MAKING HIM FRIEND

MAKING HIM FRIEND

He’d been my best friend right from my second year in the university; four years later he’s that one guy that knows me just too well. Let’s call him Murphy.

I got to know Murphy through my roommate who was his classmate. He was good looking and intelligent, a senior to me in the faculty of medicine. And we got properly acquainted in the weirdest way. Until that Friday night, we hadn’t really exchanged more than the glancing greeting before. Then that night, he’d apparently been using my roommate’s laptop and was on his way to give it back. He met me on the hallway of our lodge and tried to pass off the laptop to me to take back to my roommate. I don’t know if it was because I’d started to develop a crush on him and wanted to prolong this interaction or if I was genuinely irritated by his temerity to turn me into his errand boy; but I declined, refusing to take the laptop and telling him to take it back to my roommate himself. We had a bit of an argument, which ended with him dropping the laptop right there on the floor and daring me to leave it out there and not take it to my room. I didn’t even flinch; I left the laptop right there and went about my business. And the next morning, a next-door neighbour brought the laptop in to give it to my roommate.

This incident oddly made for the development of a friendship between us. And because he was ahead of me in the same faculty, I began to seek him out to help me with certain school stuff. He was an introvert who was very jealous of his space, and often resisted my efforts to forge a close friendship with him. But I was determined. I liked him and I persisted until he gave in and became friend.

We became so close that his room became mine; I was hanging out there with him so much, that lodge mates soon began to tease us about us being sexually involved. He had no girlfriend; neither, of course, did I – which fanned the flames of the teasing. Even my roommate, who is straight, wondered aloud at me once or twice about whether me and Murphy were dating. I had no idea if all the talk was serious or one big joke, but anytime a few people approached me to ask what was going on between me and Murphy, I’d dismiss their curiosity with the simple words that we were just friends.

On my own part, I had a crush on Murphy and wished we could be more than just friends. But I’d gotten to know that he wasn’t gay, and so, I kept my desires to myself and carried on being his friend.

And we talked about anything and everything. It was through our conversations that I got to learn that he was open-minded. We would have several discussions about the queer community and he would sound like he didn’t have a problem with the people. Other times, he would bring up topics regarding Denrele and Bobrisky, and talk about how he felt they were brave for living their lives so boldly and creating their own paths. His open-mindedness was heartwarming, but I held back from coming out to him, no matter how many times I wanted to. Sometimes, a person’s seeming lack of bias ends when it gets personal, and I wasn’t willing to test the strength of our friendship just yet.

Fast forward to the year 2017, and I was dating someone. Akeem. One evening, Murphy was at my place when Akeem dropped in. Shortly after his arrival, Murphy wanted to be on his way and I saw him off. That was his first time of meeting Akeem, and on our way out, he asked who he was, and I told him Akeem was just my friend. Just before I gave that answer, I flirted with blurting out the truth – that Akeem was my boyfriend. But I backed out because, just like before, I didn’t know if our friendship would survive this truth.

Akeem, on his own part, wasn’t too fond of Murphy and wasn’t cool with how close we were, as he often acted like he thought there was more going on between us. I’d been very frank with Akeem, when we started dating, about the nature of my friendship with Murphy. He never believed me. And when we broke up, he turned everything I told him into nasty lies against me. He would tell anyone who cared to listen that Murphy was closeted and me and him were fucking each other. For whatever reason, he also felt that Murphy was responsible for my upkeep, and went on telling friends how I was so involved with Murphy, that he was the one renting for me the place where I was living. All these were, of course, not true, but this is a story for another time. This story is about Murphy, not my bitter ex.

I was single in 2018 when I went to visit Murphy at his office. We were gisting when his colleague walked in and chatted with us awhile before leaving. When he left, I complimented his handsomeness and told Murphy I liked him. He gave me an odd look before asking jocularly if I was gay, this one I was complimenting a guy like that. I said yes. In the heartbeat before I responded, I decided to give the truth a chance, to release it and see what would happen.

But perhaps, because we were both in a jocular mood, he didn’t take my affirmation seriously. He simply waved my response away with a laugh. Feeling a little brave, I went on to tell him that I’d just broken up with my ex. He appeared startled that I had a romantic relationship he didn’t know about, and asked who she was. I quipped about how it mustn’t be a “she”. And he asked if it was a “he”. I said yes. And again, he laughed, apparently still of the thinking that I was jesting.

It was the oddest thing. Now that I had spoken the truth and didn’t seem to be believed, I wouldn’t let it go. Occasionally, whenever we talked about relationships, I would mention how the Akeem who I’d told him was my friend, was actually my boyfriend. And how he was the one I broke up with. And for some reason, Murphy refused to take me seriously. It appeared he thought I was playing a long-running joke on him. Or perhaps, he just wasn’t able to wrap his mind around the reality of his very close friend being gay.

Either way, he continued to disbelieve me, laughing off my claims that I was gay. For all the scenarios I’d envisioned would happen after coming out to him, having my truth treated like I was joking was not one of them. In his defense though, I always brought up the issue of me being gay whenever we were jesting with each other, so it was no wonder he didn’t take me seriously.

Now, I’m a very expressive person, especially with people who are very close to me. Even though Murphy acted like he didn’t like it and would often tell me to shut up, I always told him that I loved him and that I missed him whenever we were apart. I became jealous when he finally got a girlfriend, and he noticed, quick to assure me that his relationship wouldn’t affect our friendship.

But then, when I started dating Tunde in January and started spending a lot of time with him, Murphy reacted in a way that hinted to me that he didn’t like that I was getting closer to another guy than I was to him. He knew about Tunde, if he had any other thought about the nature of my relationship with Tunde other than he was my new best friend, he didn’t let on. On Valentine’s day, Murphy was the first person to call me. While we were on the phone, he asked if Tunde had called me. I said no. Then, with a laugh, he began to crow about how Tunde was not serious about me and how he could not possibly replace him in my life, and how he – Murphy – would always be there for me. When we disconnected from that call, I felt a swell of conflicting emotions rise inside me: from the love I knew I had for this man, to the resentment I harboured for the woman who now had a legitimate claim to his heart, to the doubt of whether I would find another man to love like him.

Then came the Friday, when we were hanging out at an eatery. And then, as if he’d suddenly remembered, he asked me about Akeem. I flashed a smile at him and reminded him that I’d told him before that we’d broken up. I thought he would react the way the script always had it penned. With a laugh about how I wasn’t serious.

But not this time. This time, Murphy pinned an unlaughing stare on me and said he was serious. He asked what I meant by we broke up. He asked if Akeem and I had been romantically involved.

I was startled. And I looked back at him, trying to understand why he suddenly wanted to know. For months, we’d joked about this. What made him serious now? I didn’t miss a beat though. It was time. I’d known him for years and I was finally ready for him to know me just the way I truly am.

And so, I told him yes. That Akeem and I had been romantically involved. Yes. That I was gay.

He looked taken aback. Which was surprising to me. All this time, I thought he just didn’t want to confront the truth behind my jests because he suspected deep down that I was being truthful. Because there were many reasons for him to suspect that truth: he’d teased me a few times about the effeminate guys he often met hanging with me. He once saw gay porn in my phone and acted like he didn’t see it, and we never talked about it. And finally, yes, we both didn’t have girlfriends for a very long time, but he eventually got himself a woman, and I just never had any. Never even showed any interest in getting with girls. I felt like all the clues were there to make him have an idea about my sexual orientation.

But from his reaction now, he appeared genuinely surprised that I was gay. He even got a little angry that I hadn’t told him in all the time we’d known each other. I wanted to point out that I’d been telling him for months now, but thought better of it.

But that day, we had a long conversation that for the first time felt open and honest and frank, the way our previous talks never seemed to be. He had all these questions about being gay, my sexual affairs, getting married and raising kids. And as I patiently enlightened him on what it was like to be me, I felt like I was making him friend all over again.

Written by Black Coffee

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18 Comments

  1. Higwe
    May 20, 06:09 Reply

    Beautiful refreshing piece .

    I was thinking it would go the usual route of you both suddenly getting intimate .

    Good to know that I’m not the only member of this community that never gets the hot straight guy 🤦🏽‍♂️.
    ****************
    I love the camaraderie you two share …..so comfortable ,yet not asphyxiating .

    You’re wonderful writer too .
    You give me that Chimamanda’s vibe …where readers feel they’re part of a story and not just merely – readers 😐….

    Good luck with your friendship…
    May it stand the test of time and strife .

  2. Net
    May 20, 07:18 Reply

    Oh I love this story alot as it reminds me of a similar path with a friend 😂 I kept telling her and she kept thinking I was joking, even when I introduced her to my gf at that time, she didn’t still believe, but eventually she did and we have one of the best friendships ever now

    • Pink Panther
      May 20, 09:21 Reply

      I don’t understand this though. Just as I don’t understand the Murphy in the story. Why are there friends who adamantly stay blind or unwilling to believe someone they love is gay, despite all evidence to the contrary? Especially when they have no deep issues against gay people.

      • Patrick
        May 20, 21:45 Reply

        I share your perplexity PP.
        I have a house-mate who, although very open-minded and averse to homophobia, has not the slightest inkling about me even when I’ve been dropping clues.
        To expect everyone to be straight is a kind of heterosexual-privilege.

  3. No
    May 20, 07:36 Reply

    I got caught up in the story. You write really well.

  4. Delle
    May 20, 14:53 Reply

    Why are these recent stories not ending the way I want them to? 😭

  5. DexStar
    May 20, 15:04 Reply

    Beautiful story. 😍😍😍 Had a few friends like Murphy way back, loved them unusually but too chicken to ever let them know…

  6. trystham
    May 20, 20:13 Reply

    I’ve been lucky. The first didn’t even ask questions. Just got drunk, accepted it and moved on.
    The second annoys me to the heavens with his continuous questions and then makes me laugh when he worries about what my folks will say for me. He has been preaching the gospel of asylum since😑

  7. sworld
    May 20, 22:29 Reply

    nice one👍👍.
    i once had some terrible, awkward, sweet memories with friends.
    your story left me with a big grin
    thank you for sharing this!
    cheers!

  8. Alfred
    May 21, 10:16 Reply

    This is the kind of man that would love you till death do you part… I wanna see where this story goes.

  9. Black Coffee
    May 22, 01:00 Reply

    Yeeeeey, thank you Pink Panther for putting this out here. You sure did a good job, I do appreciate.

  10. Black Coffee
    May 22, 01:05 Reply

    Ah, I won’t even think twice if I were to be romantically involved with Murphy. But hey, I’ll be wishing wildly because he’s not mine to keep.

    Just one friendship I cherish so much.

  11. Kristopheux
    May 23, 09:01 Reply

    I can really relate with the writer… Mine is just twisted because my best friend is effeminate but has a girlfriend(s) and his never seen me with a girl before and for some reason wants to pair me up with every other girl so people don’t raise an eye brow as regards our very straight strong bond that leaves probing questions.

  12. Bussy
    May 24, 03:38 Reply

    Awwwwn nice one,mr coffee .
    I had to read this twice then fixed myself in your place and went an extra mile to complete the story ( we both came out to ourselves and…errrrrm did it , and lived happily after after ,working as an awesome obstetrician and Murphy a general surgeon 😁 )cos this story definitely didn’t end as i expected.

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