December was a fucking stressful month for me. I had faced all manner of pressure – from family, to school, to even a sticky situation the previous month – and I needed a break.
A huge break!
So, on the seventeenth of December, I was with a couple of friends, talking about life and all the stuff we’d failed to achieve as well as the stuff we hoped to achieve in the coming year – depressing stuff really. Then, on a whim, I decided to go crazy in the room. I began voguing and making really sensual and effeminate poses; stuff that made my friends laugh, and one of them began to take pictures of me in my element. Surprisingly, the pictures turned out well. And on a whim, I posted some of them in a gay Facebook group that I belong to. The responses were not just amazing but totally hilarious.
Then I decided to take the crazy a step further and put some of the pictures up on my Instagram profile. The responses from my friends there, both straight and queer, ranged from disbelief to outright admiration. With that emotional high from all that drama, I went home on the nineteenth.
On getting home, I met my mother in a mini fit and my sister, Dalu, looking and acting completely sulky. I instantly knew they’d been at each other’s necks again. (The two of them had refused to come to terms over the man Dalu wanted to marry. Mother said he’s not “God’s will for my sister.” My sister says she’s old enough to know God’s will for her and to make her own decisions. Total impasse!) So I’m trying to stay out of their way by staying secluded in my room when Mother stalked in and issued a fiat: either I join them for every family prayer and every church meeting/fellowship or I pack my things and return to where I came from. I simply had to acquiesce and agreed to her terms. I wasn’t about to let her rage with my sister boil over and scald me.
The next morning, we all went to church for the early morning prayers. After the prayers, Mother asked me to go greet the new pastor who’d been transferred to our church station a couple of months earlier. (She likes to do this, force an acquaintance between me and the pastors in the church, as though the closer I am to them, the surer the control she’ll have over my life). I went to meet the man and shook his hand with my right hand while keeping my left hand behind me. Then Mother said, “Pastor, tell him to show you his left hand.” At the time, I’d let the fingernails on my left hand grow out and they were pretty long, about 2-3 inches at the time. I reluctantly showed my left hand to the pastor, who immediately began gushing about how fancy and fine my nails were and how much they fit me. I turned to Mother to gloat, only to realize she was on a call. The pastor kept me and my sister for quite some time, talking about this and that, stuff that were very close to boring me to death.
When he finally let us go, I noticed Dalu was focused on her phone, only interrupting her attention on the screen with angry glances she threw my way. I ignored her – something I’ve trained myself to do – and walked toward Mother, who was still on her call. As I drew close to her, I overheard her say, “Nna, join me in prayers oh. I’m also tired of all this.”
She saw me drawing up to her and promptly passed her phone to me, saying, “Dom wants to talk to you.” (My mother has five brothers and is an only daughter. She’s the third child and Dom is the second-to-the-lastborn i.e. the fifth child. Nigga is quite wealthy and lives with his family in Europe, where he’s lived for almost 27 years now.) I was startled by what Mother had just said because this man and I hadn’t talked since 2015.
I took the phone from her, and then began the most irritating conversation I’d had in years.
Him: Nna, kedu?
Me: (Why’s nigga talking to me?) I’m fine, Uncle. Keekwanu?
Him: Anyi dikwa mma. You know it’s been long since we talked. I’ve practically kept this silence because I believe everyone and everything is going really well with everyone. I was trying to reach you this morning but your line was not going through. So I called your mother.
Me: Um, okay…?
Him: You see, eh, (stammers a bit), in this life, the only way to progress is the way of the Lord. That’s why you see people who make it the wrong way fall back after a few years or even lose their lives.
Me: (really puzzled now) Okay. And you’re telling me this why?
Him: You see, the world is governed by the laws of God. Man-made laws are only meant to be man’s interpretation of God’s laws. And man also, because he is not God, can be deceived by the devil into making laws against the natural order and God’s will. Like Barack Obama and the homosexuality law and the transgender nonsense that has been sweeping through Europe and America. God made Adam and Eve and he saw that they were perfect, but Satan has come to destroy the beauty of God’s creation…
At this point in the conversation, I zoned out. All I could think was: How could I be so fucking stupid? Of course his daughter follows me on Instagram. She must have seen the pictures and shown them to her parents.
Him: …God created you a man. You were meant to marry a woman and continue the seed of man on earth. God doesn’t make mistakes. You are not a (with a hiss) transgender or homosexual. Chukwu aju…
And now, I was thinking about how I was going to handle this issue. Then a thought occurred to me. I’ve been called a bitch queen most of – if not all – of my life, because I have a rapier for a mouth and an aggressive wit. If this dummkopf of an uncle was going to call me out of the blues to tell me how to live my life, why the fuck then wasn’t I going to give him a taste of my venom?
By this time, we had gotten home and Mother was still conversing with the pastor, who dropped us off the short distance at our house, while Dalu had gone off to the mini market close to our house to get stuff for breakfast. The call had already been on for about twenty minutes at this point and I was indoors.
With no audience to check me, I decided to act.
Him: …really disappointed when I saw that picture. Biko, ga na Instagram kita, jee wepu that nonsense and let this never repeat itself. I na-anu?
Me: Are you done?
Him: (really winded from his extremely long monologue) Yes. Okwa inuru ihe –
Me: Before you continue, I’ve got a few questions to ask you.
Him: I si gini?
Me: I said I’ve got a few questions to ask you. Are you there?
Him: Okay. What is it?
Me: First of all, when was the last time you called me, texted or even attempted to contact me?
Him: I’ve explained that. You know I’m a busy man and I don’t have that much time on my hands. So –
Me: You’re so busy that you couldn’t spare the time to reach your only sister’s only son for, what, two years and four months now. So busy that you couldn’t reply any of my texts through 2016! So busy that you couldn’t make out time to call and check up on me when you heard I failed a final year course and for that reason, wouldn’t be graduating with my class! Yet you’re somehow un-busy enough to call me over the matter of a picture I put up on MY Instagram, huh?
Him: (stammering) Nna, iwe gi adina oku. You know –
Me: Question 2. Where do you think you get the jurisdiction or the authority to question me over what my lifestyle choices should be?
Him: (utterly dumbfounded) Chelukwa! What are –
Me: Third. You want to sit in judgment over my life? What then do we say about you? You who cheated on your first wife with your current wife and had a child with her, got a divorce and rather than be a fucking man and do your duty by the woman you’d gotten pregnant while your wife was pregnant with your son, chose to become a fucking philanderer. Can I even remember all the girls? Chinasa, Tope, Ada, Nneka and the entire brood you subjected the entire family to torture over because every one of them wanted you to marry them and the family couldn’t have such floozies in our midst. Do you know how many nights your sister and her children, me and Dalu, spent awake praying for you to get back to your senses?
There was no response.
Me: Do you?
I checked the phone screen to see if he was still on the line. He was. The call was still connected.
Me: Since you don’t want to answer, let me continue. When you finally decided to have sense and marry Arret, you still did not stop your philandering. How many times has your wife called my mother to tell her to pray for those women to leave her husband when we all know it’s you who can’t control yourself?
Him: (incensed) Stop that nonsense! I’m giving you useful advice and you’re here insulting me. Do you think –
Me: That’s the point. I think! You on the other hand, you obviously don’t. Do you think you’re any sort of role model or father figure to me? Or to anyone for that matter? See eh, Uncle, I respected you enough to hear out the entire nonsense you were spewing at me. You’ve lived in Europe far longer than I’ve been alive yet you still have such a backwards view of life.
Him: (shouting) That’s because I’m an African. I know my roots. I know who –
Me: No you’re not. You’re a hypocrite, that’s what you are. Christianity is unAfrican. You want to be African? Fucking return to your village and become a farmer. Don’t tout Christianity to me one moment and Africanness to me the next, simply because I’ve caught you in your lies and fakeness.
At this point, I could hear the sounds of Mother and Dalu walking into the house.
Time to rein it in!
So I quickly had to summarize the call before they’d find out how shit really went down.
Me: Uncle, have a nice Christmas biko. And please, for the sake of all we love and hold dear, don’t ever try this kind of thing again because I won’t be this nice. Daalu.
And so, I ended the call.
And all was well.
Or so I thought.
TO BE CONTINUED
Written by Mitch