THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT

THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT

So, this is a follow-up to my story, Going Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Hell. So much has happened since that story was published and I want to share.

The last time I wrote on here, it was to pour my heart out to you and hopefully get a sense of direction as to how to deal with the thorn in my life called Lucifer. Encouraged by the advice and immense show of love I received from this community, I set about actualizing my plan. I messaged Lucifer, asking if we could meet and talk. He replied in the affirmative, but then didn’t show up and conveniently decided not to pick my calls – almost as if he knew what the meet was about. I didn’t let that bother me. I just shut him out and went on living my life and putting finishing touches to my Masters thesis after my external defence.

One day, I was driving to see a friend and stopped at the fuel station to refuel. I couldn’t tell why I chose that station, seeing as it belonged to Lucifer’s in-law and it was where he was working. Perhaps a part of me wanted to see him. Of course, the pump attendants were their usual jovial selves, asking why I hadn’t been around to see them in so long and where I’d been all this while. They were aware I hadn’t been steady in town since 2017, as I was running my Masters program in a university far away.

Just out of courtesy, I asked if their shifts had changed as I was yet to see Lucifer, and I was told he’d gotten admission into a Federal Polytechnic to run his HND program and had travelled to the school for his registration. This was news to me of course, but I didn’t show my surprise. I was heading out when I was stopped by the girl who works in the mart, saying Lucifer’s elder sister wanted to see me. I parked and went into the mart where Lucifer’s sister was attending to a customer. Thereafter, we went into her office, where she thanked me for being such a good influence on Lucifer as she was sure I was instrumental in his decision to go back to school. Then she asked if I wouldn’t mind driving him to school when the time comes for him to move his things. I told her I wouldn’t be in town for long but would be happy to help if I happened to be around. And then, I left.

The next week, a friend came to visit me. He is straight by the way and was my immediate senior in high school. We went to my room and hung out, gisting for hours before he left. When I returned from seeing him off, my mother accosted me in the living room, asking what we’d been doing in my room with the door closed and talking in whispers. I told her we were just talking. She asked who he was and how I knew him. I answered her questions. But as I left her presence, I could feel something harrowing gnawing at my gut.

What was going on?

This kind of confrontation continued to happen every time I had a visitor, even during weekdays when my mother wasn’t around. She would call me to her in the evening to inquire about “that boy that visited you” and to ask what we were doing in my room. I felt suffocated, and the place I called home began to feel like a prison where every move I made was monitored. Because of this, I began to slip into depression again. I became a recluse, hardly venturing out of my room.

A week passed and I hadn’t even set my eyes on my father. I became short-tempered and often snapped at my siblings. I kept my movements between my room and the family room upstairs, hardly going downstairs. Even when my sister would refuse to send my meals upstairs, I went without food. This got my father worried and he tried reaching out to me, but I shut him out.

I had no idea what my parents got to talking about me, but soon, my therapist was asked over to intervene yet again. This time around, when we talked, he said he may have to commit me to a mental hospital in order to observe me closely lest I commit suicide. After he left, my sister came in to talk to me. She pleaded with me to consider how much our parents would start spending again on therapy and antidepressants. She reproached me for being the black sheep in the family, talking about how I always demanded for attention, something even my younger brother doesn’t do. This enraged me. I knew she was the one who’d been monitoring me and feeding information to Mother about the people who came to see me. I snapped a retort at her, and soon, our raised voices were ricocheting all over the house. Mother intervened and sent my sister to her room, before proceeding to talk to me.

It was a long conversation with so many questions I refused to answer. Some things stood out though. First, she asked me what my relationship with Lucifer was like before I started avoiding him. Secondly, she asked (again) if I knew who infected me with HIV and how I got it. She asked if I was sure I didn’t infect anybody else, particularly Lucifer. Then she questioned me about my relationship with a certain professor in my school. (For a quick background, this professor is gay. I have known him since 2010, when I was 18. We had an online thing for a short while. I didn’t meet him until I began my Masters; he was instrumental in my applying for my Masters in the school where he was lecturing in. And we’d never had sex. He had been an immense friend, submitting my application forms, even lodging me in a hotel when I travelled to the school for my CBT. But nothing remotely sexual had ever happened between us).

Mother then pointblank told me to stop “this gay bullshit” otherwise I would risk getting disowned by her, as no child of hers would bring her shame in this life. This was it. A confrontation of my sexuality. Her words stung deeply and left a bitter taste in my mouth, almost as if my bile had been punctured. I watched her walk away and wondered what happened to the woman I called “mum”. The woman who I’d always been close to, so much so that it brought upon me my sister’s resentment because she felt I was the favoured child. As I watched my mother leave my room, I didn’t recognize her anymore. I didn’t recognize my life anymore.

I closed my eyes and thought about ending it all, putting an end to my worthless life. Several thoughts ran through my mind and I was thinking of the easiest route to take in ending my life. I even considered running away from home, if that would give my mother her peace.

It was obvious that she knew about my sexuality, even though I had no idea how.

My father came home late that night. I hadn’t stepped out of my room since my talk with Mother and had skipped lunch and dinner. Mother was on call at the hospital, so she wasn’t home when my father came home. My brother told him what happened between my sister and I earlier in the day, and he sent him to call me. But I couldn’t face my father, not just yet. So, I kept my door locked and refused to go out.

My father stayed in the living room downstairs till 1 AM, then he came up to his room. I could hear the heavy sounds of his footsteps as he walked up the stairs, and I feared he would come to my room. He didn’t.

However, I was still awake till 3 AM when I heard a light knock on my room. It was my father, and he said he knew I was awake and that he would sit by the door until I opened the door. So, I let him.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he asked if I was okay. I said I was. He went on to talk about this and that. Nothing serious. Then, he finally landed on the topic of the suicide of the son of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos. He said the man was called in the early hours of the morning and told of his son taking his life. He said that during his mourning, the Vice Chancellor shunned visitors, wouldn’t show his face to those who came to condole with him, not even when the governor of Plateau State came to visit. My Dad said he understood what the Vice Chancellor was going through at the time: it is painful to bury a child and a shame if that child committed suicide. I hadn’t heard about the suicide, even though the Vice Chancellor and his family lived a couple of streets away from ours.

I found myself apologizing to my father, for everything I had put them through without even knowing. It was a heart-to-heart conversation. He asked me about the incident with my sister the previous day, and I explained to him as best as I could, leaving out all the unflattering details. But who was I kidding? Whatever my mother knew, my Dad knew it too. And vice versa. Those two are as thick as thieves when it comes to their three children.

Anyway, now that my reserve had been broken and my walls were down, my Dad began to talk to me about the dreaded topic. Playing good cop to Mother’s bad cop. He told me I am an adult and my personal life should not be anybody’s business, but that my unique situation calls for an intervention from them. He asked me pointblank when I first knew I was attracted to boys. There was no question about my sexuality; I wasn’t given any opening to deny. They already knew and it was time to talk about it.

And so, I responded. I told him everything he needed to know. His next question caught me off guard. He asked which of my boyfriends infected me with HIV. I answered him truthfully. He expressed his disappointment because he had raised me to be better than that. To not allow my feelings control my actions. What I did had been stupid and irresponsible.

We talked till the sun came up. Then he asked me to get some sleep. As he left the room, I asked how he and Mother knew, and he said we would talk about it later. He left and I slept. By the time I woke up, he had already gone to work and Mother was home, asleep in her room.

Later in the evening, I was summoned into my parents’ room. And the conversation continued. Mother stayed silent all through. I have no I idea where the courage to answer the questions and bring up my deepest, saddest, scariest and most shameful secrets to light came from, even when I knew there was a good chance Mother would follow through with her threat of disownment. I was past the point of caring by then, I think. I opened up, unburdening my heart to my parents. Unapologetically, I owned up to my sexuality and only apologised for being silent all those years, allowing this fear to fester within me until it became a malignant tumour, eating me up from the inside.

When I was done, Dad asked Mother if she had any other questions. She looked at me for an interminable amount of time, while my heart pounded as I waited for her to hit me with her repudiation.

Instead, she asked in a quiet tone, “Why didn’t you tell me all these years?”

It was immediately apparent that she was hurt, and this ripped me apart. I understood the reason for her pain. I was the child closest to her. I was the one she held dear to her heart. Yet somehow, I hadn’t trusted her enough to tell her what I was going through. For this, I apologised.

Then I asked the question that had been gnawing at me all day: How and when did they find out?

They gave a vague response about noticing this and that. But that their suspicion was confirmed by something Lucifer told them. Lucifer had outed me to my parents when Mother asked him what was really going on between him and me, and why I kept pushing him away. Mother told him she knew her son well and that I would not push away good friends unless they’d done something wrong to me. And so, what did he do to me?

He answered by telling her that his only crime was refusing my sexual advances and trying to pull me back from the “dirty lifestyle” I was leading because he saw himself as my older brother. He said he even invited me severally to go for deliverance at a church, but I had refused. Hence my resentment toward him.

Just imagine!

Mother had told my Dad the things he said, and thereafter, they decided to freeze him out. Also, it would seem as though Lucifer also told my sister some things because all of a sudden, she started monitoring me closely. Whenever we watched a movie with gay scenes together, she would start talking about her disgust for homosexuals and how there is a special place in hell for them. Several times, she would even add that all gays would die of AIDS. I always tried to stay unaffected by her negativity.

But now, it all suddenly made sense. Lucifer had wreaked his damage in my family. Or at least, tried to.

Mother advised me to keep quiet about my situation and never confide in anybody. (As such, even my siblings don’t know for sure that I am gay.)  And about Lucifer, I was advised to not confront him. To stay away from him. Even when I opened up to my therapist about all these, he said I should learn to keep this secret to myself as discrimination and stigmatisation would do more harm to me mentally.

However, I have come to understand that talking about this stuff is good. It feels great to share my thoughts, burdens and pains with somebody. I told my therapist about Kito Diaries and the love and support I received on here, and he encouraged me to share this experience here.

As for my parents, they don’t treat me any different. If anything, I believe we are closer now. During one weekend, my cousin got married and a lot of relatives kept asking when it would be my turn. When I asked my mother what she thought about that, she said, “That should not bother you. I don’t care if you get married or have children. Just focus on being happy and taking care of myself.”

It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard.

So yeah, that is how I came out to my parents. Lucifer, for all his small-mindedness, lies and pettiness, actually did me a favor by outing me to them. Now I am keeping my fingers crossed that it ends here, because I keep imagining the various ways I will ruin his life should he mess with me again.

PS: I was at the clinic some days ago, and I got my most recent viral load test result. It’s undetectable. So yeah, something else to feel joyful about.

Written by Milton

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45 Comments

  1. Sim
    June 02, 06:41 Reply

    Congratulations Milton on achieving those milestones- Viral suppression and a Masters Degree, PhD awaiting.
    Keep living your life, take up more academic pursuits or job. Create that change u wanna see, make ur family proud but mostly make urself more proud.

  2. Máçnúèl
    June 02, 06:49 Reply

    Wow! Congratulations 🎆 🎆 🎆 just stay undetected

  3. McDuke
    June 02, 06:54 Reply

    I’m happy for you… Nice to read about the good stuffs happening to you. I wish you well…

  4. Black Dynasty
    June 02, 07:04 Reply

    Congratulations @ undetectable status!

    Happy to hear you came out of the darkness successfully. There’s nothing quite like the support of those who love you unconditionally, in being your true and authentic self.

    For your peace of mind, cut that lucifer guy off completely… like zero contact. People like that are pure poison.

  5. Mystique
    June 02, 07:05 Reply

    Wow I am happy for you man.. More wins

  6. Lucern
    June 02, 07:30 Reply

    You gave me a reason to finally comment on this blog. This got me tearing up. You’ve come along way. You deserve this happiness. Hugs and kisses 😘😘😘

  7. Rudy Gh
    June 02, 07:35 Reply

    This is strikingly emotional and heartfelt. I loved every bit of it. Congratulations Milton. And hey! Happy pride month to y’all ♥

    • PHOENIX
      June 02, 16:49 Reply

      Hi Rudy

      Are you a Ghanaian?

      Signed:Phoenix😂

      • That Ghana Boy Rudy
        June 02, 19:02 Reply

        Phoenix my redeemer 😂

        On the other side @ Milton , You’ve really done well for yourself. The skies are not even the limit for you Sir. Go on!

  8. Carlos
    June 02, 07:58 Reply

    Omg!!
    I’m indeed happy for how you came out of this whole. Such sad bitches would get drowned in their own bad energy.
    Keep being strong. Never see yourself less.
    Love you Milton

  9. Lorde
    June 02, 08:05 Reply

    Congratulations hun…… notin do you…

  10. KingB
    June 02, 08:24 Reply

    I’m happiest for you Mil. As much as possible, stay away from that dude. He’s truly Lucifer. Thank God your parents eventually came around. My parents found out about me 5 years ago . My dad doesn’t seem bothered about it; perhaps he feels its a phase. My mum on the other hand has been a thorn on my flesh. It has put a STRAIN on our relationship and it seems she now has a reason to hate me since she’s always dislike me. I had a nasty fight with my younger brother since March this year & she quit talking to me and we live in the same house. As I’m typing this, I just greeted her and as usual, she ignored. If not that I’m currently saving to start up my catering company, I would have just used the money to get an apartment and move out.

    • Pink Panther
      June 02, 08:53 Reply

      I am truly saddened by this. It never fails to baffle me how family that is predestined to love the people in it can be so hateful, especially mothers, over such a thing as sexuality. It really is a painful thing. I can somewhat relate to this. I don’t know you but you sound really strong. Persevere until you are out of the house and you will know the peace they are taking away from you.

      • KingB
        June 03, 00:51 Reply

        Thanks so much Pinky. You’ve been so instrumental to my healing process too. I remember when I fell into depression at 20, when my folks found out about me, your blog offered the much needed elixir that helped rescue me. Thanks man

      • mike
        June 03, 10:32 Reply

        I think it’s a classic avoidance personality thing, a mother cannot truly hate her child, hardly. But you have to understand, every time they look at you, they are reminded of the shock, the reality of the truth and the lies. Humans don’t deal that well with change, infact we hate change, especially those changes we are not in control of.
        So they avoid you, cause they don’t want to reminded, it’s not a case of hate, it’s a copying strategy.
        If you want to test the tolerance of a person, however accepting they might seem, bring up a gay topic, one very sexual and watch them dance around being accepting and being spiteful.
        Not everybody likes to deal with a problem head on.

    • Higwe
      June 02, 09:26 Reply

      Don’t be tempted to make an emotional decision.
      Make sure you start up that business and only move out once you start making ENOUGH profit.

      • KingB
        June 03, 00:56 Reply

        Thanks for reaching out Higwe. I was really tempted on moving out. in fact, I’d already contacted two house agents and also applied for a loan with Ren money. I chickened out when I was asked to payback 237k for a loan of 150k. Like hello, who does that?? Anyways, I’ve heard you. I pray CAC approves my business name this new week. By the way, anyone that would guide me on writing a byusness plan and business proposal should kindly reach me on kingbethrand@yahoo.com

    • Delle
      June 02, 12:22 Reply

      Well I’ve come to understand that some mothers are just ‘bearers of children’ and nothing more. She’s only a woman who birthed you. What hurts is the expectation of motherly love but you know what? Accept that she isn’t capable of being that and you’ll see how much better you’ll fare. Stop expecting so much from her. Tolerate. Respect but do not fawn.

      And as soon as you are financially stable enough to get a place, DON’T HESITATE!

      We are conditioned to think family is indispensable, but in truth, they are only a group of people, strangers, we didn’t get to choose. While some are lucky to make the blood link work, others aren’t. And it’s just as well.

      • KingB
        June 03, 01:02 Reply

        Thanks a lot. I actually have some money that could get me a place but I’m hell bent on starting my own company. I want something I can call my own and not depend on salary all my life.I’m currently 25 and if God willing, I’m able to start offy business this year, in the next five years when I’d turn 30, my business would have come along way and would be a force to reckon with. Thanks none the less

    • Milton
      June 03, 08:39 Reply

      Reading this is truly disheartening. I can relate. The few hours I spent with mother’s threat hanging over my head was hell itself. You need to be strong and keep hoping this she comes around or even be in denial. People fear what they don’t understand and this whole thing is no exception. Stay strong, find your footing and I wish you all the success.

  11. Mitch
    June 02, 08:31 Reply

    You know what they say about fear and how it makes us suffer for things we shouldn’t have to suffer for.
    I’m glad you’ve overcome that fear.
    I’m glad your family has come around, however slowly.
    And I’m glad you’re moving on.

    Now, here’s the major part.
    Don’t stress or think about Lucifer. Don’t think about what to do to him if he comes back into your life. Don’t think about how to handle him. Just toss him into life’s trashcan and leave him there.
    If, by any chance, he comes crawling out of there back into your life, this time I believe you’d know exactly how to toss the vermin right back into that trashcan.

    Stay strong, Milton.
    ❤️

    • Milton
      June 03, 08:44 Reply

      Thank you Mitch… your writings here have been such an inspiration and on so many occasions, I drew strength from your posts.

  12. Higwe
    June 02, 09:22 Reply

    I don’t even know you Milton , but I already love you .
    You’re such a beacon of hope and positivity .
    You’ve been through the very worst and you emerged victorious.
    Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished so far and all you’re still going to achieve.

    As for the Lucifer guy …he’s dealt his ace , there’s literally nothing worse he can do.
    Don’t waste your time planning revenge …. channel all that beautiful energy into developing your life …which thus far , is already looking like it will be a gigantic success .

    • Milton
      June 03, 08:46 Reply

      Much gratitude Higs…your posts were a source of strength and certainly entertaining. Thank you.

      • Higwe
        June 03, 13:51 Reply

        Who is cutting onions 😪😪?
        The honor is definitely mine .
        Just like you think I’ve given you strength , I think you’ve given me strength too .
        Your Energy. Positivity.Resilience … how you’ve managed to remain so charming despite everything you’ve been through reinvigorates me .

        Please know that I’m always here for you in mind and spirit .

        I recently started something *praying * …I never did it before … religion and fanaticism in this country will have you pulling your hair out .
        Butiiiiiiii
        Believe me , there is a positive spirit out there (who does not discriminate ) trying to look out for us and hopefully , someday you’ll discover Him too….but until then , just know you’ll be in my prayers.

        I wish you luck in your journey ahead.It won’t always be easy but believe me ,you’ll pull through.

  13. Mandy
    June 02, 10:39 Reply

    You buzzed Lucifer to meet and he didn’t show up, as if he knew what you wanted to see him for.
    Well, that doesn’t surprise me, considering he might be a reader of KD, or may have friends who are readers and who recognised your story when you posted it.
    Good riddance to him, honestly. And I’m so thoroughly glad for you. This was a story we needed to have going into the pride month. A story about hope and happy endings.

    • Milton
      June 03, 08:49 Reply

      Nah… I doub’t he even knows about this site. Reading is poison to him. It’s one of the things I never liked about him. Someone else reading and tipping him off sounds more plausible.

  14. Saucebutton
    June 02, 11:37 Reply

    Congratulations Milton. You’re such a strong force. You took in a lot but came out unabashedly strong. Keep souring.
    Happy pride month to y’all.

  15. Delle
    June 02, 12:17 Reply

    So much love from me, Milton. You’re one brave chap and I’m glad you’re reaping the fruits of your bravado.

    Your parents are amazing and you should cherish that.

    As for Lucifer, well that name totally fits. I see why now.

    Oh and congrats about your being undetectable. Soonest, HIV will be as bad as a headache is.

    XO 💞

  16. Ken George
    June 02, 13:51 Reply

    Congrats to your happy ending. Your parents are obviously oyibo pipo in black skin, quite understanding folk.

    So at least u are free now and have your entire life ahead of u. Best of luck!

  17. Nel
    June 02, 20:20 Reply

    I’m so glad you’ve got to this point, with yourself and with family. The Milton here is so different from the one in your previous post. So much positivity to take home.

    I just hope my parents would be accomodating too when I decide to come out to them.
    No one deserves to be outed. But then, even when it happened outside your control, you took charge of the situation.

    Congratulations on all your wins. 😘😘

  18. Peace
    June 03, 05:24 Reply

    Shine forth dear bright Milton. I’m so happy for you, see me smiling as I type this. You’re unstoppable, you’re super talented, you’re amazing, you’re beautiful. Keep on shining nna.

    • Milton
      June 03, 08:55 Reply

      Thanks Peace… I drew strength from a lot of sources. Reading the posts on this blog has been a great support system. I guess I am just lucky to have the kind of parents I have. Trust me, they are no angels. But they do find a way to ve strong for their children.

  19. Milton
    June 03, 09:22 Reply

    This blog is invaluable. It’s basically “Being Gay in Africa 101”. It should be made a GST course in Nigerian Universities.

    • Nobility
      June 04, 01:27 Reply

      I pay tribute to all the members of our community before us, who pushed the boundaries in their lifetimes so that we could be here today. Your story is touching. It spreads hope and light. One day the right to love who you love will be respected across the whole world. We will see that day.

  20. mike
    June 03, 10:04 Reply

    Lionheart. Mehn strength.

  21. Thrive
    June 03, 11:13 Reply

    Thrive Milton Thrive……

    “Now I am keeping my fingers crossed that it ends here, because I keep imagining the various ways I will ruin his life should he mess with me again”

    He doesn’t deserve this energy…… Reciprocate his haterade with all the success coming your way.

    You are a conqueror

  22. Nobility
    June 04, 01:07 Reply

    Your parents didn’t know how to react. The story ended with reconcilation. For some reason I think it’s important that you know that you’re worthy of love. I’m HIV negative and I think I can date a HIV positive person. Took me a long time to get to this point were I can maturely process this. You honestly sound like person who deserves someone like me. I’m single and looking.

  23. Obiora
    June 05, 06:14 Reply

    I’m so happy for you Milton, congratulations on scaling through this phase. You give me a lot of hope, believing that one day, I’d be able to live my truth. But today’s real truth is that, I’ve still not been able to muster courage to tell my mom and family I’m gay, meanwhile I’m planning a wedding for next year, I know before y’all come for me. It burns my spirit deeply, sadly, I really don’t know where to start from. Reading your story futher reassures me that I have a strong support system to rely on.

    • Chidi
      June 09, 04:44 Reply

      You must not do this Obiora, please! You mustn’t marry anyone. It isn’t worth it. Too much pain will only come from it.

  24. Sunny
    June 05, 19:40 Reply

    This story is very inspiring to me. I wish I had your strength. I quit taking my drugs about 8 months ago. They make me sicker, frail and space out everyday.

    It’s always so good to read about folks who have their viral load undetected.

    Good luck with your journey, looking forward to reading more of it.

  25. Temi
    June 06, 11:11 Reply

    Congratulations Milton may your joy continually be full 🙏🏽🌈

  26. Malik
    June 13, 11:53 Reply

    Late comment but this bit got me screaming yasssss!

    “However, I have come to understand that talking about this stuff is good. It feels great to share my thoughts, burdens and pains with somebody.”

    Amen, Milton! Amen! Thank you for sharing this.

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