IN HIS ARMS

IN HIS ARMS

I met Hank when I was younger and I was coming into an acceptance of myself. I went head first into exploring my sexuality; meeting some vile men and the sweetest men too. As I got older and after certain experiences, I lost my naïveté on love; the men I’d been meeting had categorically filled me on an unspoken rule hiding in the minds of many Nigerian queer men: Queer love is impossible. And so, I stopped meeting people. A willful part of me could not accept this reality that sex was all there is to the fervent desires that filled my very soul. For a long time, I quit meeting people and only engaged in conversations as a way to keep exploring my sexuality.

And then I met Hank on Grindr. He was older, just how I liked, and he was devilishly charming. He was just as stubborn as I am, persistent on meeting me until I gave in a few months later and finally met him at a bar for drinks. After then, I tried to stay away from him, but he was so persistent. It was almost impossible to avoid him and he absolutely stole my heart.

We’d been dating for just a few months and I was falling hard for him. Prior to him, I’d learnt the hard way of what it meant to date men older than thirty: the lesson of sharing their attention with women. But Hank was different. Despite the pressure he was clearly facing from his family, he paid no attention to the idea of heteronormativity and I felt a sense of security that thrilled me to no end.

One day, I’d gotten back from work and Hank asked if I would go with him for an event that was the talk of Lagos. His profession gave him a certain inclusivity into the entertainment industry and it wasn’t the first time I’d had to meet or hang out with people I’d only grown up watching on the television. He looked at me with earnest excitement that night, and although I tended to shy away from public events, I got excited by his excitement. It all brimmed with exhilarating promise, and so, the next day, we went shopping so I could find an outfit.

I got my outfit and went to get a new haircut. My anticipation was reaching its peak and I looked forward to the grand evening.

We left a little early that evening so traffic wouldn’t pose too much of a hassle. But then, he detoured to pick up his friend.

“I’d like to pick up a friend along the way,” he said to me earlier.

I was a bit surprised by this, but I didn’t think too much of it. Whoever this friend was wouldn’t affect me or my evening too much, I told myself.

However, the moment I saw his friend, I knew that wouldn’t be the case.

She was beautiful, the kind of beauty you’d have to take a picture of and then frame so you could just have a look at it again and again. She was wearing a pretty glittery dress and makeup that looked exquisitely done. I couldn’t help but immediately start fussing over my own outfit. I’ve always known and been proud of my good looks, but that night, meeting her filled me with a sudden deep insecurity.

“Hello,” I said, and she looked at me with an enchanting smile.

They began to laugh about something the moment she got into the car, and I thought: Great! She makes him laugh too.

We soon arrived at the event and I began to get the stirrings of an ominous feeling. My stomach was in tighter knots than I would usually feel in big crowds, and the picture started to become clearer the moment we got down from the car.

“Can you take a picture of us?” she said to me.

I looked at him before taking the phone, and he just beamed a smile at her before standing beside her, not noticing me. And just like that, I became the designated camera man.

After I snapped a series of photos of them, she then placed her arm in his. The moment her hand slipped into his arm and he snuggled into the touch, my heart began to thump in my chest.

I was feeling a new type of special hurt.

I didn’t understand it.

They began to walk the red carpet and smiled brightly as they held each other while the cameras flashed on them. I trailed behind them, feeling my stomach knot itself tighter and tighter. Hank knew I wasn’t good with crowds, and usually, whenever he took me out, he would say something to make me laugh or get me to talk about anything to lessen my anxiety.

But that evening, I was forgotten.

I looked at the man I loved and this beautiful woman, and I took a mental picture: it was something I knew I might not ever get. To stand in a crowd and hold him so close, so proudly. A subtle shout to the world. He’s all mine!

They looked right together. He seemed happy.

My heart broke.

I trailed along, becoming a third wheel as my heart ached. My anxiety wasn’t helping things and I didn’t want to be there anymore. It was taking all of my strength to not leave. I could barely walk and he didn’t even seem to notice that anything was wrong with me.

We eventually took our seats and I spent most of the evening watching them. They laughed and chatted the night away. He turned his attention to me just one time, when he asked that I join him to go get a drink. It turned out that we were simply getting a drink for her.

“Having a good time?” he asked me in those brief minutes we were alone, fetching drinks.

I nodded and gave a smile.

We left toward the end of the evening, and went on to drop her at home before we finally got to his place.

I got in and immediately went into the bathroom, feeling an intense need to wash the evening off of me. I took my clothes off and went into the shower. I tried sorting my thoughts out, pretending that I was alright as the water poured over my head.

I stepped out of the bathroom when I was sure I had gotten a handle on my emotions. I found and put on one of his T-shirts, got into his bed and lifted the duvet over my body. Shortly after, he got into bed too and then pulled me into his arms.

As he tucked me into his body and snuggled into my warmth, I pictured her in his arms as she was the whole night. The irony of me only now deserving to be in his arms wasn’t lost on me. I thought it was the most amusing thing. I was the one he could only cuddle with at night while she was the one privileged to be flaunted in public.

I laughed then. The burst of laughter was uncontrolled and he was clearly alarmed. However, before he could ask what was funny, my mirth nosedived. I broke down as tears found their way out of my eyes.

I was trying to stop the tears but I couldn’t. The harder I tried to stanch the flow, the harder the sobs came. I tried to breathe as he turned me over to see what was wrong, but I could only keep crying. My heart was aching because I truly wanted it all. And the idea that maybe I could was finally shattered on that night. I hadn’t realized how much I had started to believe that I could spend the rest of my life with this man until that evening. My naïveté had seeped back in as I fell hopelessly in love with Hank. As he wrapped me up in his arms and held me as I cried to sleep, I finally realized that perhaps all those other men had been right all along, and that queer love is impossible in a country like Nigeria.

I never told him the real reason I broke down that night and maybe, he could guess why. I suppose that night should have prepared me for the day that finally came: the day when the picture was splashed on social media of another beautiful woman’s finger holding a diamond ring with Hank’s caption reading, “She said yes.”

But it truly did not. I wasn’t prepared, and it broke me so much that knowing that in societies like ours, perhaps I’ll never be able to stand in a crowd and proudly slip my hand between a man’s.

Could I one day be in his arms and silently tell the world: “This man in my arms… He’s all mine!”?

Written by Abrams

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  1. Black Dynasty
    November 22, 08:58 Reply

    Damn, sorry you had to go through this.

    It’s still the primary reason i ask early on what a man’s views are on relationships, life long partners etc and i communicate mine. Let us both know exactly where we stand and what our boundaries are.

    Sighs, the moment someone else comes into the picture, it’s time to move on. I would love him, but i finally understand my self worth enough to leave, than be put through that much hurt.

  2. Richie
    November 22, 09:00 Reply

    This is literally my life….and it is so painful and hard to pretend as if nothing is happening😔😔😔

  3. Ken
    November 22, 09:06 Reply

    It’s not society that’s the problem, is we ourselves that are the problem. Not knowing what u really want or perhaps trying to have your cake and still eat it. Most times LGBT relationships crumble bcos of insincerity, shallowness and fantasy. We mask infatuation and lust as if it’s love. The way people fall in and out of love is just like breathing in and out.

    Now u are dating someone who has apparently told u he has no intention of permanently being with u, yet u will still pretend to be hurt when he eventually marries a woman?? Haba nau

    Gay men marry women for many reasons, and it’s often not just bcos of family or societal pressure. Infact many who are pressure hardly marry and if they do, it doesn’t last. Men marry women bcos of the promise of having a family, stability and procreation. These are things which are rarely on offer in the LGBT community. The community rather focusses on sex and sexual appeal. Rather than sustainable relationships. Lust or even love shouldn’t be the sole basis for long term relationships

    • Pink Panther
      November 22, 09:21 Reply

      “Now u are dating someone who has apparently told u he has no intention of permanently bring with u, yet u will still pretend to be hurt when he eventually marries a woman?”

      Lol. Sometimes, Ken, I wonder if you actually read to understand a writer’s emotions or simply so you can blindly attack the writer.

      First of all, how is it apparent in the story that the guy he dated told him he had no intention of being with him? In fact, what IS apparent in the story is that he was led to believe that they would always be together. You know, that part of the story about Hank resisting the pressure to marriage, which you APPARENTLY skipped?

      And secondly, how is the writer now the bad guy? The one who you are attacking with your claim that he’s PRETENDING to be hurt? Are you even serious? Have you become so jaded or so lacking in compassion that you interpret other people’s hurts as pretense? I get that from your entire comment, you are arguing the legitimacy of gay men who marry women for a variety of reasons, but you can actually make that case without invalidating the hurts of those gay men who go into relationships with other men, believing that those are the people they get to be with. You simply cannot try to make a case for gay men who marry women, while at the same time saying that gay relationships are silly.

      Cos then, you’d be part of the problem.

      • Ken
        November 22, 14:01 Reply

        Did you know u can make your point without throwing insults?? I am not blind ok. The part of my comment you are quoting is referring to the part where the writer said “I suppose that night should have prepared me for the day that finally came: the day when the picture was splashed on social media of another beautiful woman’s finger holding a diamond ring with Hank’s caption reading, “She said yes.””

        And no I don’t blame anybody for dating gay men on the downlow. What I blame is you expecting more when u obviously know that there is no future in there.

        Pls understand my comment before throwing insults ok. Or better yet just ignore it. Thanks

      • Delle
        November 22, 17:34 Reply

        Have I not said that this Ken guy is a spiteful, self-absorbed, dense idiot here before? Never seen anyone with a more repulsive thought process

        • Abrams
          November 22, 17:53 Reply

          Damn. Well. I just thought he needed a glasses that’s filled with less bias and perhaps some sugar to push down the faint bitter self-loathing I detect. But now that you’ve said this, I feel bad for wasting my time explaining myself to someone who probably just attacked this because it subtly touches the idea of MGM and also, because it might have just been a Monday. Aww. Shucks. 😞

        • Ken
          November 23, 07:33 Reply

          First of all u don’t have monopoly of insults ok. More importantly ur insult is just a reflection of who u are so I do not need to stoop to your level. Cheers

    • Abrams
      November 22, 17:37 Reply

      I usually wouldn’t reply this sort of negativity especially when you “just don’t get it”. However, I do remember your nick from a few posts and you are clearly someone triggered by certain issues which is why you went straight to invalidating and questioning someone else’s emotions or “what they want”.

      I made this story as short as possible but giving as much relevant information as I could to the story or the point of it but I VERY clearly stated “he paid no attention to the idea of heteronormativity and I felt a sense of security that thrilled me to no end”. This was not a relationship where in your words; I “obviously know that there is no future in there”. I was thrilled by a sense of security because he expressed his lack of interest in marrying a woman from the very beginning. I don’t know where you got the opposite from; I made the phrase you brought up later to reference that he broke my heart again and this time, with a ring.

      I was young; really young and I did mention my naïveté but your first paragraph was so much rubbish. I did know what I wanted and I did know what I felt. Don’t be condescending.

      Yes, he was disrespectful with this incident and I was wrapped up by the pain of the evening because it was not him, as I think I conveyed, at least not a “him” I knew. I can’t suggest to know what his thoughts were but I believe heteronormativity appealed to him that night as it had probably appealed to him other times without my knowledge. It wasn’t even the lady herself, it was the idea that every romantic who understands this post has felt; can I love so publicly? The is the drive for this. This is why I dug up this memory.

      And I was led to believe something else then and I kept believing it because nothing like this ever happened again. In fact, he only reinforced his will after this as though he knew I’d lost faith in him and he sought to gain it back. Until it monumentally did happen on a grander scale but that’s a different story that I did not tell. I simply gave a headline of it to end this story.

      And I went back home with him, laid in bed and cried in his arms because I felt then… it was my home too. This was my man, I was young, I was in love.
      This wasn’t -in your words, “insincerity, shallowness and fantasy”. This was a partner for me, I had my family home but I was at his most of the time. His home was made to feel like mine. My favorite cereals, my favorite drinks in his fridge, my books displaced in every corner, my clothes folded and mixed in his and yet, he’d always leave his own clothes out before we sleep because he knew I loved to sleep in his. He knew my family, he made me meet every sibling of his that we could, took me to go see his mom the very day she got to Lagos. We planned for a fresh start; to move into a new place that would be both of ours. I knew his secrets, he knew mine. I was his shoulder, his was mine. For a time, his heart was mine and mine was his. This was a man who promised me forever or at least a future. Until he broke those promises.

      And you don’t have to get it. I doubt you possibly can or will ever let yourself get it.
      I did not write this for YOU. The people who will get it will get it. Thanks.

      • Delle
        November 22, 17:55 Reply

        It’s in the way you deigned the deluded fool with a hearty response for me; something he clearly doesn’t deserve. Like, how audacious for some individual who lacks the range to always come on here and invalidate people’s experiences. How dare you? I cannot even fathom this level of temerity. Throwing insidious words about on someone else’s lived experience. If that’s not borderline psychopathic behaviour, I do not know what is.

        • Ken
          November 23, 07:35 Reply

          You need to check into a psychiatrist for help. You obviously have unresolved mental issues.

      • Ken
        November 23, 07:28 Reply

        Ok when you write a story, u should be prepared to get reactions from all angles not just the ones that are pleasing and comforting. After all if everyone yessed u to death there will be no need for the post. Even if you do not like my comment or you feel I do not get what you were trying to put out there, I still my comment and u still need divergent views. You have your background and so do I, everyone must not agree with each other ok.

      • good ade
        November 23, 14:30 Reply

        mehhn Abrams i stan with you all the way, i am sorry you experienced this. i have never been in a relationship but damn, for the few minutes i took to read your story i relived it, it felt so real. i know how it feels to be sidelined cause of the other gender it has a special kind of hurt. you feel not enough at that instance . lol the one moment i think i could possibly commit murder. thanks for sharing .

  4. Olutayo
    November 22, 09:27 Reply

    I just want to know one thing. When you and Hank went to pick up the lady, did she get into the back of the car (because I assume you rode shotgun with him when you people left the house)?

    Or were you asked to go over to the back so she could be in front with him?

    Cos if it’s the latter, right there is where you start to know how much (or really how little) you mean to your man. Right there is when anyone who’s ever been so displaced in their queer relationship should start checking out of it.

    • Ken
      November 22, 14:07 Reply

      It depends on the dynamics of the relationship. How can your boyfriend pick a lady up without telling you and carry both of u to a social event where both of them are practically smooching. And u just stand there watching??? To me this doesn’t add up. It’s only when your supposed bf doesn’t have any iota of regard or respect for you. And why should he, when after all he put u through u still followed him home and slept on the same bed silently crying. I just don’t get it??

      Actually this doesn’t even sound like an equal partner relationship at all. Like u are just there to fulfill his lustful desires, that all.

      • Delle
        November 22, 17:37 Reply

        Cannot wait for when you have more than just baseless critics and silly invalidations to give but an actual story. I just cannot wait.

    • Brian
      November 23, 11:46 Reply

      Honestly, let me say, I have been going through the arguments of Ken and Delle and others up to this point, and I find this conversation to be of interest. Perhaps I should leave one word or two of my own.

      Abrams, I really understand, your emotions. I recognize same emotions you potrayed throughout the story in me. The naiveté, and all. You know, just like you, I don’t know what I want. If you ask me to define what I want from a relationship, I would hardly be able to define or give you a clear-cut meaningful thing you can believe as true.

      But I think when it begins to get so confusing on what I want, I think I would rather lean on something else: what I NEED.

      Needs and wants. Two different words. Two different things.

      If I must define what I need, I would define it as the things from a relationship that would help me live a fulfilled life. If I begin to perceive a relationship as something that won’t help me build towards that goal (fulfilled life), no matter the tangled up “wants” I might be experiencing (of wanting to be with person with hope clenched in heart, on one hand, and of not wanting to be with the person, on another hand), I would think thus, that it high time that relationship ends.

  5. Audrey
    November 23, 20:34 Reply

    Almost same thing one of Una actor did to my friend and it was hurtful cos this said friend was also in the entertainment industry but not as an actor. I thank God I was able to talk sense into him to break off from this actor and then the funniest thing happened….
    Uncle started to ask me out(The audacity)

  6. Precious Oraz
    November 25, 13:58 Reply

    So, first there was Alpha Papi. Then there was Chizzie. Then Gad. Then Teflondon, who morphed into Victor Ukpa. Then it was Foxydevil. After which we were blessed with the sesquipedalian audacious duplicity and hate of the professional troll, Higwe.

    Now, we have Ken.

    Seems like the troll pandemic on Kitodiaries will keep giving for a long time.

    • sly
      December 01, 09:01 Reply

      well…the trolls make the comment section tastier than the main experiences. I cant complain

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