THE STORY OF ME (Entry 2)

THE STORY OF ME (Entry 2)

It’s still Saturday evening. Timi couldn’t talk long as he’s working, so I’ve decided to take my laptop out and continue writing. I am now sitting in the back garden again, smoking a cigarette. It’s a nasty little habit I picked up about four years ago when I moved back to Nigeria. My own little ‘fuck you’ to the world. Timi wants me to quit and I have promised that I will, someday.

Let’s get back to my story. Remember Sesan, the boy I talked about last time? This part is about him. Well, sort of. It’s really mostly about me.

***

PART TWO: SESAN

I was thirteen when I first met Sesan. It was the last day of the JSSCE exams, and everybody was celebrating the end of junior year, as well as the long holiday that was ahead of us. As usual, Udeme and I had cornered some poor kid, preaching the gospel to them. Ife, a boy in my class, came to find us. He told us that we were needed urgently in the junior block. Apparently, while some of the students in our set had been partying, one of the boys had gotten drunk on a bottle of 301, which he stole from his father’s cabinet.

The boy was Sesan.

Udeme and I hastened over to the junior block. The other students wanted us to pray for him so that he would be ‘healed’. We asked to be taken to him and they cleared a path when we got to the classroom where he was lying, passed out. (I remember feeling a sense of pride at this parting of students to let Udeme and I walk through, likening it to the parting of the Red Sea when I relayed this story to some friends after).

We walked into the classroom and behold, lying there shirtless was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen. His smooth skin was both dark and glistening. His hair looked like it’d been dyed and freshly styled with ‘friction’ lines so sharp, you could cut paper on them. And his lips – they were pink and luscious, almost daring me to plant a kiss on them, like Prince Charming coming to rescue Snow White from the deep sleep her evil stepmother’s apple plunged her into. I stood there, unable to speak, almost unable to breathe even. I had forgotten where I was and what I was doing until I heard Udeme’s voice.

“What do you want us to do?”

“Pray for him,” a couple of the students responded.

“We can’t do that,” Udeme said superciliously. “It would be of no use. He is passed out.”

And just like that, in a completely opposite manner to how we were welcomed into the classroom, Udeme and I were shooed by the now disappointed students. There were some SS2 boys on their way; they would know what to do.

As we left the room, Sesan was all I could think about. How had we been in the same set for three years and I had never noticed him? (Considering that my set had about 350 students, it really wasn’t that odd). I felt sad, the realisation that it would be about seven months until I would get to see him again weighing heavily on me. I didn’t know how to feel or really, what I wanted. I just knew that I wanted to see him again. To be around him.

As luck would have it, I wouldn’t have to wait seven months to see him. I was going to reconnect with him in just a few short weeks.

Our Social Studies department had planned a 4-day field trip to Abuja for the just-finished JSS3 students. There were only 30 seats on the school’s new coaster bus, which we were going to be taking on the trip, so we had to act quickly to reserve our places. Thankfully, my mother was very supportive of extracurricular activities, and so, she gave me the N15, 000 fee the same day I asked. I was in!

On the day of the trip, I arrived bright and early to school. My mother had taken me shopping, and so, I had some brand-new clothes and an expensive perfume which I couldn’t wait to show off. I was going to have a grand time!

The trip to Abuja was quite interesting. Neither Udeme nor any of the other kids from Bible Club had come on the trip, so religiously speaking, I was on my own. I spent part of the trip preaching to my classmates, and the other part getting to know the people I had largely shunned over the last three years because I was not to be “unequally yoked” with “unbelievers” (Don’t worry, I have long since realised what an insufferable little shit I was – but at least, it protected me from getting bullied). My set mates were actually pretty interesting people. Who’d have thunk it?

Oh, and Sesan was in the bus as well.

While trying to be as unobvious as possible, I struck up a conversation with him. I was taken in by every drab detail he shared about himself. He could have repeated a single word over and over, and I would still have been enthralled. I was falling for a boy!

When we got to Abuja, we were given our own rooms within the hostel in which we were lodged, and Sesan’s was right next to mine. As I lay down in bed that night, I felt heavier than I ever had. I lay perfectly still, listening to the sound of his laughter as it travelled through the thin walls that separated our bedrooms. He was gisting and laughing with his friend whose room was across the hall from ours. In that moment, I felt a very strong hatred for this other boy who got to be in Sesan’s room, sitting with him on his bed, talking and laughing all night (and doing God-knows-what-else!). This hatred, I later learned, was plain old jealousy. It was an emotion I had never felt as strongly.

As I tried to get to sleep, my only solace was in my imagination. I imagined that I got out of bed, walked over to Sesan’s room and said, “I’m a bit scared of sleeping alone. Do you mind if I sleep here?”

“No worries, man. Come in,” was the response I imagined Sesan giving me.

I would then walk into his room, sit on his bed and talk and laugh with him. Of course, in my imagination, the other annoying little shit with grating laughter didn’t exist. And so, we would talk all night, eventually getting tired, leading to me falling asleep in Imaginary Sesan’s arms. But just before I’d drift off, he would lean over and kiss me. My first kiss! And it would be glorious! It would feel like a million fireworks going off in my heart and filling me with warmth I had never before experienced.

These were the thoughts that lulled me to sleep that night, and every other night until I was back in Lagos (and even a little bit after).

Over the next few days, as we engaged in activity after exciting activity, I got a chance to be closer friends with Sesan. I even outed myself to him and some of his friends – Well, sorta. It was in response to a question that Sesan asked me about girls. He said that he was feeling lustful and wanted to act on it. I counseled him to pray, giving the assurance that there were no sinful feelings God couldn’t make go away. I went on to say that even I used to feel lustful about other boys once-upon-a-time, but my fervent prayer caused God to take those sinful thoughts away. And if God could do that for me, then He could do it for him too. (Wow. What a pastor I was at thirteen.)

I realise now that subconsciously, I was trying to give a signal to Sesan that I was interested in boys – and in him more specifically. I like to think that if I hadn’t been so religious, I might have had the chance to explore the feelings I had for Sesan then. But, I guess we’ll never know.

The trip soon came to an end, and we were on our way back to Lagos. This time, I got to sit on the same row as Sesan, but unfortunately not next to him. His annoying friend just had to sit between me and him. I couldn’t complain too much though; I was just happy to be close to him. At one point, the bus driver parked by a market so that our teachers could buy some fresh fruit and Irish potatoes. As we sat there in the stationary bus, chatting away, Sesan did the most unexpected thing. He stretched his body across the row, over his friend and directly onto mine, so that he could reach out of the window. It must have only been for a few moments but it felt like an absolute lifetime. My entire body froze, and just like the basketball court experience on steroids, my throat felt as dry as a desert. I swallowed hard and a tennis ball-sized lump made its way down my oesophagus and then stopped to lodge itself firmly in my throat. Every hair on my body stood on high alert and my skin felt eerily cold and prickly at the same time. I could almost hear every heartbeat even.

I don’t know what it was about Sesan that made me crush on him so powerfully, but I am grateful that I had an experience like that. I have since tried to find him on social media, but apart from the fact that he now lives in Canada, I don’t know much else about him. I only hope that he has found a way to achieve some sort of satisfaction in life. Who knows, he might even read this.

***

I look at my clock. It is almost 10:30 PM. Bae is probably still on set. I am so proud of how hard he works. I think I might call it a night with the writing now. It’s been nice sharing with you again.

See you next week.

Written by Vince St. Bernard

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  1. Shawn
    August 21, 09:39 Reply

    didn’t we all have that little excursion with our crush…but hey, we couldn’t act on it..Mine was even to Togo, we went and came back and even hug was not forthcoming…

  2. Mandy
    August 21, 14:58 Reply

    I went on to say that even I used to feel lustful about other boys once-upon-a-time, but my fervent prayer caused God to take those sinful thoughts away. And if God could do that for me, then He could do it for him too. (Wow. What a pastor I was at thirteen.)

    ???? At 13, you were doing what grown-ass pastors in denial of themselves are doing. Damn. This is growth.

  3. Anoni
    August 21, 15:35 Reply

    Stop doing this to me Vincent ??‍♂️
    pls don’t take too long for the next entry lol, i love every bit of your story

  4. Ade
    August 22, 11:22 Reply

    always glad to read your write ups, more please, but don’t tell me at the end you and sesan didn’t still do anything…???

    would be expecting !!!

  5. Rubby
    August 23, 06:11 Reply

    Your togo trip was it with word of faith? @ Shawn.

    • Shawn
      August 23, 13:38 Reply

      no, it wasn’t … was in 2008 tho

  6. Someone's Someone
    August 23, 15:20 Reply

    @ Rubby, did you attend word of faith school in Benin city? If yes which branch?

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