FIRST LOVE

FIRST LOVE

I met Matthew through Grindr when I was in my second year in the university and him in his final year.

I had just come out of a relationship, my first – not that it could actually pass for a relationship, since he was the only one of us who seemed invested in it. I’d actually told him from the start that I didn’t believe in love and I didn’t see myself having a boyfriend. He insisted on us giving it a try, and when after four months of self-deceit, four months when I couldn’t use the L-word on him without being prompted to, I had to put an end to the farce.

Thereafter, a friend of mine created a profile on Grindr for me and initiated chats for me on there. I didn’t complain. And soon, I was the one carrying on with the chats. As I navigated through the world of horny guys looking to get laid, one profile stood out for me. It didn’t bear the regular basic markers other profiles had – like overtly sexual profile names such as ‘Manly Bottom’ or ‘Sexy Ass’. The profile information was constructed with an intelligence and witticism that I found rare on the dating app. And I was drawn to it. Before I knew it, I was sliding into the Inbox to say Hi.

Matthew and I soon got talking, moving from Grindr to WhatsApp. We shared similar stances on many subjects and always seemed to have one thing or the other to talk about, without it being all about sex. When after a couple of days, I asked if we could meet, he readily agreed. He was a student of my school, though an hour away in the annex campus. The day I was to meet him, I felt quite weird. I had been on a few dates before, but never with someone I’d grown to be really into. Knowing I was about to finally meet a guy whose virtual connection with me had me liking him way more than I should had me feeling very self-conscious.

We met in the school’s orchard, and although I’m not a talker, I’m not shy either – but during that first meet, I was internally mortified to find myself stuttering in my responses to the conversation with Matthew. I was smitten by him in person, and in an effort to ensure I make a striking impression on him, much to my horror, I was flubbing it all up.

We talked for about three hours before I told him I had to leave for my campus as it was getting dark. It was twilight already, but even the gloom of the atmosphere couldn’t hide his obvious disappointment over the end of our date. A disappointment I shared as well. I’d finally been able to simply let go of my nerves and focus on enjoying his company, and we’d been having a really good time. our humour bounced back and forth, our shared opinions resonated, and I was thoroughly pleased to find someone I could bare my mind to without wondering if he’d be able to match me – because he could. If I believed in soul mates, at that time, I would’ve agreed that I’d finally found the one for me.

As we walked out of the garden, a silence settled between us. In my head, I was wondering what I should do. What was the next step here? It was dark enough, so… Do I kiss him? What words should I use to arrange for a new date? What do I say to him? I was back to feeling self-conscious. And as I battled my indecision, I felt someone grasp the back of my neck. And Matthew was pulling my head down to his and planting a warm kiss on my lips. With my body shuddering and my insides feeling ripped apart, I opened my mouth to meet his and right there, surrounded by the sounds of nature, we were locked in a passionate kiss.

All through the short journey back to my hostel, I could not stop the rush of happiness that kept surging through me. It was impossible to stop smiling as thoughts of the day I’d spent with Matthew kept coursing through my mind. My roommates could of course see that I was unusually high with good spirits, and wanted to know what was going on with me. But I was not about to share. Never mind that “I met a boy and I liked him” was not something you casually said to a roomful of guys; I was still too busy relishing my date with Matthew to share details of it with anyone, even if I could. I didn’t know it at first, but that was when I started falling in love with him, and it felt perfectly okay. I went to bed thinking about him and the first thing I did the next morning was to call him and ask him if he could be my boyfriend. He said yes.

Matthew and I became very close. We made sure we saw each other every weekend, either at his place or mine. We did the work, ensuring to know as much as we could about each other – favourite colours, favourite meals, best friends, favourite artistes, even the lecturers we liked the most. And he was the most giving person I’d ever met. One time, I had to sit for a scholarship exam that included Mathematics, a subject I’d never really excelled at. Matthew bought the Past Questions and dedicatedly tutored me. He’d give me exercises both time and knowledge-wise, correct my mistakes and give me survival hints. I went on to pass the exam and secure the scholarship. I felt very indebted to him. And I loved him the more for it.

On another occasion, I was invited to a dinner. Two days to the event, I gave the only suit I had on campus to a friend who offered laundry services, only for him to return the outfit looking horribly washed-out all over. I was enraged. I simply couldn’t wear it. And I couldn’t find anyone to lend me their suit because of my particularly tall height. I was flailing for a solution to my situation when Matthew breezed in the day before the event with a brand-new, navy blue suit for me. I just couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t like he had really wealthy parents; this was simply another act of generosity that so absolutely defined him.

He was a First-Class student in his department and one of the most self-reliant, resourceful persons I’d ever had the pleasure to getting to know. Sometimes, whenever I came across conversations in queer groups where Bottoms are getting lampooned for being demanding, lazy and overly dependent on the Tops they were dating, I knew for a fact that this didn’t generally define the Gay Bottom community, because I was dating someone who was none of those things. Matthew was the perfect boyfriend to me and sometimes, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to show my love for him.

In Matthew, I thought I had finally met someone I would be with for a long time. But then, not every good story has a happy ending.

Matthew was a lot of good things – but he had his issues too. He was struggling with a bad case of self-loathing and internalized homophobia. On some Sundays, he would call me after church service to tell me how he was feeling bad after listening to the pastor’s homily. Other times, he would ask how I thought we would ever have a future together, in that tone of someone who was struggling to accept the reality of being with a man. And during some other conversations, he would admit that despite having me, the love of his life, he did not have inner happiness. We fought his battles together, with me doing my best to calm his turmoil.

And then, the school session ended and soon after, he had to go for his NYSC. This was when things began to unravel between us.

He was posted to Lagos, and thereafter, Matthew and I began to drift apart with the rapidness with which we drew close to each other. The distance seemed to jar something loose in our relationship. Our calls to each other lessened from something we did every day to thrice a week, and then once a week. One time I was home to Lagos on a break, we were just an hour apart, and yet, we didn’t make any plans to see. At this time, I believe I was letting my pride get the better of me. I was miffed by the fact that he seemed to no longer have time for me, that and the fact that I was getting a lot of attention from guys around, and so, I reasoned that it was up to Matthew to come around himself and call me if he really cared about us. Also, his persistent bouts of internalised homophobia was starting to irritate me and I was questioning why he couldn’t get to self-acceptance already. I was getting less and less inclined to fight his insecurities with him, and soon, we stopped communicating.

After nine months of being together, we broke up without breaking up. We never actually put it in words to each other that we were over. We simply stopped trying. I do not know why he stopped trying, but for me, I felt like I couldn’t carry on with someone who didn’t feel secure with himself and his sexuality.

I thought I would get over him in no time. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I struggled with moving on.

I’d always catch myself thinking about our moments together. Watching the videos we made together. Reading and rereading our WhatsApp chats and text messages. I would start dialing his number, intending to call him, and then end the call before it would ring.

It has been a year since we ended, and I still think about him more than I should. I’d gone from fulfilled to loveless, not being able to develop sustained feelings for anyone. I judge everyone who comes my way by the same bar Matthew set, and since he was so special, they have all failed miserably.

I don’t know why I’m talking about all this, why I’m recounting it. Perhaps it is because Matthew called me a few evenings ago, out of the blue, and we talked for an hour. An hour of quiet talk and emotional outpouring. We have decided to make time to meet. I don’t know if he’ll ask for us to get back together. I don’t know if I should let him know how he’s holding me back from finding love elsewhere, how I still love him. I don’t know if I can handle his insecurities, if he still has them or if he has learned to accept himself. I don’t know if he feels the same way I do about him.

I don’t know anything.

But one thing I do know is: I am still in love with my first love. First love rarely ever dies.

Written by T-Man

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16 Comments

  1. Black Dynasty
    February 27, 07:23 Reply

    Beautiful story…. but I suppose this is just further proof that pride and ego in a relationship are like thorns in a maize field. If you don’t humble yourself and communicate, they will quickly choke the roots of the relationship and it will wither real quick.

    I cannot overstate the importance of communication and humility in a relationship. Also, the courage to speak your mind.

    You still love him but pride won’t let you say it (i.e. you saying you don’t know, if he’ll ask for you guys to get back together). Hopefully you two discuss openly and truthfully, then find a way to move forward.

    See ehn, 2 way love is hard to find o…. don’t throw it away because of something trivial.

  2. Higwe
    February 27, 10:52 Reply

    “First love rarely ever dies ”

    Mmmh okay 😀🤣.

  3. Bussy
    February 27, 11:36 Reply

    Hmmmm sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get to experience this type of KD love updates, cos mine are always infatuation
    But if my first love is out thetelet him just know I’ll give him 9 daughters and a stubborn son 😁 as an appreciate for loving me

  4. Mitch
    February 27, 13:06 Reply

    First love rarely ever dies?

    😂😂😂😂
    Oh you poor sappy love twisted little thing.
    You’ll grow up eventually.

    • Bee
      February 27, 14:46 Reply

      You people should leave someone’s child alone.

  5. Rex
    February 27, 13:30 Reply

    I can imagine, reach out and go get your man so you won’t regret later.

  6. Maycakes
    February 27, 15:18 Reply

    First love … U can never forget them have been in dis shoe…. And I sincerely miss everything abt him….

  7. Akwaeke
    February 27, 20:11 Reply

    People like us still waiting to have first love. Sha let’s be watching.

  8. Delle
    February 27, 20:45 Reply

    Okay, first and foremost, FIRST LOVE CAN DIE. GET CREMATED AND HAVE ITS DUST SPRINKLED IN THE PACIFIC 😊.

    Again, maybe you should make conscious efforts to stop comparing new entrants in your life to Matthew. No one can be your Matthew. He is an individual of his own and has his own persona. No one should be put under such pressure, it’s unfair.

    If you keep that sentiment aside, you’ll find that everyone has at least, one endearing attribute.

    I still do not understand why we keep expecting people to be alike or measure up to a set standard when we can very well allow them set theirs. Like how?

    I rolled my eyes somewhat at the paragraph where you said the reason you didn’t try to reach out to him is because he wasn’t accepting of himself… I think it was more because you got distracted by the attention from other guys than the reason you gave 😊.

    That said, if you both eventually meet and nothing you expect comes out of it, do not push it. Get closure, sure. But do not push for a relationship with someone who isn’t mentally prepared. That’s a recipe for disaster.

    Be fine, T-Man.

    • Tman
      February 28, 04:23 Reply

      Thanks, Delle. But then, why do I feel I might have run across you somewhere?

      • Delle
        February 28, 08:41 Reply

        It’s a small world. A global village and a really tiny community. You just might have.

  9. Chrozi
    February 28, 02:28 Reply

    This story simply defines me right now. I’ve fought with myself countless times wether to send mine in or not. I still find it hard to move on from my first Love

  10. Eddie
    February 28, 10:36 Reply

    *eyes rolling*
    Humility and communication my tight bunghole!
    As if…..

  11. bamidele
    February 28, 11:34 Reply

    I see myself in Matthew, for even though a botttom and from poor family background, I am self-made. I have continued to lead my peers and invested so much in career, because I don’t believe that being bottom is sysnonymous with dependency. There is possibility of not financially stable; but it must not be a mentality, in my opinion.

    My advice to you, Mr T-Man is to try and meet Matthew (once) again and table the whole issue. Yes, you love him, but you need to communicate. To a great extend, Nigerian homophobic culture is capable of imparting psychological imbalance on gays. Like many of us, I nearly fell into that trap. But then I have to look inward and be who I wanna be; not who anyone wants me to be. Great story!

  12. Drogo
    March 01, 11:43 Reply

    You’ll be fine eventually!!! I know little or nothing about Love, so i won’t talk about that!

    But for self-acceptance, that is very important! He has to come to terms with his sexuality before you two can move on! Because if he doesn’t there are possibilities he will pull the same stunt in the future!
    Las las, you’ll be fine!

  13. Francis
    March 03, 14:23 Reply

    No be by force say una must love again. If the IH is still strong with him, let him be in peace BUT stay friends. You’ll always need friends and not just anyhow friends, the ones that have sense

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