I’d been dating Chidi for a few weeks some years ago. It was nothing too serious; we were just two available young men who were enjoying the sex and company of each other. We were however headed to a commitment.
That commitment never happened. It ground to a halt when I found out I was HIV positive (Read HERE). After I got over my reactions to the news, I told Chidi. He was the guy I’d been recently sleeping with; he deserved to know. To his credit, his immediate response to my news was concern for me. He wanted to know how I was doing, if I’d absolutely confirmed that I was poz, whether I’d be going on medication at once, all that jazz.
It wasn’t until he exhausted his concern that he realized he could be at risk. He didn’t show panic. We calmly talked about the situation, and he asked me to go with him to the clinic to check his status. I agreed. We went one morning, and after a few hours, his result came back negative. Mixed right in there with my relief at his good fortune was envy. For a fleeting moment, I was mad at the universe over the unfairness of my circumstance. In that moment, I wanted to know the answer to the question: “Why me and not him?”
In the following weeks that came and passed, Chidi tried to hide it. But even his good nature could not keep what was happening from showing. He began to withdraw; when we weren’t together, we didn’t talk as much as we used to; and when we were, he was very reluctant to touch me. Of course, our sex life slowly died, and he began to get too busy to talk intimate stuff with me on the phone. It began to look like he was working very diligently for us to fall into the friend zone. He no longer wanted to be my lover. He never said so; he didn’t have to. It was evident in the things he did… Or didn’t do.
I wasn’t very hurt by this. In fact, from the very moment I found out I was poz, I began to mentally prepare myself for the rejections that come with the territory. So even though Chidi profusely apologized every time he sunned me or couldn’t kiss me or was too busy on the phone to talk, I didn’t take it personal. I took it as my new way of life.
At some point, we eventually stopped seeing each other entirely. Our communication dropped to the odd phone call every now and then, and then that stopped too.
A lot of time passed, and then late last year, we reignited our interaction. He called to tell me he’d finally moved out of his parents’ home into his own house. He’d also gotten a new job, and from the tone of his voice, life was being good to him. And a contented man is a magnanimous man, it would seem. Before long, he was inviting me to his place. It was in Ajah, quite a ways from me in the Mainland. I agreed to visit him, but the thought of the distance was the only thing that kept making me procrastinate.
He didn’t relent though. He kept dropping reminders with each call, and eventually, I was guilted into going one Saturday to see him. His place was nice, his hospitality was top-notch, and he had WiFi, which he readily granted me access to. He’d always been a good host, even when he was at his parents’ house, and that didn’t change now he was on his own. He plied me with food and didn’t flinch when he saw me both updating my phone apps and downloading a movie on my laptop, which I’d brought along with me.
As the day waned, he didn’t even have to ask me to stay the night. It was already taken for granted that I would. We gisted, watched some shows on my laptop, strolled about his neighbourhood, returned home to a sumptuous dinner, and then retired to companionable silence as he tinkered on his laptop and I tinkered on mine.
As we prepared for bed, I found myself caught up in a mental place of uncertainty. I didn’t know what to expect and if I was ready for it. Would he want sex (even though he hadn’t given any indication all day that he wanted to get down with me)? And if he made a move, would I welcome it? Did I still find him sexually appealing? What did it mean that I was wondering about this? Should I not simply want him back? Had I gotten so deep in the friend zone that I no longer found him desirable?
I agonized over these things as I slipped into the bed next to him. Then I found myself chuckling at my foolishness when I heard him snoring. Here I was tormenting myself over what hadn’t (and may never) happen, and the oga was just here to sleep.
Morning ushered in a Sunday that was just as idyllic as Saturday. The constancy of the electricity there was something else that wowed me; and even when the light was taken, he was quick to turn on his generator. By the time I left his place that Sunday evening, I was very pleased and knew I’d be coming to see him a lot more.
He heartily encouraged my visitations, and before long, I was spending every weekend, and some working days even, at his place. His hospitality never wavered. I enthusiastically piled downloads upon downloads in my laptop, and he never once complained. He also never made any sexual advance on me.
Initially, I felt guilty about this; I felt like his hospitality was so overboard that I owed him, and that my payback had to be sex. It wasn’t like he was seeing anybody…that I knew of. So when he maintained a platonic friendship, at first I was worried. Then I realized: this was him being a friend, plain and simple. People get so caught up in the give-and-take dynamics of relationships in the society that it becomes inconceivable that there are those who are good without an agenda.
This was a heartwarming realization for me, and thereafter, I stopped bothering myself and settled in to enjoy Chidi.
It was because of this that I was caught so off-guard by what happened that night a few days ago.
It was Friday night. I’d come in around 4 (I now had a key to his apartment), warmed the previous night’s leftovers to eat and was watching a movie on my laptop when he came back. He seemed a little distracted, kind of antsy. I didn’t pry with any questions of what was wrong; I figured if he wanted to talk, he’d tell me.
His mood however lifted in no time, and he was back to his warm, attentive self. He prepared fresh dinner while I watched Kong: Skull Island, which I’d just downloaded that evening. When he was done, he came to join me in front of my laptop with a plate for me. We ate while we watched. Usually, he was the one who went to bed before me, but that night, I was really bushed, and the moment the credits began to roll, I went to bed, leaving him to check the movie folder for something else to watch. This was around 10pm.
When I woke up the next time, I thought it had to be around midnight. However the time was the last thing on my mind when I woke up. Something had woken me up. The something was Chidi’s hands on my buttocks.
I was lying down on my belly, and lay there, frozen with disbelief as I felt him grope my ass. He was breathing fast; I could clearly hear the hiss of his quickened respiration in the quiet of the room. I remained still, hoping this was a fluke, and if it wasn’t, that it’d stop very soon. That if I stayed really still and unresisting, that’d be discouragement enough to make it stop.
But Chidi, it seemed, wasn’t interested in my participation. From groping my ass, he began to tug at my boxers. He didn’t also seem concerned that I might wakeup, so insistent was his tugging at my boxers. The boxers gave, and I felt a rush of cool air on my exposed derriere.
This was when all those thoughts I plagued myself with weeks ago rushed back in. I lay there, immobile, thinking about whether I wanted this. Clearly, it was happening… But did I want it? I have a kind of libido that does not permit me to enjoy any act of intimacy that I don’t want. Once you don’t turn me on, then sex with you will be akin to a chore. And so, it was important to me, in those crucial moments when Chidi was now inserting his finger through my ass cheeks, to know whether I wanted this.
And then, another emotion that I hadn’t felt for Chidi in a long time exploded through my veins. It was anger. I just then realized that Chidi was in fact taking the prerogative of consent away from me. He was taking before asking to take. I was angered that I hadn’t even been accorded the option of a decision. He had taken that away from me, and was now taking some more.
My anger snapped me out of my frozen state, and I began to move, to resist. But he must’ve already know that I was awake, because he anticipated my move. He quickly rolled over on top of me, pinning me down with his bulk. I felt a rock-hard erection jab at my ass. I tried to move, resisting some more.
Then, in a harsh whisper, he said into my ear, “After everything…You have to let me have this.”
These words, more than his body and hands bearing down on me, kept me still again. I was pinned down by that feeling of guilt that came with the knowledge that I ‘owed’ him.
“But not like this, please…” I whispered back.
“Will you allow me if I stop?” he asked.
I couldn’t answer in the affirmative. I knew then that I really didn’t want this. “Please…” I began.
“That’s what I thought,” he snarled, and then shoved into me.
For several moments, as he heaved and thrust, I was so overcome with multiple emotions of shame, anger, betrayal and guilt, that I did not even think of the immediate stake at hand.
I was HIV positive, and this fucker was going at it unprotected.
So then, I hissed at him, “How can you even bear to force yourself on me like this? Or have you forgotten that I’m HIV positive?”
He froze. He just stopped thrusting and stayed frozen on top of me, as though the reminder of my health status had just dropped on him like a ton of bricks.
In that moment, I was incredulous: He had actually forgotten?! I mean, all through the time since we reconnected, we never once talked about my status. It just never came up. But still, it was hardly the kind of thing you forget about another human being.
Then suddenly, he jerked, recoiling away from my body as though he’d suddenly realized that I was leprous. He fled from the bed and rushed into the bathroom. He banged the door shut, and moments later, I heard water splashing about in there.
I chuckled without humour, as I lay there realizing that our revitalized friendship had once again come to an end. He didn’t speak to me the rest of the night and the next morning. I didn’t mind; I didn’t want to speak to him either. I took my bath, dressed up, packed my things, dropped his spare key, and left his house, this time knowing that I’d never come back.
Written by Dubem