It’s been difficult, hiding, pretending, lying to everyone except myself. How did I get in so deep? Why can’t I stop despite every intervention? What’s the matter with me? Why can’t I be like everyone else? Was I really born different or do I have a screw loose, like my father said the first time he caught us? That was 12 years ago and despite very expensive psychiatric interventions, prayer and fasting, and casting our demons, am still the same person I was 12 years ago. My name is Tade, and this is my story….

Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria to a lawyer father, a SAN and a stay-at-home parent mother, who dedicated her life to taking care of her husband and children. I was the 3rd of 5 children. 4 boys and 1 girl who was the last born. Being smack bang in the middle, I found myself a bit confused. I wasn’t the first boy, so they expected nothing of me, I wasn’t the 2nd either, so if the first didn’t perform according to expectation, they expected the 2nd to and I wasn’t the last boy either. I was in the middle and so I technically got to do what I wanted. My father chooses my older brothers’ professions for them. From a young age the eldest was called De Law, the second, D. DOC but when it got to me, my parents were confused. They had the lawyer, the doctor, so what was I? Guess they couldn’t decide, so they asked me what I wanted to be and I knew just what I wanted.

My last year in secondary school, I lied that I filled in a Jamb form for entrance into university but I didn’t. Instead, I listened to Pete, who said the university was a waste of time if your parents had money. All you need to do is play around until the end comes for them and you inherit the money. So I was going to do just that, or so I thought. Pete, although older, was my best buddy and I loved him. He taught me everything I knew.

It all began on the first day of secondary school. I was on the line for new students when a senior boy came along and asked me to clean his shoes. He said he was choosing me to be his errand boy and personal assistant. He was in year 3 and his name was Pete. That day, he moved me into his room and on top of his bunk. Gradually he tutored me about the school, life and all. And then one day, I woke up to find him lying next to me in my bed, naked. At first, I froze as he rubbed his hands over my body, and then he stopped and smiled. “You’ll get used to it,” he said. And so every night he did the same until I craved for his touch and even started it after a while. At first, I was afraid someone might find out. But as the days rolled into months and years, I realized almost everyone in the boarding school was into it.

Six years went by, and although Pete left school 2 years before me, every holiday, I would spend time with him under the pretence that I was with my friends playing football or going to the cinema. He even came to the house and we will lock ourselves in the room, and it was on one of those occasions that my father caught us. I just got back from the boarding house and I was craving Pet’s attention, so I called and he came over to our house and forgot to lock the door. When my father walked in on us, we were kissing in each other’s arms. We didn’t even hear him standing there in shock until he turned to leave and mistakenly hit the table and it made a noise. We stopped, looked up, and there he was leaving the room. That day, he said nothing to me. Pete left through the back door, fearing repercussions, and I stayed in my room all day.

After that, I didn’t see my father until 4 days later when he called me into his bedroom. My mother was there sobbing. As I entered, my father told me to sit down and asked just one question. “How long, son?” I was about to ask, “How long for what?” But the look on his face shut me up and instead, I said “5 years”. My father sighed heavily, and my mom’s crying became really loud. “That will be all,” he said as he dismissed me.

Throughout that week, I didn’t know what to expect from my father, he did his best to avoid me and when we accidentally meet in the hallway, he would avoid eye contact, as I say hello. 2 weeks later, I was called before my parents again. And this time, my father said I was going to a treatment Centre in the United States and when I get back, I should be cured of my disease. I thought it was a joke until he produced a ticket and a letter confirming my acceptance into one of this so claimed therapy clinics to cure the feeling of being attracted to the same sex. I didn’t even know I had a sickness. As far as I was concerned, I was in love and that’s all that mattered but my Parents didn’t see it that way.

My stay at this clinic was awful. Beaten, starved, and forced to pray and denounce my sexual preference for men. I was told I would have to stay there until they cured me of my unpure thoughts. Interestingly, I wasn’t the only one at the clinic. Several young men whose parents thought a demon-possessed them or had a sickness for being attracted to the same sex sexually were all there with me. Some had even been there for 2 years and still hadn’t been cured, according to the head of the clinic. After 8 months of torture, I finally knew if I don’t renounce my stance. And the way the clinic proves your demons are gone and they have cured you is to fix you up to a woman and watch you have sexual intercourse with her over a period.

So, what choice did I have? I knew if I didn’t spend time with a woman, I would probably be there forever. So I agreed to spend time with a woman and after 2 months of being in a relationship with her, they declared me straight and cured. They informed my parents My and congratulated me on becoming a real man.

Arriving back home from the clinic , with an assurance that I had been cured of my diesease and demons, my parents welcomed me with open arms. My mother was happy and so was my father, but he was cautious, So decided to lay down some rules. I was to immediately get a girlfriend and bring her home to introduce to them. they must not see me with boys in my room, only girls,  no more guys. I mean, isn’t that crazy? Most parents will insist on their 16-year-olds staying away from girls. Mine insisted all the friends they wanted to see with me were girls. So hearing all the rules, I stayed indoors and played with no one.  I didn’t like girls, and that was something they were going to have to accept. But did they? Of course not. When the clinic failed to yield the results, my parents wanted, and after being back from America for 6 months and I still didn’t do Jamb or leave the house much, it was my mother’s turn to intervene. she took me to a pastor for special prayers.

Pastor Albert was known for curing the incurables. So my mother was pretty convinced that whatever was left that the American clinic didn’t cure, Pastor Albert will get it all. By now I was getting on with so much behind their back. For instance, I had inducted my neighbour’s child into my sessions. He was recalcitrant anyway, never listened to anybody, and he was anti-authority. I called him over to play games on my Wii console and one afternoon; I kissed him and he kissed me back. Apparently, he had tried it with an uncle of his who lived with them and he wasn’t that deep, but by the time we got into it, he became an expert. Now you must understand, although I was banned from playing with guys, they did not consider my neighbour Luke a boy. He was like my brother. Our parents had lived next to each other for over 12 years, so we grew up in each other’s houses. That’s why we were left to our own devices. Meanwhile, I couldn’t get in touch with Pete because my father seized my phone before I went away to America.

So off to Pastor Albert I went. He asked my mother to leave me alone with him for a while and come back 2 days later. In short, by the time I left Pastor Albert, I was falling in love with him. He turned out to be bisexual, happily married to the world, but happily molesting young boys behind closed doors and they handed me to him on a platter of Gold. I didn’t tell my parents, because I enjoyed it. In fact, he made them bring me once a week for casting out ‘The Thorius’. That’s the name he called the confused demon in me. Very interesting.

By the time I turned 18, I was still at home, giving my parents’ high blood pressure. My father was worried about his reputation, and my mother was worried about her son, so they decided. I was going off to university in London. out of sight from those who knew our family. At least that way he could hide me away and protect his precious name. So my father and I flew down to London. He rented an apartment for me, got me admission into the London School of Economics and bid me farewell. He even said I didn’t have to come back home if I didn’t want to. My mum and he will come to visit me from time to time. On the one hand, it elated me. I was free to be me, on the other I felt sad, my father was ashamed of me, and he was banishing me into oblivion, out of sight of his friends and the world. I guess he felt, if they don’t see me, there’s hardly any chance of me disgracing my parents.

So I started my university, and it wasn’t long before I met Thomas, we started dating and 3 months later; he moved in with me. I loved London. We were a couple, and no one batted an eyelid. It was normal, and we didn’t feel stigmatized. I made friends, loads of them both male and female. That Thomas was white didn’t matter. All I wanted was to be loved for who i was and i got that from Thomas.

soon the relationship got serious and Thomas wanted us to get married. His parents were very family orientated Irish and they insisted on meeting my parents. So I called my mum.

Now am sure you’re wondering what happened to my siblings, well they wrote me off, only my sister accepted me for who I was and she came to see me in London, from France, where she was modelling. As for my 3 brothers, they wanted nothing to do with me. They felt I will bring shame to my father’s name and by association their name too.. So they stayed away from me. A call once a year on my birthday, but that was it. As for my parents, they called and even came visiting once or twice, but I always got Thomas to go away for a week or two while they were in town. I explained they won’t understand. He wasn’t happy about it, but he loved me, so he understood. Eventually, I had to see things from Thomas’s point of view. My parents had to accept me for who I really was. So I called my parent and told them I was living with Thomas and we were in love.  They took it better than I expected. My father said all he wanted was my happiness and my mother wished us the best of luck but not before adding that our relationship belongs in England. I knew what that meant. As long as I was in England, I could fall in love with anyone I want, but not back home. and that was fine with me. I wasn’t planning to go back home, anyway.

So now back to my wedding, just as Thomas and I were making moves to come to Nigeria to tell my parents, I got a call from my sister that my father was going for the governorship of his state and this wedding between Thomas and I had to be postponed, it won’t go down well with the electorate back home. I was heartbroken but understood. Thomas was very understanding, too. We thought that was the worst of it until a few months later; I heard a knock on my door and it was my parents, all the way from Nigeria, both of them. Thomas and I were just finishing dinner when they walked in, said hello to Thomas and as he tried to retreat into the bedroom, my father said they flew down to speak to both of us.

So my father began, “Tade, you know I love you. Thomas, because you are with my son, I have no choice but to love you too, but we have a situation. Am contesting for the governorship of my state, I already won the primaries, but a few days back, the opponents got a picture of you and Thomas kissing and are threatening to release it if I don’t step down? Now the party spin doctors have said the only way to crush these rumours is for you to come back home to get married to a nice young lady and claim the picture was taken when you were shooting a movie in the UK.” As he said it my mother went down on her knees holding on to my legs and crying, pleading with me to accept my father’s proposal, it would be for a short time, just 4 years, once his term is over, then I could marry whomever I want, or still shuttle between Lagos and London to be with Thomas, the lady will understand and I would have the best of both worlds and my father will fulfil his lifelong dream and keep his name unstained.

What could I say? They had it all figured out. Here were my parents who loved me so much and wanted me to be happy. They brought me to London to live my life. Now it was my turn to do something for them. I wasn’t sure I could give them what they wanted. What would happen to Thomas and me? So I asked them to give me some time, but Thomas interrupted and said, “Darling, family come first, these are your parents, without them I wouldn’t have met you, Please accept the proposal, I’ll be here waiting for you.” I could not believe this guy loved me. He was so selfless. I kissed him in front of my parents and to my surprise, my parents got up and gave him a long lingering hug.

That weekend we all flew back, and they had already got me a wife. We got engaged on Sunday and on Monday the opponents released the story and pictures that I loved men. But my father’s campaign team brought out my engagement pictures, especially the ones where I was kissing my bride to be, and called the opponent’s pictures fake news. That’s how the thing was buried. A month later, I watched as my wife to be walked right up to me at the altar. All the political party big wigs had insisted we get married before the elections to quash any lingering rumours that the engagement was fake.

The ceremony was outstanding and to compensate me; they fixed the honeymoon for London. My father got me another pleasant apartment in Regents square. So I went to London and every time I left my wife, I would go spend hours with Thomas. I even brought him to meet my wife and called him Thomas, my best friend from university. My dear wife, Caroline, she was sweet and innocent; we had an arranged marriage and still a virgin, she didn’t have many expectations for sex. my parents had chosen well, she didn’t demand it and I didn’t offer. She would go out with friends who came to pick her up and come back later, leaving Thomas and me to have all the fun we wanted. Thomas and I were on our honeymoon, not I and Caroline. 3 weeks of honeymoon up, we flew back to Lagos, my father had gotten me a job in Mobil oil, a few minutes away from the house in Lekki , he bought as a wedding present. Caroline worked for Arthur Anderson and me for Mobil. We had great jobs, but were very demanding, so it was normal for us to get home and both just want to go to bed.

Trouble started when, after the elections, my father won and Caroline’s mother called a meeting of both parents. I can’t forget that day. She called it in their home on Banana Island. “What’s going on with you, Tade? Caroline said you haven’t made love to her since you’ve been married. Why?, it’s been 7 months, what’s going on?” My parents pretended to look shocked and my mum said, Tade, we are waiting for an answer?” So I sighed, with sweat pouring down the back of my shirt. Thankfully, I had a blazer on, so they couldn’t see. I said, “Am so sorry, I wanted to keep this a secret but I have to say it. Before I came back to get married, I was in a relationship and found out I had a serious infection. The doctor warned me it would take months and lots of antibiotics to cure, in the meantime, no lovemaking or I’ll pass it on. He warned me I have to come back to London for a thorough check-up to make sure it’s clear before he confirms I can make love again. Am sorry, I didn’t tell my wife, it’s very embarrassing.”

Now it was her father’s turn to speak. “Hope it’s not HIV?” No Sir, of course not” He sighed and said, “Thank God, It’s okay, you shouldn’t keep secrets from your wife, besides you could have used protection, but thank God we now understand and are satisfied with your response. And phew! That’s how I dodged that bullet.

2 months later, I could not pretend anymore. I made love to my wife. It felt strange but she enjoyed it. I made her a woman after all, no matter how bad I was, she had no experience, so I was lucky. But faith has a way of playing tricks on you. 6 weeks later she falls ill. We go to the doctor and find out she’s 6 weeks pregnant with me. Ha! Ha!!! , what a life! Our parents were ecstatic. My mother called me and said, “Now you can’t leave her, a child is involved, you need to get your act together, no more running off to London.”

So I brought Thomas to Lagos. Got him an apartment, opened an office and claimed I brought him in to run my private business. It was the perfect story. He was all around us, helping my wife and keeping her company when I go on work assignments abroad, which was pretty often. I was in charge of upstream services and it was pretty demanding. 8 months later our son came. He was a spitting image of me, Thomas was the godfather and we were all happy. I had my wife, and I had Thomas, the best of both worlds.

The funny thing about life is, lies and deceit can run ahead for 1000 years, but just one day, the truth catches up. 5 years later and still one child, that day finally crept upon us. It was a perfect day, our son was turning 5 the next day, Thomas by now was a part of the family, in fact, he spent most nights in our guest house, and my wife had tried to introduce him to countless of her friends, but none could stand his overt gentleman attitude, just cuddle until he gets married he would tell them and they all took off after a while. Anyway, we were wealthy and had all we wanted, but the lies that flowed within us still threatened to mess everything up.

I had slated the birthday party for Saturday evening. The marque company had set them up in our vast garden. Caterers were decorating, my wife had gone to pick up our son’s traditional wears. That morning our son was also at his grandparents. Thomas and I couldn’t control ourselves. We got into the shower, had some fun and it was supposed to end there but we got carried away, came on to the bed, continued and slept off naked. We didn’t wake up until I heard Caroline scream as she ran out of the room. I bolted after her naked and just caught her car speeding out of the compound, almost killing the caterer. By the time I got back upstairs, Thomas was dressed and he said, “Well, my darling, it had to come out one day. If she didn’t find out now, she would have eventually. “ He moved over to hold me but I slapped his hand. I was livid. The cat was out of the bag. What was going to happen now? Where was she going, to her parents or mine? If it’s mine, it’s fine, hers not so much. So I asked Thomas to leave. The look of pain in his eyes said it all, but at that point, I didn’t care. I got dressed and drove to my parents’ house. Thankfully, my wife’s car was there. I met her in my mother’s arms, crying. As I walked in my mother signalled to me and she lashed out, “What are you doing? Is what Caroline saying true? Did she catch you in bed with Thomas? Why couldn’t you be more discreet?” as she said that Caroline, moved away from my mum and said, “Mum, you knew?” and she busted out crying some more. Then my mother pulled her together, “Come on dear, there’s nothing new under the sun, yes I knew, but I thought he stopped.” You can just imagine what will go on in Caroline’s head.

Anyway, my mum advised we celebrate our son’s birthday and deal with this later. The party went fine, Caroline put on a brace face and avoided me. That was easy because of the crowd there and she was overwhelmed. As for Thomas, he did not show up. That night Caroline slept in the guest room. The next day I went to Thomas to apologize and met him packing his luggage. He was going back to London, when I make my choice between Caroline and him, I should let him know. I begged, and pleaded, but he left that night. When I got back home, Caroline was also packing her things and our son’s. She had bought 2 tickets to America for herself and our son. She said was going to spend some time with her sister in San Francisco. And when I decide between her and Thomas, I should come for them. She also left that same night for the United States.

Now here I was, I had lied my way between two people I love dearly. Now it was time to make a choice, but I couldn’t. I love Caroline and our son differently from the way I love Thomas. They all make me the man I am today. Neither will pick up my calls and they moved to an address I don’t know. Caroline’s parents want nothing to do with me, and Thoma’s family hates me for breaking his heart. I chased two loves and lost both. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, and Two years later am still thinking and trying to decide who to choose. Caroline and my Son or Thomas. I still can’t bring myself to fall in love again and I just wish there was no cover-up to start with.

 

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