I stumbled for the towel which has fallen down out of shock. I side bended, picking it with much carefulness, my hands scantily covering my private parts; back and front. Eric sat staring at me, throwing privacy out of the window, his eyes piercing my unclad body; I felt it right within my soul and most embarrassingly down my manhood. In a flip of an eye, the towel was roughly tied round my waist. His face twisted in a confused irritation.
“What are you doing?” He asked. “Don’t tell me you want to swoop again because I won’t try reviving you this time.”
“Swoop?!” I yelled. “What the hell are doing in here, starring at my naked body? Are you crazy? Have you no regards for someone’s privacy? How did you even get in here? I locked that door.”
“No, you didn’t!”
“Well it was open, someone must have opened it.” He said, giggling like a child in front of a chocolate bar.
Hissing, I went to the wardrobe, picked my boxers, went back to the bathroom and remerged a confident man.
“What exactly is it you are hiding? We are all guys here; you have what I have so there is no show,” he said.
The truth, but I didn’t feel comfortable showing my nakedness to anybody. I tried so much to avoid seeing theirs too, although they always made that task hard for me through the series display of their naked bodies. I have complained about Frank who was my immediate roommate, but he wouldn’t listen, like Eric; there was no show and the last time we had that conversation, he slept naked.
“What do you want?” I tried changing the topic.
“I came to see how you are doing. Amanda and Ahmed really pissed me off and I couldn’t stop wondering how you must be feeling considering….”
“I am fine. She is made her choice and I respect that,” I cut him, toying with my phone.
“I hope so too,” he stood, made for the door. Just when I was about to heave a sigh of relief, he turned. “You can tell me anything right?”
I gave him a strange stare. We were never close so I was boggled he thought that his ordeal with Joy, his sudden change of name and his decision to celibate have automatically made us buddies. I still preferred Frank and would rather talk to him about my worries instead.
“There is nothing to tell Paul.” I said, calling him by the name he metamorphosed from, a reminder that his past hasn’t been clearly wiped out.
“It’s Eric,” he shrugged and walked out, slowly locking my door. I finally heaved the sigh and it felt so good. I lied on the bed, mind working on how best to go about my piling issues.
Suddenly a truthfully hurting thought hit me. I have not read my books in weeks; classes were done to fulfil all righteousness and I postponed my assignments, ending up not submitting them. I felt bad, guilt encroached reminding me of the last discussion I had with my parents. I told them everything was fine and when they asked about my classes, I assured them it was going all well. I feared my semester result would betray me. I jerked out of the bed, ambled to the table and scattered my books looking for my Biology textbook.
“Looking for this?” Frank asked standing at the door, his drawing board on one hand and my text book on the other.
“Where did you get that from?” I walked to him, collected the book, walked back to the table.
“From the kitchen, where you left it two days ago,” he said, placing his board carefully on the corner he had warned me never to trespass. “What is going on with you?” He queried as soon he felt his board was safe.
“Nothing!” I answered. “And thanks for bringing the book.” I frankly did not remember leaving the book there, but what mattered was that I have the book, ready to read.
“You don’t mean that right?” He moved closer. “You’d better say you don’t want to talk about it now instead of lying.”
I glanced at him and flipped the pages of my textbook.
“Common Thony, I have known you for three years now. I will be right if I say I know everything about you, when something is wrong with you and when you are lying about it,” He sat on the table. “I have been watching you for weeks now, you miss lectures, you don’t study and when you bring back assignment, you don’t do them. You are risking your GP and I would be a terrible friend and roommate if I don’t talk to you.”
I looked at him, wishing I could freely tell him what my problem was, but I couldn’t, he wouldn’t understand and might even hate me. I couldn’t risk losing him, not now, not ever. I smiled. “I am fine, and I am studying.”
“It’s Amanda right?” He asked. “She still pissing you off right?”
His inquisitiveness was getting at me. If only I could shout at him, but I couldn’t because that also would not make him go. He was a stubborn guy, especially when he felt the need to be.
“There are many girls in this Campus Thony. If Amanda doesn’t want you, look for another. You are handsome, intelligent and well mannered. Any sensible girl would die to be with you. Don’t kill yourself over one who doesn’t deserve you.”
“That is the problem!” I threw in after seconds of silence. “I am the one who doesn’t deserve her. I am the one who is messed up. I am the one who is not sensible Frank. I am damaged.”
His expression was that of shock. His face twitched and his eyes rolled over my body like a scanner scanning a document.
“You said you know everything about me,” I started again, my voice racy and my heart beat high. “But you actually know only what I want you to know. That part that I don’t want you to know is what is keeping me here.”
“Hey!” He called out. “Calm down and take a deep breath. I totally do not understand what you are talking about.”
“You won’t. You can’t. That’s why I am not going to tell you.” I closed the textbook and stood up.
“You know, you are right, something is up with me but I don’t want to talk about it. Please, not today.”
“You think I’m just going to leave like that, because you said so? You should know me better than that. I am not leaving here till you tell me how damaged you are,” he took a more relaxing position on the desk.
I inhaled, strode to the bed and sat, thinking on how to discharge him. My brain obviously was too distracted because I couldn’t come up with any lie. Minutes have gone silently and he was still there goggling at me. I knew he was not leaving anytime soon and the earlier I told him something, the better for us.
“Believe me Frank, I want to tell you,” I dismissed the silence. “I want to tell you everything but I can’t. Even if I could, I don’t know how to go about it.”
“I have probably heard worst, so nothing could be that bad to make my ear bleed.”
“Fine!” I made up my mind. I was going to tell him everything; after all it was only a matter of time before he finds out. I checked the door to make sure it was locked.
“Promise me that this won’t change the way you feel about me.”
“Common, we are in no romantic relationship here. Nothing is changing,” he teased.
“I need your word.”
“Fine, I promise,” he said, more to get me talking than he meant it.
I knew, yet I decided to tell him. Aside him finding out eventually which would be drastic and more deadly, I needed a shoulder to lean on, someone to talk to about my feelings and struggles. I took in a deep breath, let it in same way.
“Spill it already. The suspense is already higher than that of the Conjuring movies and this better be something terribly bad, else I will kill you,” He said adjusting his sitting position.
I smiled; it was terribly bad, deadly and hell-bent. I just don’t know if he was ready to accept it as he claimed. He made a face for me, showing his itching ear.
“I am gay,” I threw in.
“What?!” He yelled, unsure of what he heard.
“I am gay, homosexual, you know, I love boys sexually.”
He peered at me for some time, his eyes red and lips shook, then he bursted into a laughter. “Look,” he paused laughing. “I know I said I wanted something terrible but this is deadly and I got the joke. Now back to our story.”
“You see!” I flared up. “I told you, you will not understand, nobody will. I don’t even understand it myself.”
“Wait, are you serious?”
I looked at him, pitifully. Tears in my eyes, lips ready to whine in cry, then I moved my head back and forth.
He jumped down from the table, eyes widened. “You mean you are…” his words got lost in shock.
…the story continues….