Previously on SNAPSHOTS...
Jide was scared of his boyfriend, and he had never been as scared as he was as they texted one hot Friday afternoon
At first It was a subtle fear, and he wasn’t even sure why he was scared or for whom he was scared – his boyfriend or himself.
He had met the guy over half a year ago, even though they had been on each other’s BBM friend list for quite a bit. They had gotten each other’s contact details on Grindr. They had talked briefly, nothing interesting. Then Jide had requested for a picture and had gotten the photo of a relatively good looking chap with a crooked nose and a pink scar that ran vertical on his forehead. Intrigued, he had asked about the scar but only got vague answers.
Jide had sent his pictures in return and asked if they could meet. The answer was a yes… As long as he, Jide, didn’t mind that his potential hookup had a small limp. Jide couldn’t help but think the guy bold. Most people would not mention the limp. He was even tempted to go ahead and meet the guy but decided that he couldn’t deal. His no-longer-potential hookup had understood.
They had still texted sometimes but soon the guy was lost as new prospects came into the messaging platform.
Then one day Jide had seen him at the mall. He had seen the face in front of him on a queue to check out some items bought at the mall and thought the person looked awfully familiar. Then as the person walked away, he noticed a slight limp and he called out, “Waliu!”
Waliu had turned to face him, not looking surprised, as if he had known Jide was there all along.
“Hey Jide, you recognized me,” he said, which made Jide certain now that Waliu had known he was there all along. His voice had a drawl and his eyes looked disinterested with the world around him, although Jide was to find out later that Waliu saw everything.
“You noticed me earlier?” Jide had said as he paid for his things and the lady behind the counter bagged the purchases.
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Didn’t want to make you feel awkward,” Waliu had said with a shrug.
They had had ice cream that day, and a few days after, they saw a movie, and the next day, they had sex. Waliu wasn’t extraordinary but Jide felt a pull to him nonetheless. The way he seemed nonchalant about the world, as if he didn’t care about anything, was what attracted him. He wanted to make Waliu care.
They started dating a month later and Waliu started to let him in. He told him how he got scars, how his father beat him mercilessly when he misbehaved in the first secondary school he attended. He didn’t have a mother. His father was an ex soldier who showed little or no emotion except anger and sometimes pleasure. The crooked nose was from when his father had boxed him after he got expelled from his second school for getting a girl pregnant. He had a missing finger from when he had been caught stealing. The scar on his forehead was however from rough play. He never went into the details surrounding how he got the limp no matter how much Jude pressed to know more.
During his narrations, Waliu had said in a monotonous voice how he sometimes liked the beatings. It was the only time he felt his father showed he really cared. Jide didn’t know what to make of it all. Waliu narrated the stories as if he was reading a text book, stating facts, unfeeling. It intrigued and unsettled Jide.
Many things were said and done that made Jide feel Waliu wasn’t stable. One time, they had been play-wrestling. It was sexy. It was fun even when it crossed the line to an actual fight for dominance that Waliu had won. He’d twisted Jide’s hand behind his back and proceeded to take him raw without lubrication or protection. It was rough and animalistic with no passion. It was only after Waliu had slid out of him and gone to the shower and the adrenaline rush left Jide did he feel the wrongness of what had happened. Waliu didn’t say anything about it, although he let Jide fuck him so he too could get some release.
During the fifth month of their relationship, Jide met Richard. It was at a friend’s place, a straight friend who didn’t know Jide was gay. He and Richard had spoken and Jide felt a spark between them. But he could see a wedding band on Richard’s finger, so he didn’t feel inclined to find out what that spark meant. Besides he had Waliu…Cold, crazy, slightly unstable Waliu, but his nonetheless.
Jide was surprised when Richard offered him his pin, when Richard said, “I like you and will really like to be your friend.”
And they became fast friends. Their offices weren’t far from each other and sometimes they’d have lunch together. A month later, Jide came out to Richard via text. Richard invited him for dinner the next day so they could talk.
And talk they did. Richard wasn’t gay. He did however feel a bit bisexual, as he had only ever felt something for his best friend, Tope, the one at whose party they met. He admitted feeling a strong attraction for Jide but he had a wife he loved very much.
It was a subtle rejection. And that need to win and make people who he wanted the way he wanted them to be reared its ugly head inside Jide, and he proceeded to make Richard fall for him.
It was one of the flirtatious texts he’d been sending to Richard that Waliu saw that hot Friday afternoon that led to their fight. Waliu accused Jide of cheating. Jide didn’t deny that he was flirting with a married man, but it technically wasn’t cheating. They hadn’t had sex.
Waliu had stopped replying for a bit. When he came back online, he sent a series of audio notes explaining how he had watched one of his classmates die from a hit and run. How the said classmate was indirectly responsible for his limp. How he would kill Jide if he did anything to hurt him. He would kill Jide and then kill himself too.
Jide had played the audio notes over and over again, feeling a chill ice over his insides with each listen. He believed the threats. It didn’t occur to him not to. That was when he knew he had probably bitten a little more than he could chew. He needed to get out.
He fell to his default mode of breaking up with people when he got tired of a relationship. Taking longer to reply, missing calls, distancing himself. Usually, at first, there’d be a frantic need to hold on from the other side, but it usually faded away in a maximum of two weeks. A month passed, and although Waliu did not act frantic, he held on as tight as ever. He simply treated Jide’s apparent indifference with the same level of indifference but still managed to hold on to boyfriend status.
Jide was worried. Would he have to man up and end things? Nah! That would be disastrous. In the end, he was saved by a job offer from a firm far from Lagos. He told Waliu. Waliu didn’t say anything. He didn’t even take his gaze away from his phone to focus on his boyfriend and the news he’d just broken to him. Later that night, as Jide kissed Waliu goodnight, Waliu bit down hard on his lip till he drew blood. Yelping with pain, Jide pushed away from him, touched his lip and his fingers came away with blood. Reacting to the sight, he let fly with his fist, punching Waliu hard. Waliu staggered back from the blow, and raised his hand to feel the bruise. Then he smiled.
“I love you too,” he said before heading out into the night.
Written by IBK