I am not worried about this bill. I am not worried about you, yes, you. No. You will never know. I am the straight boy next door. I laugh with you and you say, “Good morning, neighbour.” I hear you say often to your wahala child, “Don’t you look at him?” When you are indisposed, I still help you pick your kids from school; I still buy them biscuits and Capri Sonne. I still listen to you when you complain about your wife, or your husband, or your father; I still say the words you want to hear, “You’ll be just fine.” I am still me to you, even though you laugh and cheer and endorse everything that gives me pain. It’s not your fault. You do not know me, and you do not know what I’ve been through.
While most teens were champions at porn and video game, I was busy trying to figure out me. At ten, I knew I should say no to that cute classmate who wanted to touch me, and I did. I said no, even though deep down all I wanted was to hold him and never let go. God had a plan for me. At night I stared too long at the ceiling until the tears stood on my eyes. I grew up, turned thirteen, and realized that nothing had changed. Yet. I prayed on. Before thirteen, the word was homo, that other, that distant, disgusting thing. At thirteen, the word was gay.
There was Stan first. And then there was Gee. My crushes. My crushes from afar. Oh, no, before then, in primary school where we ate chips and laughed at the sun, there had been H, whom I had loved with all my heart. A pure, sinless love. But then Stan, the senior with the fair skin and nice swag, caught my eyes, and because it was evil to look at him ‘that way,’ I starved myself with prayers. He graduated, and he never knew, never knew how I felt. And then Gee, a senior too, but a senior by just one class. I hit my head on the metal bars in front of my classroom because of Gee; because I couldn’t purge him out of my dreams. And he didn’t know. He still doesn’t know. And I got a heavy headache. And I wished I’d sleep and sleep and sleep. I was thirteen.
God had a plan for me. Everybody said so. Why, I was smart, they said. I was cute, they said. I was gifted, they said. You say I am gifted too. Do you still think so now that you know? Oh, you don’t know. Not yet anyway. In a few years, maybe. Or in twenty years.
—lest I digress
Homo was a joke everybody enjoyed. Especially as it made me cry. I understand. We were stupid teenagers watching porn on Saturdays and laughing at silly jokes. “Homo, homo, hahaha.” I turned seventeen, learnt not to catwalk, learnt not to dangle my wrists, learnt not to be all the things that were homo. But I didn’t learn how to love the ladies. I couldn’t. In university, I ran away from the homo guys—they can put you in trouble, you know.
But I fell in love. He said he fell in love too. It didn’t last. He said, “I am not gay, I can’t be gay.” Got himself a girlfriend. Visited me when he was ‘confused.’ Took me in his arms and breathed into my ears. Left in the morning and did not return until next Confusion Day. I left. At least I want to think so, that I left. He still comes around. Still says, “I’m confused,” with that clueless look that is almost cute. “Whatever,” I say, and then, quickly, “How is she doing?”
If you think it’s easy, try dying, try reincarnating, try returning as me.
I am not worried about this bill. They will never know. Not yet. But, now I know that I am worried about you. Or wary, really. That you laugh and cheer and endorse everything that gives me pain makes me wary.