Dyinggggggg but still alive!
Chapter 3: Dmitri
Ivan’s office was simple and rustic. To be more precise, it gives me this log cabin feel. Minus the fireplace and headless animals aesthetic. It’s also filled with pictures of his family and his wife. You can obviously tell he adores his family. It’s so cute, you can have diabetes just by staring at them.
“Dmitri, have a seat.”
Uh-oh. He used the ‘tone’.
The ‘tone’ is never good even in the times he worked in the cafe. It’s something he and Dad shared. It starts off with a calm, civil talk which then begins to look like an interrogation. Without those head lights, of course.
Anyway, as I sat down, Ivan was looking over paperwork over the day to segregate them. Between him and Dad, he’s the lesser OCD but still – OCD is OCD, no matter how you flip it over.
“So Dmitri,” I looked up to see his violet eyes peering into the depth of my soul. Probably examining if I’m lying about the whole ditching class. “Did you really skip class because you ran away from those bullies?”
Crap. There’s no denying that.
“Yes, I did,” I said, feeling very small under that gaze. I’m not even sure if he’s mad or disappointed that I didn’t stand up and fight like the soldier I should be.
It’s hard to be a guy sometimes. Especially if you are expected to be this and that. Just like how girls are expected to conform in their gender roles – or at least be tough as nails since no one’s buying the damsel-in-distress bullshit anymore. People are beginning to applaud girls. Empowered females to be politically correct, and who can kick butt and be a man. Mulan pun both intended and not. But when a guy shows a slight sign of weakness like tears or being unable to fight back because of fear, it’s looked down upon. Can’t I be weak even for a moment? It’s hard to stay strong and keep it that way.
“Dmitri, look.” Ivan started, his face concerned. “I’m your god father and as much as we all want to protect you from the bullies, we can’t be your bodyguards twenty-four seven.”
“I know that, uncle.” I heard myself say and I was sincere about it. “But I wasn’t picking a fight. I was looking for Dorian since he ran off somewhere and he couldn’t be found. I got concerned you see.”
“Well, that was kind of you to be concerned with your friend but sometimes you also have to think for yourself. You’re thinking too much about others, it’s like you don’t care if you get hurt or not, just as long they’re okay.”
He wasn’t wrong on that either.
“Are you disappointed with me, uncle?” There it was. My million dollar question.
“No, Dmitri.” Ivan looked surprised with the question. “Why do you think so?”
“It just a feeling.”
“Well, there’s nothing to be disappointed about. You’re perfectly fine, Dmitri.”
I could tell that the question threw him off for a bit. “I see.”
Sometimes I think there is something wrong with me. Chasing obsessively after approval and fear of disappointment should be disease. I want to be myself. I desperately want to, but the need to please and make my family proud of me over powers that.
I’m the Gainsboroughs’ first born, after all. The first son of the first son.
I know that we’re living in the 21st century and that family honor is not that of a big deal these days but when you’re so used to making people happy around you because you’ve done well like a good little Christian boy, you start to forget about yourself. You begin to thrive in that high of satisfaction, of praise from being obedient, it begins to terrify you when you go an inch below expectations.
Even if it is a 99/100.
Even if it is knowing that you’re gay. Or bisexual for that matter.
“Don’t be too hard on yourself, Dmitri.” Ivan told me with a kind smile.
“I know, uncle.” Easy for you to say.
I wanted to scream.