SIX – 7

SIX – 7

My name is Olupeka Bernard. I come from a middle-class family that includes just my father and I. I came out to him some years ago. Believe me when I say the period I came out to him and when he came to love me as I am was a trying time. My father didn’t judge me or anything; he simply had a hard time understanding how his only child could be queer. He thought he’d failed as a parent. He thought I’d been molested by someone. In the end, he just accepted it.

“I don’t understand it, dad,” I said one evening. “How do you do it? How are you not repulsed or angry or threatening to disown me since I told you of my sexuality?”

He looked at me and gave me a small smile. “When your mother left us without a word as to what I did wrong, it made me see and understand that things aren’t set in stone. You plan your life one way, you end up on a totally unfamiliar and scary way. Of course, I was repulsed at first. If you remember well, that night when you came out to me, I didn’t say anything. I just got up and left for my room. I wanted it to be prank. I prayed it was a prank and we’d just move on. But I realised what it was that you had – still have. Strength. You had the strength to tell me something as huge and shattering as that. It took guts and strength to put yourself out there and in front of me to tell me you’re gay.” He paused and then chuckled, shaking his head slightly. “Even as a child, I envied you. You took up responsibilities in the house when your mom left us. You’ve always made me happy as a father. And my main job as a parent is to love you without restriction.”

Then he turned to face me again. “I might not understand everything about your sexuality, but I understand and know you. Because of that, my repulsion had to be chased away. Besides, you’re my only child. It’ll be foolish of me to disown the only person that means the world to me.”

“Oh, daddy…” I got up from the chair, sat at his feet and hugged his right leg. I felt his hand on my head as I cried softly.

Most people say men aren’t vocal about their emotions. When it comes to my dad, I beg to differ.

***

I met him on a Thursday morning. I’d left my house around 5 am like I usually did, to avoid the early morning traffic on the Third Mainland Bridge. I had a meeting with Mr. Etomi, to discuss the final details of my new radio show. I got to my bus-stop around 5:57 am and proceeded to walk down to my office. The street wasn’t completely deserted as I plugged in my earphones to listen to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which I’d been playing right from the moment I got on the bus.

Darkness falls across the land

The midnight hour is close at hand

Creatures crawl in search of blood

To terrorize y’all’s neighborhood

And whosoever shall be found

Without the soul for getting down

Must stand and face the hounds of hell

And rot inside a corpse’s shell –

And I felt a tap on my shoulder, the touch eliciting a shriek from me as I jumped forward, while whirling around, my left arm swinging to strike at whoever it was that thought it was okay to tap my shoulder while I was listening to a song whose theme bordered on horror.

“Whoa! Whoa!! Whoa!!!” He weaved out of the way, his face narrowly missing the punch I’d swung his way. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“You didn’t mean to scare me? Are you insane?” I was breathless as I straightened and strove to bring my racing heart to its normal beat. “You don’t touch people anyhow on the street, especially not this early in the morning.”

In the semi darkness, I could see a small smile playing on his lips.

“I’m sorry,” he said again. “I really am. I’d been trying to get your attention but you didn’t even notice. What else could I have done?”

“You could have walked away, goddamnit!” My heart was still pounding really fast in my chest. “You don’t touch people without their permission, no matter what!”

He laughed. “Not even if a car was speeding towards you?”

What is this one saying?

“Was there a car coming towards me in this situation, hmm?”

“Well, no. But –”

“No buts! Why am I still talking with you sef?” I turned to go.

“Slow down, bro. I said I was sorry.”

“Sorry for yourself abeg.” I resumed my walk, this time, more briskly than before.

“Calm down, man. It really wasn’t my intention to get you upset. I only wanted to let you know your five hundred naira was sticking out from your pocket.” He tried to keep up with my brisk walk, but then I stopped to eye him like he was on a dubious mission before I checked to see if any naira note was sticking out my pocket.

“Oh,” was all I could say when I saw he was telling the truth, before proceeding to shove the money back into my back pocket.

He gave me a full grin. Now I felt very shitty.

“Look, thank you for letting me know about the money.” I paused. “And I’m sorry if I…if I was out of line.” Not knowing what else to do or say, I turned and started walking again.

“Hey.” He caught up with me and flashed me another smile.

Charming, I thought to myself.

“Again, I’m sorry I scared you,” he said. “It was never my intention.”

“Alright.” I kept on walking. I could sense he wanted to say more and it sort of felt weird to me. Why would a guy have more to say to another guy who was a complete stranger to him? What did he want? I didn’t want to assume or jump to any conclusion that he was probably queer, but still, I couldn’t help but think it.

“I didn’t catch your name though,” he said.

Reflexively, I rejoined, “That’s because I didn’t throw it out.”

A second later, I realised my sarcastic answer was uncalled for. So I stopped walking, took a deep breath in and exhaled before looking at him. The sky was already getting clearer. This made it possible for me to see his features. He wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous but he was good to look at. I finally sized him up, but not in a patronising way. He had sweat-shorts on, with jogging tights showing underneath. His calves were nicely-shaped and toned, as were his biceps. He had a wife-beater on.

“My name is Peka. Olupeka,” I said.

He offered his hand, and grudgingly, out of politeness, I took it.

“I’m Maje.” He gave me another smile. “See you around.” And he jogged off while I stood there watching him go and wondering what his deal was.

But then I shrugged, plugged my earphones back in and continued playing my song.

The foulest stench is in the air

The funk of forty thousand years

And grizzly ghouls from every tomb

Are closing in to seal your doom

And though you fight to stay alive

Your body starts to shiver

For no mere mortal can resist

The evil of the thriller!”

Written by Vhar

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12 Comments

  1. Santa Diaba
    May 30, 07:20 Reply

    I never walk in public with both ears blocked. I’ve been robbed because of that. Never again.

  2. Ria
    May 30, 09:50 Reply

    Ngl, I had to read this chapter several times to try and figure out. Is this the past? Is this the present? Is this the future? Where is Kareem? We haven’t finished dealing with that drama and now Peka is meeting Maje. What is happening? Was Peka dating both men when Kareem’s sexuality got out? Is Maje an ex? Is it because of Maje that Kareem was outed???

    Vhar really has us playing all this mental gymnastics this early morning? Damn.

    • Pink Panther
      May 30, 10:57 Reply

      😂😂😂😂😂😂
      Talk about having 99 questions

    • Mandy
      May 30, 11:10 Reply

      I had to go and skim “Pure Black Grey” to confirm my suspicion. Ria, did you follow the series “Pure Black Grey”? If you did, you’ll know who Maje is. He’s one of the guys that murdered Moyo and Douglas.
      And the fact that he’s here, in Six, chyking Peka… Oh dear Lawd, Vhar! Should I start bracing myself for somebody’s death? 😱😱

      • Omiete
        May 30, 12:14 Reply

        Ah swear!!! Remember when PP announced that there will be a meet between characters of pure black grey, LASITC, and another. I think this is it

      • Ria
        June 01, 15:42 Reply

        Jisox! Maje is a murderer???? Oh lalala. This just got even more interesting. I haven’t read Pure Black Grey yet. And now I am definitely interested in checking it out. Of course now my questions have tripled. Is Maje going to try killing Peka? Is he going to succeed? Is he really going to be the one to out Kareem? Is he going to hurt either of the??? Is this a foreshadowing of the death and destruction that Vhar is famous for injecting into his stories?

        *Sigh* Vhar really wants to kill us o.

        • Pink Panther
          June 01, 19:08 Reply

          😂😂😂😂😂😂
          See hypertension in the making sha.

  3. Milez
    May 30, 10:44 Reply

    Oh Vhar… If this is some kinda joke pls stop it. Stop fucking with my head. All these back and forth movement reminds me of Nigeria. Let’s get this story done with already😭😭😭

  4. Tristan
    May 30, 11:03 Reply

    This vhar sef.
    Be cutting someone off anyhow.

  5. Mandy
    May 30, 11:12 Reply

    The Michael Jackson theme song is a nice touch. Lol. Such a ghen-ghen thrill it gave this episode for me. 😀😀

  6. flame
    May 30, 23:19 Reply

    Let me get this out of the way. Two paragraphs into the piece, I literally went up to check that I was reading FICTION. Now, back to my reading!!

  7. BRYAN PETER
    May 31, 06:20 Reply

    This keeps getting more and more interesting. The prospects with this mash up makes it even harder to wait for the next episode. Talk bout a double cliff hanger *bites_nails

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