Someone – a wise person, I can imagine – once said that only fools rush in where wise men tread. Maybe I was a fool; but I couldn’t help falling in love with Tomi. Anytime I think about how love came to me, I think about the day we made our vows. By the lake side. I said some things, promised him forever. He was quiet. Had tears in his eyes. He crafted a canoe out of a sheet of paper and put it in the lake. We both watched it bob and weave as it sailed away.
His point was made even before he said the words to me. “Till the end of time, I will love you. In spite of the tides and storms that may make our love struggle.”
As I hugged him after that, there was no room for us to think about how the paper boat would eventually absorb water and sink or disintegrate, and the symbolism of that. No. We did not think of that. We simply hugged, with me whispering in his ear, “I love you.” Just shy of kissing because we were in a public place.
Tomi was one of the best things to ever happen to me. He’s that kind of person who comes into your life and makes you believe in all the possibilities of being committed to a man despite all the odds. I felt peace with him. Comfort. Love.
It took us a while to get there, to make things happen between us. But it happened. in those early days, we could talk about anything. Family. Nature. Education. Our individual experiences, hopes and dreams. He was scarred; fell for a straight guy in a situation that led to him being outed to his family. For this, he had trust issues. Was scared of committing his heart.
But I was there. I was present. And I was patient. Eventually, he began to open up to me.
Then the Christmas season was around the corner and I was going to travel home to Lagos to spend it with my family. We decided to spend some uninterrupted quality time together. Two days of just us. We lodged into a hotel room and it was all love. Even though we didn’t have sex, it was still one of the best times I’d ever spent with someone I cared about. His kisses that first night, his tender touches, the way we held each other in bed. It was all magical.
I didn’t understand why he didn’t want to go all the way to actual sex, but it was okay. I won his heart; I was going to win his body too.
The next day, we went out together to some places, visiting places, enjoying the leisure of our company. When we had dinner at a friend’s restaurant and during the banter with my friend, Tomi jocularly asked for my friend’s number so he can report me to him anytime I fuck up. I told him a third party wasn’t necessary for our relationship; if anything happens, he should be able to talk to me about it. It was after all about just the two of us.
That night, back in our room, during our intimacy, when I reached out to make a move for sex, he suddenly switched off. Told me he was tired. I was both hurt and bewildered. What was going on? Did he not find me desirable? Was there something about him that he was trying to hide? Questions darted about in my head, but I tried to stave them off. If there was something wrong, I would wait for him to let me in.
We slept off, and I woke up in the middle of the night to his caresses. We made out heavily, touching and groping and kissing. My body ached for more, but I didn’t push it. This much was satisfying. We slid back into sleep after the heavy petting.
When I woke up next early in the morning, it was to see him wanking quietly in bed. This hurt. That he preferred the release of masturbation to the satisfaction of our mutual desire.
There was an awkwardness between us that morning. An evaporation of something. Throughout the breakfast he ordered to our room, there was a stiffness to our communication. Whether it was because our brief holiday had come to an end or because of what I caught him doing, I couldn’t tell.
By the time I was done putting my things together, I’d had it. I sat down before him, took his hands, and told him how sad I was by what happened earlier. I told him how much I’d promised myself to commit to making this relationship work. How I would own up to whatever it was I was doing to put a strain between us. Relationships aren’t easy, but there is nothing we cannot overcome if we just communicate.
He got teary-eyed as I talked. And said simply that he was sorry.
Thereafter, we checked out of the hotel room and proceeded to the mall. It was Sunday and I’d wanted to go to church, but he made me forego that when he asked that we still be together that entire day. And I was fine with it – until he left me by myself at the mall to go watch an Arsenal match. I was infuriated by this. Not because he had his own interests to indulge, but because he’d made me forego mine just for him not to make an equal sacrifice. We fought after that.
But we made up later that day.
We stayed in touch while I was away in Lagos, from phone calls to video chats and all. When I returned to Abuja, we carried on like two people in a relationship would. There was bliss. And then there was stress. We would be intimate, and it would end at foreplay and romance. No sex. I was baffled by this. We would fight too. He would complain about my indecisiveness when it comes to making decisions for us. And I would complain about his spendthrift ways and how he could have gotten the car he wanted if he learned to save more. Sex was also an issue; I used to bring it up, trying to get him to tell me what was going on and why we weren’t going all the way. But when I realised it was a thorny issue he persistently wouldn’t talk about, I let that go.
Things began to get really bad when he traveled to Ibadan on a three-week work thing. Our conversations dwindled and he began to miss my calls. No video chats and slow responses to WhatsApp messages. When I drew his attention to this, he said work was crazy. I tried to believe this. I tried not to think about the fact that an ex of his had relocated from Abuja to Ibadan.
When he returned, he buzzed me, wanting us to have dinner at our favorite restaurant. We met and as we ate, we talked about his trip. About work. And when I asked if he saw his “friend”, his countenance changed. His expression betrayed him. Feeling a sinking feeling inside me, I asked him to simply tell me the truth.
He said he was sorry. That the guy – his ex – had called to know if he had come to town, and then came over to his hotel room for them to hang out. A hangout that ended with them making out.
Even though I’d worried myself sick with this in the past three weeks, I was heartbroken. Heartbroken and clearly a glutton for punishment, as I began asking him questions. Questions whose answers could only wound me. Did they have sex? Was the other guy hung? Was he skillful? Who came first? Did he enjoy it? What did he like about reconnecting with him? Was it me? Was I not good enough? My mind was running through a riot of thoughts, trying to figure out what was wrong. Maybe I was too rigid. Not fun enough. Maybe there was something I wasn’t doing right.
He said sorry over and over. I thought about ending things there and then. But he seemed so contrite. So remorseful. And I loved him so. He was getting teary-eyed and things had gotten so emotional that I was relieved we were in my friend’s restaurant and there weren’t a lot of people eating there at this time.
We tried to settle back into our rhythm after that. It was great. Things were good. It appeared that Tomi’s indiscretion had impressed on us the importance of what we had. There were still some issues to address, like the sex. But I had a plan. He would soon be traveling on another work thing, and we decided to make the night before his departure a thing. We would spend the night together in a hotel room and I was determined to set the mood right. We got to the hotel, had dinner, and then went out to the cinema. We got back later that night and went to bed.
Our intimacy was going great, until I revealed my intent to have sex. And it was as though we were back to the previous times we’d tried and failed. He stiffened and his demeanour soured. He pulled away from me, slid off the bed and went to the couch, where he began tapping away on his phone. I felt a flare of anger. What was this? Was this what I would be dealing with for as long as we were together? This was so unfair!
Suffice it to say that the night I’d imagined us having turned out to be a disaster. It was looking like Tomi and I could have a great relationship, as long as sex was not an issue.
He later told me that he’d written an email to Pink Panther that night at the hotel, telling him about his frustration over a boyfriend who craved anal sex, for which he was not ready to give. Because he was a Side. Something he claimed he let me know from the start of the relationship.
He told me this the day the post hit Kito Diaries on the “Dear KD” column. I didn’t get to the post until much later in the evening, and I sat there, feeling devastated by what I was reading. Reading the gateway that my boyfriend had unfairly opened for people to judge us – judge me – unfairly. As I skipped from comment to judgmental comment, I felt like screaming at everyone that THIS BOYFRIEND HAD GONE TO IBADAN, CHEATED ON ME, ONLY TO COME CRYING TO KITO DIARIES THAT I WAS TRYING TO FORCE ANAL SEX ON HIM!
I went to bed in heavy dismay.
After that day, there was nowhere for us to go but downhill. We didn’t see but we talked sparingly to each other. My birthday came and we made no plans. Instead he sent me a message. The awkwardness and painful lack of things to say to each other when we finally met one time was all it took to let me know that we were well and truly done.
I certainly didn’t need the WhatsApp message he sent thereafter to illuminate things for me. His message read: Can we just be friends? I just want to be finally honest with you. I look back now and I realize that I always felt rushed into this. We hadn’t known each other for long, but you were enthusiastic and you wanted something serious. And I liked you and wanted to give it a shot to see what happens. But I have realised for a while now that I prefer to be friends and nothing more. You did nothing wrong. I just hope we can still be friends.
Whether we go on to be friends or not is up to the Fates. I have loved and lost. But I’m sure I will go on loving.
Even if this love felt as fleeting as an hour. I’m sure I will go on loving.
If that’s what it takes. I’m sure I will go on loving.
Written by Sworld