Short Stories, Tale Africa

Life or Nothing Else

By David Nnanna Ikpo, Nigeria:

Angrily, he storms out of my room. He doesn't know I thought of suicide…that I wanted life or nothing else. He doesn't know that I always wanted to tell him. He was here only a few minutes back. Telling me of the life he wished for me. That he loved me.

I hope this counts. He is my everything.

I think of suicide again. How much pain would a noose bring to me? Can this pain cleanse me from this imperfect skin, this imperfect sexuality?

He has found out now. Aunty Kasalachi told him. So I will no longer be going to the university. I'm no longer his pride. I only wish I had told him myself. Perhaps I would have told him of the many nights I wanted to tell him that I was scared, that I still mourn mum. I would have also told him how much I did not like loud lavish parties or the stench of alcohol, or that studying medicine was not for me. I wish mum was here. Only she would understand.

He barges in again.

'First thing tomorrow morning, the driver is taking you to grandma. You disgust me.'

He shuts the door. A few seconds later I hear the door at the main entrance of the house bang. He drives out.

I can't feel a thing.

I want to scream, cry. I want to masturbate. I want to have deep senseless sex. I want…I want to be held. I want to be, or perhaps not to be.

Dear God, paint me a rainbow, forgive me. I'm sorry for being gay. I did not make myself so. I'm sorry for hitting Jude in the face when he called me queer. I'm sorry for not being available to Chidinma when she professed her love to me. My Father, Abba Father, I'm sorry for whatever I've done to have warranted this flesh…if I could give it back, I'd pick another.

'On second thought,' daddy is now behind me, 'leave my house'.

'Daddy I'm sorry.'

'I can't imagine how a boy that I have slaved all my life for decide to pay me back by being gay. A bloody homosexual!'

'Daddy I'm sorry.'

'You could have been a smoker; gotten a girl pregnant. You could have even belonged to a cult…bloody well raped a girl. I would have stood by you. I would have loved you. regardless.'

'Daddy, please, I'm sorry.'

'Noooo! Don't sorry me. You had better carry this homo you have brought upon yourself somewhere else.'

He drags me across the meshed floor. Doing my best to claw the ground, I bruide myself. Dad drags me to the gate, and throws me out. The neighbours are watching. Aunty Kasalachi is watching. My Aunt – my friend.

A few minutes, one or two… I don't know how long. But the last thing I recall was dad scolding me just before I choked. It had started working. This would end. My chest tightened. My neck taut with lather. He was slowing down. Everything was slowing down. Then, I saw you – mum. I saw you, and everything felt better.

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