FOREWORD: Another Kitodiariesian is marking his birthday on the blog, today. He is Xpressive JBoy, and he turns…well, not so old that he can’t still werk it in the bedroom, I think. Lol
Anyway, to commemorate his birthday, he has the offering below. Read and enjoy.
And Happy Birthday, JBoy.
So, it’s me, JBoy, and I’m still employed in this workplace where we’re all supposed to be buttoned up and decked out in our suits and ties. I have colleagues, a number of them, but I do not have friends among them. Well, not until several weeks back.
There was co-worker in another department whose acquaintance I made. Let’s call him Luke. Average looks. Average station. Although there was absolutely nothing average about what he has upstairs. Luke is incredibly intelligent. And I’m sapiosexual, so it didn’t take too much for the walls I erected over my inner self to shake to their foundations when he smiled at me that first afternoon, as he asked to accompany me for lunch break. Lunch together led to more lunches together. And then we exchanged numbers. And then he started dropping in on me at my department. And then I started dropping in on him at his department. And then, we started waiting up for each other at the close of work. And then, we were chatting endlessly on Whatsapp. And then, we were sharing jokes and huddling together in corners, giggling and enjoying the moments we shared together.
We quickly became close. Very close. So close that I started to long for him more intimately. So close that some of our co-workers started to go ‘Hmm, you two sef’ on us. And then, a colleague, Ben (remember that guy who perused my new phone, and may or may not have stumbled on some KD links in my Facebook inbox? #SuitsAndTiesPartOne) yea, he stopped before Luke and I one morning, fixed a beady stare on me, then on Luke, then on me, before saying, “It will be heartbreaking if you two are what I think. Just saying. Your closeness is quite uncommon. It will be truly heartbreaking.”
“As long as it’s just your heart that is breaking, that’s fine by me,” I riposted, a rejoinder which tickled Luke to laughter and caused Ben to scowl at me.
In his pocket abeg!
However, his words made me uncomfortable. And soon after this happened, there came a shift in my relationship with Luke, a subtle depth, an inch deeper in a direction that unnerved me; when he started dropping oh-so-casually, in our chats, words like ‘You are my one and only’ and ‘my dearest.’ First I was attracted to his intelligence, now I found myself falling heavily for him. I was yearning for him. His kiss. His touch. His warmth. It all felt too much, too overwhelming.
And instead of plunging in this new territory, instead of letting myself sink further in the quagmire of emotions I was feeling for the guy who, for all intents and purposes, was straight, I started withdrawing from him. Instinctively, I started avoiding him. I responded less and less to his chats. And I stopped going to see him in his office. He noticed my coolness and confronted me, with the complaint that he was seeing less of me.
We were alone in that corridor when he accosted me. “Why are you avoiding me, JBoy?” he asked, a bit plaintively.
I thought about denying that, but I had to give him some credit. So I said as tonelessly as I could manage, “It should be so.”
“Why? What are you talking about?”
I suddenly felt a longing to unburden myself a bit. So I replied, “I’m avoiding you because I think I might be developing some feelings for you.”
There, I’ve said it. Now what? I thought, feeling my heart thud faster as I stared pensively at him.
He stared back.
There was silence.
Then he heaved a sigh and said, “Is that how you develop feelings for others?”
Okay, A: He hadn’t even tried to act clueless, like he didn’t know what I was talking about. That meant that he was also giving me some credit. Good for him. And, B: Others? All of a sudden, I wasn’t sure I wanted us to go where he was steering us toward. I wasn’t ready.
So I answered, “I don’t know what you mean by ‘others.’ All I know is I was developing unusual feelings for you. And that had me worried. So I felt it would be best if I maintained some distance from you.”
“It won’t be best,” he countered.
“What then do you propose?”
“We should remain friends. And as for those feelings, we can pray about them, ask God to help you get rid of them –”
“Stop right there!” I snapped. I was suddenly angry, as I always get when obnoxious Nigerians act like homosexuality is just a minor spiritual inconvenience. “Just stop there. I’m not possessed. What I feel is natural, and after this conversation, I’m not even sure I’ll be feeling them again.”
On that note, I stalked past him. Our friendship cooled considerably after that, and we barely saw each other, reverting to cordial formality when we did run into each other.
Now, all this time Luke and I were writing our story in the scrolls of time, in the company, there’s this young woman who is somewhat close to him. They’re friends, the much I can see. But office talk has been dogging their relationship, speculation that they could be an item. Her name is, well, Monica. And neither she nor Luke has ever bothered to debunk the speculation.
So about a week after Luke and I had our tiff, I’d gone to the company kitchenette to attend to a minor breakfast concern, and was on my way back out when I ran into Luke on his way out of the gents. That awkward moment when you run into your kinda sorta ex. We quickly overcame the awkward moment and started a light conversation as we strolled toward my wing of the office floor.
On our way, we met Monica. She appeared to be in good spirits and fell into step beside us, walking on the other side of Luke, away from me. A fleeting thought went through my mind, of us – Monica and I – as consorts flanking our oga at the top – Luke.
As though she’d picked up on that thought, Monica suddenly said, “Hmm, I don’t know whether I have a rival or competitor in this matter o.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“The two of you nah,” she replied with a grin. “Every time I see you two, you’re always in compromising positions.”
I was briefly startled by her remark. I stared at her for a moment. That grin of hers made it difficult for me to know if she was kidding or deadly serious. Luke reacted to her words with a small laugh.
I blurted out, “Uh, compromising positions? When and how was that?”
“My own is, I’m always seeing you two gisting intimately.” That grin, that goddamned grin, was still there.
So perhaps she was joking?
She must be, because Luke was laughing.
So I decided to play along. “Oh, so that’s the problem, eh?” I said teasingly.
“Yels. Yels, that is my problem.”
By this time, we’d gotten to my office. As we filed into the moderate space filled with various work stations behind which sat my various colleagues, Monica suddenly cleared her throat and began melodramatically, in a loud voice, as though addressing a congregation, “My people, I have a complaint to lodge here.”
One by one, faces looked up from their computers to focus on the three of us, on her.
“Are you people hearing me,” she said theatrically. “I said I have a complaint to lodge.”
“Oya, lodge it fast nah,” someone said.
“If you like, hostel it,” another added.
“Or guesthouse it too join,” quipped yet another.
There was a rumble of laughter.
“Let me just say my own o,” Monica took up the reins again. “I want to say that I’m not happy with JBoy and Luke.” She pointed at us, as though everyone else couldn’t already see us standing there beside her. “In fact, I’ve been watching them, and I’m starting to wonder if I have a rival. You people should help me and judge this matter o.”
If I am Caucasian, in that moment, my face would have been so red, it could have sat in a bucket of tomatoes, and you wouldn’t be able to tell us apart. I couldn’t believe this girl. I just couldn’t.
Comprehension however came slowly to her audience. At first, they stared blankly at us, as though waiting for one of us to drop the punch line of the joke.
Monica dropped it. She went on with, “You people are not hearing me? I said I’m not happy, because I don’t know if Luke and JBoy are doing anything that will warrant fourteen years.”
And then, they began to get it. Some started to chuckle. I turned to Luke, to see how he was taking this. Unbelievably, he was chuckling too.
Somebody began, “Oh, so you mean –”
“Eh, whatever you’re thinking,” Monica cut in, “is what I’m implying.”
There was more laughter at this. Their interest had been piqued. My colleagues can kukuma like anything that is potentially scandalous. One of them stood from his seat and queried, as he looked from Luke to me, “So abeg, tell us, who is doing who? Who is on top?”
Amidst the ribald laughter that greeted his cheeky question, Luke answered with a sly grin, “You should know who should be on top nah. Obviously I am.”
Jeezuz! I could not believe my senses.
“Oh, oh, no wonder…” someone else burst out with a clap of her hands.
“No wonder what?” another person asked her.
Before she replied, I knew what she’d been oh-no-wonder-ing about. You see, awhile ago, there was this female client of the company who’d been hitting on me. At first subtly, and then quite openly, so much so that it became obvious to those in my department. But I never gave the woman the time of day. I mean, seriously, what am I going to do with her vagina? Plait the pubic hair around it? My lack of interest, too, became apparent to my colleagues.
And so, presently, this witch said again, “Oh, no wonder.” Then she swept her eyes over me, a tad insolently, before adding, “Such a biatch.”
Oh no, she didn’t! This daughter of Jezebel did not just call em a biatch! Someone had better tell her that my mouth bad pass her own o!
However, the rest of the office seemed to be enjoying this theatric interlude, judging from the boisterous laughter. Luke. Monica. Jezebel’s daughter. Everyone else.
Me? I didn’t know what to feel. I felt myself vacillating between amusement, outrage, and extreme annoyance. Arranging my face in a wooden expression, I walked away from the ‘film set’ and to my desk. It must have then dawned on them that I was not enjoying the drama, because I was inundated with a chorus of ‘Ah, ah, JBoy, no vex, na joke nah.’
Yes, keep joking, I wanted to tell them. It’s all good. Today, it’s a joke. Tomorrow, who knows? Maybe this is the hand of fate. Maybe this is all a grand design to make my coming out to you a lot more easier.
Written by Xpressive JBoy