She Knows

She Knows

“Richard, I’m bored. Let’s play cards.”

It happens to be a sibling pastime we have whenever NEPA, or should I say Eko Electricity Distribution Company, decide to give our transformers a break from the constant light. I understood her plight, but I was freaking exhausted, just returned from church service and all.

“Maybe when there’s a full house. Right now, I need to rest,” I mumbled as I tried to put on a sleepy expression to buttress my claim.

Unfortunately, my kid sister claims to know me too well.

“I know you’re not tired. Besides, you play with your hands, not your feet.”

“Jo –”

“Please,” she cuts in with that trademark ‘sad puppy’ look of hers.

Damn it, she never takes ‘no’ for an answer, does she? I thought grumpily.

“Fine, get the cards.”

“Come to my room na.”

“No way. You want a game so badly, it’ll be in my room or no game.”

Minutes into the third round of cards, she dropped those very familiar words that I’ve grown to dread and sort of wished she never said.

“Richard, I want to tell you something.”

“Go on.”

“I don’t know how to say it.”

“Just say it and move on.”

After a brief moment of possible contemplation on her side, expressed with a shy smile, she finally said, “I know.”

“You know what?” I was clueless.

“I know, and I’m not saying anything more. Plus you know what I’m talking about.”

“Josephine, if I did, I won’t be feeling this confused and I won’t be asking you about what exactly you’re talking about.”

“I’d rather take this one to my grave.”

“Sure about that?”

“Hmm…whatever. Just know that this family is not going to accept it,” she said, punctuating her statement with a childish yet evil kind of laughter.

At this point, I could take a guess at where this was heading, but I wasn’t going to give myself away that easily. “Alright, if it’s not something you can say out loud, you could at least give a clue.”

“Here’s your clue. It’s a three-letter word with two meanings, but people make the first meaning so obvious that they don’t care about the second meaning.”


“And the second meaning is one word with two syllables.”

The game of riddles was officially over: three-letter word – GAY, second meaning with two syllables – HA/PPY.

After a brief moment of silence, I found myself laughing out loud. It was a loud and weird laughter, so weird I could hear the Inner Richard saying: Are you out of your mind? Your sister just outed you to YOU! And all you can think of to do is laugh?

“Richie, it’s not funny. This is Nigeria,” she said solemnly.

“And I know that perfectly well,” I replied, pretending not to care.

“Oh God,” she whispered with her face buried in her skinny, light-skinned palms – an expression that had this odd mix of shyness and embarrassment and shame.

Take a chill pill, sis. You’re making him feel like a criminal, I wanted to say. Instead I said, “Will that stop us from siblings?”

“How do you mean?”

“Do we still get to talk? Have fun? Do stuff we always do? Live normal?”

“Yes we do. It’s just that I don’t know how long this will be a secret and… Oh no!” And she was back in facepalm mode.

“How long have you known?”

“I’m not telling you.”

“You told me this much already. If you really wanted to take this one to your grave, you wouldn’t have started this conversation. Just tell me how long you’ve known that I’m…this.”

“I’ve always known.”

“For how long?”

“For as long as I can remember.”

The room temperature could have smashed thermometers right then. And indescribable emotion tightened in the silence.

And then I said two words. I still cannot describe the feeling that swelled inside me and gave life to those words.

“Thank you.”

“For?” she asked, clearly bewildered.

“For knowing. Thank you for knowing. Thank you for telling me.”

And we played the rest of the game in silence, trying to ignore the now double-sized gay elephant in the room.

Written by Richard Moore

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  1. Duke
    November 19, 06:39 Reply

    One down, others to go.

  2. Max
    November 19, 06:41 Reply

    They always know… They just pretend like they don’t and shove the thoughts & feelings aside.

    • McGray
      November 19, 07:01 Reply

      Max u r right. They always know but they keep on hoping its nt true

  3. McGray
    November 19, 07:05 Reply

    By d way, Nna Ezenwanyi, kedu ka i mere? Just read dat piece now and i nearly choked with laughter. Buhahahahahahahahahahaha. Dat Lady deserves a hi five. Lol

  4. Kester
    November 19, 07:18 Reply

    I just shed a tear. I wish “they” knew and would not judge me, still accept me and let me be me. I wish I could run away and live where I would not have to pretend.
    This weather and the post has sealed my fate today. Melancholy

  5. Zage
    November 19, 07:21 Reply

    Wow, sometimes I wish someone else knows

  6. Brian Collins
    November 19, 07:41 Reply

    Wow, I sometimes tell myself that even if my parents are oblivious, my closest straight friends should tell me ‘I Know’ when I eventually come out. If they act all shocked and surprised ehn, I would probably smack them sef.

  7. posh6666
    November 19, 08:28 Reply

    My own mum knows but she pretends its a phase i will get over cos she is already talking of linking me with her childhood friends daughter lmao

    • Mandy
      November 19, 10:43 Reply

      A phase.
      If only she truly knows

      • posh6666
        November 19, 11:09 Reply

        Like am so gay i started doing jigi jigi with my childhood friend possibly around 7-8 yrs even b4 i knew what it meant,i just knew i enjoyed the grinding against each other that we did and i had my 1st release at the age of 12 on one dark nite back in jss2 when we were doing the usual after light out in the hostel????? and it was the best feeling ever on that night i lost all innocence.

  8. Khaleesi
    November 19, 10:14 Reply

    One less obstacle out of countless others … nice short piece ..

  9. Ruby
    November 19, 10:35 Reply

    One more sister knows…
    I’ve never really talked to Мy younger sis bout Мy sexuality but she knows and she’s never said anything negative nor derogatory concerning the LGBT community nor Мy relationship.
    So I guess… We’re Cool.

  10. Sinnex
    November 19, 11:01 Reply

    Someone somewhere knows.

    As far as I am concerned, I don’t care if my family knows about me, all I know is that I am not going to talk about it. I have come out to like 2 friends and the questions they have been asking is quite unsettling. I can’t go on answering questions about role and the likes. Biko, if you know, good for you, you can now go and research.

    • bruno
      November 19, 11:59 Reply

      you don’t care if your family knows? what happened to “my fears”?

      • Sinnex
        November 19, 14:58 Reply


        You are funny. Well, I don’t owe you any explanation. Everything is there for the world to see.

  11. Chizzie
    November 19, 11:25 Reply

    Yeah they always know. I think my sis knows too but we’ve never had a conversation.

    But you know, whatever really.

  12. Marc Francis of Chelsea
    November 19, 12:12 Reply

    I had a similar convo with my sis a while ago. She ended with “just know you have to get married sha.”

    Great story.

  13. Tobby
    November 19, 15:55 Reply

    They always know. It’s just easier to deny it, to mentally refuse that version of you.

  14. miztadiol
    November 19, 22:52 Reply

    It’s natural for people to see the things we don’t understand as strange or wierd, worse when they choose not to understand. But most times I feel they know but they don’t wana pay attention to it!

  15. Nefretiti
    November 20, 11:26 Reply

    A ya yai !!!! My sis finding out would b …..mi really don’t know ow I would feel.I honestly believe no one knows .my sis kips talking about gay guys. Wifout even tinking I am one , maybe cos I have had issues wif gals.

  16. Gayboy33
    November 20, 16:12 Reply

    This is beautiful. We all have our fears about someone else knowing, but in truth, even if they all pretend, someone else has always known. Kid sisters pick signs up more easily though, brothers only suspect. Nice piece.

  17. Ariel Carter
    November 20, 19:32 Reply

    it’s really a nice feeling. knowing that they know. personally I suspect my whole family knows…..
    PS I’m a regular reader. just dunno what’s making me comment today.

    • Pink Panther
      November 20, 21:21 Reply

      Well, whatever it is, welcome Ariel Carter. We hope your presence in the comments section becomes more permanent. 🙂

      • posh6666
        November 20, 22:03 Reply

        Lol Ariel biko dont be tempted by miss pinkie o obviously you are not one for the drama and major shade throwing abeg remain ur anonymous self..

  18. Eddie
    November 21, 16:28 Reply

    My elder sister kinda confronted me about it and it was really awkward but like months later she told me that she loved me no matter what I was

  19. Samuel Richmen
    February 12, 07:36 Reply

    She’s the sweetest sister ever and I wish my sister would have same understanding.

  20. […] the writer of both coming out stories, She Knows and Four Dark Walls, comes a new series about his life as a young Nigerian gay man. Check on the […]

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