The Treasure I Couldn’t Keep

The Treasure I Couldn’t Keep

Depression is an emotion that is somewhat relatable to many people out there, even if it doesn’t get talked about often. Being a gay guy, I’ve had my own share of this emotion and more. On that day, I was going through a painful swirl in my life and only one person knew about it – my friend, KayCee.

KayCee is female, a friend who evolved over time to being a support system, a backbone to me. It wasn’t out of place then that she would be the only one I’d tell of my troubled state.

“How far?” she asked, her voice characterized by its typical rushed, excitable timbre. She always has this edge to her tone that screams, ‘Listen to me!’ On a normal day, that would have been the perfect prelude to long hours or minutes, at least, of random talk and gossip, but then, that would be on a normal day.

“I’m good, dear,” I replied over the phone. “And how is my sweetie pie doing?”

She didn’t answer immediately. It was as though she’d heard something I hadn’t said. Then, “What’s wrong with you, Delle? Something is up. Oya, tell me, tell me, tell me!” She demanded this in that boisterous way of hers that seemed to take the ‘S’ out of ‘serious’.

Now, why was I depressed? Well, that night my father had come back from a party slightly drunk. And when he gets like that, he talks. I mean, talks! So there he was, yapping away about his expectations of me, my getting married and giving him grandchildren. He said a lot of things that spoke of a father’s expectations of his son. Obligations I was well aware of, but which hurt because I suspected very strongly that I was going to disappoint him. knowing this truth that wasn’t apparent to my him, to my family, jabbed at me, like thorns prickling my backside continuously, and brought down a heavy pall of darkness to my heart.

KayCee tried to bolster my mood, and sometime after our conversation, she called back to tell him, “You know what? I gave two people your number. They are my friends and I guess they want to talk to you.”

“Talk to me? Why did you tell them? I don’t need to talk to anyone. I’ll be fine and –” I wasn’t particularly pleased to talk to a bunch of strangers about my issue, but she cut me off.

“Shut up joor. You need to talk to someone with a guy’s perspective on this issue. I’m not a guy and there’s only little I can say now to make you feel better. I also told them of the time those policemen apprehended you on suspicion of being gay. Don’t worry, they are good people, really nice guys. They meant well when they said they’d like to talk to you.”

I rolled my eyes, even though I knew she couldn’t see me do it. “Okay, whatever you say, mama.”

The Christmas season was fast approaching then, and was sweeping everyone into its whirl of joys and anticipation. That day, my mother and I had earlier returned from the market and had just finished cooking, before I could finally have some time to myself. I went to my room to get back online and chat with friends. Just then, my phone rang. I checked to see that the Caller ID wasn’t known to me.

I answered. “Hello.”

“Hey, what’s up” a deep male voice replied.

My heart skipped, one, two, zapped me into space and back, all with dizzying speed! Okay, apart from one’s cuteness and intelligence, my greatest weakness is the male baritone on a voice that speaks with refined diction. This caller had it all. Reflexively, I cleared my throat, unconsciously readjusting myself.

“Um, I’m doing very well, thank you,” I dripped.

(For the purpose of this story, this guy would be referred to as Arinze.)

“I’m Arinze,” the voice drummed again. “Your friend, KayCee, gave me your number. She’s a friend of mine. Trust she told you about me calling, right?”

“Yes, yes, she did. I’m Delle…er, KayCee’s friend…apparently.” I laughed then. I couldn’t believe what I’d just said. Of course he knew I was KayCee’s friend. This guy’s voice had me seriously flustered.

“So what’s up with you? She said something about you being depressed and I just thought I should call to know exactly how you are faring and probably talk you out of impending suicide.” He sounded so tongue-in-cheek with that ending part of his comment, I could almost hear the smile in his voice.

I laughed. He laughed. A good sense of humour too, I was getting quite intrigued by this guy.

Thereafter, I went on to have one of the most amazing phone conversations I’ve ever had with Arinze. Bye depression! Arinze and I talked for over two hours that evening, and by the time we said our goodbyes, I was in such high spirits, my heart was filled with a whole new awareness. Mistake, big mistake. But what did I know?

The next day, on the phone, I enthusiastically told KayCee about Arinze’s call. She was pleased I had gotten out of my dark corner. “Duh,” I said when she expressed this pleasure, “he called and we spoke for over two hours. If I don’t get out of my dark corner with that, then that corner must be more comfortable than the White House.” We both laughed at that.

That night, I wasn’t really expecting Arinze to call again. I hoped he would. And he did. When I saw his call coming in, I answered immediately. “Hello, Arinze,” I cooed into the phone like a child who’d just been introduced to a world of candy. He was just as sweet as ever during our ensuing conversation. He made me laugh a lot. He was good with words, and I listened, drinking in everything he said like he was TB Joshua and I was a faithful member of his ministry. I didn’t know which was scarier, the fact that I was beginning to really like him, or that I knew I shouldn’t like him, at least not so fast.

We talked on the phone for hours almost every day that followed. There were endless night calls, and it wasn’t even the MTN-to-MTN happy hour calls. He called with a different network, and with his airtime. Our conversations were effortless, like we had known each other for years and not just for less than a week.

“I’m bisexual.” He dropped the words on me during one of those days we were talking about everything under the sun.

I felt my heart drop. Oh God, why me? I wanted to cry out. I wasn’t one who was very magnanimous with my feelings about men who identify as bisexuals. And now, I had gone and fallen for one such guy. Yes, I’d fallen for him. Hey, it wasn’t love. But I’d definitely developed a soft spot for Arinze.

I didn’t know what to say to what he’d just told me. “Oh really? Hmm…well, umm, that’s good,” I finished lamely.

“Are you okay with that?” he asked.

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Because KayCee has once mentioned to me how you feel about bisexuals,” he answered.

I will kill KayCee for sure, I thought wrathfully as I struggled for how to respond to Arinze.

He continued though, “I thought I should let you know. If we are being open with each other as friends, I felt I should let you know about my sexuality.”

“I understand. And please, don’t mind me. It’s not like I hate bisexuals or anything. I just can’t stand the fact that many of them conveniently do not commit to their homosexuality as much as they would their heterosexuality. It doesn’t help that most of them tend to condescend to gay guys with what they think is their superiority. It’s like they’re saying, Hey I can be straight and you can’t, boo-hoo! But I have no problem with you being bi. It’s who you are and I can’t let it affect our friendship. So tell me, do you have a girlfriend?” My heart had started a slow burn as I asked that question. I was almost tearing up. I mean, why did this guy have to be bisexual? Couldn’t he just be gay so we would one day live happily ever after?

“Well, I don’t really have a girlfriend, but there’s a girl sha. Just a friend and we kinda like each other…”

He was going on and on, and I sat where I was, feeling my heart break one piece at a time. But I was determined not to let this affect our friendship. I still liked the light he brought to my soul very much. Above all else, he’d been a good friend.

He kept calling. I continued falling. Never for once did I tell myself to slow down. No, if below this pit lies a 20-inch Mouka Foam, then let me fall. KayCee was in the know, of course. She was still pleased that Arinze and I were getting along very well, but she was a little concerned by the dynamics of our ‘relationship’.

Two weeks after, I began to get so ahead of myself, that I began expecting Arinze to come out and ask me to be his boyfriend. I mean, we had such undeniable chemistry. And I needed the commitment. No other guy was making sense to me anymore. It was all him. We spoke on phone, chatted on whatsapp. I was smitten by Arinze, even though I could sense that he didn’t seem to feel the exact same way.

Yes, he often told me he liked me and loved what we had and all, but what I felt for him was more than just a ribbon-tied likeness and some connection. I was consumed. I looked forward to hearing his voice, looked forward to meeting with him one day. I felt like he could tell me to do anything and I’d do it. It was official, I began to realize with a sinking sensation. I no longer had just a mere soft spot for him. I was in love with him. And I had to know, I had to understand what was going on between us. Our chats had so far crossed the lines of platonic friendship. We had gotten very intimate with each other. I needed clarification.

So I asked him to define us for me.

“Umm, Delle,” he started, “let’s not jump the gun here. I can’t be in a relationship with you…”

Right there, my world came crashing down to smithereens.

But he wasn’t done yet. “…I like you, God knows I do. But I can’t be in a relationship with you. How would you feel when I eventually leave you to get married someday? Because I will! And before you go there, it would not be because I want to conform to societal norms but because I want to. I can’t break your heart like that and have you hate me forever. Please, you need to understand.”

As he spoke, my tears began flowing. I felt misery overtaking me. Some desperation began nipping at the edges of my mind. “Listen Arinze, why don’t we work with what we have? Whatever happens in the future should wait for just that – the future. I’m not complaining. If we like each other, why should something that hasn’t happened dampen that?” I was pleading. What was happening to me? I couldn’t get a hold of myself. It tore at me that I couldn’t have him and I couldn’t bring myself to detach from him. I was frustrated.

He sighed, an expelling of breath that hinted at his frustration too. “We’ve not known each other that long, Delle. It’s not like we’ve been friends for months or anything. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, just because we like each other. I have been in previous relationships with guys who were formerly my friends and after we break up, the whole thing went sour. I wouldn’t want that to happen to us.”

He had a point. It began to get increasingly clear to me that we couldn’t be. We ended our conversation that day on an uncertain note. I retreated to the whirling emotions in my heart, a heart now troubled with uncertainties and questions. Days passed and I began to realize that my earlier resolve not to all this emotional stuff get in the way of our friendship was foolhardy. If I was going to be honest with myself, then I’d know that if I couldn’t have Arinze the way I wanted, I’d rather not have him at all. After consulting a couple of my close friends on the issue, I decided I was going to shut him out of my life. It was better that way. So I did. Without giving him fair warning, I went ahead to block him on whatsapp and tried blocking his line from contacting mine, but I couldn’t figure that out.

When he discovered that I’d blocked him on whatsapp, he called. He was angry. He demanded an explanation for what I was doing. I gave him my reason. “I can’t keep talking to you like all is fine when everything has changed, when I know I’m dying inside. Arinze, you need to understand that it’s better this way.” I was crying now. Damnit!

“Keep quiet, Delle!” he said sharply. “Don’t make decisions with your heart at this moment. No one should make a decision when he or she is emotionally downtrodden. Blocking me on whatsapp is just childish and I won’t take it! So you just want to end our friendship just like that, eh? I thought I explained all this to you. I can’t help the situation, so why punish me for it? I’d be with you if it was that easy, but it’s not. You had better understand that and unblock me. But if that’s what you want, then fine. I won’t push you. I understand.” And he ended the call.

I felt like throwing my phone against the wall, like smashing something to satisfying pieces. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck! I raged in my head.

I told KayCee about our call. “If you unblock him,” she counseled, “you two will get back to chatting, and will try to act like nothing has happened, and you will end up hurting the more. I know you. I know you like him and I know how your fragile mind works. If it were me, I’d know how to keep my emotions in check. But you…You’re not that strong. So perhaps, it’s okay for you to let him go.”

And so I did. I let him go. It is such an unfair hand that life has dealt me, us. But I had to roll with it. Eventually, Arinze and I managed to get around the drama of my emotions, and returned to being friends, even though we couldn’t get back the magic we once had. Too much had happened to let us get back to where we used to be. I am however glad I was able to get to this balance: if I can’t have him as mine, I can have him as someone who’s there and who I can count on. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters, that there are people that matter in your life.

Written by Delle

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54 Comments

  1. Khaleesi
    April 01, 09:53 Reply

    Awwnnn … Great piece Sprinkled with generous doses of drama, but it smacks so thoroughly of a kid who has a lot of growing to do …woo hoo!! first to comment ***accepts agbaya medal from Pinky**

    • Mandy
      April 01, 10:09 Reply

      But this kind of emotional drama is not exclusive to ‘kids who have a lot of growing up to do’. (That condescension though) This narration, this tendency to get ahead of ourselves like this, is a flaw most gay men, kids or not, suffer. Once the thirst sinks its hooks in you, you begin to see happily-ever-afters where they don’t exist.

    • Delle
      April 01, 11:18 Reply

      Umm…okay Khalee…I really don’t get the subtle spite in this comment. Quite the thing u know

  2. bruno
    April 01, 10:08 Reply

    experiences like this turned us into the cynics we are today.

    bisexuals (and self-proclaimed bisexuals) around here are a no.

    relationships are hard enough without the inevitable takeover by a lady hanging over it like a dark cloud.

    • Mandy
      April 01, 10:13 Reply

      ‘…without the inevitable takeover by a lady hanging over it like a dark cloud.’
      Lol. I read this and I got the impression of a doomsday prophesy hanging over gay relationships.

  3. Marc Francis of Chelsea
    April 01, 10:10 Reply

    You didn’t fall in love. You leaped into love. This entire thing happened over the phone in the space of two weeks? Not judging but damn.

    • Delle
      April 01, 11:20 Reply

      I guess my heart is flimsy like that. I couldn’t stop myself. Thinking about it now, I guess it’s cos he came to me at a very vulnerable stage in my life. I needed someone (I guess) to latch onto

  4. Mandy
    April 01, 10:15 Reply

    Virtual relationship toh bad.

  5. goldd1st
    April 01, 10:40 Reply

    Lolz….but I still feel for u dou if it is real….I remeba dis sort of tin apun to me n d gal told me she is bi….sowie all bi ova here….bt bi knw hw to make u feel….u knw….bt damm! I fink I nid scotch…later guys…work call

    • Mandy
      April 01, 10:46 Reply

      *thoroughly confused by this comment*

      • kacee
        April 01, 11:28 Reply

        huh…. I’m confused too…. sounds like a stud.

  6. DF
    April 01, 11:16 Reply

    Mandy, give your number..

  7. kacee
    April 01, 11:30 Reply

    I still don’t understand why he called you like that(2 hours everyday)….. seems he wanted u to like him or fall for him.

    • Delle
      April 01, 11:47 Reply

      Well, with the way things panned out, I guess it was all a strategy from the go

      • Colossus
        April 01, 12:04 Reply

        How was it a strategy? You were vulnerable, kacee suggested you speak to someone. In her wisdom, she contacted the person, he spoke to you, did his best to bring you out of depression, you then went way over the line and fell in love with him. He clarified in pretty plain English how that was not a good idea but you wouldn’t have that. It’s him or no one else. So you blocked him, the same guy that pulled you out of depression. Kacee also agreed to this blocking move even though she knows the guy better than you do, this means she’ll be in the best position to have warned you if the guy was a fraud or tell you not to fall for the guy bearing in mind how sappy you can be.

        Now it’s all over, you feel the guy set up a grand scheme to make you fall in love with him? Like a drug he gets high on?

        I’m sorry, I’m failing the see the evil plot here.

        • Delle
          April 01, 12:15 Reply

          Yea, let’s just say you don’t know half of the story yet.
          Prolly should have a sequel to this story, then the dots would be connected for you to see.

          Btw, don’t you think you’re being tinny-winny judgemental?

          • Colossus
            April 01, 12:36 Reply

            Then give the whole story.
            How am I judgemental? Because I didn’t join you in calling the guy a fraud? I was being objective based on the story you put in front of us, I gave my opinion based on this story. If there is more to the story, indicate it here, state it at the end of the story so people can make their opinions based on this particular piece, bearing in mind that there is more to come.

            You just agreed with Kacee that the guy had a strategy, a guy you spoke to for weeks. You made a judgement based on that, I speak on the contrary and I’m judgemental?

        • kacee
          April 01, 13:17 Reply

          Colossus i adviced Delle to block him…. I didn’t know he was like that…. u wouldn’t understand it’s a long story.

          • Colossus
            April 01, 14:00 Reply

            Make us understand, tell us the whole story. Delle ain’t doing himself justice by telling half the story.

            • Delle
              April 01, 16:02 Reply

              As at then (when I sent it to PP), it was the complete story. We however became ‘friends’ again and the rest is history. Now, this second part I’d make sure to get across.

          • Enigmous
            April 05, 08:05 Reply

            Well, Kacee, I’m not suffering from depression. But I do like some baritones. Do you understand?

              • Enigmous
                April 05, 19:37 Reply

                Child,

                Rest.

                If I want to chat with you, I will address my chat to you.

                Kacee,

                Over to you.

  8. chuck
    April 01, 11:46 Reply

    The Arinze guy possibly gets off on getting vulnerable gay men to get attached to him. It feels good to know you’ve put strings on others.

    Others have mentioned the “flimsiness” of this 2 week falling in love by phone thing. I guess some gay men are alienated and latch onto whoever seems to fit their fantasy/ facsimile of love.

    I appreciate the Arinze fellow’s clarity about wanting marriage. I hope he’s clear with his wife about his sexual predilections

    • Delle
      April 01, 12:07 Reply

      I totally buy into the second paragraph of your comment. My sentiments exactly.

      OAN concerning him being faithful…well, the girl happens to be bisexual (from what he told me) but he doesn’t seem to want her to know. The reason however eludes me

  9. Colossus
    April 01, 11:57 Reply

    So, you fell in love with your shrink?

    Hello Sensei.

    • Delle
      April 01, 12:09 Reply

      He wasn’t a shrink pls. Just cos he happened at a vulnerable stage in my life doesn’t make him one.

  10. Keredim
    April 01, 13:24 Reply

    Oh, from what you said to Colossus, the story is not complete?

    You cooked up a story to make you look like the victim in order to gain sympathy or at the very least start another “kill the bisexual” narrative on here??

    And you say i have “insecurities” about my weight?!??

    Biko, pass me another giant jam-filled doughnut?. I rather be “fat” than have Munchausen syndrome ????

    • kacee
      April 01, 15:14 Reply

      keredim I’ll shake my balls for you if i had one……. nobody is a victim here pls…… Someone took advantage of my baby that is all I can say to you.

      • Keredim
        April 01, 15:28 Reply

        Nne, you have balls, you just don’t know it.

        Please explain to me (from this version of events) how your baby was taken ‘advantage’ of?

        • kacee
          April 01, 15:58 Reply

          LMAO i dont have balls biko…. the story isn’t complete yet.

    • Delle
      April 01, 15:18 Reply

      Hahahaha Kere. Oh, good ole Kere. Why you so pained? That I cooked up a story? Okay, I laughed my ribs out at that statement. If your weight issues weighs you down like this for you to go around casting unwanted and already old and tiring shades at people (trust me, I’m bored already)…then deal with it. It’s no fiction. I don’t need pity cos it’s a past experience in my life (I wonder if your fat let you see the Christmas setting). So next time hun, get your facts straight.
      How I hate jams though! Lmao

      • Keredim
        April 01, 15:39 Reply

        I don’t throw ” shades”. I throw “shade”

        And just incase you are tempted, I don’t throw “a shade” either.

        I hope you didn’t crack your ribs while laughing? You know how brittle they are.

        I would have called to check on you, but you just might get “Crazy in love”, during the phone call.

        • Delle
          April 01, 15:58 Reply

          Lol. Crazy in love? My flimsy heart has fat boundaries though.

          But this comment, there’s something about it that was so unKeredim…lmao!

          • Keredim
            April 01, 16:14 Reply

            Yea you are quite correct. It was “unkeredim – like” (whatever that means)

            Maybe its the pity i have for you…..

            Please please, go and complete the story. Redeem your scrwany ass.?????

            • kacee
              April 01, 18:44 Reply

              Kere baby if you mean “scrawny” Delle’s ass ain’t that….. he has ASSet with his slim shape…

              • Keredim
                April 01, 23:12 Reply

                Yes, I suppose….Land of the blind and all that…??

                • kacee
                  April 01, 23:16 Reply

                  you are not serious biko…. go and sleep its late…… if u don’t believe me well okay.

                • Delle
                  April 02, 12:40 Reply

                  And I suppose that’s all you got? Smh

    • Delle
      April 01, 18:59 Reply

      Why thank you, Kacee.
      Keredim, before I say any other thing to you, could you please do justice to your avatar? I’d be glad…

      • Keredim
        April 01, 23:11 Reply

        Don’t you need to have avatar before you criticise another person’s own?

        • Delle
          April 01, 23:16 Reply

          I’d rather not have at all than have one that sooooooo contradicts my persona *smiling sweetly*

  11. Uziel
    April 01, 13:53 Reply

    I dunno, but…

    Two gay guys meet (virtual or real) and they have some attraction and some chemistry. Give it a few days and the idea of a special connection crops. Love. Infauation. And then dreams of a happy ever after.

    I don’t think this is bad in itself. The heart wants what it wants just like the body wants what it wants. So I don’t think either Delle or Arinze did something wrong by establishing that connection and enjoying it while it lasted. I don’t think Arinze is a bad guy by calling everyday. He wanted companionship and he got it. For all intents and purposes, Delle wanted companionship too. Everything would have been okay if Delle hasn’t fallen in love and hoped that Arinze was on the same page with him. They could have been very good friends. Which is what I’d have hoped would happen.

    PS: I think people are obsessed with the wrong idea; falling in love and living happy ever after. There’s something more magical than the idea of romance: friendship. I’m fascinated at how people seek to maintain a romantic affair for years when they can’t maintain a friendship for a month. Shrug.

    The other thing more magical than the idea of a romance? Real romance. When it comes, its worth it. Hold tight.

  12. Geeluv
    April 01, 20:57 Reply

    And the second guy never called ???

  13. *•sugarrr•*
    April 01, 23:32 Reply

    Oh swthrt @Dele, am so sorry okay… But Pls, u need to have principles of your own, so that no matter what pOp in your way, you gon keep to your rules. kcee, weldone! And to the Other dude, keep the spirit of encouragement … ?

  14. Cho
    April 03, 00:07 Reply

    If you don’t have control over your emotions, you will have more of Arinzes. It could also mess things up at work or regular day to day activities.

    • Delle
      April 05, 08:52 Reply

      Lol, very true. I’d keep my emotions in check

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