UP AND DOWN MEMORY LANE (Episode 8)

UP AND DOWN MEMORY LANE (Episode 8)

“Asa,” he called.

“Yes,” I answered, looking up from my open cupboard.

“You dey mad.”

I sighed and went back to my business.

“Michael,” he called another day.

Sensing he had nothing to say, I ignored him.

“Asa, no be you I dey call?”

I still didn’t respond.

He jumped down from his bunk, walked over to mine and said, while pointing his right index finger at me, “You don dey carry me play bah? Shebi me and you don be mate abi?”

His nickname was Aji-ike (ass hair), and he was a pain in my ass during secondary school period. During one of our vacations, I called him with my newly purchased Nokia 6330. After the initial pleasantries, I said, “There is something I would like to tell you.”

“What is it?” he asked.

“Not now, when school resumes,” I replied.

I never got around to telling him until we finished our SSCE. He was persistent though.

Three years later, when my cousin asked for my advice on how to go about his matriculation party, I said, “Go to school, snap pictures with the a few friends you invited, and find a restaurant where you can have lunch with your guests. That way, you save yourself the task of cooking and serving.”

On the matriculation day, we occupied one of the tables at a restaurant called Celebrities. I took a photo with my phone while wearing a big grim, with a bowl of empty Supreme ice cream on the table in front of me. The photo was good, so when I got home, I uploaded it to my Facebook timeline where it garnered some likes and comments. Ajike was among the commenters.

Later that day, I got an inbox message from him: Nah which bebe carry you go Celebrities?

I replied: What is that supposed to mean, eh? So I no fit go there go chop? And who talk say na girl carry me go there?

Ajike: Oya no vex. Wait…what! Nah boy carry you go there?

Me: Yes.

Ajike: Which kain guy go carry him fellow guy go chop for that kain place? Are you trying to say what I’m thinking?

Me: I have absolutely no idea what you’re thinking. Just know I didn’t go to that restaurant with a girl.

Ajike: Are you gay?

With that outright question, I suddenly lost my bluster and started to panic, but just a bit. This guy was not your regular straight Nigerian – no, far from it. This is a guy who makes jokes out of almost everything, a guy who backed LGBT rights during an argument where some of our other classmates were being derogatory and mean. He was so supportive in his opinions that one of the others fired at him with, “You sure say you never join them, this one wey you dey defend them.”

Ajike shot back, “You don forget? No be me and your papa dey do am for inside una house that time?”

Facing my phone screen now, I took a deep breath and typed: Yes I am.

Ajike: Since when?

Me: Since I became sexually active.

Ajike: You’re lying.

Me: Ok.

Many months later, he hit me up. He was in town and wanted to meet for the first since we graduated from secondary school. We agreed to meet by weekend. On Saturday afternoon, I met him at the back gate of the army barracks where his father, an army official, resided. We shook hands and exchanged greetings and some pleasantries. We were heading out when he suddenly asked, “So how is your bebe?”

“I told you I don’t have a girlfriend,” I said.

“So you’re serious about that gay thing you said?”

“Yes I was. I’m gay.”

He didn’t miss a beat. He simply said, “So, okay, do you have a boy friend then?”

“Not at the moment, no.”

He nodded, and that was it.

Ajike is the type of Nigerian that gives me hope about the future of Nigeria’s gay clime. There is something liberal and free about him which endeared me to him the first time we met. With him, I feel hope that the consistently homophobic nature of this country will dissipate with time. He hadn’t always been so open minded, but has a commendable ability to show such remarkable open-mindedness, unlearning everything he’d known every day about the homosexual.

One day, he summed up his character when he shared on Facebook a photo of Empire’s Jamal, with a caption: ‘If you have a problem with the LGBTIQ, why not let God who created them cast the first stone?’

OAN: I have a crush on IBK. There, I said it. God! I feel so much better.

Written by Michael

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16 Comments

  1. Mandy
    September 01, 07:24 Reply

    This is why, against all odds, coming out is the best form of fighting homophobia. There’s no deterrent of homophobia more powerful than showing an antigay person or persons that they have someone they love who’s gay. When you bring homosexuality home to them, when you remove homosexuality from a mere statistic or some faceless individual, change begins to happen and advocates slowly but surely begin to spring up.

    • bruno
      September 01, 08:30 Reply

      ?. breaks my heart when i see gay people who say things like they’d rather die than come out to a friend. you can’t have the acceptance you crave without coming out first.

        • bruno
          September 01, 10:04 Reply

          yes I’m out to most of my friends… and a few acquaintances too.

          • Chuck
            September 01, 10:26 Reply

            And your answer banished the troll lol

            • Tiercel de Claron
              September 01, 11:21 Reply

              Idiot
              Who’s the resident troll here,but you?.
              Or you think peeps don’t have things doing but wait on KD looking to score meaningless points like you do?

              @IBK,I wasn’t questioning the truth of his assertion nor trying to detract from it.
              It was simply an innocent question.

              @bruno,good to know you are.We need more of walking the talk.

        • IBK
          September 01, 10:19 Reply

          Whether or not he’s out doesn’t detract from the fact that his statement is true.

  2. fresh
    September 01, 09:51 Reply

    @ Tiercel de Claron thank you!

  3. IBK
    September 01, 11:03 Reply

    Well I am flattered or is it flattened since it’s a crush
    *nervous laughter*
    ????

    • Pink Panther
      September 01, 11:24 Reply

      Lmao. Nope. You’re flustered. That’s a very flustered reply.

    • ambivalentone
      September 01, 11:53 Reply

      Oh goody! Are we playing ‘fl’ word games? He is flummoxed. I wonder if he thinks ppl cannot crush on him. *RME

  4. Delle
    September 01, 13:38 Reply

    Awww! I saw just the last part

  5. EAGLEEYE
    September 01, 16:40 Reply

    Drama drama drama….. Homosexuality and drama, goes hand in hand…. Anyways I’m here now….. Did anybody notice the crusher and the crusheee or we all just too busy tearing each other up… @IBK are you gonna own up to being crushed?

  6. INDIGENE
    September 02, 08:24 Reply

    Are you out ? or your not a gay person?

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