“Are you now sleeping with men?” Mother asked.
I spun around in shock, dropping the knife I was using to chop carrots. The question hit me so hard, that for a moment, I didn’t know what to say or how to act. Guilt found its nest in my chest.
Mother remained standing there at the entrance to the kitchen, her blank stare on me, seemingly unaffected by my apparent reaction to her question.
I came out to my family when I was fourteen. Before then, I had quite the struggle. I couldn’t understand my body, what I was feeling, or why I was feeling it. I withdrew into a thick shell, cut off my friends, stayed quiet at school, stayed locked up in my room at home. I was fighting the demons inside me, quietly and on my own. It was such a trial because I was very young. Eventually, I couldn’t bear it on my own any longer.
I decided to ask my mum for help.
Mother and I are very close. She is my hero. I am her sidekick. We bonded over a number of things. She taught me how to cook, how to draw, how to wash cars, how to climb trees and all. My friends called her “the cool mum”. I tell her everything and anything. She also confides in me and asks for my advice, any time there’s friction between her and my dad.
Telling her my problem was easy. I knew she would find a solution. She always found a solution.
On a Saturday evening, the weather was warm. Sounds of generators were blaring from different corners of the neighbourhood. I could hear my dad shouting at the gateman to put on the gen.
I walked into the kitchen. Mother immediately sensed my turmoil, I could tell.
“Baby, what’s wrong?” she asked quietly.
I swallowed hard, took in a deep breath, and upon expelling it, I began pouring my heart out to her. As I talked, tears trickled down my cheeks. I kept my stare mostly on the floor while speaking, and she occasionally had to nudge my chin upwards so I faced her and looked into her eyes.
Her eyes were already tearing up by the time I finished. I could see this in the gloom of the room.
Then she said my name. When I answered, she said, “So, nna, are you saying you’re a homosexual?”
I almost flinched from her direct question. Then I meekly answered, “Yes.”
Just then, the lights came on as our generator spurted to life in the background. I was watching her. I had started to feel a sharp burn in my chest. I realized that I’d possibly hurt her by my admission, by owning who I am to her. The last thing I’d ever want for my mother is for me to hurt her. Right then, I began to feel a heap of so much guilt that I began entertaining the idea of which way was quickest to take my life and end the misery I was sure I was causing my mum.
She called me again. This time, she smiled. It was a lovely smile, one that was filled with such love, it almost hurt to see. Then she walked to me and enveloped me in a hug. Her next words will forever shape my life.
“My son, my love, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. The world is wrong. I know you are gay. I’ve always known. That doesn’t stop me from loving you, you know?
“But you have to be careful. Not everyone will love you for who you are like I do. They may threaten you, but you are kind, so I doubt that would happen.
“Always stand tall, my darling. Tell me everything. Don’t let them bully you. Also don’t be promiscuous. Don’t run into trouble.
“When you fall in love, I hope I’ll be there with you every step of the way. And promise me one thing: that you’ll let me know about your movements.
“I love you so much, and nothing is going to change that.”
She hugged me again. As I sank into her warmth and relished her love, I could feel her tears dampening my head and sliding down the side of my face. I was relieved, unbelievably free from guilt. Somehow, I knew it would turn out this way. There was no other way. I never once realized the many other ways this could have gone wrong.
Enjoying this mother-son moment and feeling my sanity getting revived, I was absolutely thrown by her next words.
“Baby, oya let’s go tell you dad and siblings about this.” She said this so casually, like it was the natural next step, while dabbing at her face with a serviette.
Instantly freaking out, I protested, “No, please don’t, please!”
She gave me a stern look, one which seemed to say “what’s wrong with you” and “you must be mad” at the same time.
“What are you afraid of? They are family too,” she declared.
Pulling me by the hand in the most firm yet gentle way, I was taken to the sitting room, where the rest of the family was bustling with laughter – my siblings laughing away at the terrible jokes my father was telling.
When we came to stand before them, I felt myself getting petrified. Telling Mother about me was one thing. Telling the rest of the family was an entirely different kettle of fish. I looked at each of their faces, which wore varying degrees of attention and bewilderment as Mother began talking. I felt like a criminal being stripped naked. I looked up slightly to my right side, where Mother stood, and I saw her lips moving, pausing to smile.
She’d stopped talking. I hadn’t heard a thing she’d said. But I waited with bated breath for the storm. It wasn’t coming. There was no rush of outrage from the room.
But then, there was an outburst of laughter from everyone. They were all laughing. I hadn’t listened to what Mother told them, so I didn’t know what the joke was.
My elder brother came towards me and hugged me and then called me “fear fear”.
My dad grinned at me from his seat and said, “Oga, don’t bring men into my house o, until you are old enough to own your own.”
This was what he usually told my brother when it concerned his girlfriends. I felt a rush of tears as I considered how that indicated my father’s acceptance of me – my family’s acceptance of me.
I found peace after this. A burden on my shoulder was lifted. I carried on living with the enjoyment of the fact that nothing was ‘wrong’ with me. Mother’s words to me that evening would never stop ringing in my head.
Shortly after coming out to my family, I changed schools due to an unrelated issue. I made new friends in my new school, and in the long run, I’d become a ‘popular kid’. I never told anyone I was gay; my folks had warned me not to. I wasn’t stupid either.
I made a friend named Pelumi. We became close, very close, almost like brothers. Our families became super friendly with each other. Pelumi was the most heterosexual boy I’d ever known; he always went on and on about the girls he liked and how he wanted to “clinch” this girl or that girl. He knew I wasn’t interested in girls, and took it as me being ‘responsible’, a good boy.
I’d always liked Pelumi, but somehow, before I could keep myself in check, I fell in love with him. The more we hung out, the harder it became for me to restrain myself from pouring out my heart to him. Soon after this realization, I started making up excuses so we wouldn’t hang out. But he was persistent; he would never let me be.
When I couldn’t take it any longer, I confessed to him my romantic feelings for him. I told him I was gay. I actually did this because I was hoping to keep him away. I expected him to get furious at my revelation and swear not to see me again – you know, the usual reaction you’d expect from an average homophobic Nigerian.
But no, he didn’t react that way.
“So, do you have a vagina?” he asked with a small smile.
I was startled by his question, clearly not catching the joke. “No!” I burst out. “You’ve seen my penis before na! Why would you ask that?”
He laughed – a very dry and distinctive laugh – and said, “How I go take fuck you na?”
I stared in disbelief. This was not what I expected. These questions are ridiculous. I had seen gay porn before then, but his questions discombobulated me. I didn’t answer.
He made a fist and playfully punched my shoulders. With a smile, he said, “So, you are gay, it doesn’t really affect me. You are still my bro either way.”
Upon hearing that, mixed emotions churned through my heart. This was not what I expected. This had turned out great, right? But I still had feelings for him. I couldn’t help myself around him. The plan was to get rid of him. But no. He just had to still be here, undisturbed and accepting.
I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad.
Soon, Pelumi got into boarding school and that lessened the time we spent together. That was a relief for me. However, we were always texting each other. And I began to notice that his responses to me had taken on a lot of homoerotic sexual innuendos. He was always saying things like: “You are giving me unwanted erections” and “I wish you had a vagina.”
I never took him serious though. Like I said; he was the most heterosexual boy I knew. He simply had to be joking with these messages.
During a long holiday, he asked me to lend him my laptop for a night. I obliged. The next morning, I went to collect it. He took me to his room; his little nephew was in there, so we started texting each other instead of actually talking.
During our chatversation, I playfully asked if I could give him a blow job. I was being mischievous and I knew he’d refuse of course. I was wrong. To my greatest surprise, Pelumi agreed and said I should wait for him in his toilet. My heart was racing as I got up from the bed and went to the small adjoining room. I couldn’t believe this was going to happen.
He came in a few minutes later, locked the door and pulled down his pants. He sat on the toilet seat. I knelt down before him and went to town.
I worked his shaft. He was big, I’d always known this. But actually taking him into my mouth was just intense. Soon enough, he came violently into my mouth. I swallowed every bit of him.
Then as he leaned back, trying to get his breathing under control, he rasped, “Is this your first time?”
It was. But I lied. I said, “No.”
I suspected he didn’t believe me.
I sucked him off again in the evening of the same day. By the time I was on my way home, I was overjoyed. I was now the vagina-less boy that could make my Love happy.
The blow job encounter went on throughout the holiday. He was fearless, always asking for bow jobs virtually everywhere he got horny. He slowly brought out the hoe in me.
It wasn’t long before we graduated to anal sex. He was my first. And for the first couple of weeks, the sex was painful for me. But seeing how happy he was afterwards made it all worth it. He promptly became addicted to my sex, always finding convenient times every day for us to fuck.
Soon, he went back to school, but always faked sickness every now and then so he could come home and see me. How romantic, right? Well, not so much.
Sex with Pelumi soon began to lose its appeal. He became wilder with his thrusts, always complaining as he fucked me, “Why is it not open enough?”
Sex reverted back to being painful for me – something I no longer looked forward to. He would show up at my house during odd hours at night and demand for sex, because “konji don hol am”. My family knew him as my friend, so his odd-evening visits didn’t create any suspicions.
And funny thing is, with all our sexcapades, he always strongly maintained that he was straight and not gay. He wouldn’t even admit that he was bisexual. He was always pointing out how he could never fall in love with his “fellow boy”.
This all took a toll on my feelings for him. My love turned sour. My affections for him curdled. I wasn’t having any of his crap any longer – the aggressive, painful sex, his demanding nature, and the strong internalized homophobia that plagued him.
I ended things with him. Our friendship soured. And we became bitter towards each other, dumping on a sexual relationship that had lasted three years.
I was prepared to move on. I was moving on. But Pelumi clearly hadn’t. He began to text me veiled threats about how he was going to expose me. I laughed at his texts. My folks already knew about me, so of course, I had nothing to fear.
Then he sent me yet another text message early on a Sunday morning, which read: ‘Be my sex slave if you want to retain your sanity.’
TO BE CONTINUED.
Written by Bain