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PART four: obr

Chapter 21: The Funeral

OBR sat on the sidewalk and began to cry. His friends knelt beside him. One of them hugged him, while another stroked his hair. He watched through teary eyes as they helped seat his mother next to him.

“Be patient, son. We will find a place to bury your sister,” his mother said, while his friends nodded in agreement.

“They don’t want us. None of them do. We’re not normal to them. We’re all sinners. Filthy sinners who’ve been seduced by the demon king.”

“Oh please. They know we’re not sinners, darling. They won’t admit it. But they know. They know,” PINKIE said.

“And if loving and copulating with consenting adults of the same sex, extra emphasis on adult, is a sin, then what does that make them? They’re the ones who are constantly caught molesting and raping helpless little children,” ZUR said. “Sorry, OBR. I didn’t mean to be glib about it,” he added.

“It took me time to accept what you are, didn’t it son?” his mother asked, as she held him to her chest. “Give them some. One of them will agree. Not all of them are so entrenched in their dogma.”

“What makes you think that mother? Where is your husband? He never came around. Why do you think they will?” OBR replied.

“Because the chances of all of them being just like your father are much lesser than the chances of at least one of them being like me,” she said.

“Damn, auntie. What a sweet, sweet burn that was. You shut him up. We’ve been trying to do that for months,” PINKIE laughed and said, after a few minutes of OBR’s silence. They all joined in. They all needed it. It distracted them from the purpose of their current trip, even if the distraction lasted no more than a few seconds.

They spent the next two days visiting the various ANJALIKAS that were spread across the city, none of whom agreed to conduct last rites or allow for a burial ceremony, or even a simple cremation, on the grounds they owned, no matter how much money or compromise they offered. OBR was distraught. He said nothing, but his mind was in turmoil. He kept questioning his decision to agree with his mother’s wish, to allow her to bury his older sister in accordance with her religion. A religion that his mother had continued to believe in and follow, despite it proving time and time again that it had no place for either of her gay children.

He stood silently in a corner, barely listening as the SPRITE’s mouth moved. He had no appetite left to hear the same excuses, the uncomfortable silence as they were told in the politest possible terms that carnal relations with members of the same sex were forbidden, and OSZA who partook could not be given a burial unless they had shown signs of serious repentance about their sins; subtle hints about how they were soiling the house of God and needed to leave immediately. He ignored the SPRITE and his babbling until his ears caught a whiff of the unexpected. They perked up as soon as he realized that the SPRITE had actually begun discussing options for different types of ceremonies with his mother.

They finalized the details of BUNS’ cremation within the hour, and walked out of the ANJALIKA with tears of gratitude and joy, which turned into tears of sadness as the finality of the death of their loved one hit them even harder, now that her last rites were only a day away.

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