I meet Julius in October 2011. Before that meet, we had been online friends, chatting via 2go. He’d wanted to meet on several occasions, but I’d declined. Something about his photo didn’t sit well with me. It didn’t help that he resided in one of the most notorious ghettos in Enugu. So I kept saying no to his requests for me to visit. Not because I feared a kito experience, far from it. I simply didn’t like the Julius I could see in his profile picture.

But the guy wouldn’t give up.

“Come to my house nah,” he’d say.

“No, I don’t have chance,” I’d reply.

“Ok. Can I visit you?”

“No, you can’t. I stay with my uncle and I’m not allowed visitors.”

“Ok, let’s see in a joint of your choice.”

At this point, I’d take another look at his display photo and feel repulsed again.

“Sorry, no chance,” I’d demur.

And then the day came when he informed me in a chat that he would be traveling to Port Harcourt to see his parents. While he was in PH, he changed his display photo to a pic where he was clad in boxers and a white singlet. Here, he looked much better; nothing that would turn heads in the street, but he was not bad either. (Later, I got to know that that initial picture was an old photo, in no way close to what he looked like presently).

As I stared at his new display picture, I began to feel a slight tug of attraction for him. When he returned to Enugu, I started throwing very subtle hints at him about meeting, but the hints were so subtle that they bounced off him. I didn’t blame him though, given the level of rejection I’d subjected him to.

He did however eventually ask me again himself, for a meet. This time, I said yes. He’d asked in the morning as I got ready for school. I asked him to come over to my campus. All these conversations were still via 2go. We’d never exchanged numbers, not even now that we were finally scheduled to meet. When I got to the campus, my network developed a problem, and I logged off 2go, making a mental note of logging back in soon. However, I got so distracted with my course mates, I forgot to log back online.

In the evening, after I got home, I logged into my account and saw his name in the list of online friends. Suddenly, I remembered our proposed meet. I felt really bad. I apologized and promised to come around his place on my way to school the next day. He graciously accepted my apology, and the following morning, I set off for his residence.

After that first face-to-face meet, I found myself actually liking him. I found myself wanting more of him. So I pushed for it, and we soon began dating, a relationship that went on to last for about a year and a half.

In May 2013, one day, I went to see Julius at his place. We were together, doing stuff that boyfriends do. It was a great day. In the evening, I went back home. Immediately I stepped into my uncle’s compound, my phone rang. It was him, my boyfriend, Julius. He wanted to know if I’d gotten home safely. We cooed at each other on the phone for awhile before we disconnected. That call was going to be the last time I’d hear from or speak to Julius in a very long time.

I tried calling him severally after that evening, but he didn’t pick any of my calls. At some point, the line stopped being available. I went to see him but he wasn’t home. I was suddenly so swiftly cut off from him that my head spun for awhile. I hurt some, and then I moved on, trying not to feel too much hurt at the closure I wasn’t to get at the end of our relationship.

A year and seven months passed and suddenly, he was reconnecting with me via whatsapp. He’d apparently gotten my number from a mutual friend of ours. And he had news: he was now a pastor. He was full of the gospel. I didn’t mind that he’d found salvation, but I quickly jettisoned him from my chat list when he started pestering me with religious broadcast messages.

Thus ensued another period of radio silence between us. Two years passed, and a few weeks ago, he showed up at my house.

“What are you doing here, Julius?” I wanted to know.

“I came to see your face and also to know how you’re doing,” he said.

“After like what, three years? Well, I’m fine.” After a brief moment of silence, one richly marinated with awkwardness, I asked, “Is there any other thing?”

“Yes there is,” he said solemnly. “I also came to ask for your forgiveness.”

“Forgiveness for what?”

“For everything.”

“What is the everything I’m supposed to forgive?”

“Staying away from you.”

“Why did you do that? Why did you stay away from me?”

He didn’t reply.

I sighed. “You know, I’ve thought about this day severally. I’ve thought, and finally, I came to terms with the decision that should you ever ask, I’ll forgive you. So there, you’re forgiven.”

“Thank you,” he said. After a beat, he added, “There is something else.”

“What is it?”

“I want you back.”

“Huh?” I raised my brows in astonishment.

“I want us to be friends again.”

“Why?” I asked.

This prompted him to go on a rambling speech about all the reasons he’d like to have me back as his boyfriend. I let him go on, choosing not to bring up the bit about his salvation of a couple of years ago.

Finally, I cut him short with my firm words, “I don’t like you the way I used to. We can be friends, sure. Just to be clear, we are never getting back together.”

Written by Michael