Of love, genuine kindness, and parasitism

I haven’t seen Kuya J for some years now. Yesterday, though, I came across his best friend, N, on my way home. They have been helping each other in every way they can since high school and I’m so happy that they still maintain that close relationship up to now. At least there was someone looking after my cousin.

So I asked him how Kuya J was doing. N said Kuya J’s better than the last time I saw him. Having no parents to look after him and no house to live in, his life was a complete mess then. But currently, he has a stable job and is more mature in terms of managing his finances. What I’m proud of is that he stood up on his own without any help from his family, which didn’t dare lift a finger when he was all broken.

Then came the inevitable topic. I learned that Kuya J has been living with his partner and his partner’s family the whole time he was away. Well, technically, just his partner’s siblings since their parents were destined in another work location. Knowing the general attitude of Filipinos towards homosexuals and homosexual relationships, I wondered how it was possible for Kuya J’s partner’s family to accept him and to allow him to live in their house at that. Apparently, Kuya J was sending his partner to college because they were too poor to do so. Every payday, his hard-earned salary would slip away in an instant because he was also the one paying for their utility bills and other basic necessities.

At first, N wasn’t in favor of their relationship because he was sure the guy would leave Kuya J at some point since he’s bisexual and not entirely gay. Moreover, back then, he said, the guy wasn’t presentable, didn’t finish high school, and literally had nothing, except that he had a home and Kuya J had none. “Sister, I know I’m not that pretty to be too picky of my partner,” Kuya J would say. After 3 years of being together, the guy has improved–in appearance and credentials–all because Kuya J took care of him.

However, it wasn’t an entirely happy relationship. N told me how Kuya J would sometimes run over to his house in the middle of the night because of a lovers’ fight. And it wasn’t just a lovers’ quarrel–he had been physically assaulted. There were instances when things would be thrown at him–electric fan, chairs, etc. And he wouldn’t fight back, being the kind of person he is. He would never do that especially to someone he loves.

I couldn’t bear listening to N anymore. It was hurtful enough that Kuya J always had to spend just for someone to be with him and love him. And even more painful was hearing that he was being battered.

Kuya J is a very beautiful person. If only people would let him, they’d know how generous, caring, supportive, and friendly he is. But nobody liked him in our family and I think a big part of it is because he’s gay. He’s the effeminate, openly gay type–the only one in our bloodline. He’s spontaneously creative. He used to be a drag queen, joining beauty pageants and all. He had many (gay) friends too, but only a few stuck with him through the worst.

With everything that’s happened to him, I’ve never seen him frown. He would usually be in a cheerful and carefree disposition, always wearing a smile. And because I trusted that smile, the thought of these things going on with him never crossed my mind.

At the moment, they’re okay, N clarified. Several days or weeks after they fight, they would reconcile and Kuya J would come home to their house. But I can’t stop thinking about Kuya J, after that conversation with N. It’s because I’m worried Kuya J’s partner would leave him when when he doesn’t need him anymore. He deserves to be loved.

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