FLOWERS ON HIS HEAD

FLOWERS ON HIS HEAD

The first time you heard the word ‘Grindr’ was on a series on the telly. One of the gay characters had used it to meet up with a boy, after which they began to make out before the scene faded to the two of them lying in bed together. You thought gay characters and scenes were getting too much on the television, as if they were trying to shove it in people’s faces.

The name ‘Grindr’ however stuck with you.

Sometimes you would tentatively call up the name from memory as if to check it was still there. And it always was.

One hot afternoon, you went into the Google Play Store and searched ‘Grindr’. The app showed up, a yellow mask with black eyes. Your finger hovered over the install button, but then you changed your mind, deciding to download the apk file from the internet so the app wouldn’t register on your list of installed apps on Google Store.

You opened the apk file and installed Grindr. Then you changed your phone’s password so that your nosey sister, who had figured out the previous one, wouldn’t have access to your phone. Over the next few days, you would open the app and look at the screen asking you to create an account, but just when you were on the verge of doing so, you would close the app.

It was a month after you installed it that you created a new Gmail account, and then created a user profile on the app. You left your profile blank, only giving your name as X, and you perused the other profiles displayed for you.

Some were straight to the point: “Looking to fuck”. A lot said: “No bitchy queens.” Only a few profile info seemed well-thought-out. They often either had pictures of their faces cropped out or showed just their bodies. You never messaged anyone and no one messaged you. You told yourself you were just looking.

It was a hot evening when your phone buzzed. You picked it up to see the notification of a message from the app. You opened it. The message said “Hi”.

You stared at it for a bit, and then closed the app. Bloody homosexuals.

Just like the time after you installed the app, you began to open it just to look at the “Hi”. The sender’s profile identified him as Fayette, and had the picture of a light-skinned face cropped just so that all was left was a slender nose and a mouth with lips that you felt looked too pink to be on a guy.

Then one day, when the button that showed whether the person was online was grey, indicating that he was offline, you sent a “Hello” back.

The grey button almost immediately turned green and a message came in. “How are you?”

“I’m fine, you?”

“I am okay. Where are you?”

“Lagos.”

“Mainland or Island?”

You considered the question, and lied. “Mainland.”

“Shucks, I’m on the island.”

You chuckled to yourself. Who the heck says shucks?

Fayette was typing again.

“Pics?” he said.

“Why?” you replied, after spending some time contemplating the question.

“NVM. What role are you?”

“Role?”

“Yeah, role.”

“What’s that?” you asked, ignoring the shyness you felt.

“Lol. The part you like to play in bed.”

“Oh. I’m not gay,” you said.

There came the crying-with-laughter emoji followed quickly by the response: “Then why are you on a gay hook-up app?”

“I’m just looking,” you typed, feeling stung by his question.

“Whatever you say, X.”

You closed the app, muttering to yourself. Bloody fag thinks I am gay. You couldn’t be gay. You fucked girls often. It was easy to get them too because they threw themselves at you. It helped that your face was easy on the eyes and that you went to the gym a lot. Gay guys don’t gym; they were too busy throwing tea parties and dressing in girly outfits to do that. Sure, you checked some of the guys out in the showers at the gym. But every guy did that, right?

Annoyed with the conflict you could feel brewing in your chest, you opened WhatsApp and asked a girl, Chika with the massive boobs and thick thighs, if she wanted to come over. She was at your place later in the evening, and while she sucked you off, images of Fayette’s lips crept unbidden into your mind.

The next morning, there was a message from Fayette. “So what exactly are you looking for?”

“Nothing.”

He responded in the afternoon. “Okay. Is there anything you like to do?”

“I gym a lot,” you typed after thinking for a bit.

“Awesome. Can I see?”

You were about to type “No”, when you thought: What the heck. You loved to show off your body whenever you could anyway. So, you picked one of your many gym selfies, cropped your head off and sent to him.

“Wow! Your body is awesome.”

As you were typing your “Thank you”, a picture came in. It was Fayette; you could tell from the too-pink-for-a-guy lips; but this time there was a light dusting of a beard around his chin. He looked handsome, you admitted to yourself.

“I like to paint,” was the message under the image.

“Painting is cool,” you typed. And then, as an afterthought, you lied. “I love art.”

“Really? Maybe I could show you some of my work in person sometime?”

The message made your heart begin to race and you were about to decline. But then you looked at his picture and found yourself typing, “Sure.”

“So, when?”

“I don’t know,” you said, trying not to seem eager.

“Tomorrow by 3?”

“Tomorrow’s cool,” you responded.

He gave you directions. He lived in an estate close to Chevron. He would pick you up in his car when you got to the Chevron Roundabout.

“It’s just to check out your paintings. No funny business,” you typed.

“I promise we won’t do anything you don’t want to do,” he replied.

The next day came with what felt like apprehension. As you showered, you began to wonder: What were you doing? Why had you decided to go meet a fag? You tried to answer the questions in your head. You were not homophobic; so of course you could be friends with a gay person. Besides you just wanted to check out his paintings. Maybe he could help you appreciate art.

What if he makes a move on you?

You felt a twinge of pleasant panic in your stomach at the thought. You would firmly tell him you weren’t interested. You were bigger than him from what you could see in the picture he sent. He even looked delicate. Keeping him in check wouldn’t be a problem.

You logged into Grindr and told him you were on your way. You lazed around the house till it was quarter to three, and then headed out to Chevron Roundabout. It was the weekend, so there was none of the annoying traffic. When you were a couple of bus stops away, you messaged him that you were close.

He was waiting for you at the roundabout, standing beside a blue Ceyena. He looked almost exactly like his picture, except his beard was no longer a light dusting. He was taller than you imagined he would be; a full head taller than you.

You approached him and he looked at you. “X?”

“Fayette,” you said.

He smiled. “Call me Seyi.”

He extended his hand and you shook it. You saw him hungrily take in your face in and you looked away.

“Shall we?” he said.

You both got into the car. You noticed a stethoscope slung across the rearview mirror.

“You didn’t say you were a doctor,” you said after a few minutes of silent driving and glancing at each other.

“Well, the topic was what I liked to do. I don’t like to doctor very much,” he said with a small chuckle.

The rest of the drive was in silence until you reached his house in the estate. It was a small bungalow with cracks on the paint. You both got out of the car and after fumbling with the keys and unlocking the door, you entered the house. The automated air freshener went Pfft!, as if in greeting when you stepped in.

His living room was small but tastefully furnished in what you imagined only a gay man would be able to accomplish. There were pictures on the wall, no paintings.

“Where are the paintings?” you asked.

“Ahn-ahn! You only just got here. Have a seat, let me offer you a drink,” Seyi said.

“Water will be fine,” you said.

“Okay, fit fam,” Seyi retorted, and you couldn’t help but chuckle.

He presented to you a cold bottle of water and after taking a sip, you asked if he lived alone.

“I have a, erm, flat mate,” he said with an expression you couldn’t read. “He travelled.”

“Okay.”

“The paintings are in the guest room,” he said after a few moments of silence. “They are plenty but I could go bring them out for you to check out in here.”

“No, no! It’s fine. We can check them in there,” you said, not wanting to seem uncomfortable with the idea of being alone in a room with him.

“Great! Shall we?” he said, standing up.

He led you down a dimly lit corridor, past a door that led into what looked like a study and into the guest room at the end of the corridor.

“Here we are.” With a bit of a flourish, Seyi flipped the switch and fluorescent light washed over the room. At the centre was an unmade bed with a paint-splattered towel on it. There were an array of paintings on the walls and some on the floor.

“Wow,” you said, impressed in spite of yourself. “That’s a lot.”

“I started painting seriously when I was in university as a way to de-stress. It was particularly helpful when I got depressed because I had to repeat a year.” He was guiding you to one of the walls and you were uncomfortably aware of his hand on your back.

You looked at what appeared to be a university gate with someone in front of it, arms outstretched.

“I took a picture in front of the school gate when I finally got admission in there,” Seyi was saying. “I was ecstatic. Kind of wish I took the hint the universe was giving me when I didn’t make it the first three times.” He chuckled. “That is supposed to be me,” he said, scratching the figure in orange clothing.

“Do you sell these?” you asked.

“I used to in school when I used to daydream about dropping out and becoming a renowned artist. But I would sell like only one in three months. And then I finished school and I was making so much money as a doctor.”

They were nice paintings and you didn’t think so because you didn’t know the first thing about art. They looked like things anyone would be happy to put up on their walls, even the one you were looking at right now that had a face torn in two clutching an emerald heart and crying too-blue tears.

“I did that when my first boyfriend broke up with me,” Seyi said from the bed he had now gone to sit on.

“You had a boyfriend?” you croaked.

“Yeah.”

“Were you the man or the woman?”

“Wow, smooth one, X.”

You heard the sarcasm in his voice slice like a saw and turned to see him sneering at you.

“What? Did I say something wrong?” you said with a frown.

“There are no men or women in gay relationships. There are just men or just women.” His words were coloured by a condescending tone you didn’t like.

“Of course there is a man and a woman,” you snapped. “That is the way things are meant to be. That’s the natural way it is meant to be.”

He opened his mouth to say something but seemed to think better of it and just waved at you to continue looking.

Feeling satisfied that you won the argument in proving your point about the unnaturalness of gay relationships, you picked up a framed portrait of a bust that wanted to look like Tupac, except the man had flowers on his head instead of the usual bandanna. You edged backwards till you were sitting on the bed beside him.

“You spoilt the picture,” you said.

“How? The flowers?”

You nodded. “Guys shouldn’t be wearing flowers on their head. Even that Snapchat flower filter – that’s for women or fa–” You stopped yourself.

“Fags?” Seyi supplied.

You didn’t say anything. You just stood up and returned the painting and looked at the others.

“Masculinity so fragile,” he said with a chuckle.

“What does this one mean?” you asked, pointing to a tangle of lines and colour that was both chaotic and pleasing to look at.

“Nothing. I was bored and decided to play around,” Seyi said. “But if a serious buyer were to ask, I’d say it represented the inner turmoil I was feeling and was looking for an escape from.”

“I would know you’re lying,” you said.

“How?”

“This one” – you pointed at the breakup picture – “is different from this one.”

“How is that so?” he said, coming to stand beside you. You tensed.

“It just is.” You moved to the next wall, acutely aware of his gaze on your back. You began to wonder if coming here at all was a mistake.

“I will be back soon,” he said then. And you heard him leave the room.

You were done looking at all the paintings when he returned. You had picked up the Tupac painting and were looking at it while seated on the bed. Through the windows, you could see the evening turning to night.

He sat beside you and you said, “I actually like this one.”

“I thought you said it’s faggy?”

“It is,” you said.

“Well, you can have it.”

“Oh no, you don’t have to do that.”

“Don’t worry about that. I have too many, that’s what my flat mate says.” He put his hand on your shoulder. He didn’t take it away and you didn’t flinch from it.

You turned to look at him and he was looking at you. He brought his face closer to yours, and although you felt like you wanted to move away, you didn’t. And when his lips touched yours, you knew that you really didn’t want to. You let him kiss you a bit before your mouth melded into his and you kissed him back. Then you stopped and so did he.

“I am not gay,” you said into his mouth. You felt the corners of his lips twitch before he pulled away.

“Okay,” he said.

There was silence that was oddly not awkward. You wanted to draw him back to you, but you were not gay. So instead you said, “I should head home now. The mainland is far.”

Seyi nodded and stood up. “I will drive you to the roundabout.”

“No need. I saw bikes at the estate gate.”

“I insist.”

“No need,” you said with more force than you intended. It made Seyi silent.

He walked you to the gate of his compound. You told him there was no need for him to see you off to the gate either. He was holding the Tupac painting and he tried to hand it to you.

“Please,” he said.

You looked at his face and found yourself saying okay.

So you walked in the dimming evening light to the estate gate with a painting of Tupac with flowers on his head in one hand, and your phone on the other, deleting Grindr.

Written by IBK

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46 Comments

  1. SINNEX
    June 05, 12:35 Reply

    Lol!

    The doctor is a smooth operator. I am sure he has heard such before. The only issue is that it is difficult to date someone like ‘X’, if it is a one night stand it will be okay. I know someone like that, who after sending you nudes will insist that he is straight and just doing it for fun. Wetin concern me, just keep the nudes coming and give me what I want then we are good to go.

    If you have the time you can educate such a person….

    • Mandy
      June 05, 12:37 Reply

      By ‘giving you what you want’, you mean you two were hooking up too?

  2. Mandy
    June 05, 12:36 Reply

    As I read, I kept being tense cos I was expecting a violent ending where the IH guy would beat the shit out of Seyi. I mean, he IS after all a gym rat.
    Then I got to a good ending. Phew! And to think IBK wrote this. The IBK of that other violent series… Thanks for suppressing your basic instincts, dude. 😀😀

    • IBK
      June 05, 12:41 Reply

      😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

      There was an alternate ending but I’ve been taking my medication lately if ya know what I mean 😉

      • naijatgal
        June 07, 17:15 Reply

        You were Spot on with this story, capturing the internalised homophobia of an obviously bi-curious young man.

  3. Foxydevil
    June 05, 14:46 Reply

    The kinky part in my head wanted the story to end with them consummating their lust but the rational part of my head wanted the story to end realistically and that was what it did.
    Very brilliant write up, believable and absolutely realistic.
    Your attention to details and transitions were top notch.
    I love the second person pronoun usage, I’ve only read one story with that narration technique and that was chimamanda Adichie’s ” the thing around my neck ”
    Overall I rate the story 4/5 .
    The minus 1 was because the narrator was so poorly presented .I found myself still not knowing much about him while I knew pretty much everything about the doctor, you laid too much emphasis on the doctor and it took away so much from your lead character.
    You might need to work on that next time.
    Overall, a brilliant writer with lots of potentials.

    • IBK
      June 05, 16:00 Reply

      Thanks Foxy.
      X in my head is someone laid back who doesn’t open up much. I thought it would fit well with his obsession with masculinity the way he and his thoughts are quiet and brooding.
      If this was a series perhaps we would slowly learn the intricacies of his mind but alas it is not.

      Thanks once again.

      • Foxydevil
        June 05, 16:52 Reply

        Five stories have stood out for me since I started going through this page.
        “I remember ”
        “pampers ”
        “Apollo” (unfair comparison)
        The one his boy friend abused him, he was effeminate (can’t recall the name)
        “flowers on his head ”
        I don’t know if I can get the chance to connect with any of you, I would really love your input on the script I’m currently working on.
        And it won’t be for free, you will be paid .
        The level of talent here is inexplicable.
        And don’t start getting ideas ,I don’t mix business with pleasure 😁😁😁😁😁😁
        Please connect with me IBk, let’s talk.

        • ambivalentone
          June 05, 18:12 Reply

          Can I puke and roll my eyes now? It is very clear that contrary to your claims, u do mix business with pleasure. Please be decisive in ur vocal opinions or better yet, be less vocal lest u sound confused.

          • Foxydevil
            June 05, 18:27 Reply

            Your opinion is irrelevant.
            I don’t care about it and certainly no one else does. And I wasn’t even talking to you, yet here you are displaying your stupidity.

            • ambivalentone
              June 05, 20:33 Reply

              It was less an opinion more of a candid advice. I already see James’ job cut out for him if he does decide to take u up on ur offer. I can already imagine the rubbish you av scripted as the best work your brain can ever come up with. Pity.

              • Foxydevil
                June 05, 21:12 Reply

                You are merely seeing your reflection in the mirror my friend. Dirt thinks everything dirty, a trash thinks everything is trash.
                Keep your stupid advice to yourself, when I need an advice I go to people that have their lives together, not a miserable being looking to pass his frustrations to others. 😁😁😁

                • ambivalentone
                  June 05, 22:10 Reply

                  Perhaps all you say about me is true, but I don’t think anyone else has attained that record of bitching about what should/shouldn’t be in the total time u av existed on here. Now who is THE miserable, trash-for-brains, frustrated being? I strongly advice (again) you look into that mirror you are desperately tryna force on me.

                  • foxydevil
                    June 05, 22:28 Reply

                    oh sweet pie! are you upset someone is trying to take your position as the resident bitch? that must hurt, since you have no semblance of a life, kitodiaries becomes your outlet where you get to be everything no one can permit you to be in real life.
                    I can smell someone with an inferiority complex from a mile off, you are so insecure and disillusioned.
                    But sweet cheeks, I ain’t in your league or class, not here not in the real world. There is basically nothing about you or what you represent that interests me and the fact I wasted all this time on an irrelevant entity like yourself makes me angry with myself.
                    I’m sure you are jobless and you would be willing to drag this “whatever it is ” all day. But I am a busy person and I might not be able to keep up with your enthusiasm to be a brat ,so I will live it here. I portion out time for fools daily, you’ve already exhausted yours and you are now eating into the time I usually dedicate to important things. My only regret is that your negativity might have slimmed down the chances of me landing the person I was actually interested in.
                    Take your advice, get busy with yourself,mind the business that pays you and stop behaving like a drag queen that lost his footings. Gosh!

                    • ambivalentone
                      June 05, 22:57

                      Resident, yes. Bitch, not really. But one thing I would clearly not stand for is some non-entity to come destroy the Shangri-la KD has created for me with their discontent. Have I said I reside here? I do. When it is my turn on ur seemingly busy schedule, wa tun ba mi nibi. It is very ironic tho. How persons who claim to be very busy usually aren’t and how noise making has since inception been the hallmark of emptiness. At least u got one thing right. You are leagues ahead in stupidity. Abeg carry ur huffing and puffing and blow away. Nobody is dragging stupidity with u.

                    • foxydevil
                      June 06, 00:05

                      KD created nothing for you, except give you a platform to make a fool of yourself.
                      You are just as worthless as you were when you walked in here, you were nothing then and you are nothing now. Just a suicidal, disgruntled hack with inferiority complex and an ego so fragile even a broom stick will burst it open.
                      funny you say I’m leagues ahead of you in stupidity, that means you actually agree you are stupid (which you are) only I am ahead.
                      well let’s see, I gave my observation about a story which the very talented writer appreciated and even thanked me for it ,you replied me out of nowhere like the jobless, useless, hopeless person you are…. and I’m supposed to be the stupid one?
                      I don’t even know you!
                      in all the months I’ve scanned kitodiaries, I don’t even know something like you exists. You are very useless here, all you do is jump from one story to another leaving stupid pointless comments that no one actually cares about. You need to get a hobby since a job is too much for you. Kitodiaries gave you nothing except make an insignificant thing like you think for one little moment you’ve finally found a use in your pathetic existence but I’m here to remind you, you are
                      nothing and will always be nothing. Even in an anonymous forum like this, you can’t even manage to stand out. Truly pathetic. Some people are just born with loser engraved in their skull. Do me a favour, please don’t kill yourself. hahahahahaha hahahahahaha hahahahahaha

                    • ambivalentone
                      June 06, 00:40

                      Is this what u av packed in ur scripts? Laughable really “…you were nothing…useless, hopeless…” Na wah! No originality. Where u bin thief dem frm? Z-rate telenovellas? dem Indian series? Biko, I am comfy in my niche here. Better that than be forming critic when u can’t offer half as much as what’s already on ground.
                      I’d really love to lose sleep over ur matter, but its a new day and I can’t. Meanwhile, aren’t u supposed to be busy (or not)? You will need to keep at it if these…excerpts are all u can churn out after expending so much energy.

                • omiete
                  June 05, 22:45 Reply

                  wow wow wow Ambi really doesnt like Foxy…

                  • Jo
                    June 06, 00:35 Reply

                    I swear. shit hit the ceiling really fast.

  4. UC TheMisfit
    June 05, 15:02 Reply

    👏👏👏👏👏👏👏.

    I should learn how to write in the second person. This was too good!
    Kudos to everyone struggling to find themselves. I hope you find peace.

  5. Bryce
    June 05, 15:34 Reply

    This better have a sequel of, IBK
    Nice story

  6. Quinn
    June 05, 17:37 Reply

    Absolutely beautiful story! it’d make a great book too!

  7. ambivalentone
    June 05, 18:22 Reply

    I was pretty surprised he didn’t go all “I’m a crazy homophobe, meet ur doom bloody faggot” at the invitation to the guest room. Frankly, doctor dude has a lot of guts and patience. I’m pretty sure my ‘comman be going’ will not be too long in coming after his declaration of straightness. The fear of kito is real abi? Francis???

    • Pink Panther
      June 05, 18:38 Reply

      I swear! @ambi. I cannot comman be having you, a commando no less, under my roof when you keep sàying you’re not gay when there’s evidence to the contrary. I will quick-quick find a way to get you out faster than it takes a Kardashian to be done with a black man.

  8. Chizzie
    June 05, 20:57 Reply

    Maybe you should consider focusing more on fiction, thats assuming this is fiction. As opposed to “journaling,” cause this was really good.

  9. rx
    June 05, 22:29 Reply

    IBK dear, I love this

  10. omiete
    June 05, 22:49 Reply

    Totally love this story esp the ending, was tense all through thinking X would get beaten. IBK you are amazing!!!!!

      • omiete
        June 06, 03:10 Reply

        Ah yes oh, hes new to grindr, he met a total stranger at a junction, followed to his house, was offered a drink and taken into a guest room… spooky spooky

  11. Delle
    June 06, 08:44 Reply

    Why don’t I like the way this ended? Sorry, but I am the cliche Nigerian that always wants a happy ending.

    That said, this is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read in a long time. There’s something very genuine about using the second person pronoun in writing and it accentuated the beauty of this write-up.
    However, there’s a line that didn’t really go down well with me: “Why had you decided to go meet a fag? You tried to answer the questions in your head. You were not homophobic; so of course you could be friends with a gay person.”

    You can’t call a gay man fag and still claim not to have elements of Homophobia.

    Oh and IBK, I saw you all over.

    • IBK
      June 06, 11:50 Reply

      If I have noticed one thing about people with homophobia it’s that they often don’t like being called homophobic.. Same thing with racists and misogynists. So Yh, in X’s head having friends excludes him from homophobia. Perhaps you’re uncomfy with the word fag.

      • Delle
        June 06, 16:41 Reply

        Oh but then who is comfortable with the fag word?

  12. dickson clement
    June 06, 11:42 Reply

    Beautifully written, I love the narrative style, well the best story for me will still be the one about a woman that dragged all her children away with her nagging and was all alone on Xmas till they decided to visit. I want to read that story again, it made me cry.

    For this story,it could be fictional yet it depicts the classical struggles of bisexuals with homophobic ego

  13. Oludayo
    June 06, 20:24 Reply

    Great read. This story seems so detailed to be fictional-but then what do I know?

    Kudos IBK

  14. Tobe
    June 06, 23:19 Reply

    Okay, I enjoyed this. Absolutely brilliant, IBK.

  15. Homer
    June 07, 08:21 Reply

    Lovely read, IBK. You really played with this story. Love it.

  16. Z
    June 07, 18:29 Reply

    Your writing has improved IBK

  17. Cleopatro
    June 07, 19:52 Reply

    I enjoyed reading this so much that my phone went off in the process and I was like wtf! not now.

  18. Pankar
    June 08, 08:52 Reply

    Good story and good review FoxyD

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