By Nicholas Deroose


You have been here before. This quiet familiar spot that you have always turned to in times of need. Here, high up above the city on the rooftop of your office you watch the city move like a silent movie.

The tall gleaming skyscrapers stretch, reaching for the velvet night sky with its doors endlessly inhaling and exhaling people onto its asphalt arteries.

From up here the busy intersections lit by a thousand cars and streetlights twinkle like a sea of amethysts but from your high hideaway you are far from the wheezing exhaust fumes and screaming horns, leaving you with a distillation of the city in its most beautiful form.

Up here the air is free and cool. You take a deep breath and your blackened lungs sing a sigh of relief as a crisp gentle breeze runs through your slick greasy hair taking with it the troubles of today.

You feel relived. You feel lighter even. You stroll to the ledge and lean against it, the metal railings sending a brief chill to your palms. The first sign of actual feeling you have felt all day.

In the stillness of the night, you then begin to hear a voice.

This is shit.

It is a familiar voice. Your boss's.

This is worse shit.

A booming voice that has repeated and compounded itself over the years in this building echoing throughout its halls, stopping just behind the protective rusty metal door to your hideaway.

This is terrible shit.

The voice now swells like an angry wave, bursts forth from the final gate and fills your head like an unstoppable storm, spilling out of your ears and infecting your body.

This shit is worse than yesterday's shit.

You claw at your ears and fall to your knees, drowning in the whirlpool of voices as crippled cries tumble out of your mouth in whimpers.

Your shit.

Your world is filled with darkness but in the depths of your despair you feel a light touch your back.
You inhale sharply, summoning a deep reservoir of strength as you reach for your railing of comfort pushing yourself up again to face the immaculate scenery that is the city before you. It's gentle glowing lights wash over you, calming the demons inside as the winds continues to stroke your cheeks and brush away the tears.

You then slowly raise yourself up onto that narrow ledge, quivering slightly at first but then with a determined look in your eyes and muscles clenched, a ripple of courage blooms in you and finally, you are standing tall, high above the office building.

Up here the city looks so beautiful. Everything is before you and nothing behind you.

The lights, they call out to you and a warm smile begins to spread from your face and over your weary body. The wind whispers you on. You close your eyes, and leap.

Remembering the Closet
 For those of us that have come out of the closet and move away from hiding our sexual identity to those that are around us, the memory of what it means to be in the closet becomes more distant with time as we become more comfortable with our sexuality. However, in doing so and moving past the closet, do we also in turn distance ourselves away from those that are still in the closet?

It was a topic of discussion over drinks at the Esplanade last night and as we sipped mango and mangosteen martinis (delicious!) I popped the question to my ‘out’ friends of whether or not they would date a closet person.

I was answered with a flat “No.”

The matter-of-factly manner in which I was replied caused me to ponder if ‘out’ people ostracize the closeted community?

To be honest I would not even entertain this train of thought if it had not been for a recent encounter. I was online, again, and on one of those many gay personals websites when I received a message from a guy who claim he knew me when I was in the navy. We chatted for a bit and when I asked for a face picture he declined because of the need for discretion due to the nature of his job in the military. I will not lie to you, my eyeballs stayed white for a good five seconds as I rolled my eyes. Urgh, I am so over that word, discreet.

Honeys, the frequent D words in my vocabulary are dildo, douche, douche bag and double on the rocks. But wasn’t there a time when I was in the closet too? (You know around the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth and sequined bellbottoms where in fashion?)

Those of us that wear the rainbow flag on our sleeve we become tired of those in the closet because to us there really shouldn’t be a reason to stay in the closet in this day and age. However, coming out does not have a timeline and we have to remember that a large part of the LGBT community is still in the closet and we should try to project a welcoming environment for those to come out to instead of losing our patience with them.

So back to the question of would I date a closeted person? The answer is yes, but I would like to think that with the time and effort that I spend moving back closer to the closet in order to form a relationship with this person would someday have a positive effect on him to make him want to come out. My wrists can only stay butch for so long before they become limp again.

It is our struggles that unite us and remembering that there was a time that we too we afraid, lost and confused would actually help us build a better community in the end.

Summer Travels- Beginnings
I dread visiting my parents. Their house out in Newtown, Bucks County has too much space and is too quiet for a city boy. I need the electric jolt of the city with its noise and traffic of people to inspire me and although the ever present sirens sometimes infuriate me, I know I fear the sound of my own breathing even more.

However, here in the sunroom of my parent’s house overlooking the lily lined porches of suburbia, my thoughts begin to breathe in a different air. The running streams that merge and diverge in my head are allowed the space and time to run parallel and ripple through the room as I ponder on my journey ahead.

This time the return to Singapore will be different. It will not just simply be a trip to reconnect with friends and family, to visit old haunts and taste familiar dishes. It will be all that but also a little more. This trip back home I carry with me a certain anxiety that has seated itself at the center of my chest, a prickly tiny black ball that throbs with a dull ache and cannot be soothed no matter how much I try to rationalize it away.
I have spent the last four year s of my life building a new home in America and as I am about to graduate from college at the end of the year, I quickly approach another intersection in my life and am confronted with another choice, to stay or to go.

It is a question that is not only steeped in the concept of home and a sense of belonging but is also sharply punctuated by the reality of finding a job. As I exited from the sheltered life of academia, I join the many graduates who face an uncertain future and a harsh economic climate in the US.

The clarity I seek in journaling becomes clouded by the pain of my ties and connections in both countries as my thoughts ebbs and flows towards and away from me. The relationships that I have begun in America struggle against the ones that I have in Singapore. As the connections I have in America begin to deepen with time, I feel an erosion of the ones that I have at home. It seems that I am trying to build sandcastles on both shores, a futile and ever tiresome effort that fights against the waves of time.

These passages begin to tire me as I stem the flow of emotions that well up and threaten to burst forth. I will retire for now but persist in the search for answers that I have to confront myself with. For now, I take comfort in the simple pleasures of life, the admiration of the lilies that line the porch of my parent’s house. Their gently drooping heads blush a light purple in the morning sun as they sway in a gentle breeze, easy and carefree.

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