“Why are you gay?”
A long time ago, someone asked me.
“Why? Why are you gay?”
It wasn’t even the kind of question that left wriggle room for doubt. He sounded certain.
“Why are you gay?” NOT “Are you gay?”
Of course, I acted like I didn't know what he was talking about. “Huh!?”
He persisted. “I've seen your browser history. Gay porn? Why?”
I could have just turned tables and started badgering him on why he went through my browser history in the first place, but it would only sound more like me trying to change the subject. My defensiveness would be a statement of my…well, guilt.
But I was scrambling for a good excuse, a persuasive lie, a brilliant answer. I grasped at the ones that came into my head and ran with them. I gave my cousin my phone, he must have done it… Okay, I'm lying, I mistakenly clicked a link on Facebook… It was a mistake…
Yea, some brilliance.
I couldn't fool him. Jude was my best friend. He could tell when I was lying or speaking the truth. And so, in a more solemn tone, he said again, “Why are you gay?”
And I replied, this time with utmost sincerity, “I don't know…”
And from that day, Jude and I stopped talking and relating as much as we used to, until we finally stopped talking and relating AT ALL! The aftermath of that was that I missed him.
And then, several weeks later, I went out with a few friends, and you would not believe who we ran into. JUDE!
It was awkward because my friends were also his friends. So while they were greeting him with handshakes and fist bumps, I stood there like Kim Kardashian in a room full of nuns.
“Ah-ahn!” said my really loud friend, Samuel. “Jude, you no go greet Kevin?”
Everyone laughed. I even gave a fake giggle.
Jude walked over to me, and gave me a VERY stiff handshake. That was it! A handshake, and our greeting business was done.
Anyway, it turned out we had all come to see the same movie, 22 Jump Street.
Now, here's where things got really awkward.
Almost every row of seat was full, except the front rows. So our choices were limited. I wanted to sit with my buddies, and then, when I discovered that the only other available seat was between Jude and Samuel, I started looking elsewhere. But mumu Samuel had to go and holler, “Kev, come and sit here na!”
Aswear I wanted to sink into the ground.
I eventually sat there and tried as much as possible not to make eye or physical contact with Jude. He seemed to be studiously doing the same too.
Thirty minutes into the movie, and I already had five cracked ribs and my throat hurt real bad from laughing too hard. And the fascinating thing about the situation was whenever something funny happened, and I looked at the way Jude smiled – his eyes, his lips – something in me would light up as if I had just seen a thousand stars dancing to 'Let it go'.
And our eyes would meet and then depart again.
Then all of a sudden, the movie started to make references to gay guys and such, and I began to feel very self conscious. I started mouthing “Kill me now” to the heavens. You know that feeling of mortification you get when you’re in the midst of straight people and the topic of homosexuality comes on, and you feel like all eyes are on you… Well, that was how I felt.
Specifically, Jude's eyes!
I tried so hard not to look at him, even just a little.
And then came the scene that I felt was really relevant in that movie, when Channing Tatum defended the rights of gay guys amongst other things. In that time, I took a peek at Jude’s face, and I swear, he was actually focusing on that scene like it meant something to him. And before I could look away, he turned to me, and our eyes met again.
Finally, the movie was over and the end credits and bloopers had started rolling up. People started exiting the cinema one by one. Samuel and my other buddies left to use the gents, while Jude and I remained in our seats like we planned it. Soon, we were the only ones there.
After what felt like a lifetime of awkward silence, I turned to him and began, “Look, I honestly didn't know you were coming too. I wouldn't have come if I knew.”
“No, it’s okay. I know.”
“So, we're good?”
“Yeah, I guess. And look, I'm really sorry about shunning you these past months. I was just confused.”
“About what? The last time I checked, I was the gay one.”
At that, Jude hung his head like I had pushed a button, a VERY BIG EMOTIONAL button.
And it suddenly dawned on me. The question he asked me then – “Why are you gay?” NOT “Are you gay?” Jude wanted to know WHY I was gay. Not because he wanted to understand me, but because he wanted to understand HIMSELF. The light bulb that went on in my head was brilliantly incandescent.
Then I said in the gentlest way possible, “Jude, are you… are you gay?”
He didn't answer. He didn't nod. He didn't speak. He did something even better. He grabbed my very surprised face and kissed me till His kingdom came. It felt like someone had just blown vanilla banger in my lips. It was simply the most delicious kiss.
“Does that answer your question?” he said when we pulled back.
All I could do was nod.
And then, just then, we heard someone from way down the gallery shout, “IT’S A LIE!”
Written by Reverend Hot