The Better Person

The first look at Quarantine, Rahul Mehta’s debut collection of short stories about young gay Indian men adrift in the world

01 April 2010

FRANK IS ON THE PHONE with my brother’s wife, Ellison. They talk often, which surprises me because they are nothing alike. Ellison has decorated her and my brother’s house with gold-framed posters of Impressionist paintings and plastic flowers in white urns from their wedding. Frank, on the other hand, pisses out the bedroom window when he’s drunk. I don’t worry about him hitting people on the street, because the window faces an alley. But on summer nights, when everyone’s windows are open, I wonder if some of it sprinkles into the apartments below. I once asked him this, but he shrugged. In New York, he said, worse things come through your window than piss.

That makes Frank sound like a loser, but he’s not. He loves me, though he wouldn’t admit it. Not in those words. I wouldn’t either. I don’t think I’ve ever said ‘I love you’, except maybe in an ironic baby voice.

But I know Frank loves me. That’s why he talks to Ellison on the phone. They compare notes about me and my brother.

Rahul Mehta is the author of Quarantine, his debut collection of short stories, and a lecturer in English at Alfred University, New York.

Keywords: homosexuality Rahul Mehta Quaratine gays in India