I've been an avid reader of this blog for quite some time now, although I’ve never commented, primarily because I'm not really a ‘community’ person. My main draw here is the kito stories. These stories reinforce in my mind the thought that gay people are really having it hard out here. When friends of mine talk about their kito experiences, I always keep silent, because in my mind, their stories make me contemplate my funny-yet-not-so-funny kito story.
I was 14 and in SS3, in a private secondary school in Port Harcourt. For the most part of my life, I've always known I am gay. I was a little effeminate. Okay, not little – a LOT effeminate. Oh, and I was really fat and really dark. In those days, I had no idea what a toner was. (lol)
So as you’ve probably guessed, I was constantly bullied and made fun of. My secondary school life was quite simply horrific and terrible; absolutely no fond memories there.
I had no friends, and I knew nothing about being gay. (This was like 2008, and there was no ‘Glee’ then) The closest thing I had then to a gay representation was Andrew Van De Kamp, the gay son on Desperate Housewives.
My secondary school was a day school. So my life was basically from the classroom back home. The driver always picked me up. I was sort of an overly-protected child. We were not rich, but my parents would go limbless rather than see their children not receive the best. And for this, I sought to pay them back by being one of the best students in school, always coming home with the best grades. As if my life in school wasn’t already miserable, my academic brilliance gave everyone another reason to hate me.
My family stayed in Borokiri then. And there was this guy (There’s always a guy). He was about twenty. My drive home usually took me past his house. And almost every time, I’d find him sitting outside and staring idly at the human and vehicular traffic passing by.
I found him attractive. And one day, I mined the courage to wave at him as the driver steered the car past him. He waved back. The response made me very excited. Our waving continued for weeks, and then one day, he made a gesture with his hands, signaling for me to come back to see him. I was a bit discouraged, because getting back to him would be a problem; my parents didn't let us go out because the neighbourhood was quite ghetto.
But the Fates must have wanted my meet with the guy to happen, because when I got home, I met only my elder cousin at home. I told her I wanted to run a little errand outside, to buy credit to call my mother with, that it was an emergency. She nodded her okay.
The trek back to the guy’s house was about twenty minutes long. I got there and he said hey. I couldn't even talk. He proceeded to ask me my name and details. Instinctually, perhaps driven by years of distrust in the humanity of people around me, I lied to him about my name. I told him my name was John. He told me his name was Ebi.
As he spoke to me, I couldn’t believe what was happening. This guy was so hot, like hotter than the Sahara, and there I was, a fat kid (real fat), and black and just anyhow and really just a mess. And he was talking to me. We had an irrelevant discussion. Then he took my number. And I went back home. When he called, I wanted to faint. It was the good old midnight call, and we chatted until 3am, mostly inane stuff.
Fast forward to six weeks later, on a sweet Saturday evening, I received a message from him: ‘Can you come to my house?’ My parents were not around, so of course, yes, I could certainly go to his house. I put on my slippers, a shirt, and my shorts – in that order. And I got stepping.
I got to his house. This was the first time I would be entering inside his house. In all the time we’d been getting acquainted, we always stood outside.
Inside his bedroom, we talked for about thirty minutes. And the next thing I knew, he leaned over and kissed me. I was instantly enraptured. My body was set ablaze by the touch of his lips. This was my first gay kiss – well, my first kiss really. And I was over the moon. He proceeded to tell me that he liked me very much, and that he wanted to have sex with me.
Okay, what is sex again? I thought to myself. Hmm sex. I was reluctant. My first sexual encounter was when I was seven, with a neighbourhood little girl. It was a ‘mummy and daddy’ game gone wrong, and it was a mess, and I was laughing all through.
Ebi began to pull off all my clothes, and soon, I was stark naked and very erect before him. Then he told me to give him a minute, that he was going to lock the parlour door. He left and closed the bedroom door behind him. I was too dazed with desire that I didn’t find it curious that he left the room with my clothes. Then I heard a click – of the bedroom door getting locked.
And through the door, his next words were: “Come, small gay, wetin be that your name again? Your own don finish today!”
My heart turned to stone as I stared in shock at the door. Subconsciously, I found myself being grateful that he hadn’t called me a fag though. Amazingly though, I didn’t freak out. I kept quiet and began looking around the room as he raged on. He paused to make a few calls to his cronies, telling them he had captured a “small gay” and that they should come over and that one of them should bring his camera phone.
As he was making his calls, I saw his clothes and calmly squeezed my fat frame into a shirt and shorts that marginally fit me. I was very calm. My heart was beating fast, but in the process was pumping a stream of icy water through my veins. I’d been bullied my whole life, for being fat, for being effeminate, and for being smart. But I wasn’t about to let myself be bullied for being gay. Never. I would not cry. I would not fret.
When Ebi noticed that everywhere was awfully quiet, he started shouting, “Come, small gay, you don die?” And then he unlocked the door and opened it.
That was my chance. Like a fat ballerina, I ran forward and slammed into him with all my weight the moment he opened the door. He fell to the ground, and before he could stand, I was in the parlour. But the wicked beast had locked the door and the metal burglary proof. He was laughing as he came after me, saying, “Where you dey run go?” I looked at the window; it was one of those sliding windows, and it was not open. Till today, I do not know what possessed me to do what I did. In a split second, I lifted myself clean off my feet and propelled my body toward the window. I crashed through, glass flying everywhere and fell on the ground on the other side. I was now outside, and without looking to see if I’d sustained any injuries, I ran for the gate, while he struggled to open the door. He couldn’t open the door fast enough, so he made for the window, yelling at his dog to get me.
Of course, the dog came galloping for me, barking furiously. I turned back and first saw his face at the window, and then the dog. And in that moment, I felt like I was staring at two devils. I didn’t run from the dog. Anger and hate were pounding through my veins too much for me to run. Instead I waited until the animal was close to me, and I let fly with my leg, giving it a savage kick upside the head. It promptly fell to the ground, and began writhing and whining in pain.
Then I fled from the house. Luckily, bikes were still a thing in Port Harcourt then. I hopped on the first one I saw and made my way home. It was when I was changing into my own clothes that I realised that my phone was not with me. I couldn’t remember if I’d had it with me and it fell when I took my giant leap through the window or if they’d been with my clothes that he seized. However, it was locked with a code and I was ready to let it go. The highest penalty for the loss would be my dad shouting and frowning at me for the next one week.
Then I looked into the mirror in my room. I stared at my fat nerdy self, and I said to myself: “No, no, no…” I wasn’t going to let that be. So I wrapped Ebi’s clothes in a bag. I came out of my house, hopped on another bike and went back to his house.
On getting there, I saw about five people, all guys in their late teens and early twenties, standing around before the house. There was no flinch to my body and no fear in my eyes as I walked up to him and handed him his clothes, and told him I wanted my phone back. At first, he stared me, surprised by my audacity. When he made as though to slap me, I told him he should try it, and he would go to jail that night. That was an empty threat, but my acting was splendid, and he couldn’t call my bluff. So instead of striking me, he began shouting, “Small fag, small fag…” and saying he would kill me and nothing would happen.
An elderly woman who was passing by stopped to ask what was going on. I dived in first with my story, about how I was merely walking past and these guys stopped me, harassed me and took my phone. Outraged, she began shouting at them, demanded for the phone, and handed it to me once Ebi relinquished it to her. In the next second, I was on yet another bike (thank God for bikes) and headed straight to my house.
That year, I graduated from secondary school and gained admission to the university to study Law. By the time I came home for my first vacation, we had moved out of that area. Six years later, now aged twenty-one, a barrister and solicitor of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hot, fierce and taking no bullshit from anyone, with a hot career and a hot boyfriend, I decided to drive down to Borokiri. To Ebi’s house.
I got there, and to my surprise, he was sitting outside, the same man who’d been twenty, sitting outside his house and watching idly as the traffic went by. He didn't even recognise me when I said hi. I stared at him and began wishing for a number of things. I wished I’d told him I was that fat, black boy who he’d tried to victimize. I wished he’d heard me out and then told me how sorry he was, and how he was just stupid and young, and that all he wanted was the phone and some money because he was broke. I wished I’d laughed and told him how my life was too successful and busy for me to dwell on the past.
I wished all these had happened as I got back into my car and drove away from him.
Written by Brit Labeija