HE PRAYED

HE PRAYED

“Oh heavenly father, as this vehicle is about to start this journey, I pray that safety is the portion of every passenger in this bus. I command and bind every accident causing demon to the abyss!”

As the preacher fired his supplications to the Heavens, I sat in my corner, focused on my sizing up of the eye candy seated next to me. He had that thuggish appeal about him, which seemed to enhance his attractiveness for me.

“No matter how educated you are, the entire certificate you own, all your beauty, all your material acquisition, all is vanity.”

The preacher was done with praying; now, he was preaching. Fifteen minutes later, fifteen minutes since the bus took off from the park, and he was still at it, his righteous indignation at all the sins of the world evident in every word he spoke and his gestures with his bible in hand.

I wished he would stop so I would have nothing distracting me from my admiration of the guy next to me. He was wearing a black v-neck polo, with Adidas joggers and black sandals. I glanced at his arms, noting with a flash of desire how well-defined his biceps were. He had the muscular look of one who worked out regularly. Looking at his neck, I could see some bushy tufts of hair visible above the v-neckline of his T-shirt, which was a clear indication that he was hairy. With his Patek Phillippe watch and gold necklace to finish up his look, I scored him a solid 7 out of 10.

“You think that by joining cult, that you are safe? You think by joining the homosexual and lesbian cult in school, you are safe?” the preacher fumed. “My brothers and sisters, let me tell you: the end is near and only Jesus is the way. I am talking from experience. Before I was a member of a powerful secret society, and I thought I had it all – all the riches, all the power – until I met God.”

I was contemplating the guy, wondering how to start a conversation with him. He looked in my direction, and noticing my gaze on him, he flashed a smile at me. I smiled back.

It is going to be easy then, I thought.

I had just opened my mouth to initiate the chyking, when I saw him close his eyes and begin muttering something. I realized then that the preacher had embarked on another prayer session, this time, engaging the bus with an issue for everyone to pray over. My eyes darted from the preacher to the other passengers. There was a girl lounging back on her seat, chewing gum, her attention on her phone, with her ears plugged shut with an earpiece. She seemed totally oblivious of what was happening around her in the bus. One or two other passengers looked absent-minded. So, I was clearly not the only one in the bus destined for Hell.

Everyone else had their eyes shut as they participated in the preacher’s service. Eventually, he rounded up the prayer with a loud “In the mighty name of Jesus, we pray”, which was followed by a chorus of “Amen” from the passengers.

As the others roused from their prayers, I turned to the eye candy. He was still praying, his eyes shut, his mouth moving as he muttered his negotiations with God.

Oh, so this one is mightily religious, I thought, thinking about the past and remembering other religious fuck-ups of a guy. Oh chim! Thank you for revealing this one to me on time, before I will land myself into a mess with another religious guy.

As I watched him still praying, I felt the fire of my attraction for him get doused by the cold wash of this new reality. My interest in him fizzled out as I pulled my attention from him.

In the way some people don’t do married men, that is how much I keep my distance from religious guys. By the way, unless it is transactional sex or an understanding that there’d be no strings attached, I also don’t do married men. But with religious guys, I have a special aversion to them.

I glanced at him one more time to see him still praying, albeit less fervently than before. He was clearly winding down to his final business proposition with God.

Then I looked at the preacher. He was looking at me and our gazes locked. I held his stare, staring icicles at him as I recalled the bit in his sermon about homosexuality being a cult. You couldn’t talk about salvation without dragging homosexuality into it, could you? I fired at him with quiet venom.

In the wave of all the attention that LGBT equality has been getting the world over, why are these Nigerian men of God determined to be on the wrong side of history? Do they not see what a losing battle they are fighting with this insistence on demonizing homosexuality?

The preacher looked away from me. The way I was feeling, I almost wished he’d challenged me, so I would give him a piece of my mind, the loathsome rodent that he is. I turned away from him, only for me to hear him utter one more concluding prayer to God.

“Father Lord, I soak this vehicle with the Blood of Jesus Christ. You will lead them safely to their destinations. Any agents of Satan in this bus, they shall be restless and powerless till the vehicle reaches its destination. All the passengers that gave their life to Christ, Father Lord, please strengthen them energize them. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray!”

“Amen!” the bus chorused again.

A moment passed, before he said, “Please, my dear brothers and sisters, if you have anything, kindly donate for the work of God to prosper.”

Odiegwu! Work of God indeed! I thought contemptuously.

The eye candy next to me dropped his offering into the waterproof that the preacher had had passed around the bus. He turned to hand the waterproof to me, hesitated when he saw the expression on my face and hurriedly handed it to someone else. Even he couldn’t be blind to how little interest I’d paid to the whole ministry of the bus preacher.

Finally, with his mission accomplished, the preacher was ready to alight. He called out to the driver. Moments later, the driver pulled over by the side of the road. A few passengers, mostly men, took the opportunity to get down and ease themselves, me included. When I got back into the bus, determined to discourage any interaction between me and the eye candy, I brought out my novel, Hild by Nicola Griffith. For the remaining five hours left in this journey, I was going to give this book my sole attention.

Some minutes later, the eye candy tried to get my attention. Clearly, he didn’t know that the smile I earlier gave to him was so 1950. I focused on my novel, pretending to not notice his subtle attempts to engage me.

“What are you reading?” I heard him finally ask.

“Hild,” I replied shortly.

“Is it good?”

“Depends.”

“My name is Anayo by the way,” he said. “What’s yours?”

I heaved a sigh, one that very clearly conveyed how exasperated I was to be speaking to him instead of reading my book.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he muttered.

I immediately felt a stab of regret. I wanted to apologize to him for my rudeness. I wanted to tell him: Nna, it’s not your fault. You are very cute, and in a different circumstance, I would be all over you. In fact, if not that I’ve had some very bad experiences with guys who have the same devout religious tendencies like you do, maybe then, just maybe.

There’d been too many ugly experiences in the past to make me determine to always choose me first, no matter what. I started remembering again, the most recent one sticking out above the rest. After sex with this guy, we were still naked in bed, still breathing heavily from the intense lovemaking we’d just had, when the motherfucker turned to me and said, “We really should go to confession together. You know, as TBs that we are, this is just for fun. And when we get too carried away with the fun, we have to ask God for forgiveness. After all, we will eventually get married.”

Those words had dropped on me like an avalanche of rocks, smashing down on the post-coital vulnerability I was feeling. I was speechless, and then I was furious. I didn’t say a word to him. I got out of the bed. I didn’t take my bath to freshen up. I simply picked my clothes up from the floor, put them on, opened his door and left.

That was the last time. Since that day, if I so much as suspect you are the religious type, I run for my sanity, because I just cannot deal.

Anayo made no further attempt to interact with me again, much to my relief. The remainder of the journey went by uneventfully. As we alighted, I could feel his eyes on me, no doubt hoping for one last chance at establishing contact with me.

But I was already on my way, plugging my ear piece into my ears and walking over to flag down a keke that would take me away from him.

Written by Sage Philip

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15 Comments

  1. Pezaro
    February 28, 09:28 Reply

    I don’t understand why you had to be rude or snobbish, fine he came off as ‘religious’ to you and all what not. But you hadn’t even verified his sexuality which means that if he wasn’t religious in your opinion, you would have “been all over him” even if he was straight???

    Was there no way you could have engaged the fellow on a platonic level without sizing up how well he fits into your sexual preferences? It’s just like saying
    “Since I won’t shag this guy, then it’s no use establishing a relationship with him”

    This is a very wrong mindset to have and as a result you basically missed out on a potential friend. We can do better biko.

    • Pink Panther
      February 28, 09:39 Reply

      There’s an element of trauma to his reaction to the guy, I think. Sometimes we react to situations in ways others would consider absurd because of the trauma we’ve been dealt with by similar situations in the past.

      • Pezaro
        February 28, 10:03 Reply

        Yeah I understand, a past experience the writer alluded to. But we can’t keep shutting out people from our lives on the account of one nasty past experience. I pray he gets over it and become a bit more liberal.

    • Sage Philip
      February 28, 13:15 Reply

      Not everybody goes around begging for friendship.
      Its your type of person that keeps on punishing himself all in the name of being ‘reasonable’.

  2. Francis
    February 28, 09:33 Reply

    Them really traumatize you sha. 😂🤣😂

    I’m still on the fence when it comes to dating religious people. Some of them really have sense in that they’ve learnt how to make the gay and religion work together BUT then again I fear that it only takes their lives suddenly not making sense at all for them to start wondering if homosexuality is truncating their blessings 🤦🏽‍♂️

  3. Saucebutton
    February 28, 10:39 Reply

    Most times I understand the conundrum of religion and being queer. But one thing for me is that the God that the religious folks speak of is not and will never be totally comprehended by human understanding. I am Christain and gay. This is me and am loved by my heavenly Father. Wish I knew better earlier. Would have been more fabulous and not be this guilt ridden in the past.

  4. Fred
    February 28, 10:41 Reply

    A friend said there are 2 categories of gay men in Nigeria.
    1.) TB’s (those who haven’t fully accepted their sexuality
    2.) The Gays (those who have accepted their sexuality

    It really is tricky when trying to discern who falls into which category because some 1’s are very aware of 2’s and would like to themselves just to get laid by a 2.

  5. EguVic
    February 28, 11:32 Reply

    If you don’t settle your sexuality and your religious believes, you’d keep being an hypocrite and also keep being gullible to religious leaders.

    Once had a Muslim married man over,…(and yes I do married men too) so, after all our sexcapades, all night long, the first thing he said in the morning, was if he could pray in my living room? I said, sure. Fast forward 2 hours later, after breakfast, his equipment was all charged for another round and despite my urges, I couldn’t see past the prayers he just offered. I didn’t/don’t judge him but again,… didn’t we just…?

    I totally agree, trauma can be a Bitch, but if you’re meeting someone for the first time, and they seem receptive to whatever you’re selling(whether gay or straight)… at least, get to know them first, who knows, he could have been doing all that because he didn’t wanna seem rude to the preacher in public, or do you know if that’s the only opportunity he’s had to pray the whole month/week?

    • Sage Philip
      February 28, 13:17 Reply

      Maybe, just maybe.
      But nna rapuba, nwanyi Awka si na iferika…

  6. Delle
    February 28, 12:41 Reply

    While I understand the reason for your reaction (Cause and Effect theory comes to mind), I do not sanction it.

    You see, in this our daily fight against homophobia, it’s important to know how and when to build healthy relationships, both amongst ourselves and with others (possible allies). If someone’s being friendly, his identity shouldn’t be your priority but that personality that’s seeking to shine through. Latch on to that and allow it mould whatever decision you make.

    We can’t make these ignorant beings see us as human in all its forms if we still ride on the pains and hurt of past experiences; the bitterness of our yesteryears. We’re better than that. We can show it. And it starts from being able to foster a relationship with that stranger in a commuter looking to start a conversation.

    • Sage Philip
      February 28, 13:27 Reply

      First thing that came to mind when I saw Jim was sex. Now that the fantasy has been chattered, I don’t have the time for personality check or alignment.

      And please on a general note, in as much as desensitization against homophobia is great. It is not mandatory that every queer person, whenever they meet a homophobe is obligated to teach or lecture.
      This is 2021, atleast every reasonable person should know that nothing is ever black or white.

  7. Mi_Corazon💕
    March 01, 11:21 Reply

    Biko I’m a full blown gay and a devoted Christian, abeg let no man born of a woman who is not even certain of his own aftermath be the judge of my eternity, reason I keep telling my audience whenever I have the opportunity to preach during house fellowship that I’m no Jesus, I’m just human as them and nobody should look up to me ooo let’s all look up to God the beginner and finisher of our faith, the creator of heaven and earth.
    In btw I need a boyfriend 😭, come as you are but endeavour to come with enough sense🙏.
    #iComeInPeace🙏

  8. Tristan
    March 02, 14:32 Reply

    What about the Bisexual Privilege. This thing that “I will eventually get married” so let’s just be friends. Flimsy reason to taste the next dick/ass.

  9. guy
    March 02, 16:28 Reply

    i met a Christian gay guy who said homosexuality is a sin that no one was born gay and all gays would go to hell and this same guy would message me to ask for sex under the guise that he isn’t gay ,he is just attracted to fine boys …i told him off sha i’m not going to let someone like that touch me, he was even crying sef

  10. McDuke
    March 02, 18:36 Reply

    My dear you’re right to run away biko… all these religious lots, their hypocrisy is sickening. I can’t deal… I’m not saying don’t practice your religion but it doesn’t stop you from living your truth. I’ve dated one before (not that I’m not religious myself) but it was a lot to take in….nah, I can’t go down that road again….

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