Previously on Love And Sex In The City: Introducing Declan in the city of Lagos, on the day that followed the introduction of the anti-gay bill by the Nigerian Senate. His sexcapade with a guy from a party, and his getting dumped by his older male lover, Benson. (Read HERE)
And now, on to today’s episode.
My heart skipped a beat as I turned to watch my sister, Tonia pad into my room.
That winch! Doesn’t she ever knock?
“Don’t you ever knock?” I groused.
“And that answers my question how?” she sallied, plopping down on my bed.
“Up. Fucked me up, that’s what I said. The guy is my friend who disappointed me today.”
“Phew!” Tonia mimed swiping sweat from her forehead with her fingers. “I for fear. With all this talk about the senate passing an anti-gay bill, the last thing I need is to start worrying if my brother likes taking it up his ass.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
She turned to her Blackberry as she replied, “You know nau. Me, I don’t have anything against gay guys o –”
“That is exactly what those who have something against gay guys say,” I cut in.
She looked up at me. “I’m just saying, god made Adam and Eve, not –”
“Adam and Steve, yes, yes, I know,” I said with an eye-roll. “Come on, Tonia.”
“Come on, yourself. I don’t understand it. How can a guy finish seeing a sexy girl like me” – she waved her hands sweepingly over her bust – “and still want his fellow man? It’s bad enough that women are plenty and looking for husbands and boyfriends, we now have to drag market with other guys as well?”
I couldn’t help it. I had to laugh at that. Tonia could be a clown sometimes, and even though we almost never agreed on a lot of things, I would always love her. Whether she would love me back if she discovered my true sexuality was another matter.
“Antonia, abeg get out of my room. I want to sleep.”
“Okay o.” She hopped down from my bed. “Goodnight.”
I returned the greeting and got into bed. As I drifted off to sleep, I thought about an alternate creation where God would have indeed made man . . . and another man, and called them Adam and Steve.
“Sabo owa o!” I yelled from my seat in the back of the bus.
The conductor banged the top of the bus and the driver steered the vehicle to a stop on the side of the road. A woman in the front seat got down, and the people seated beside me moved their bodies so I could squeeze myself out of the bus.
When I got down, I gave myself a quick once-over to make sure my shoes were still spitshined and my clothes didn’t look like I hadn’t ironed them at all. I was okay, so I started on the short trek to my workplace.
FitPlus Inc. is a drug company housed in the second and third floors of Ibikun House, a vast brick-and-marble building on one side of Herbert Macaulay Way. I work in the human Resources Department, and I love my job. Being part of the team whose job it is to manage the welfare of every other staff made me feel very good. And let’s not forget that one time that a new intern had given me a slow wink when he came to our office to collect his employment letter. His gay radar had been on point, and before the end of that work day, we’d exchanged a quick but intense smooch and our contacts in the close confines of the men’s room.
The doors of the elevator on the ground floor glided open, and I made to step inside. Someone hastened out from it, and the two of us collided into each other. I had a quick impression of a well-chiseled face, high cheekbones, deep-set dark eyes, and a mouth that was full and sensual, with a dark upper lip and red lower lip, a contrast that made the mouth very kissable.
And then, I recognized who owned the face. Who had bumped into me. Who had accidentally stepped on my foot.
OhMyGod! My polished shoe! I flinched.
“Ooomph! Sorry –”
“Sorry for yourself!” I snapped, feeling irritation edge out my desire. “Can’t you watch where you’re going?”
The good-looking young man stabbed me with eyes that had suddenly become vexed. His name was Kizito, and he worked as part of the medico-marketing team of FitPlus Inc. His job was to brand and advertise our products, and monitor the activities of our competitors. He was out in the field a lot.
And he smelled really good this morning. Kai! It was the same heady male scent I’d come to associate with him. I found the scent alluring. And if we were friends, I’d have asked him about the cologne.
But we were not friends, as evidenced in the waspish response he gave to me. “You really have a bad attitude, shey you know.”
“I wouldn’t have a bad attitude if it weren’t for you. I was fine, until you came barging out of the elevator as though demons were chasing after you.”
“Abeg, guy, I don’t have your time,” he hissed as he started past me.
“Yes, because it’s me that has your time, abi? Nonsense and ingredient!” I shot back, before turning to wait for the elevator doors to open again.
Kizito started working here about six months after I was employed. He caused quite the stir with his dark, good looks and charming manner.
And those lips – Ah! Eni to dun! Bola from Accounts nicknamed him Mr. Red Lips, and for awhile, the moniker stuck. I was one of the many who had the hots for him. My competition were females, but who cares, right? I chatted him up and flirted with him, and did everything short of dropping my trousers and yelling: “Take me now!” The thirst was real.
And then, I got to the door of the men’s room one afternoon, and overheard him and Mahmud from the DG’s office speculating on the nature of my acquaintanceship with him, wondering if I was gay, and bashing ‘those disgusting faggots.’ I couldn’t believe Kizito was part of the conversation I eavesdropped. But he was. And I resented him for it. And every amorous feeling I had for him perished at once, to be replaced by an intense dislike. And it seemed the guy still couldn’t understand the sudden switch in my behavior toward him.
I soon got to the section of the floor occupied by Human Resources. Noises from the other offices penetrated the walls – muffled voices, the occasional laughter, the copy machine being operated in the next room. I greeted my colleagues who were present, and got down at my work station.
Before I could get started, Jonathan breezed in and to my side. He was a friend of mine, a doctor who worked in the clinic on the other side of the road. FitPlus had a business relationship with the clinic.
“You should just know that you’re the first to get one of this,” he sang out before dropping an embossed, cream-coloured envelope on my desk with flourish.
“Ah, your wedding invitation,” I said, plucking out the stiff card from inside. “Nice. Fancy.” I looked at the smiling couple on the front of the card. “Chidi weds Chidimma – nice,” I said again, with a nod and a chuckle.
“She completes me, the mma to my Chidi.” He put a hand theatrically to his chest.
I tried not to roll my eyes. Here’s the thing: this Jonathan – the one half of the Chidi-mma binary – is gay. Or rather, he likes to fuck ass sometimes, as he often corrects those of us who are his gay friends. God forbid he should think of himself as homosexual; he won’t even call himself bisexual. He simply believes that his desire for the male pussy is a minor aberration that he can easily overcome. You know, gay today, straight tomorrow. The guy seesaws through his sexual desires so often he makes me dizzy. And so, even though he likes to hang out with us, and listen to our gossip, and laugh with us at our sexcapades, and ask Yinka to hook him up with market every now and then, he maintains he’s not gay. How can he be? he after all has a fiancée who he claims he loves very much, and who gives him the best sex of his life.
“Liar!” Adebola hissed into my ear during one of Jonathan’s preachy rants. “I gave him the best sex of his life. Even Chidimma can’t compete with the memory of the things I did to him that night in that hotel in Festac.” And we shared a quiet laugh at that.
“…thinking of settling down yourself,” Jonathan was saying presently. “How old are you again sef, twenty eight? Twenty nine?”
“Twenty seven, thank you very much,” I said primly.
“Same difference.” He leaned toward me and dropped his voice to a whisper so the other people in the room wouldn’t hear. “You should start doing girls, Declan. It’s not as hard as you think –”
“Seriously, Jonathan –”
“Yes, it’s a serious issue, my friend. It’s high time you think about quitting this TB lifestyle you’re living, and focus on preparing yourself for marriage. Get a girlfriend. Have sex with her. Marry her.”
“Yes, because it’s really that simple.”
“It IS that simple.”
“Look, Jonathan –”
“You can’t tell me you’re going to be gay forever –”
“It’s not something I turn off and on – Haba!” I said, exasperation hiking the volume of my voice. I lowered it again when I added, “It’s who I am, Jonathan. You have to respect that.”
“I don’t buy that. Look at me nau, I love my wife-to-be, and if tomorrow I decide I no longer want to fuck ass, it will be” – he snapped his fingers – “like that.”
“Congratulations to you then,” I sneered.
“Come off it, Declan. I only have your best interests at heart. Maybe if you were overseas, you can do as you like. But you’re in Nigeria, in Africa, and our society doesn’t tolerate this. And with this anti-gay bill that the Senate has just passed –”
“Oh for chrissakes, what is it with everybody and this anti-gay bill sef!” I huffed. In a quick moment, I thought about Benson who now wanted to focus on his wife and family… About Tonia who didn’t have anything against gay guys but… And about Jonathan, who would soon become my ex-friend if he didn’t stop trying to be my conscience.
He seemed to realize that he had pushed me as far as I could take, because he straightened and said in his normal voice, “Anyway, I’m having a small thing tomorrow night. Just us guys, to celebrate my coming wedding.”
“At the bar where we usually hang out?”
“Yes.” He nodded.
“No probs, I’ll be there.”
He paused, seeming as though he wanted to say more, then he walked out of the office.
The work day went speedily by, and before I knew it, it was getting on to 5pm. I was putting my things together when my phone chirped. Ekene’s name was showing on the screen.
“My sister, what’s up?” I said when I picked the call.
“Have you left work?” His voice held a thread of agitation.
“About to. Why?”
“I need you to branch to my house, abeg. Fast-fast!”
Ekene was given to histrionics, and I had no doubt this was one of his episodes. I chuckled. “Nne, nawa o. Where’s the fire?”
“Don’t laugh at me, Declan. This one is more than fire. I think Moses has given me AIDS.”
“What didn’t you hear? I said, I believe my boyfriend of five months has given me AIDS!” His mounting hysteria was palpable through the receiver.
“Wait, that’s not po –”
“Just get here!” And he disconnected the call.