Sugar Flowers and Buttercream

Sugar Flowers and Buttercream

When the governor of my state brought his workmen and construction trucks to demolish some parts of the street I live in, in a bid to expand it as part of his urbanization plan, I knew it would come with much difficulty. It wasn’t rocket science. Other streets and roads that had been demolished were either left unfinished for a long time, or badly done, or flooded and muddy whenever it rained.

When reconstruction started, the electric poles had to be removed and mounted several yards away from their former positions to accommodate the new expansive size of the street and gutters. This relocation didn’t come without a cost. We paid dearly with the absence of electricity that came upon us for weeks. I had always prided myself as one who didn’t need to own a power bank like most people did, mostly because I didn’t have any use for it. There’d always been unwavering power supply. With this new reality however, I began battling battery problems with my phone.

On the street that crisscrossed mine was a bakeshop, Brown & Brown, which was owned by a fellow gay man. Chuks made the finest cakes in the city; sweet, savoury goodness that he produced like magic from his ovens. He had loads of clients who kept him on high demand, week in, week out. This meant that he always had his generator on. So I began to go over there to charge my phone whenever I returned from school. I’d stay there till late in the evening, engaging Chuks in light banter and munching on cake shavings.

There was an intern who worked at Brown & Brown, an NYSC corper learning how to bake. His name was Hussein. He was Fulani. He had curly black hair and grey eyes the shape of almonds. He was about my height and had the toned body of an athlete. He was fond of wearing caftan over his jeans, but the baggy fall of the fabric did nothing to hide his well-toned butt. He smiled a lot, with white teeth and brown lips that added to the striking quality of his face.

Chuks and I didn’t know if he was gay. Whenever Hussein’s boss and I wanted to gossip or make gay jokes, it was always in his private office, behind closed doors. But I was somewhat attracted to Hussein. I’d always tease him whenever we spoke, and I loved to engage him in long, deep conversations. He was quite assertive and articulate, that Hussein. I even got his number and we’d chat on WhatsApp till late into the night when either one of us would doze off.

The one night when I was not feeling fine, he called to ask how I was doing, since he hadn’t seen at the bakeshop for about three days. When his call came through, I didn’t pay particular attention to the Caller ID; I assumed the “H” I saw beginning the name on my phone screen belonged to an old friend with benefits, Harry.

And so, I answered the call with “Hey babe.”

A brief silence ensued. Feeling a faint stir of tension, I looked at the phone screen and felt a tiny clutch of agitation when I saw Hussein’s name.

Before I could respond, he said, “It is Hussein o. Which one is ‘hey babe’?”

He didn’t seem offended. Praise God!

“Um, sorry,” I said. “It was a mistake. I thought it was…you know what, never mind. How you dey?”

“You refer to guys as ‘babe’?” he inquired, clearly not inclined to letting me off the hook.

“Is there anything wrong with that?” I asked, choosing to go on the offensive.

“Nothing oh,” he said. “Just that it’s quite unusual.”

“So I can call you babe, right? My personal babe, ehn, sweetheart!” I joked.

There was silence again.

“Hello, Hussein, are you there?” I said. “Sorry, I was joking.”

The line clicked dead.

Fuck!

I dialed back, anxious to set things straight (pun intended), but he didn’t pick. I dialed several times more, and he still didn’t respond. I supposed he must be utterly disgusted or something. I chided myself for going too far. I must have crossed a very thin line.

The next day at Brown & Brown, Hussein was somewhat awkward in his behaviour around me. He didn’t smile as often, neither was he frowning. He just kept a straight face. He didn’t even partake in any conversation with the other interns. He only said yes and no when necessary, or nodded and shook his head in non-verbal communication.

I felt guilty, and it was eating me up. I wanted to apologise and set things right with him. So I waited till the other interns had left and the boss had hurried off to church, leaving Hussein and the receptionist behind. I’d fully charged my phone, but I told the receptionist that I was still charging, and that she could leave if she wanted to, that I would have Hussein lock up the office when he was done cleaning the utensils. She agreed and soon left.

It was then just Hussein and I.

My heart was racing. Was it because I liked him and was attracted to him? Or was it the apprehension over the possibility that he would not accept my apology or understand me? I didn’t know. I didn’t even know what I was going to say or what to do. I didn’t want the situation with him to further deteriorate. I had never had to do something like this before.

I eventually summoned some courage and walked up to him by the kitchen sink.

As I approached – as always, whenever I was around him – I was struck by his sheer force of his handsomeness, the ‘Fulani-ness’ of his beauty. I paused for a second to take all of it in. I felt a massive urge to grab his head, turn him around to face me and ravish his lips. I wanted to hold his body and squeeze his ass. I wanted to hug him and sniff his body, taking in all of his scent. I wanted to look into his eyes and get lost in those almond-shaped grey depths.

Damn it! I wanted to fuck him. Or more correctly, make sweet love to him.

“Hussein, look, I am sorry if I crossed a line yesterday when you called me.” I was still struggling with what next to say.

“Did you hit on me purposely because you felt I was gay?” His question took me off guard.

“What? No, I wasn’t hitting on you. I was joking… Wait – what? Are you gay?” I was surprised.

He didn’t say anything. He scrubbed his hands clean on a towel and walked away into the store room.

I looked after him, befuddled. Was he gay? Did he just tell me he was gay?

I followed him into the store room and took a leap of faith when I said, “Hussein, I’m gay too.” I was half hoping this admission would set a common ground and make him relax.

He still didn’t say a word. He left the store room and went to sit on the sofa in the reception. It was already dark out at this time, and the reception was gloomy, illuminated only by the lights coming from the inner rooms. I sat next to him, in awkward silence.

“Look, Uche,” he finally said, “I am from the North, and from a very religious family. We are not allowed to discuss such things or feel that way. I’m not sure I appreciate you trying to relate with me in that way. At the same time, I don’t want to spoil our friendship. In fact, I don’t know what I am saying. Just stop. Don’t expose me. This is not who I am…”

And then he choked off his words by bursting into tears. He just sat there, his slender shoulders shaking with the force of his sobbing.

At first I didn’t know what to do or say. But my heart ached for him, for the burden I figured he was carrying. This was a young man clearly still struggling plenty with his sexuality. I empathized and reached out a hand to place it on his shoulder, rocking him slightly as I said consoling words.

Eventually, he stopped crying. Then I began to talk. I talked him through homosexuality not being a curse or a disease that should be avoided. I talked a long talk about self love and acceptance. I told him that it was okay for him to be him. I told him about myself and my journey to my self-acceptance. And much later, I told him how I felt about him.

He seemed to be taking it all in with some equanimity. He sat upright and had a little glow on his face. He looked at me, straight in the eyes. The lights from the inner rooms seemed to be casting reflections on his beautiful face.

“I like you too, Uche. I do.” He made that admission with some shyness, looking quickly away as soon as the words left his mouth.

I lifted my hand and clasped his chin, turning his head around to face me. I brought my head closer to his, our foreheads almost touching. I could hear the raspy quality of his breathing, the warmth pushing from his nostrils fanning across my face. Our heads tilted, and we kissed, passionately.

We kissed that first kiss, and it tasted of sugar flowers and buttercream.

We would go on to have an amazing affair that lasted the three months he stayed in my city before his service year ended.

But then, that’s a story for another day.

Written by Masked Man

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5 Comments

  1. Kehinde
    June 17, 11:35 Reply

    OAN: who else is following the drama of your MCMs on Twitter?

  2. Mandy
    June 17, 12:03 Reply

    For some reason, reading this had me thinking about cake. Even the sex I imagined the two having had images of cake sprinkled all over their bodies as they fucked. 😊🙈🙈

  3. Jhon
    June 17, 20:27 Reply

    I hate happy endings. But this is nive.
    Can the other day come already? Waiting for the story like a cake waiting to be dressed.

    Plus. I hope this is not fiction fa.

    • Swan King
      June 18, 08:15 Reply

      That’s the part that stuck out.
      So the owner of Brown and Brown is gay?
      Ok!

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