THE STORY OF ME

THE STORY OF ME

I am sitting in the back-garden on a warm, Saturday afternoon. It is 27 degrees today, a rarity that comes twice – maybe thrice – a year in the UK, if we are lucky. A sunray catches a corner of the modest engagement ring on my left hand, and it causes me to smile.

Who would have thought that I would be twenty-six, openly gay, living in a community that loves, accepts and welcomes me, working in a fulfilling career and about to be married to the man of my dreams? Certainly not the ten-year old me… Or the sixteen-year old me… Or even the twenty-four-year old me.

I have been toying with the idea, for years, of writing a series on Kito Diaries. And now, I finally feel ready. So I would like to invite you to take a journey with me, over many years and many more locations, as I tell you how I became the man that I am today.

***

PART ONE: UDEME

My story begins in Lagos, sixteen-or-so years ago. I had secured a highly coveted place at one of the best schools in the state (according to everybody who worked there anyway) and was about to begin JSS1. It was that interesting a time in my life when, unbeknownst to me, I had to decide the kind of person I wanted to be for the next decade or so, and figure out how I was going to survive my teen years.

I was not your average eleven-year old boy: I had no interest (or ability) in sports, wasn’t ‘strong’ or ‘fast’, and was often told that I looked and acted like a girl. This had been the basis of a lot of playground teasing in primary school – but secondary school was going to be different! In a move that I would later figure out in therapy sessions was a way to insure myself against inevitable bullying, I joined the school’s bible club and became a born-again Christian.

It was there that I met Udeme. Unlike me, Udeme wasn’t a ‘baby Christian’. He was a Deeper-Lifer. Together, we formed a formidable Christian duo: Udeme and VSB (of course, all names have been changed). During every free period, break time and after school, we would walk around the school yard with our bibles and tracts, preaching the Gospel and trying to convert our fellow students (and sometimes teachers!). Our fame soon spread across the school. We were known by almost every one of the two thousand students and three hundred and fifty teachers in our school as “the pastors”. It wasn’t long before people started to either leave the room when we walked in, or come to us for “Christian advice” or prayers.

And I loved it! As the unofficial school pastor, I was able to survive six years of secondary school without ever experiencing bullying, even when I was obviously camper than the inside of RuPaul’s closet.

One Friday afternoon however, as Udeme and I were evangelizing beside the basketball court, my eyes caught the most glorious sight ahead of me. Performing the most glorious jump shot I had ever seen was a sweaty, light-skinned, handsome-as-hell SS2-or-3 boy.

I had never felt anything like what I felt then; I stopped dead in my tracks and stared at him for what felt like several long minutes. My throat was suddenly very dry and trying to swallow felt like there was a large ball lodged in my throat.

I was not going to feel anything this intense again for about a year or so, when Sesan would touch me for the first time – but we’ll get to that soon enough. In this moment though, of watching this senior student dunk the ball in the net, had me getting transported to a place that was at once beautiful and sinful.

And this was to be the first of many such ‘moments’ that would lead me to realise that I was attracted to other boys.

My time in JSS1 and JSS2 went by mostly like this, with a few remarkable moments that made me realise there was something a bit different about me. I remember watching movies and envying quite strongly the women who got to be intimate with their attractive male co-stars, and wishing I was a girl so that I too could have a boyfriend. I wasn’t even that bothered about which boy it would be; I just wanted one.

In one of those moments of realisation, I started to wonder whether David, the boy in my class who a couple months ago had put his hands around my waist and caressed it ever-so-carefully, while we were seated next to each other during Intro-Tech class, was also having the same feelings I was having. I made a point to giving him unnecessarily long hugs every time I saw him, which he seemed just as happy about as I was. Fortunately or unfortunately, my Christian mind didn’t allow me to venture much further past the lingering hugs.

Yet.

***

As I sit with my laptop typing, I hear the beep of my phone. It’s a message from Timi, my fiancé. I have hardly spoken to him all day, so I’ll have to go now.

Let’s do this again.

Written by Vince St. Bernard

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16 Comments

  1. Mitch
    August 11, 08:36 Reply

    This, right here, is premium content!
    More please!

  2. Flame
    August 11, 09:58 Reply

    Why will you have to go, please? Why call you now? We’re waiting…

  3. Black Coffee
    August 11, 10:28 Reply

    This right here is a series I’ll be waiting for.
    Damn, please more.

  4. Black Dynasty
    August 11, 10:56 Reply

    I am loving this, i suspect there will be ups and downs in the series. Nice intro!

  5. Njako kelvin
    August 11, 12:02 Reply

    Wow…. This is so interesting really got me glue to my screen waiting for more

  6. Ken
    August 11, 15:21 Reply

    This is what content is

  7. Tman
    August 11, 17:57 Reply

    Wow. Just wow. Can’t wait for subsequent episodes.

  8. Anoni
    August 11, 19:06 Reply

    Netflix needs to come here and see something i swear, the writers here are ??

  9. Jinchuriki
    August 12, 10:14 Reply

    This’ll be a different kind of story. Can’t wait.

  10. YesSir?
    August 12, 15:38 Reply

    Yesss!!! Very well written ??? I’m totally gripped

  11. Mandy
    August 13, 11:24 Reply

    A story that eventually ends with a Nigerian gay happily ever after? Oh I’m so here for this!!! Can we hasten to the part where you or he proposed. I am so ready to get teary-eyed about this love.
    I had to chuckle when I got to the part about you becoming a zealous Christian in JSS1. I’m trying to picture an 11-year-old Pastor Vince, and it’s hilarious. But genius. Nobody bullies the pastors. You were such a forward thinking boy to run under the secret place of the Most High to prevent the bullying from happening to you.

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