My name is Andre. This is the story of what my life was a short while ago. And then what I would have wanted it to be.

The driver’s loud voice woke me from my slumber. “Come down o! We don reach Choba o! Come down, Choba – after here, na waterline o!”

I quickly alighted from the bus, retrieved my bags and hailed a cab, now destined for my brother’s house. After several minutes of battling the usually heavy Port Harcourt traffic, I arrived at my eldest brother’s house where he and my younger sister welcomed me. There were hugs and questions about the welfare of our parents and other siblings. My sister then showed me to my room where I dropped my bags and began to unwind.

As I arranged my luggage, I decided that a nice warm shower would help put me in a more relaxed mood. I grabbed my towel and headed towards the bathroom. Assuming that there was no one else besides my siblings in the house, I threw open the bathroom door and was immediately confronted with a shocking yet alluring image.

Right there in the shower was a tall, well-proportioned and light-skinned guy. In the brief moment before I hurriedly shut the door as he stiffened in surprise, I was able to see that he had all the right bulges in all the right places. With an embarrassed stutter, I mumbled out an apology while I shut the door firmly.

Surprisingly, a few seconds after I hastily shut the door, he pulled it open and invited me in; he introduced himself as Ekene (not real name), he was my brother’s flat-mate, and he had had to use my brother’s bathroom as his was under renovation and he hadn’t expected that I would arrive so early. Still feeling embarrassed, I stammered out another apology and shut the door for the second time.

As I headed back to my room, I couldn’t get the image of his handsome face and gorgeous body out of my mind. I wondered if there were many more guys like him in PH. My thoughts quickly turned lustful. I was soon lost in a deep, lust-filled reverie, when I suddenly looked up to see that he was now dressed and had come into the room to apologise yet again for the mix up. I flirted subtly with him while I admired him.

The next morning, I was unable to rise early as is my usual custom due to the long and tiring road trip I had embarked on the previous day. When I was finally awake, I grabbed my phone and decided to hook up with some old friends I had in the city. Curiously, they all seemed to be either busy or unavailable. It then dawned on me that this trip to Port Harcourt might actually be filled with long lonely days. A part of me began to regret my decision to come here.

One hot afternoon, I was in the kitchen making lunch, happily stirring in condiments into the large pot of deliciousness that I was cooking while I hummed along. I suddenly felt fingers tickling me. I jumped and turned around to find Ekene smiling mischievously at me. My heart skipped a beat, and then started beating fast. I’d been in my brother’s house a couple of days, and I still hadn’t gotten used to my proximity with this gorgeous man.

We were started conversing, and I discovered that he was really a nice and sweet guy. I enjoyed his company tremendously, and as the days went by, we grew closer and closer. A few days later, it was the eve of my birthday. I had been out on an errand in the neighbourhood for my brother and was soon on my way back home. As I reached the flight of stairs which led up to my brother’s apartment, I felt a pair of strong hands grab me and quickly pull me underneath the stairs. The suddenness of the situation left me tongue-tied for a few seconds, during which time I was struck by a combination of terror and shock. And then, as I opened my mouth to let out a scream, my flailing hand brushed against something hard and stiff; even in my terrified state, my inner slut recognized the peculiar feel of a hard-on. I quickly swallowed my scream and squinted into the dimness.

My assailant pulled out a tiny flashlight and briefly shone it on his face – it was Ekene! My earlier terror was now replaced with indignation. I angrily demanded an explanation as to why he had so thoroughly frightened me. He apologized and explained that he’d simply wanted a bit of time alone with me before my birthday, that he honestly hadn’t meant to scare me and that he had a gift for me.

“Ok, let’s see what this gift is,” I said.

The words had hardly left my mouth before Ekene’s lips descended on mine and crushed them in a deep passionate kiss. I instantly went weak at the knees and he had to tighten his grip on me or I would probably have dropped to the floor. I yielded to his strong passionate kiss and soon became oblivious to my surroundings or to the fact that we were in a potentially dangerous spot under the stairwell; we were risking being discovered. We were at it for several moments; I can’t say exactly how long.

But all I can remember is suddenly being aware of a voice calling out loudly, “Who be that? Wetin una dey do?”

I was instantly yanked down from the ecstatic heights to which I had just a few moments ago been lifted. It was a woman, and she was still screaming: “Jeyzuz! Who una be? Make una come out make I see una face! Kai! People don spoil for this world o!”

Trembling like a leaf being buffeted by cold harmattan winds, I hid behind Ekene. Ekene boldly stood his ground, and we waited in the shadows of the stairwell bottom, watching as the interloper’s torchlight cut through the dimness.

Suddenly, the woman shrieked and jumped in terror and, in the process, dropped her flashlight. A huge rat had apparently scampered over her feet, frightening her. While she attempted to retrieve her light, which had rolled away, Ekene and I quickly fled from our hideaway, and vanished up the back stairs to our apartment. I delivered my brother’s purchase to him and silently slinked into the bedroom where I dropped in bed and proceeded to give thanks to God for sending that huge rat to my rescue. I also chided myself for caving in so easily to Ekene’s charms; I hated to look cheap and easily available.

I resolved to avoid Ekene as much as possible. His advance on me had very nearly landed us in trouble, and I took that as a sign to stay away from him. He was a gorgeous piece of human being – the kind that spelled trouble. He noticed my avoidance of him, and tried to find out what the problem was, but each time he attempted to strike up a conversation, I would simply walk away with a blank expression on my face. The icy silence between us was soon obvious to my brother who one day asked me if I had any sort of problem with Ekene. I answered in the negative. He further asked if I knew what the matter with Ekene was, I also answered in the negative.

However, the day after that incident under the staircase, the landlady called an impromptu meeting with all the occupants of the building. I was in attendance. The moment she began on the issue of the meeting, it became obvious to me that she was the woman who had interrupted my kiss with Ekene. The woman fumed about how, the previous night, she’d caught two persons making love underneath the stairs, and how they ran away before she could apprehend them. She ended the meeting with a stern warning about such illicit activities in her compound, and threats to the “culprits” if they continued their activities. I smiled sweetly through her blathering monotone until the meeting ended.

One night, I’d just retired to my room from the living room where I was watching TV. I got in to find Ekene in there. I was startled, and hissed at him to leave at once. But he wouldn’t budge. Instead, he launched into a fervent plea for us to be together, telling me how much he wanted me. I was touched by his determination, and moved by what sincerity I could read from his countenance. He wanted us to be together?! Gawd, how I wanted that too!

But when I opened my mouth to speak, it was to confess that I liked him too, but could not date him because he was my brother’s friend. I really didn’t want to have any issues with my brother. I repeated my request for him to leave my room, and with that, he got up with an extremely sad expression on his face and left.

On the day before I was to head back home to Benin, I went to the movies and when I got back later that evening, I decided to help my sister with making dinner. Soon thereafter, dinner was served, and we all settled to enjoy the meal.

Midway through the meal, Ekene suddenly stood up and blurted out, “I have something to say. I am gay and crazy about Andre. I’m sorry I had to bring it up this way, but I can’t bear it anymore.”

I almost choked on my food as the entire room went silent for several seconds. It seemed like an eternity as my siblings stared from Ekene to me, their faces seesawing this way and that while they struggled with their reactions to Ekene’s words. And throughout the silence, I shook like a leaf as I silently awaited my brother’s anger and derision.

And then, to my utter surprise, he simply laughed and said, “Ekene, I’ve known about your sexuality for a very long time as well as that of my brother. As long as both of you are happy, that’s all that matters to me.” And he went back to his meal. My sister said nothing as she resumed eating.

But I’d had enough. I’d lost my appetite, and too many emotions were warring inside me to let me continue sitting at the dining table. So I got up and bolted off to my room. Ekene followed closely behind me, apologizing and trying to soothe me.

“Get out of my room, now!” I screamed in a mixture of blind rage and panic.

“Andre, look –”

“Just leave, please…” I pleaded.

He sighed, and then he left. I fell into my bed, and battled with the urge to cry and the need to simply laugh. Anger, mortification, delight, affection – the gamut of emotions roiled about inside me, churning my insides and causing me to toss about on the bed, until finally, I fell into a restless slumber.

***

“Who be that? Wetin una dey do?”

The landlady’s sharp call broke through the bliss of Ekene’s kiss, and the rapture of his lips on mine. We sprang apart, and turned to stare with horror at the torchlight cutting through the dimness of the stairwell.

“Jeyzuz! Who una be? Make una come out make I see una face! Kai! People don spoil for this world o!” she screeched again.

I trembled as I ducked behind Ekene’s stalwart figure.

And then there was the scratch of rodent feet on the floor, across the woman’s legs. She screamed, and her light fell from her hands, giving Ekene and I the reprieve we needed to escape from her discovery.

Ekene left the house on a trip away from Port Harcourt two days later.

We never kissed again. He never declared any intentions to be with me. And we never got to see each other again until I ended my stay in Port Harcourt and returned home to Benin.

And this all became my story of something that never was… Of something that might have been… Of something that got chucked into the unknown abyss of the Fates.

Written by Iluvmua

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