My leave approval came through on the 10th of December and I had never been more excited to see an email (except of course, credit notification emails from GTBank). I was very happy that I could finally put off everything work related till the 7th of January 2015. I didn’t know what to do with myself during the holiday season, as all the members of my inner circle of friends had fled Nigeria (never to return), and the other Macaulay was booked for a family holiday; added to the fact that almost every other person I know was going to Dubai for Christmas. It was down to spending the holidays with my parents or sitting alone in Port Harcourt, and eating bread and nutella on Christmas day. Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to spending the holidays with my parents, as Mummy Dearest had brought up the big M two times in the last three months. The thought of spending almost two weeks with them began to give me stomach ulcer.
I finally landed in Warri on the 19th of December because someone I grew up with was getting married the following day, and I was a groom’s man. The city of Warri hadn’t changed so much; but the irksome part of it is that I barely have any more friends here, as everybody I was friends with had grown up and moved away. I dreaded the thought of spending the holidays without any friends. Sleeping in my old bedroom was fun though, even though one never grows up in the eyes of (my) parents; imagine being woken up by 5:30am and instructed to go wash the car before they go to morning mass! Like seriously? I don’t even wash my own car. And I’d have to wash the two cars, because they would not decide which one they’d use till they come downstairs. (heavy sigh)
The holiday was going well, until my brother (older than me by four years) suddenly came into town (after he had previously sent a message that he wouldn’t be coming home). Things have always been a bit awkward between us, as he always has a penchant for pointing out which one of my friends “walks funny” and which one “is always flinging his hands when he is talking.” I really would have preferred not to deal with him this holiday season. We were driving out one evening and I was playing Purple Rain in the car, and he went on to point out that Prince (the artiste) is gay. I ignored that. George Michael and Elton John’s Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me came on, he scoffed and I ignored it. When the soulful crooning of Sam Smith (who I’d recently become smitten with) sailed through the tiny speakers, and he said something derogatory, I quietly reminded him that he didn’t have to be in the car with me; there were always other options for him.
That was the last ride we took together till I left.
I went to mass on Christmas day with the whole family. I really do not care about going to church and all that jazz, but I did not have the strength to fight with my Mummy Dearest, so I respected myself and put on a suit and smile. I was seated on the pew, trying to ignore the patronizing look from the crucifix, when I spotted someone I knew at the altar. He was a seminarian when we created our history (that’s all I am saying), and apparently he was now ordained, and was assisting the parish priest. I sought him out after mass to say hello, and immediately, he was eager to meet up “in town sometime.”
I later got into an argument with a friend about not understanding how people can be actively gay and clergy at the same time, that I could not wrap my head around it. I can overlook the gay, self-professed lovers of Christ, but I cannot understand you being a clergyman (not even in a gay church) and still actively be homosexual, despite how clear the church has made its stand on the issue. The Catholic Church, in particular, is very vocal in its opposition to gay rights (which is why I fear for the life of Pope Francis, who is softening on the issue). And do Catholic priests not take a vow abi oath of celibacy? So how do these people sleep at night? I realize I am coming across like I am judging, but isn’t this hypocrisy at the highest level?
Anyway, I declined meeting up with him, and my friend (who is reading this) called me a judgmental prick or something like that. Lol.
Khaleesi often talks about being pressured by the things not happening in your life as a Nigerian Gay Man, and it is so true. Since I returned home, I have attended four weddings and a child christening ceremony. My cousin got married on the 2nd of January, and two other maternal cousins came to see Mummy Dearest with their fiancés (she is something of a matriarch in her family). I had to sit through these awkward introductions with a plastic smile on my face, seeing as they are about the same age as I am. We even went to the village briefly, and all aunties were like, “When are we going to eat rice o?” And I was like, “Very soon, auntie.” Even though I wanted to say, “You will wait a looooooooooooooooooooooong time.” I fear that as I get older, I will stop spending holidays with my family, as those periods will be a constant reminder of who I will never be and the things I will never have. I believe that as life goes on, I’ll be a letdown to them, which is a pity because they are usually extremely proud of me.
My mouth always puts me in trouble, as it often has a mind of its own and lets out exactly the things I do not want to say. I was at a dinner party hosted for the old boys from my secondary school, and someone asked me jokingly, “So when are you getting married?”
I willed my mouth to be shut, but before I could control it, “That’s not one of the things I want to accomplish in life,” came tumbling out of my big mouth. A few people gave me weird looks; some others had the ‘This doesn’t surprise me’ expression on their faces.
Someone then asked, “And kids?”
And my big mouth reacted faster than my self control by saying I did not want any children. The awkward silence that descended on the table could be cut with a knife, and it lasted for what seemed like forever. Someone broke it by asking for the pepper shaker, someone else said the fish was really good, and someone teased the host about his big head.
And just like that, they moved on from my matter.
There and then, it hit me. People will eventually move on from you and your issues when they are tired, and eventually, all will be well.
Have a Happy New Year, guys.
Written by Dennis Macaulay