Tunde settled into work more comfortably. He even got friendlier with the female staff, especially Shalom. Most of the females thought his reserve was cute. He’d go get lunch with them often. He also made sure to always lock his computer.
A couple of days had passed, and Kola hadn’t said anything about anything. Soon Tunde almost put the incident out of his mind. He still saw Kola staring at him when he thought he wasn’t looking but he refused to be nervous. He did wonder if he – Kola – had told anyone else about what he probably saw, but nobody else seemed to treat him weirdly. He probably hadn’t. And Tunde wasn’t interested in stirring undisturbed waters.
He had reprimanded Ope heavily about his carelessness, and Ope became really sulky as a result. Feeling a bit bad, Tunde took him to get some food at KFC and told him about how his workmate had probably found the porn. Ope played with the straw in his drink while he listened and apologised for putting him in such an awkward situation.
Tunde had found out Ope was gay through a popular gay dating website. Earlier that day, Ope had asked Tunde to take a picture with his back turned away from the camera. Ope had on a particularly bright green backpack when the photograph was taken. Later that day, a horny Tunde was perusing the website when he came across the picture with the nickname “hopster.” The picture he’d taken of Ope’s back and his bright green backpack.
He was a bit surprised. Though not as surprised as he ought to have been. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he’d always known his cousin was gay, but didn’t really acknowledge the thought because the person it centered on was his cousin. However, he decided to play a prank on Ope.
He changed his profile picture to a handsome dude and began to chat up Ope. Ope was pretty receptive especially after Tunde swore he was the one in the profile picture. A week later, they picked a place and date to meet. Tunde made sure he got there earlier than he was supposed to, and sat waiting while texting Ope with words designed to show how anxious he was to meet him. Ope arrived five minutes late and looked visibly shocked to find his older cousin sitting in the booth where the handsome stranger he was there to meet had told him he would see him.
Tunde burst out laughing at the look of panic on his cousin’s face. “Abegi, come and sit down joor,” he said. “See wetin fine boy fit do to you.”
Ope cracked an unsure smile and sat next to him. “Please, Brother Tunde, don’t tell mum and dad…” he began.
He was cut off when Tunde hissed and said, “What would I tell them I was doing on a gay dating website? If you haven’t already figured out what’s up, I’ll blame it on the fact that you’ve fucked your common sense away.”
Ope gave a hearty laugh, and that was how they became closer. Ope had just left secondary school, and Tunde was almost through with his undergraduate studies when they found out about each other. Presently Ope was in his third year studying pharmacy, while Tunde was a working class man.
And he was working in an office where one of his colleagues most likely knew he was gay. Oh well.
As Tunde got more involved with work, the workload got heavier, so that he found himself occasionally staying back late to finish some paperwork. It didn’t help that his mind drifted off every once in a while.
It was on one of such days that Kola walked up to his cubicle. Everyone else had gone home and Tunde was too engrossed with his work to notice he wasn’t alone.
He stopped typing and looked up to see the handsome face looking down at him.
“Kola, what’s up?” he said flatly. His heart hammered a bit. Was the confrontation finally happening?
“Not much,” Kola said. “I need your help. I’m sort of stranded. My car became faulty this morning and I thought the mechanic would bring it here to me once he fixed it. But he hasn’t been able to. So I was hoping I could join you on your way home. I’ll get off at the nearest possible bus stop.”
Tunde considered the request. A drive with the dude who probably knew he was gay. His head screamed ‘No’, but that would just be rude.
“Sure, no problem,” he replied. “I will be done in about fifteen minutes.”
“Thanks, man,” Kola said. “I might as well do some extra work while I wait.”
Tunde nodded, wondering what this was all about. Ope had been of the notion that Kola might be gay too. If not, he reasoned, why would he go nosing around a laptop because he heard the sound of porn? Tunde had laughed and said Ope would find any reason to see a fine dude as gay. But maybe Ope was right. Maybe Kola was gay. Tunde felt his dick respond as he thought about kissing Kola’s lips.
But wait! Maybe he wasn’t gay… maybe he wanted to blackmail him. It might be one of those kito stories… Maybe…
Tunde shook his head. He was doing it again. Over thinking. He sighed. He couldn’t do any more work now. He was nervous as hell. He packed up his things and told Kola he was ready.
The drive was mostly silent except from the soft music coming through the speakers. Kola had asked to go through Tunde’s music collection. Tunde obliged him. His music collection was full of the girly stuff and mostly old school. He loved Diana Ross and Whitney Houston. Emili Sande had become a new favorite too. Tunde wondered what was going through Kola’s mind as he shuffled through the CDs. He was probably thinking, Gay… gay… gay… sooooo gay…
“So, do you have a boyfriend?” Kola suddenly asked.
Tunde’s hand tightened on the wheel. “What?” he gasped, trying to sound casual, but failing in his own ears.
“I asked if you have a boyfriend,” Kola reiterated the question.
“Guy abeg, which kind question be that?” Tunde said with a shaky laugh.
“I saw the videos,” Kola said softly.
Tunde’s hand tightened harder on the wheel and he stared straight ahead. “Why the fuck were you going through my laptop?” he snapped. His voice was hard.
“I was curious,” Kola said dismissively. “I honestly just wanted to get a stapler, but I thought you might have something I’d like to watch, and I’ve been looking for a chance to talk to you. I thought we could be friends.”
“You wanted male bonding over porn videos?” Tunde queried with raised eyebrows.
“That’s beside the point. I asked a question. Are you gay?” Kola said.
“I thought the question was if I had a boyfriend.”
“Don’t be a wiseass,” Kola murmured.
And Tunde took his eyes off the road to glance at his colleague’s face. It didn’t hold any reprimand. He simply had on an expression of genuine curiosity.
“What’s it to you if I am anyways?” Tunde said. “Are you?”
“No,” Kola said simply. There was a pause before he added, “But my brother is.”
“Whoa,” Tunde said. “That’s…interesting.”
“Dude, I don’t mind you being gay. I really don’t care. I grew up with my brother and he was always there for me. My mum is late and my dad is a drunken mess, and my big brother did everything to make my life as safe as possible. So I know that I shouldn’t hold anything against gay people because they are humans like me. I’m sorry I asked the question abruptly, seemed to have scared you to shit. But I didn’t know any way to bring it up, and I’ve not always been good at social interactions.”
Tunde glanced at Kola again. He was looking at the road ahead of him.
He was still talking. “I asked if you had a boyfriend, because my brother seems to be working himself to death. He hardly has any fun. We talk about everything and he’s never once mentioned anyone in his life.”
“You’re trying to hook me up with your brother?” Tunde asked incredulously.
“Sort of,” was the reply.
Tunde wondered if the world had turned upside down or something. He was in a car with a straight Nigerian who was trying to hook him up with his gay brother.
“Not hook up per se,” Kola added. “I know you guys have sex a lot. I just want something steady for him. Someone to make him happy.”
“And what on earth makes you think I’m that guy?” Tunde asked still trying to figure out if he was dreaming. He’d decided not to deny the fact that he was gay.
“I’m not saying you are,” Kola said. “I just want you to meet him. He’s loveable.”
Tunde’s mind flashed to the kito stories he’d been reading recently in a growing Nigerian gay blog, and this reeked of mischief. He turned to look at Kola again. His hand was no longer tightened on the wheel. Then he said, “I’m sorry, Kola. But I have to refuse. I’m not looking for anything serious right now and even if I was, all this is too weird for me.”
Kola laughed. “You gay guys though. Not willing to commit. Just wanting to fuck and leave.”
Tunde bridled at that. And he said, “FYI, I haven’t had sex in about eight months.”
Kola gave another derisive laugh. “Say what? What happened nah?”
Tunde felt heat creeping to his face. There was a reason why he hadn’t had sex in a while, but he wasn’t going to tell that to Kola. The only person who knew was Ope. “It doesn’t concern you,” he said through gritted teeth.
“Or you can’t get it up anymore?” Kola said, apparently teasing.
“No!” Tunde almost shouted.
And Kola burst into more laughter.
“Guy, abeg, when are you getting down? You’re just making my day weird.” Tunde was not sure whether to be annoyed or amused by this conversation.
“Soon,” Kola said as he caught his breath. “At the next junction. I will write down my brother’s pin here,” he added, penning down something on a business card. “Please think about what I asked.”
Tunde slowed down for his colleague to get off. Then he drove off, and when he was some considerable distance away, he threw the card out the car window.
Written by James