You remember the first day you saw him; he had been wearing a blue shirt. It had been remarkable because it was your orientation week and you first-years had not gotten bold or so brazen as to dare to wear anything other than your white-and-black for school functions, well, except him, that is. That blue shirt was a statement; it spelled defiance and treachery and everything your young Deeper Life mind was too scared to even dare.

You remember his laugh, the way he threw back his head and let out a deep throaty sound. It was the laugh of someone who was sure of a lot of things, most especially the reason why he had to be happy.

And by God, was he handsome! His fair skin looked translucent, with just enough dash of chocolate in it to make him look more Caribbean than albino-ish.

You had stood there and something came alive in you. It was a longing so pure and true, it was electrifying. You felt giddy, light headed, excited and a lot other things you couldn’t find words for.

You stalked him. You found out he stayed in the hostel, the block opposite yours. So you found an excuse to always go to his room; now a Legal Method text, another time a red pen, till you ran out of excuses and everyone stopped asking you what you wanted. You gulped in the presence of him; his smell, his laugh, his smile. You noticed how long his eye-lashes were, how the nails on his left hand were so long like they were never cut, how he never wore the same boxers for more than two days. You noticed every motion he made, like a private movie only you were watching. You stored these memories in your head and only let them come alive late in the night when your roommates were asleep and the preacher’s voice had become a faint echo.

Then he sat beside you one Tuesday morning in your GS class. It was almost as if providence had smiled on you. ‘Hi’ led to a ‘Hello’, and soon you guys were talking. Soon you two were going to night classes together. He kept seats for you and waited for you every morning. You talked late into the night. You realised he didn’t like making calls, so you two texted. He would begin with, ‘Hey, are you asleep?’ And you two would text into the morning, and when you saw later in the day, it was as if you never ran out of things to say.

Then the day came when he held you and pulled you close to his heart, when you felt like you had died and gone to heaven. It was rapture.

You waited for him to say it, to make it official. He would sometimes let things slip, like the time he told you he loved being with you, and you could almost swear the look in his eyes said a lot more. And then there was that other time you were sick and he told you that he could come give you a cuddle if you needed it.

But he never actually said it, the words you yearned to hear, so you conveniently forgot to tick that box, to do due diligence.
As the months progressed, you fell into the role of the boyfriend the way someone fell into step with another. Soon you had the password to his Facebook account and could raid his cupboard at will, and sometimes he would pause his Brickberry movies to watch Glee with you.

And so you convinced yourself that it didn’t matter, that you were a boyfriend by default.

But then, you realised he was a nice person, the kind that treated everyone equally, including you. You realised you had to wait your turn, stand on the queue, no preferences. You noticed you could not play the boyfriend card and that you were dating in name only. You quickly understood how this could be a problem, how this brought with it a certain kind of jealousy that was suffocating. So when he went jogging with that super hot business boy, or when he played game with his guys and cracked jokes you weren’t privy to, your heart boiled. You needed him allay your fears, to offer you validation, to tell you that your fears were unfounded, that he would move heaven and earth for you, that you were the one, the only one. But he didn’t. He couldn’t. You hadn’t a lot of experience but you knew there was something missing, that this wasn’t it, shouldn’t be it. You realised a knowing in your heart would not suffice, that if he didn’t say it, you would always doubt him. You struggled. You struggled. You struggled, and then you gave up.

So you told him it was over. In response, he looked bewildered. ‘Is this a break up?’ he’d asked. ‘We were making so much progress.’ You stared at him and felt conflicting emotions course through you. You wanted to laugh and scream and shake him. You so wanted to let him know that you had been standing still for months, perfectly still, afraid to breathe. That you had felt so insecure, so murderous of his other friends that it had become toxic. That now you wanted him to shout, to be angry, to beg, to show some emotion.

But he didn’t.

So you walked out of his room and left a piece of you behind, a gaping hole where he used to fit. You staggered for weeks, unseeing, unfeeling. You hated your guts and asked yourself the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘whys’ and the ‘maybes’.

Finally you started to heal. Your heart had acquired sheen and sharpened, the naiveté had gone. You are battle weary, broken and done. You taught yourself to smile, to laugh, to wave when he waved back, and carry on a conversation with him as if you heart was not in tatters because of him.

You are a recovering addict and today is your anniversary.

Written by Jo

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  1. simba
    February 16, 09:05 Reply

    Beautifully written but the question is, why wait to him to make the move or say the word…Make it Happen..grow balls course ur path

    • Mandy
      February 16, 11:00 Reply

      Amen, Pastor Simba! ?? Preacheet!

  2. Canis VY Majoris
    February 16, 09:32 Reply

    If you didn’t say how you truly felt, you’re both guilty. Never underestimate the power of effective communication. ..all these waiting around for someone to say or do something will only drive you mad, always let them know & never assume, you’d be surprised that they didn’t know any better.

  3. ambivalentone
    February 16, 10:18 Reply

    Wait o! Just wait! You knew boxer wearing patterns before ur 1st hello? I am in awe of ur greatness in stalking

    • Mandy
      February 16, 11:04 Reply

      ?????Would you be needing tutorials from him?

  4. Khaleesi
    February 16, 10:20 Reply

    Wow, deep and profound. This was so riveting; i felt like I was right there watching the events unfold. Great piece, Jo!

  5. JamJam
    February 16, 10:52 Reply

    This piece is so instructive. It reminds me of my favorite poison. “You can’t get rid of me”, he’d always say with his trademark smile & slightly accented baritone, “we are stuck with each other”. Thereafter, I’d have to wait my turn again.

  6. Mandy
    February 16, 11:06 Reply

    Perhaps he was waiting for you too. Perhaps he was hoping you’d be the one to say the words. It’s like Cannis said: you never know until you communicate.

  7. sinnex
    February 16, 12:16 Reply

    Why did you not let him know how you felt? Don’t tell me you are one of those who wait for people to approach them, no matter how much you like them? That is when you ask someone out and the person would say ‘what took you so long’? Or were you confused about his sexuality? Since you knew his facebook password and other stuffs, you could have gone a step further and gotten the information you needed. The only way you can truly heal is if you let him know how you feel-only if you are sure that he is gay-and if he rejects the proposal, you’d move on because now you are the one hurting, he wouldn’t even know what is happening. You’d end up hurting yourself the more.

  8. Nel
    February 16, 12:28 Reply

    How does one know it’s time.

    All the awkwardness and whatever will be afterwards.
    All the prospects available are scary.

  9. Delle
    February 16, 13:22 Reply

    I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that many gay guys would rather they are asked out than do the asking out. You allow this style of living rule your life even when it’s clear it’s not favoring you? Makes no sense.

    Just see how he lost a chance at true happiness. Lost a chance with a god. Oh church!

  10. Gabriella
    February 16, 17:41 Reply

    Ugh I feel like giving someone a slap. This is such a beautiful crush.

  11. ambivalentone
    February 16, 17:45 Reply

    I don’t understand u pipu again. Una don forget say this na Nigeria? Hell for the LGBT??? Hello!!! You don’t crush on ppl u tell u r gay. They are zoned already. You can’t tell ppl u crush on u r gay. The inherent homophobia that pervades the society…or u r one relentless converter (and I sure wasn’t imagining the dislike I read the other day for these souls)

    • Delle
      February 16, 19:17 Reply

      No one is saying you are to carry a placard of homosexuality on your forehead by approaching the person you have hots for. You definitely aren’t stupid as to just jump on anything and anyone because your heart palpitates randomly for them. It is assumed you people have something genuine and credible going on before you finally let your intentions known.
      Trust me, it’s either the game kicks off from there or he let’s you down easy.

      • Pink Panther
        February 16, 23:14 Reply

        Plus if their closeness had gotten to this point where they’re almost a couple, I sincerely doubt the guy — if he isn’t gay — would turn hatefully homophobic on him.

  12. Francis
    February 16, 17:48 Reply

    I’m trying to rid myself of that thought that when you ask someone out the burden is on you to make that relationship work by fire by force as na you go disturb person pikin ???

    I’ve learnt the communication part tey tey sha. No more fooling around. What are we biko.

    February 16, 21:04 Reply

    OMG!!! Sooooooooooo touching I almost cried. Something I could very well relate with. Reminds me of the time I had this huge crush on a str8 friend who I cld do anything for and vice versa. Anything, apart from get intimate and be an item. So excruciatingly disheartening

  14. omiete
    February 17, 00:35 Reply

    its like jo is talking about me cause its basically my life story and coincidentally am studying law but we weren’t In the same class. He was so nice to me and I told him how I felt for him he still was close to the point that we would sleep on the same bed, he would pull me close to him we would talk in whispers and when I think its leading to a kiss, he would decline and rub his nose against mine.

    • Delle
      February 17, 10:45 Reply

      Wait. Am I the only one that thinks the nose-on-nose contact is actually sexier than a kiss which could be a “Nigerian” one?

      • Francis
        February 17, 14:10 Reply

        Too much Mills & Boons is doing you

        • Delle
          February 17, 16:52 Reply

          Francis, eet eez not ya do o

      • omiete
        February 17, 21:07 Reply

        Delle, I concur those nights were sexier than sex

      February 19, 00:23 Reply

      Lol. Chai ela oju Kan. Buh that’s quite mean though. Toying with someone’s emotions

  15. Chandler B.
    February 20, 15:44 Reply

    Y’all just don’t get it. This is not about asking someone out first or making your intentions known.

    It’s about the crushing realization that the loving nice guy you could move the heavens for is loving and nice to everybody, not just you. Something you want for yourself- the attention, love, the heart- is for everyone, and you have no sole claim to it but he, unknowingly to him, has sole ownership of yours.

    This is what this piece means to me cos I’ve been there. I felt every single word like it was my story. Nice one, Jo.

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