The street was piled up with people of different calibre engaged in different activities as I stepped out. On my right were students chatting argumentatively in a loud voice. I tried focusing on them to get what might be the bone of contention, but when I heard that Chelsea coach should have done this to beat Manchester united club, I lost total interest coupled with a heightened irritation. I gazed at them and wondered how they managed to put in their very best in an argument that adds little or nothing to their intellectual growth. I hate football game generally, it is the most foolish game I have ever seen, and then watching it is to me a total deliberate waste of time. Watching twenty adults run after a round object for ninety minutes was no fun to me. I hissed, shook my head in anger and turned to me left. A guy and his girlfriend were having a heart to heart talk; they were so gentle and romantic as I watched them stroll on the streets. I smiled as I fed my eyes on them, entertaining myself as they live my dream for me. That was the life I wanted, to have a girlfriend, a lover whom I would freely express my love to anywhere anytime. I looked and my eyes met, I quickly bent my head and moved a little far from the gate provided a security cover to the big compound comprising of detached two bedroom bungalows that I lived in. All I could think of as I slowly walked was how lonely my life was. I thought of what just happened between me and Eric and I couldn’t stop wondering what he knew about me and Ahmed. His actions towards me, his unannounced closer relationship and the sudden emotional attachment towards me got me all worked up. Ahmed must have told him something and all these strange acts were his way to find out if my emotions would betray me. I blinked, shooting myself off the thinking orgy. That was it, his acts were not real. He was only tormenting me to find answers to his bothering questions and I was ignorantly giving him clue to finding them. I figured it would be better to face my fears, confront Ahmed and find out what he told Eric, if at all there was anything and get myself off the blackmailing game both of us were brewing. I swiftly turned and what I heard was a thud; collusion between me and a young pretty lady; the lady I had earlier swayed my sight away from.
“I am so sorry.” I said with my hand holding my head like it was going to fall off. “I didn’t mean to. I was just…”
“It’s okay.” She said bending down, her hand on her forehead, just like I was holding mine.
The man stood looking at me with his tiny eyes. His pointed nose and his round mouth gracefully adorned his face making him a bunch of handsomeness. I expected him to react, hold her girlfriend, confront me for hurting his girlfriend or whatever; just do something. But he did nothing, he just stood peering at us, hands folded like a foil papers a little above his belly and legs shaking like a cockroach in oily water. I looked at him and his face presented me with that kind of emotionless expression Eric showed me minutes ago.
“Look man, I am so sorry.” I said as I approached him. “I didn’t mean to…”
He hushed me as he unwrapped one of his hand and pushed it towards me. I halted and moved closer to the girl. I helped her up and looked at her face where her hand has been placed since she bent down. I gently pulled off her hand and nothing was there; no bruises, no swelling. I threw in a confusing look wondering why she has held unto the face for that long.
“I am sorry, I didn’t mean to, I was just in a rush.” I shook myself off the strange moment. I have had enough of strange moments and wouldn’t want to add more to it. I quickly left the due and hurried inside the house. I was going to pick my wallet and rush to meet Ahmed before the collision and whatever happened, I was still going to meet him. I looked back as I opened the gate, smiled at the young man and walked in imagining what how the lady would react to the guy’s indifferent response towards the situation and also why the guy acted the way he did. I shrugged; I have a bigger problem in my palms so bothering myself with other’s issues wouldn’t be emotion wise. I footed into the house, Ken and Frank were sitting in the sitting room watching television. I walked past them into the room. Eric was there, lying on the bed carelessly like nothing happened. I came closer and discovered he was sleeping. I shrugged; at least he hasn’t told anybody anything. I picked my wallet and walked out.
My journey to the school clinic was a long one; longer than usual with my head processing how I was going to confront Ahmed. The taxi stopped in front of the school and I alighted, brought my phone out of my pocket and dialled Ahmed’s number. As the line started ringing, my heart rang along. With each beeping tone, my heart beat raced. The call returned with no answer response. I stared at the phone for some time, sighed and headed inside. I was just few kilometres from clinic entrance gate when I heard my name from behind. The voice sounded familiar, so I halted, gradually rotated myself to find the caller.
“God!” my heart skipped even harder. “Ahmed, how are you?” I stuttered as he stood smiling at me.
“Are you sick?” he asked instantly with his back palm on my cheeks. “You are burning up. You have fever. Come in, let me get you something.”
“I am not sick Ahmed. I am fine.” I responded knocking his hand off my cheeks. I was sure to facially pass my message to him that I was not there on a pleasure visit.
“So what is it?” He said looking at me. “You are obviously here to see me, so what is it?” He stood akimbo, folding the files in his hands to get perfect the posture. His eyes were all on me; it seemed my hard expression did not move him a bit. I looked around the school premises; students pass by with no notice of me and Ahmed. I returned my gaze to Ahmed.
“Okay, guess we have to enter my office.” He said moving inside the clinic.
The doubts growing in me produce a stall. What if he never told Eric anything? What if I was just being paranoia? What he uses the information as a blackmailing action to get me back to himself? What if…? The what if questions got interjected by a soft tap on my shoulder. I startled and turned, Ahmed was standing looking at me like he would a dying patient.
“Are you okay? Are you sure you are not sick? Because if you are, I can…”
“I am not sick.” I cut in, walking past him with my shoulder brushing his; I went straight into his office.
I got to door, turned the knob and the door was locked. I sighed. I had rushed in to recover and fix my dabbling emotions before he meets me. As I leaned on the wall in wait, I saw him walking majestically up to me with a smile.
“You are really in deep mess.” He said as he approached and opened the door.
Silently I walked in and took a seat. He came in, locked the door and from behind, he caressed my shoulders.
“Jesus!” I shouted jerking up. “What is wrong with you? What do you think I am here for?” I queried in anger.
“Well you look like you need someone to take care of you. You look terrible.”
“Don’t do that again please.” I said. “Don’t!” I added, buttressing my point.
“Wow! You are really upset. You used to like that remember. After tutorial, you used to lie on the bed face down and ask me to massage your shoulder. You used to enjoy so well that I…”
“stop. I am not here for a sex chat. I am here for a serious talk.”
“Okay, lets here you love.”
I gave him a stern look as he said that. He made a show of his teeth with no remorse. I sighed respired deeply and took my seat again. He shrugged and took his seat, looking directly into my eyes. Our eyes met and the sparkles on his pupils sent me back in time.
Ahmed was a handsome fellow. I loved him, or should I say he made me fall in love with him, and I fell with all that I have. Even when my parents suspect our relationship, I was quick to defend him. But our relationship is not right. It’s not something someone should be proud of. We are Africans, and Africa has a culture, a tradition, a value that is still very much esteemed in the society; and not have sexual relationship with person of same gender is one of them. I needed to end the relationship to save my parents the shame and disgrace they would feel if it ever gets out. And then again, I was more concerned about my relationship with my creator that I would destroy everything just to make it work.
“What is going on with you Thony?” he voiced, snapping me off my time walk. I fluttered my eyes and swallowed hard. “Aside everything that is happening between us, you know you can trust me and talk to me if there is any problem right?” he added.
I stared at him. He was right. He was a good listener and proffering solution to people’s problem has always been one his strengths. Need more to say that when that person is me he would go extra mile to get the solution. But I was not so sure of him this time and the reason is something I still did not know. But I needed to find out what was going on, I needed to know if Eric knew something or he was just playing with my head.
“Actually there is a problem.” I finally intoned.
“I already know that part.” He asserted. “I just need you to trust me enough to tell me what it is.”
“I need to know what you told Eric about us.” I threw in instantly, in the wind of the flowing conversation giving him no room to finish his speech.
He was shocked, dazed and bewildered. He stared at me for sometime like he was waiting for the repetition of my question which I was not ready to do. When it dawned on him that I have chosen to stare back at him instead of repeating my question, he whined his lips.
“About us? Is there us?” His voice finally came like a pierce into my ear and zigzagged into a thorny ride into my brain.
.. . the story continues…