You could still remember the first day you had met him. You had both gone to register your GS courses in the School of General Studies. You, like many others came out as early as 6am to queue in front of the office so that you could complete the whole process in one day and also attend your afternoon lectures.
He had come later than everyone present, by 8:30am. No one wanted to let him go before them, so he came to ask you, telling you that he lived far from school and that he also had lectures that afternoon. For you, it was love at first sight. You fell in love with his voice and then overtaken by his charms, you had let him stand in your front much to the anger of those behind you. With some broken words of apology from you, they reluctantly calmed down and allowed the both of you to go. While you stood on the line, he didn’t say anything to you. You just stood behind him twirling your hair and imagining the day you would get to him.
You no longer paid attention to the queue, someone had to tap you to wake up from your daydreams as it was your turn to go in and register. With surprise, you had looked around and discovered that he had gone inside the office. You felt that it would be the last time you would see him so you decided to brave it all and move up to introduce yourself to him. After you got registered, you ran to catch up with him crying out,
He turned when you got to him with a look of surprise.
“You?” he smiled and said, “thank you for letting me go in before you.”
You played with your hair, your face carrying a shy smile, you tell him, “It’s nothing. I wasn’t in a hurry anyway.” Ignoring the fact that you also had a lecture in thirty minutes. You introduced yourself to him and he did the same. As you walked towards the road to take a keke, you talked to him about school life, finding out that he was in the same department with you. You were so filled with joy that your heart wanted to jump out of your chest. You go to the department with him, feeling like you had acquired a rare gem.
From that day, the both of you became very close. You were just friends, but in your mind, you had already shaped out your future together with him. You had planned how many children you would have for him, and what their names would be. He never discouraged or even encouraged your thought. When he wasn’t with his friends, he was with you. You took turns spending the weekends at each other. It didn’t help that he was from a wealthy family. He paid for your accommodation when you had just wanted to borrow some money from him. He took to you big hotels and restaurants, places that you would never had had the chance to go to before you met him. He treated you so well, just like his girlfriend. It got to a point that all your course-mates thought that you were dating him. Many of the girls were also jealous of you and gossiped terribly about you. But you didn’t care. You were happy. He never said a word, but you were quick to assume.
“Am I wrong?” this thought came to your mind many times, but lost in cloud nine, you quickly dispelled that thought.
For three years, you enjoyed his attention and his affection. It was so rosy that sometimes you felt that he was unreal. In truth, throughout the years, not once did he officially announce you as his girlfriend; not once did he attempt to sleep with you. He was like a friend-with-benefit’, yet it seemed like you were the only one that enjoyed all the benefits—fine clothes, designer bags and shoes, iPhone, etc. He got them all for you, always giving, never taking or asking. It was too good that at a point in time, it became suspicious, but like always, you ignored your suspicions, ignored the questions that kept running through your head.
And finally, one day you get an answer.
It was the first semester in your fourth year; you had just completed the semester exams and most students were already packing their bags to go home. As usual, you stayed back so that you could spend more time with your ‘boyfriend’. On a Wednesday morning, he called you sounding weird and anxious. He said he had something to tell you, and invited you to go out with him in the evening. This was different from times he had taken you out. He would suggest going out to have fun and you would jump on it, picking the place, and making it seem as though you were the one inviting him out. This time, he had arranged everything by himself, only calling you to invite you out. In your mind, it was like he either wanted to officially ask you to be his girlfriend, or even propose to you—“one could dream right,” you thought to yourself with a smile.
You spend the day pruning yourself; you visited the salon, got your hair done, arranged for a manicure and a pedicure to make your fingers attractive, you fixed a new set of expensive lashes, and even called a professional make-up artist to do your make-up. You even got a new gown and a pair of 4-inches heels, which before that day, you wouldn’t have worn even if your life depended on it.
He came to pick you, driving his blue Toyota. It had been a gift from his parents on his last birthday. You were happy that he was going to launch it with you, as he had never taken the car out. He opened the door and closed it when you had entered. You were so happy, your heart felt light. It was like nobody could take your happiness away from you. He got into the car with you and commended your looks. He noticed your heels and wondered where you got the courage to put them on. You jokingly replied that he had given you the courage.
He drove you to a restaurant that had newly opened. It was a big five-star restaurant that drew a lot of people. He took you upstairs to a reserved table. Its location was inconspicuous, away from other tables. He must have paid a huge amount to reserve such a table, you thought with happiness. This confirmed your thoughts that he wanted to propose to you. He ordered for meals that filled the whole table, but because you were excited you couldn’t summon any appetite, but because you assumed that he would hide the ring in the meals, you force yourself to take it all in, a spoon at a time. You also searched for the ring in the dishes with your spoon. You were almost done with the meal, but you hadn’t felt the ring in your mouth or in the remaining dishes. You wonder if you had swallowed it, but you shake away the thought. He probably wanted to do it the old fashioned way, going down on his knees, you concluded.
It was after you both finished the meal amidst small talk that he dropped the bombshell on you. He started by reminiscing the first time you met and how much you meant to him, and how much he had come to rely on you. You listen expectantly, you could imagine how the speech would end. You were listening intently, but his last words seemed to escape your ears.
“You said what?” you looked at him.
He sipped the glass of water in front of him nervously and repeated, “I’ve always wanted to tell you but I didn’t know how to approach the topic. I think I’m gay.”
His words kept resounding in your ears. You felt all the food you’ve eaten rush back to your mouth, you try to force it back down with a huge gulp of the wine in front of you, straight from the bottle.
“You’re gay?” you said after winning the battle against the undigested food in your stomach.
He nodded vigorously, “I always thought that I was different from other guys. I thought it was just a momentary thing that would go away, but…”
“You are gay?” you asked again, not hearing his explanations.
“Baby, listen to me. I didn’t mean to deceive you. I really like you, but not that way,” he said quickly.
“He said he is gay,” you said quietly, trying to convince yourself that you were not hearing things.
You looked at him, and suddenly remembered all the signs you had ignored—the half-naked male photographs in his phone, the look of disinterest when you tried to touch or kiss him… all the details suddenly came crashing down on you. You wondered if you were blind to all this, and you admitted that you were indeed blind. You finally believed the saying that ‘love is blind’. A person in love is blind to the signs and the faults of the other person. You listen to him as he tried to convince you that it was just a passing obsession, he said he would get over it; he only needed time, he didn’t want to lose you.
“Is being gay the same as being addicted to drugs? Is it the same as being ill? Is it an illness or an addiction that can be cured?” you asked him, “or is it a state of mind? A choice? And don’t tell me you were born with it?”
He looks at you, unable to answer.
“I always thought that it was my fellow girls that I had to be aware of. I thought they were my competition, all those girls that lived in your estate. I never expected that they were not even in your sights. In fact, the competition was right in front of me and I always regarded him as a friend. From the beginning, I was already fighting a losing battle. How the hell am I supposed to compete with a guy for a guy’s attention?” you looked at him tearfully, “it’s him, isn’t it? The two of you…. are together?” you look at him, wishing it to be a lie.
He looked away in admission.
You had always thought they were just bestfriends, yet it turned out that the truth was more than you could carry.
Suddenly exhausted, you said, “Just take me home.”
As you both leave the restaurant, you want to admit that you would stop seeing him, that after that day you would never talk to him again. But you know that you wouldn’t be able to do so. You knew you would wait. You now knew the enemy so you would prepare for a different war. The probability of winning was low, yet you still wanted to try. This was your heart speaking. You didn’t know how long it would take, but you were still willing to give it another chance. That night you lay down with him, not touching him, just basking in his warmth. “It’s going to be okay,” you tell him. And he kisses you on your forehead,
“Thank you babe.”