Disappearing Acts

Disappearing Acts

“Promise me that you’ll give it up . . . for my sake.”

I never wanted to go to a boarding school for my senior high, but my parents insisted and I grudgingly agreed. I transferred to the new school, full of these feelings that were decidedly not for girls, even though I wasn’t sure about my sexuality.

It was in the new school that I met Dave. He was in SS2, a year ahead of me, and was the hottest guy in the whole school. Maybe that was my bias at work, but Dave was devastatingly attractive and darkly handsome. Around the time I got to know about him, the rumour mill was chugging with gossip that he was gay. My heart skipped a beat when I heard the talk, and I willed the universe to make it true. We weren’t friends, so I couldn’t just walk up to him and ask him anything. But there was an SS3 boy, Jide, who was friends with him; Jide was my friend too and I figured I could ask him. Jide answered in the affirmative when I asked him if the rumours about Dave were true. I was thrilled to hear this, and because all I wanted was Dave, I simply had to ask him out. I wanted him to be my boyfriend.

But I couldn’t mine the courage to do so face to face, so I waited till the midterm holiday, when I got to ask him out via the then-reigning 2go.

He didn’t give me a definite answer all holiday long, and when we got back to school, I reminded him of my proposal. He said yes and my happiness was indescribable.

My joy was however short-lived as our relationship – if you could call it that – progressed. I couldn’t feel the love from Dave. He was always so distant. I found myself being the only one putting in effort to make us work. Initially I thought I was the problem, so I doubled down on doing things to suit him, please him and satisfy him. But it seemed the more I tried, the less Dave seemed interested in having anything to do with me. He’d get angry anytime I said I wanted to talk to him. It almost seemed like he was regretting his decision to ‘go out’ with me. His attitude made me cry many nights. I carried on for about two months; after all, love is patient and doesn’t blame wrongs.

A few days before we vacated for the Christmas holidays, I finally got a moment with him and asked him if he wanted our ‘relationship’ to end. He said yes, without even thinking about his answer. This response wasn’t supposed to come as a shock to me, but upon hearing it, my entire fifteen-year-old world came crashing down. Back at home for the holidays, I was a nervous wreck. I wasn’t far from my tears and I began to lose my appetite, which is saying something because I love food. My mother worried about me but I very well couldn’t tell her that I was suffering heartbreak from the end of my relationship with a boy now, could I? So whenever she asked if I was feeling okay, I’d stoically say yes and then go wallow privately in my misery.

When we resumed for a new term, life became even more unbearable with me having to see Dave every day. I was still very much in love with him. He was the first to ever make me feel that strongly for a boy. He was my first love.

By the time I got into SSS2, I was beginning to mend my broken heart. During that time, I learned that Dave liked a girl in my class and the girl liked him too. Her name was Oyinda, and soon, they started hanging out together, as though they were an item. I hated them both. I still wasn’t completely over Dave, and as though to validate what he was missing by being with that girl instead of me, I began to indiscriminately shag the boys in my hostel. Because of my indiscretion, I was soon caught and suspended for two weeks and my parents found out and all that jazz (story for another day). When I resumed school from my suspension, Dave and Oyinda were really close and somehow, having gone through this recent turmoil, I found the inner peace to stop hating them and simply live my life.

Oyinda’s birthday was in November, and Dave snuck to the girls’ hostel to wish her a happy birthday. He was caught and because he’d flouted a school rule, he got expelled. But because he was in SSS3 and was all set to take WAEC exams the following year, the school administration tempered the judgment with mercy and decided to let him return as a day student. At this time, the pain I felt from losing Dave was almost completely gone. Sure, there was the odd time when I wanted him back, but those feelings never amounted to anything more than wishful thinking. And so, because I was in a good place, it was easy for us to become friends again, really good friends actually. Something about him being a day student seemed to provide the adequate emotional distance needed for me to survive being friends with him.

The months raced past and soon, his graduation was on the horizon. He was rounding up his exams, but I had a few questions of my own. I wanted to know exactly what happened between us, what I’d done wrong – if in fact I was the one who’d done wrong. Finding the time to talk to Dave about what was uppermost in my mind was tough, what with all the anticipation and activity surrounding the SS3s and their impending graduation from school.

Finally, a day before the graduation, I gave up trying to find the time to talk to him and instead wrote him a letter. I gave the letter to him, making him promise me that he would read it when he got home and that he would write me back. Then I asked for a hug and he took me into his arms. That closeness, the contact, the smell of him – it all culminated into causing a rush of emotions in me and I found myself battling tears as I clung to him. I lost the battle and a faint sob broke from me as the tears began streaming down from my eyes.

I still loved him, goddamnit!

He hushed me and said I shouldn’t cry. When I let go, he looked me in the eyes and said the words I never expected to hear, certainly not at this emotionally-charged moment. He said to me, “Promise me, Jayden, promise me that you’ll give up this your gay lifestyle…for my sake.”

I stood there and stared at him, tears drying up, expression stunned. My mind was on an instant spin. What was he talking about? What the fuck did he mean by ‘gay lifestyle’? Was that what he thought I’d been indulging all this time that I loved him – a lifestyle?! I wanted to be upset, but instead, I looked at him in the eye and smiled. Then I told him I loved him, before walking away.

The next day, he gave me his reply and these were his words:

“Jayden,

“I’m writing because you needed me to and because we didn’t have time to address some issues concerning your letter to me.

“First and foremost, I apologize because it seems you think that I didn’t want to talk to you, but please understand that it’s all about time. There hasn’t been time for us to talk.

“Jayden, I must confess that when I noticed you’d started getting attracted to me, I didn’t like it. For your information, all the rumours about me being gay are false. As we related, I decided to open up my heart for you until I found myself falling for you. It seemed weird at first, but with time, my feelings blossomed. I must confess I didn’t know what came over me that caused me to become hostile towards you. I guess it was all the whispers about us being gay and I didn’t want any more unnecessary attention. I suppose that’s why I treated you harshly.

“At times, whenever I try to think about what caused our break up, nothing comes to mind. I felt bad ending things with you the way I did, but I felt it was the right thing to do. But perhaps if we were still together, you wouldn’t have gotten suspended. And I take the blame for that.

“Your anger towards me would not have been necessary if you had spoken to me about it. Oyinda came into my life as a friend. We became close to the point she fell for me. I didn’t like her that way until after my expulsion. We came back together stronger than ever, believing we could be a pair. But things didn’t work out so we decided to just remain best of friends.

“I like you a lot, Jayden, and as I leave school, I know I’m going to miss you, that I’m going to miss a lot of things about you. I believe I even love you, but I can’t love you the way you love me. And that is why I’m telling you this: for my sake, please give up your gay lifestyle. Just do that and you’ll be fine. That’s all I can say to you.

“JAYDEN, I REALLY LOVE YOU BUT LUCK ISN’T ON OUR SIDE.

“P.S. Please properly and carefully dispose of this letter because I don’t want anything to implicate you. Don’t try to hold on to it – I know you and I know you might want to. Just let it go. I will try to get you something you can hold on to and always remember me by. Thanks. Stay safe. Till we see again. LOVE YOU.”

I hugged the letter to my heart and cried.

But that letter and all the wealth in it quickly became something from another lifetime, because I seem to have definitely lost Dave for good this time. He graduated and cut off all ties and communication with me. And when I tried to reach out to him, he became incredibly hostile. On Facebook Messenger, I’d go “Hey Dave.” And he go, “Fuck off.”

So I fucked off. Maybe he had given up his “gay lifestyle”, but I know my truth. And my truth is that I’m gay. And nothing can change that. I am proud of who I am. Sure my heart got broken way too young, but I realised myself in the process. And I live this realization every day of my life. Dave may have been my first love, but he certainly won’t be the last.

Written by Jayden

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18 Comments

  1. Wonda Buoy
    October 20, 06:33 Reply

    I wish for you to understand how difficult it is for Dave. Being open minded is what I wish everybody to be. Then all the world will be all loving.

    Being gay (when you’ve realized) makes you feel you were born wrong. It’s hard… Really hard. It can Make it difficult for one to even live life.

  2. Foxydevil
    October 20, 07:17 Reply

    I really don’t get this story…..
    Dave is gay, then he is not?
    Oyinda was his girl friend then she is not?
    Someone got caught having homosexual sex in Nigeria (a very homophobic country) and he gets suspended for two weeks?
    The other snuck out to give presents to his girl friend (who is not actually his girlfriend ) then he gets expelled 😑 and subsequently brought back after his expulsion, because he was in SS3 ,which the school management knew before they expelled him in the first place (sighs)
    So Dave knew he wasn’t gay, yet said yes to a gay man, falls in love with him, pens him a heart warming letter and then proceeds to cut off all communication with him and apparently tells him to fuck off everytime he sends him a message on messenger (phew)

    On another note, I would say this is actually a true life story. Because life can be so disjointed and messy at times, to the point it doesn’t make sense……… But I’ll be going with a badly written fiction.
    🚶.

    • Mandy
      October 20, 08:15 Reply

      The category says “Our Stories”. That both means it’s not fiction and that you really should watch the way you loftily dismiss other people’s lived experiences simply because they don’t fit in with the way you expect them to be.

      • Foxydevil
        October 20, 08:58 Reply

        My bad!
        Seems like I’ve been being a bad fox again.
        Maybe I got my tail wrapped in too tight.
        Can you unwrap me madilicious ?
        Maybe when you finally have your way with me
        YOU CAN LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!
        This is borderline turning to obsession.
        I’m used to people being obsessed with me like duh, who wouldn’t?
        But this right here is creepy because you’ve never seen me ,yet you are already wetting your pants.
        What if I decide to bless you with my very attractive presence… You would sell off your phone and laptop all in the bid to win me over 😀😊
        Don’t beat yourself up too much.
        We can’t get everything we want.
        🚶.

        • Mandy
          October 20, 09:15 Reply

          That thing they say about empty vessels and their noisemaking though.

          • Foxydevil
            October 20, 10:15 Reply

            The clap back is almost as weak as your personality.
            *almost *

    • Arabian Princess
      October 20, 21:34 Reply

      Well, my classmates while in secondary school got suspended for two weeks for engaging in “homosexuality”. Its a secondary school not the outside world..

      • Foxydevil
        October 20, 22:38 Reply

        Egyptian mummy, I was comparing the two offences with the punishments prescribed.
        Not doubting one could get suspended for two weeks for homosexuality…. just comparing it with the other that got an expulsion.
        You get?
        Good!

  3. Mandy
    October 20, 08:17 Reply

    Jayden, I hope you’ve closed the chapter of Dave firmly and forever. Cos that dude sounds like someone whose journey to acceptance of the truth of his attraction to men is still beginning. This his flip-flop tendencies doesn’t a love interest make him.

  4. Delle
    October 20, 11:35 Reply

    The struggle is real with that one. I’ve never seen so much contradictions in one letter. My God!

    You shouldn’t have bothered, Jayden. You only ended up hurting yourself the more when you were already well into recuperation. You were young though.
    Cos those type of people (no matter how hot and compelling they are) shouldn’t be given the time of day.

    He has demons he is battling with but you won’t be the one to see him through it. I’m tired of gay guys trying to help all these IH-ed idiots and being treated like vermin for it. It’s totally disgusting. Let him keep up with his “lifestyle”. A lot of them excel in such sham.

    I truly and sincerely hope you’ve gotten over him. For your sanity.

  5. Canis VY Majoris
    October 20, 14:01 Reply

    Aww. Young Love. So cute…takes me back to my first love too.

    Damn! Boarding school romance is amazing. 😊

  6. Mitch
    October 20, 14:50 Reply

    This is just a timely warning for me.
    Don’t let your heart out to no motherfucker!

  7. trystham
    October 20, 19:19 Reply

    Nothing can shock me with u these children again. Seems a lot of ur mates knew too much about homosexuality

  8. Chizzy
    October 21, 17:34 Reply

    Awww honey, am so proud of you for being you, as for Dave am sorry for him. You will meet lots of love in this world, forget about Dave and move on with ur life 😍😘😘

  9. pablo
    October 22, 10:32 Reply

    You got heartbroken by 15, me by 20. That caused you 2week suspension cos u went out of the way to seek love, me I got HIV by going out to seek love from that bastard. People, guard your hearts! First heartbreaks have consequences

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