The melodious contralto of the gospel artiste, Cece Winans, backed up by other singers, floated through the atmosphere from Tonia’s room to mine, making my intention to sleep in on this Sunday morning quite impossible. It didn’t help that she sang along with the professionals, loudly, her screeching voice that tottered between soprano and some other unidentifiable pitch bouncing against the walls and causing me to groan. My sister is tone-deaf and so doesn’t know just how bad her voice is.
As I lifted my pillow to place it on my head, in a hopeful attempt to muffle the din, my phone began to ring on the bed beside me. I blearily peered at the screen to see Yinka’s name on it.
“How far,” I muttered when I answered the call.
“Dee, is today not Sunday?” he said without preamble.
“Tell me, is today not Sunday?”
“It is…” I groaned.
“Well then, can someone come and tell this street evangelist spreading the good news by my window that today is the day to preach in church and not on the street. This early morning, and he is already on my case, continually hammering on homosexuality and lesbianism in front of my house. Them send am?”
He sounded so wrathful that I actually chuckled. In the background of our call, from his end of the line, I could hear the warble of a megaphone.
“He’s a wonder, he’s a wonder, in my soul…!” Tonia shrieked, and I glared at the wall separating our rooms, before groaning again.
“Kilode?” Yinka enquired. “Are you still in bed?”
“Your mama never pursue you comot that bed make you go church?”
“My people have given up on me ever being a churchgoer. I’m done with all that shii. I’ve got my bible and my space right here, I don’t need to go to any glorified place to seek God’s face.”
“I hear you, sista. But, darling, the Bible said, when two or three are gathered, na there the koko dey. Where’s your two and three if you’re singing Hallelujah all by yourself in your room?” I could hear the teasing in his voice as he spoke.
I sallied back, “I’ll come to your house then, and me, you and whichever market you have there will be the two and three.”
His gale of laughter resounded through the connection. “You no serious,” he replied then. “Speaking of market –”
“I know you came back from Abuja with one,” I interrupted, mentally shaking my head in amusement. “You Yinka sef, why you are even in a relationship, I’ll never know.”
“It’s an open relationship joor. That means that while I’m playing my away runs, Bode is allowed to play his as well. And that’s healthy for our relationship. Takes away all the negative energy spent on being jealous and needy.”
“That’s a bullshit rationalization, an excuse to fool around while still claiming to be committed to someone –”
“Oh sorry,” Yinka drawled with light sarcasm. “I forgot I was talking to our very own Disney princess, all starry-eyed and believing in love and the perfect relationship.”
I chuckled. “Your head there, you say it like it’s a bad thing.”
“Not a bad thing at all o, every man to his kinks. In the meantime, while we are waiting for you to land your perfect man, there’s always sex to be had.” I could imagine the lewd grin spread across his face at the moment. “So, I have the perfect recipe for your recovery out of this whole Jim business.” Even though I hadn’t seen him since my work issue on Friday, I’d updated him through our chats on BBM. He was still speaking, “There’s this dude I came back with from Abuja, really cute passenger named Chuks who I got flirty with on the flight over. He spent last night at my place. And he’s horny and wants to get frisky with someone.”
“And that person isn’t you?” I said in mock-astonishment.
“Please, don’t insult my sex appeal,” he retorted in feigned affront. I laughed. “It’s not me, it’s him. Apparently, dude belongs to this class of TBs I’ll never understand, the type who have preferences based on skin colour. He’s dark and likes mixing it up with yellow pawpaw. That means I’m too dark and sexy for him. And you have the complexion that’s just right for him.”
“Okay o. So this morning, yea?”
“Yea, he’ll be leaving in the afternoon to attend to the engagement that actually brought him to Lagos.” He giggled. “See how the potential availability of shobosho can distract one from the seriousness of life.”
I laughed at that. “Idiot. I’ll be on my way soon.”
I spent several minutes prying myself out of bed and getting ready to go over to Yinka’s place. Sometime during my toilette, my mother stopped grumbling about how I should start being serious with the things of the church, Tonia stopped singing, and my family – father, mother, two sisters and a brother – left the house for church. I maintained a blank-faced disinterest throughout my mother’s diatribe; it had been almost six months since I stopped going to church. My resolution to never again step inside a house of God was brought on by an incident the week after my last attendance of our church; a young man from my neighbourhood and his lover had been outed in his street, the one next to mine, and I happened on the crowd that was beating the living daylights out of them on my way home from work. Unable to see the victims at first, I’d thought they were apprehended thieves, and when I tried to verify what the ruckus was about from someone from the crowd, I was startled by the knowledge that they were ‘homos who they’d caught having sex.’ It seemed they hadn’t drawn the curtains over the windows, and a neighbour walking past had spied their lovemaking in all its sordid glory.
That was when I looked closer and through his bruises, I recognized the man; I had no idea he was even gay. He was one of those people whose names I didn’t know, but who I exchanged hellos with each time we walked past each other on our streets. Fortunately, the two men weren’t lynched. Someone alerted the policemen from a nearby checkpoint, and the uniforms came and disbanded the mob, a rabble that had amongst them the choirmaster in my church and two male ushers. I spotted a junior pastor and his deaconess wife standing on the sidelines, staring unaffectedly at the assault. Unable to face the hostility that came in the aftermath of his disgrace, the young man moved out barely a week after. And unable to bear the hypocrisy of my Christian brethren, I quit the choir and ended my attendance of church services.
My parents took umbrage with my decision, and for a fortnight after I did my turnaround, we fought. My mother threw bible verses and premonitions at me, while my father heaped threats on me. They got my oldest brother involved at one point, but I was not cowed. Finally, their wrath eased up; my father stopped talking about my nonattendance entirely, while my mother maintained a grumbling presence every Sunday that she asked me, “Nna, a ga agakwa church today?” and I replied with an exasperated “No.”
Minutes after the house emptied of the rest of my family, I stepped out as well, all dressed up and ready to get down with Yinka’s runs. It had been abut two weeks since I last had sex, and with that recollection came the onrush of memories about that night with Iyke at the party I attended with Yinka in Ajah. That had been a really good fuck, and I’d even called Iyke last weekend for a rematch, but he said he’d returned to school in the University of Calabar.
The combined thoughts of Iyke, the pleasuring he gave me two weeks ago, and the prospect of sex with Yinka’s friend suddenly ratcheted up my degree of horniness. And I found my eyes drifting to the crotch of the jogger trotting toward me. He was wearing loose shorts and I thought I could make out the swing of his cock behind the thin fabric as he jogged. He soon ran past me, and my eyes fell on the crotch of the next male passerby, a churchgoer, who was clad in an appropriately loosely-tailored trouser; no visible dick-print there. The next male had quite an impressive VPL etched on his tight jeans. And the next was a mallam whose cock bobbed against his threadbare trousers with every step he took.
It is Sunday, Declan. Keep your thoughts pure, in heaven’s name!
Forgive them, Lord, for they do not know what they do…to me.
You have that backward, it’s you who needs forgiveness.
No, it’s not me o. It’s Ekene, he’s the one who introduced this error to my ways.
My thoughts warred inside me as I laughed softly and got inside a bus heading in the direction of Yinka’s place. We both live in Surulere, me in Bode Thomas and he in Aguda. It wasn’t long before I got there. Yinka let me in, and introduced me to his houseguest. He was right; the guy was really cute, with a high arch for cheekbones, eyes that had a perpetual come-hither expression in them and lips I just couldn’t wait to get down to business with. From the way his eyes combed me from head to toe and back up, I knew he was thinking the same thing I was.
Yinka was too. Making shooing gestures toward his bedroom, he clucked, “Oya, you horny kids, get going. And please don’t be too loud. This is not a brothel, it’s a respectable man’s house.”
“Yea, right,” I scoffed as I followed Chuks, heart palpitating just a little bit faster, into the bedroom.
The moment we were ensconced inside Yinka’s plush bedroom, we fell on each other. I pulled at his shoulders, and his hands snaked behind to grab my derriere. Our breaths came in quick pants as we craned our heads toward each other.
Ah, those lips, I thought feverishly as my eyes fluttered close in anticipation of the mind-blowing kiss I was sure Chuks’ mouth would give.
Then our lips met, and my eyes flew open in shock.
Chuks had wrapped my mouth with his lips, encasing my entire buccal region inside his and tugging at my mouth with sucking motions that felt as though he was trying to disengage my lips from the rest of my face. The upper lobe of his mouth had stretched so far up it was slapping over my nostrils, slightly suffocating me. I flinched back from the kiss, tried to pull my face back, to ease what I presumed was his over-eagerness into a more sedate rhythm. I slipped my tongue out and into his mouth to do a dance with his, but all I encountered was the tight lockdown of his teeth.
Whaddafuck! There is nothing that turns me off more than a bad kisser, something this dude appeared to be. Sucking at my mouth. No tongue action. Clenched teeth. Gawd, this is bullshit! I considered a steamy make-out session as my weakness, and in my opinion, bad kissing was just a portent for bad sex. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next thing he wanted was for me suck his dick –
That uncharitable thought had barely been expended before I felt his hands go to my shoulders and begin to push me gently down.
You have got to be kidding me! I thought wrathfully, as I resisted the urging. My libido had fled entirely now, and the heat in the glare I planted on his face was of annoyance, not desire.
At my resistance, he shoved insistently; his eyes were shut and he didn’t seem to notice that I was no longer a willing participant in this romp. There was such a look of anticipatory rapture on his face, that I relented, which was unlike me. I don’t usually suffer fools in bed at all.
I slid downward, until I was facing his crotch. He ground his hips against my face, and I snapped, “Be still, Haba!”
He looked down at me with an expression akin to apologetic, and murmured, “Oh sorry…”
Sorry for yourself, I thought sourly. It’s not even you I’ll kill for this. It’s Yinka!
I unzipped his trousers and pulled out his schlong. It was hard and impressive, but I had no longing for it. God, give me an excuse to not have sex with this guy, I thought as I slipped his cock into my mouth. He groaned with pleasure as I began to bob my head front and back, my mouth moving slipshodly over his dick.
“Your tongue…” he gasped as he thrust into my mouth. “Use your tongue…”
Oh no, mister, you don’t get the VIP treatment from my mouth. You kiss me badly, I blow you just the same. I eyed him irritably from my squat, still sucking him and still praying for a reason to not to get down with him. I could just say ‘No’, and that would be it. But there was a certain boyish appeal he had that made me unwilling to be that abrupt.
God – or a really, really naughty angel – heard my prayer.
After a blowjob that lasted about a minute, I pulled back from him and protested that I was tired. He didn’t seem to mind, he was too engrossed in getting right down to the main course. He frenziedly shucked his trousers as I pulled mine down with great reluctance. Then I sat on Yinka’s bed and watched him reach for the vanity table for a bottle of cream. His dick stretched turgidly as he squirted some of the cream onto his palm and rolled the moistness over his hard-on.
His very bare, unprotected hard-on!
“Wait a minute, don’t you have a condom?” I queried. Please, say no, please, say no…
“No,” he rasped. “I don’t. Is that a problem?”
For you, it seems, I thought, stifling the impulse to scream ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ Adopting an affronted look, I said, “Of course, it’s a problem. Are you the only person on this planet who doesn’t know about HIV?”
His lips, that gorgeous but useless part of his anatomy, twisted into a small smile. “Of course, I do. But, don’t worry, I’ll go gentle. I will not fuck you roughly.”
“What are you talking about?” My brow crocheted with incomprehension. “What has HIV got to do with you not fucking me roughly?”
“Because that’s how you get HIV nau, from rough sex.”
I gaped at him. “You’re kidding, right?”
“No, I’m not.” He looked very serious. “Besides, sperm does not carry HIV.”
I blinked, feeling a surge of fluid astonishment. I truly could not believe what I’d just heard. “I’m sorry, what?”
He heaved a sigh, and his shoulders drooped, along with his erection. “Can’t we just do it, and we can talk later?”
“Not if you don’t have a condom.”
“But I told you I will be gentle –”
“Yes, but you have not explained to me how gentle sex means I might not get infected with HIV.”
“You don’t even have to worry about that, I’m negative –”
“Right, taking your word for it is all the protection I need,” I snapped with heavy sarcasm. I shimmied on the bed as I pulled my jeans back up my hips. “So, are you going to tell me about how sperm doesn’t carry HIV?” I really needed to hear this.
He heaved another sigh, and glanced around for his trousers, apparently coming to terms with the fact that sex between us wasn’t going to happen. “See, sperm is different from the white blood cells in our body,” he began, “and they do not have the same receptors on their membranes that the WBC has. And so, HIV does not have the chance to attach itself on the sperm. Therefore, sperm is HIV free, but the HIV is found within the seminal fluid. For women, there is no HIV in the ovum, but in the vaginal fluids. Ovum are also special types of cells and do not have the same receptors as the White Blood Cells in their membranes. Hence both sperm and egg are free from HIV.”
“And this seminal fluid, isn’t that the semen?”
“The very same substance that covers the sperm…”
“Yes, it’s the transporter of the sperm.”
“So, what’s the difference if the HIV is contained in the seminal fluid and not in the sperm? Because, isn’t the semen also going inside my ass when you fuck me raw?” I questioned caustically.
“Hey, easy abeg,” he snapped back, his bad temper now showing. “A doctor told me that HIV positive people can get married and have their kids HIV free. You have to be well lubricated and not have sex in a rough way, that HIV infection only happens when blood is involved. In TB sex, we are only vulnerable because we mostly like the rough kind of sex that usually results in the tearing of the skin and bleeding, which increases the chances of an infection.”
“And a doctor told you all this?” I stared, incredulous.
“Yes,” he replied, nodding.
“Where did he do his residency, the University Teaching Hospital of fools and charlatans?”
“Mind the way you talk about people you don’t know,” he growled.
“Excuse me if I have no respect for someone who sells dangerous crap like that to the gullible public. So you mean to tell me that if someone who is positive fucks and releases into someone who is negative, as long as the sex was suffry-suffry, there will be no danger of a transmission, ei?”
He shrugged before saying, “Na wetin them tell me I dey tell you.”
“Well, before you preach your good news to someone who doesn’t know any better, why don’t you check journals and information online? I honestly can’t believe how ignorant people can get in this day and age when information is everywhere to tap into.”
His face tightened into a scowl. “You have a really bad mouth, shey you know.”
“Whoa, whoa, make love not war!” Yinka’s voice cut in seconds after he pulled the door of the bedroom open and walked in. His eyes swept over us, not missing the tension and the fact that we were both dressed. “Aren’t you two supposed to be shagging the life out of each other?” He turned his head to say in a stage whisper to the other person I hadn’t noticed walked into the room with him, “And I thought we would be interrupting something really hot and sinful.”
“They appear to be having a fight,” the newcomer said with a smile. “That in itself is hot and sinful.” I recognized him. He’s Sule, one of Yinka’s colleagues – a tall, skinny, dark dude with well-defined aquiline features who Yinka had had a fling with once.
“Don’t mind this your self-righteous friend,” Chuks interjected. As I bristled at that, he continued, “I’m trying to tell him that it doesn’t matter that I don’t have any condoms, we can still do it –”
“Oh, is it condom that’s the problem,” Yinka began.
I cut in hastily. “That’s not the issue anymore. The issue is what this guy is saying about the transmission of HIV. I mean, it’s unbelievable.” With that, I gave the two other men a recap of my spat with Chuks.
Yinka said at the end of my speech, “But Chuks is right…” At my wide-eyed glare, he hastened, “Sort of, I mean. He’s right about HIV being found in semen and not in sperm. It is also not found in the female eggs. This explains why HIV positive parents can have HIV negative offspring.”
“Yes, HIV carriers do what they call sperm washing to have a baby, so I heard,” Sule added. “They wash the semen off the gamete, before facilitating the process of fertilization.”
“That is beside the point,” I cut in with no small amount of asperity. “This isn’t about HIV couples looking to have a baby. It’s about sex between two people, between two gay men, to be exact. You people need to make this simple and clear so that some people like this dude” – I jerked my head with some disdain in Chuks’ direction – “will stop being misled. HIV is found in sexual body fluids. Simple. Whether in the sperm cell or the semen is not important, what’s important is avoiding exchange of bodily fluids. This distinction you are making is unnecessary. What exactly are you trying to advocate for or excuse if the semen, the one that carries the sperm, is the substance that holds the HIV? Whether sperm carry HIV or sperm no carry am, what’s the point? It is rationalizations like this that will push guys into barebacking, when you start trying to separate which one is carrying HIV or not. This is just like saying a car seat cannot kill you but a moving car can. What’s the difference, since they both always go together? This argument you people are giving is a lecture meant for HIV positives who wish to have a negative baby.”
“Well, me, I always say it,” Sule said at the end of my tirade, “if me and you never follow go take test, you are fucking me or I’m fucking you with a condom.”
“Oh really, Sule?” I scoffed. “So that means you can bareback with someone just because you took a test together? Ever heard of a window period?” I laughed with as much superciliousness as I could muster. “Guy, just make sure you always” – I dropped a heavy stress on the word – “use a condom. Shikena!”
“Oya o, it have do,” Yinka said, waving placatory hands. “Shebi it’s condom that’s the problem. I’ve got them–”
“Forget about it!” Chuks interrupted him with a growl and an ugly look shot my way. “I have no desire to ever fuck this your friend.”
“Oh please,” I said with a sneering laugh. “The second you kissed me, or fumbled with your mouth on my mouth, was the moment I decided this sex wasn’t going to happen.”
There was a momentary pin drop silence during which time I realized that if looks could kill, I’d be sprawled out on Yinka’s carpeted floor at the moment, charred and very dead, so heated was Chuks’ glare on me. I stared back at him. Yinka and Sule looked from one of us to other, not bothering to hide their avid curiosity to know exactly what had transpired between Chuks and me.
Finally, Chuks said stonily at Yinka, “I think I’ll take my leave now.” And he moved forward, shouldering his way past the two, and out of the room.
Ah, such gorgeousness, I thought as I stared after him with some latent regret. If only you’d known how to kiss… Then I sighed and turned to Yinka and his friend as they pounced on me for every morsel of the gist.