“Dear, there’s something I’ll like to tell you…” I said in the gloom after waking her up.
My heart was rattling my ribcage.
She sensed the seriousness in my voice and sat up. She turned on the bedside lamp and asked in a groggy voice, “What is it that can’t wait till morning? What time is it sef?”
“It’s 1:30am, and this can’t wait,” came my muted response. I was still waiting for her to regain full consciousness.
After what seem like a lifetime with only the ticking noise from the clock the only sound in the room, she finally asked after a yawn, “What is it?”
I took a deep breath and upon releasing it, I said, “Remember we agreed on no secrets between us.”
She nodded and stared fixedly at me.
“Well, there’s something about me I haven’t told you.” After a beat, I continued, “I’m bisexual. I’ve had a sexual history with both guys and ladies in the past, but none since we started dating.” I said this quickly as I’d rehearsed this speech over and over.
I hadn’t been looking at her when I spoke. But when I finished, I turned my eyes to her face to observe her reaction. She looked stunned, and sat there for a moment, speechless and immobile. Then, without saying a word, she pulled the duvet we were sharing to her body, picked up a pillow, stood and proceeded out of the bedroom, headed to the sitting room to sleep. I watched her leave and made no move to stop her. My heart constricted and I wondered if I had lost this woman who had come to mean the world to me. I couldn’t sleep anymore and every noise in the house had me looking at the door.
Eventually, I dozed off into a fitful sleep. The next time I opened my eyes, it was about 6am. I heard the shower in the guest bathroom running. I quickly did my morning ritual and then went to the kitchen, where I put a kettle on the gas cooker to boil water for tea. Drinking tea first thing in the morning before leaving for our respective days was a tradition for us. A few moments later, she came into the kitchen fully dressed in her uniform, and with the coldest voice I’d ever heard, she said, “I won’t be taking tea today. And don’t bother dropping me off at the hospital. I’ll get a taxi.”
I always drove her to work whenever she spent the night at my place. I began feeling despondent as I listened to her shatter our routine. I turned off the gas cooker and turned to look at her. She quickly turned away and made for the door. I tried to stop her. I reached out and grasped her arm.
She turned and stopped me with a look. Then in the same cold voice, she said, “Nuel, leave me alone. I’ll be late for work.”
And with that, she was gone, with my travelling bag bearing all the clothes and personal items she’d kept over at my place moving in her wake.
“Sir Nuel!” the voice called behind me.
I turned to behold the most beautiful nurse east of the Niger. However, I was unable to place her face. I said enquiringly, “School of Nursing, right?”
Only students from my previous workplace called me ‘Sir’.
She smiled and nodded.
“Where are you heading to?” I asked.
“I’m on my way to work. I work at the hospital down the road. I’m on night duty.” Her teeth sparkled in a smile as she responded.
“I’m having a birthday party at this hotel.” I pointed at the building. “Do you mind joining us? It’s either that or you give me your number.”
“I can’t join,” she said with a laugh, “but here, have my number.”
And thus began the start of the most beautiful relationship I’d ever had until that early morning.
I kept on trying to reach her the whole day. I called her. No response. I sent SMS. No reply. I left her messages on every social media account we were both on. No wink back from her. On platforms like BBM and Facebook, it was obvious she was seeing the messages. I harboured some hope, seeing as I hadn’t been blocked on any of them.
It wasn’t until three days later that I got an SMS from her, asking me to meet her at the hotel close to the hospital where she worked by 4pm.
When she walked into the bar and gave me a stiff handshake, I feared and expected the worst. After the pleasantries and enquiries of our individual wellbeing, she blurted, “Is it my fault?”
“Is what your fault?” I queried.
“Is it my fault that you’re – you know…” She couldn’t even say the word.
“That I’m bisexual,” I supplied.
She nodded as if saying the word was contagious.
I said, “No, it’s not. I’ve been like this since I can remember. I didn’t want to continue with you if I’ll keep this important aspect of my life hidden.”
“When I left your house three days ago,” she said, her face grave, “I swore never to have anything to do with you ever again. I can’t bring myself to think that you’ve been part of this disgusting thing. But then, I looked back at the times we’ve shared and they have been the most fulfilling of my life.”
“It’s not disgusting,” I said gently, trying not to be annoyed by her censure. “It’s who I’m. There are countless essays about same-sex relationships out there you can read up to understand it if you wish.”
“But the bible says –”
“You of all people should know by now my views on the bible and organised religion as a whole,” I interrupted.
“Is it because of this that you have those views about the bible?” she asked.
“Partly because of it and partly because of other reasons,” I answered.
“Okay oh. I can never seem to win an argument with you.”
“That’s because I tend to argue with facts and not go on with myths.”
“It’s enough joor. Come and take me home.”
My jaw slackened and my eyes widened. I asked hesitantly, as though I feared her answer, “Home, as in my place or yours?”
“Yours,” she replied, “but one condition.”
“What is it?”
She gave me a steady look, “That you don’t ever cheat on me, not with another woman and definitely not with a man.”
“You have my word,” I said, mentally crossing my heart.
“Oya, take the bag to the car,” she ordered, gesturing to the tote bag she’d come into the bar with.
“Always at your service, my lady,” I said, giving a mock salute.
And today, I’d like to end this entry with this gem:
“Love is the most important, the most necessary human emotion. Not just romantic love. Love! The ability of human beings to connect.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Written by Nuel