FOREWORD: You guys remember Unoma, right? Well, she has an ongoing literary project that concerns the Nigerian LGBTI community, one she wants us to be a part of. It’s a kind of anthology that intends to document our lives as gay Nigerians, our experiences, our struggles, and our peculiar ways of navigating the very hostile terrain of the Nigerian society. Telling our stories have the power to help upcoming baby gay Nigerians know that they are as normal as those of us who lived and triumphed over rejection, pain and oppression. Our stories can possibly reduce homophobia because it lets people see that we neither chose our lifestyles, nor live as gay men and women because of any spiritual or demonic forces.
We live and exist in our fullness because of the way we are. And we are a beautiful people.
And so, if you have any stories of survival and overcoming that you would like to be in the anthology, kindly either send to me on email@example.com or to her on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, guys.
Peter Amechina (real name) and I were friends for seven years, starting 2005 to 2012, when my Kito story happened. We met in a bank. He walked up to me, having mistaken me for someone else – his pickup line, which I was impressed by. We exchanged numbers and not long afterward, we developed a quick rapport. We didn’t live in the same area, he in Enugu and me in Owerri, and so we maintained contact through phone calls and texts. BBM and Whatsapp made things easier years later.
Though sexuality was the string of connection, our friendship wasn’t based on sex. We were more friends with occasional benefits. Over the years, I got to know a lot about him and his family members, though I never met them, the same way he got to know about me and mine, even though he never got to meet my people. He visited me a number of times. One such time was in December 2008, when I was left in the municipality alone, and my folks traveled for the yuletide. He came to my house then, with a friend in tow, and we all had loads of fun during the period of his visit.
And so, seven years of friendship and trust rolled past.
In 2012, I was going to be in Enugu for a meeting with a rep of some international university. I contacted Peter and made plans concerning staying over at his place for the night, seeing as I didn’t envisage my returning home that same day. I was not a stranger to Enugu, my aunt lived there, but I’d always rather stayed with a friend than with married relative and her family.
My meeting ran late, and at the end of it, I was relieved to get the chance to see my friend again. It had been about two years since we saw each other last. He was waiting when I got to his place and his welcome of me to his place was effusive. We chatted a bit and he left and returned moments later with a late lunch or early dinner. He had something to do, so he excused himself and left. He came back around 9pm. We showered together, got back in the room. We chatted a while again and soon started fondling with each other.
Not long after we got naked, the door was thrown open, and two guys were inside the room.
You can guess what I have chosen to leave out. I was accused of misleading their friend. I was stabbed in the middle of my palm, hit with thin water pipes, that type that has more biting ferocity than your primary school teacher’s cane. All the while, one of the guys created what in his head would convince me that Peter wasn’t part of the plan. He would feign hitting Peter with the pipe, and somehow, the blows never quite struck Peter, all of it an attempt to make me believe both Peter and I were in the same dire predicament. I had to give up my ATM card and pin, and it was by ‘coincidence’ that Peter had to go with one of them to the bank and leave me with the second one, who apparently suffering an attack of conscience said he was sorry I had to go through that. For some reason, he seemed to sense that there was more to me and that I was probably going to bring hell when they let me go. One thing he said that I remembered most was that I should choose my friends carefully.
How though? How careful can one get in the choice of friends? Was seven years not enough time to build confidence and trust in someone whom you’ve allowed in your home several times? Was seven years not enough time to call someone friend?
My account was cleared out, only six thousand left, of what mainly was a large sum of money that was in my custody from the family business. My blackberry was taken, and so was the change of clothes I brought for the next day. I was let go at the first sight of dawn the next day.
My parents were glad I was alive when I got back to my house, the money wasn’t an issue. When I got back online, Peter denied he had anything to do with what happened that night. I didn’t argue with him. Something I learned about revenge is that it is best served cold. I didn’t bring down any hell, like that second guy feared. When I do, it won’t be on him. Whenever I think about Peter, I see what I’ve learned. He isn’t reason enough to give up on friendship or trust, but he will be reason enough for the worst thing I will do in my lifetime. Even if it takes decades, one day, I’ll be ready for him. And my prayer is that when that day comes, that God might have deemed it fit to take him away from the earth. If not, he will be praying for death by the time I’ll just be getting started.
Written by Morrison
LAST WORD: Morrison sent me photos of this friend, Peter Amechina, for me to put up along with his story, as a cautionary move for anybody staying in Enugu who may call him friend. The homophobic citizenry of Nigeria who set up and lynch members of the gay community are bad enough. But when one of us becomes a turncoat and seeks the pain and humiliation of his fellow gay man, those are the lowest of the scum that litter the surface of the earth. Check on Peter Amechina’s pictures below.