. Thinking no one else might love him for what he is, he resolved from that moment on to learn to love his own self in spite of the many beatings he endured.

His mother knew all along but wasn’t at all disturbed by it. Actually, she was praying for a girl when she was pregnant with him. His father, even if he knew, was too distant to give a damn; he abandoned them when he fell in love with a nurse he met in Los Angeles when Dennis was only a month old.

His brother, Junior, older by three years was another story. Filled with teenage angst, he hated Dennis with a passion because he was embarrassed by his little brother behaving like a little girl; worse, he believes Dennis brought bad luck to the family when he was born. It was his fault that the father he adored left them for another woman. Roughing up Dennis, therefore, has become a common phenomenon, especially whenever under the influence of alcohol.

Those close to the younger boy expressed grave concern for his welfare; afraid this senseless beating will happen again. It took Dennis months to fully recuperate from his injuries sustained from the last beating. The next one might be worse; it might physically deform Dennis for good.

Finally, it was Mrs. Yu who talked to Dennis’ mother. She suggested that perhaps, it would be best if Dennis live with them just so as to remove him from a hostile situation. His mother agreed.

Years passed. Junior went on to finish his studies at a criminology college and joined the police force. Glad not to have his gay little brother around to contend with.

Dennis was made to feel as if their own son by Mr. and Mrs. Yu. After graduating from college, with some of the money he had saved from his hair accessory business, they helped him set up his own design and manufacturing business. Under Mr. Yu’s guidance, Dennis’ business thrived.

His biggest success came — a coup de grace, indeed when Beyonce Knowles was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine wearing one of his pieces, and Angelina Jolie was reported by a Women’s Wear Daily style editor as fond of giving away as gifts to her friends in Hollywood these wonderful hair ornaments from Manila. The demand for his products skyrocketed and Mr. You had to go to China to immediately negotiate a manufacturing deal with a major factory to fulfill all their incoming orders from foreign markets.

Throughout those years while living with Mr. and Mrs. Yu in Binondo, his mother would visit with him often. Dennis would always give her a substantial amount from his earnings. When his mother got sick, it was Dennis who paid for all her treatments and medications. And when she passed away, Dennis made sure she had the best funeral.

It was only at the service that the two brothers finally saw each other again; more than ten years since the last beating. Junior, dressed in his police uniform, looked older than his age and somewhat projected a forlorn look. Dennis, on the other hand, conveyed dignity and a sense of contentment; not to mention that he looked dashing in his black suit and white shirt with a striped necktie.

At the cemetery, after the interment service, Junior and Dennis were the only ones left sitting on white folding chairs; two vacant seats between them. The others had left while a few walked away just far enough to give the brothers privacy.

Junior sort of broke the ice. With a voice hoarsened by years of smoking, he asked Dennis if he was still angry at him for beating him up when he was young. Dennis slowly turned his head to face his older brother. He told Junior that his cruelty didn’t make him hate himself as he had wanted him to. And by loving his own self, he has learned not to harbor any anger for anyone else.

He admitted to Junior that to this very day, he’s at a loss as to why he’s gay and why there are gays. And why there are those who are so extremely prejudiced against someone simply because he’s gay that he would beat him to a pulp even if his own flesh and blood.

Dennis fixed his eyes on his older brother’s eyes this time and said, “For having been able to put food on our table, as well as for having given our mother some comfort until her final days while you’d only hang out and drink most nights makes me twice the man than you are.”

As Dennis was getting up from his seat, he took a final look at his older brother and said, “How could I ever be angry with you when, in fact, it was I who paid for your college education all along … with the money I made from making those pretty little hair clips that you hated so much?”

With those last words, Dennis walked towards his chauffeured car.


Link

What Does Gay Mean? How to Talk with Kids about Sexual Orientation and Prejudice
http://www.nmha.org/whatdoesgaymean/index.cfm

Hate Crimes
http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/hate_crimes.html

The Psychology of Prejudice: An Overview
http://www.understandingprejudice.org/apa/english/


Labels:

posted by Señor Enrique at 6:32 AM


1 Comments:

Blogger DOPS said...

Yes, i wonder when will come a time when there will no longer be prejudices, not just on gays but marginalized people in general...

DOPS

November 08, 2006 2:39 PM  

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