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Image by Greenpeace India via Flickr.

Crusade

You’d imagined the possibility of being possessed by demons. But it didn’t make sense. You didn’t feel the presence of any alien energy in you. Your desires, your sexual tastes—they were all you. Once, you went to those crusades where miracles were promised and demons exorcised. The night was cold. You put on your wooly sweater because you were prone to catarrh, and wore socks with your slippers. Staring around, no one was aware of the other. Their eyes were set on the podium where the pastor, in a black suit that seemed too tight, roared his sermons. There was the woman in iro and buba beside you, holding her stomach, and you thought she wanted a child. And the man beside her was sobbing, and you imagined perhaps he was impotent. The faith in the air suffocated you, but not as much as the hope glinting in every eye. You sighed and decided to pay attention to the sermon. It was about believing, about how faith as small as the mustard seed could move a mountain.

Soon it was time for testimonies. A couple came on the stage, clutching each other’s hands, and praised the lord that they were going to have a baby at last. A lady in a white garment cried as she revealed that she was no longer running after men. A young man said he finally got admission into the university on his fifth try. You grimaced and thought about coincidences, about hard decisions and desperation. You pinched yourself—thinking those thoughts was questioning their faith. You gazed at the podium and saw a fair-skinned man. You could see his dark blue T-shirt and his ring glinting from the yellow bulbs above. He said he was now ex-gay. That after drinking the holy water for seven days, he has been healed of his perversion. The people cried Hallelujah. Your heart crinkles. Perhaps change was possible: you might after all be possessed, like your bestie said queer people are. So when the pastor asked the congregation to hold their containers of water in the air, to heaven, you put up your bottle of water, and your heart blazed with doubt and hope.

Wet Dreams

It had always been a man of your age kissing you, touching you in places you wanted to be touched. Fondling your nipples and kissing your torso. And when he got hold of your turgidity, you softened into moans, sweet spasms, and then you woke up with wetness in your boxers. And shame, like black dye. When you woke up like this a day later, you found the bottle of water in the kitchen and poured yourself a glass. You gulped it down. You almost slammed the glass on the desk as anger coursed through you. You punched the wall and got bruised. You glared at the bottle of water and hoped it worked. That moment, you dared to trust Faith. And you did feel a vibration across your body like sacredness. But sacredness and nostalgia sometimes shared a frequency. You hadn’t forgotten the night your late mother brought some olive oil and made you rub it all over you to wade off evil eyes from her only child. You hadn’t quite believed it then. You don’t now.

Masturbation

But you harbored intense urges and they needed release. Especially since you resolved to stop touching yourself. You cursed nature for finding an alternative in your wet dream two days ago. You were on Facebook, reading through your Timeline, liking photos of your bestie. Then you opened a new tab and typed words on Google. Straight porn instead of gay. It was a step towards becoming normal. You were aroused, and as usual, you couldn’t exactly pinpoint why. Was it the well-rounded boobs bobbing up and down as the white woman rode the black man? Was it the sight of the veined black mushroom drilling a hole? Was it the man’s abs? How tight the woman’s bubbly ass held the man? You were never sure. And you were already jerking off, moaning to each stroke. After you’d spilled semen all over your chest, you sat up and scoffed at yourself. You went to clean yourself in the bathroom and found your way to the kitchen afterwards. The holy water was in the refrigerator. Your poured yourself a glass and swallowed in a gulp. Your eyes stung. Tears rolled down your cheeks.

Burnt Men

Fear made you stiff when you saw a crowd holding clubs and rods surrounding a man on the ground. You thought perhaps they had caught a thief again. You were returning from school. A taxi had just dropped you by the roadside and you’d have to walk some distance to get to your apartment. You avoided that side of the road; it had never interested you how jungle justice was carried out. But you froze when you heard the whispers. Two women in front of their shops clapped hands and said he was gay. You turned around and saw hands with things smashing the man. You listened for his screams or calls for help but there was none. Three men were rushing to the circle with tyres. Your heart thudded at your chest as you moved towards the scene. You stood on your toes to see the man bathed in blood. It was the man who wore singing colours and swung his waist, who worked at the unisex hair salon beside your apartment. Suddenly you couldn’t breathe. You looked at the eyes around and saw flames dancing in them, their bodies possessed by death itself. They wore him the tyres and poured petrol on him. They set him on fire and his screams tore through the air. You found your feet stumbling as you hurried down the rows of shops to your place. You slammed the door behind you and locked it. You were panting. Sweat dribbled all over your body, drenching your striped T-shirt. The man’s face flashed in your mind, from the last time you went to get your hair cut. He had complimented your smooth ebony face and thick eyebrows and you had flushed in delight. You fell to your knees and cried, frightened, angry. Your phone rang. It was your bestie calling. You ignored it but she called again and again. You cleared your throat before you picked it the fourth time. She was screeching in excitement on the phone. Her boyfriend had bought her the i-Phone she always wanted. She said you needed to finally meet him the next day and even thank him for her. She didn’t care why you didn’t answer the call the first three times or why your voice sounded strained. And she didn’t wait for your Wows and That’s Amazings before she ended the call. You rushed to the kitchen and got the bottle of holy water. You drank two glasses.

Sex

It was the seventh day and the bottle was empty. And you still found men attractive. Your eyes had lingered a little too much on your bestie’s boyfriend’s lips when she introduced him to you that morning. You felt like you could swim in his smiles like a fish. You couldn’t change. You’d been foolish to think you could, to believe some water could change how your mind was wired. You remembered the burnt man and shuddered. It could have been you. You poured the pills on your palm. You were going to take all twenty-one of them, swallowing in group of threes. You swallowed the first three. You were sweating. Tears seeped out from your eyes. You picked the second set. Your hand was moving to your mouth when you heard a knock. You waited. The knock persisted and then you heard whimpers. You returned the pills and put the bottle back in the drawer. You hurried to the sitting room, wondering who could be crying at your door this late. The person called your name and asked you to open the door. You realized it was your bestie and you unlocked the door. She fell into your arms and a whiff of alcohol smeared your nose. You took her in and locked the door behind you. She was in a purple evening dress and the mascara in her eyes had been washed by tears. She told you how she caught her boyfriend smooching another lady at the party they went for, how she thought she was unlovable. You hugged her to yourself and cooed that everything will be alright. Then she looked at your face. You smiled. And she kissed you. You pulled away and she let out a dry laugh like she was crazy. She moved closer and caught your lips again and moaned into your mouth. As she did this, she unbuttoned your shirt. You were confused; you stopped her; you asked what she was doing. She said she wanted you right now, that she wanted to take away that virginity you’d been unlucky to be rid of. She was unzipping your trousers now. You told her she was drunk, that this was not what she really wanted. She was aware of what she was doing, she said, it was just sex. You wanted to argue but the words were stuck in your throat. She worked you to rigidness with her mouth, licking and sucking your length. Soon, she was sitting on it, gyrating.

After she climaxed, she fell on your chest. You called her but she didn’t answer and soon you heard light snores. Your breathing was just slowing down. You smiled, because you did enjoy it. That you could have sex with a lady and reach orgasm excited you as it confirmed that you at least had a heterosexual side. Maybe you were bisexual. Still, for now, you would stay unlabelled. You thought about the demons you had assumed possessed you and contemplated how the gay demon still allowed you enjoy sex with a woman. You chuckled at the silliness of it all. You slid off the sofa and set bestie straight on it. You went to your room and retrieved the bottle of pills from the drawer. You went to the toilet and poured the pills into the water closet and flushed them away. You were not possessed. You were only different. And you would figure yourself out soon enough.

 

 

About the Author:

Ishola Abdulwasiu Ayodele is an alumnus of the maiden ANA/Yusuf Ali Creative Writing Workshop. His flash fiction has been published on Short Story Day Africa. He is fascinated by the mysterious.

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2 Responses to “Unlabelled | Ishola Abdulwasiu Ayodele | Fiction” Subscribe

  1. Simeon Mpamugoh 2017/10/06 at 13:10 #

    Woo!, this is a sweet-creative story well captured and delivered.
    Keep it up gal.

  2. flame 2017/10/15 at 07:52 #

    Sublime. Nuanced!

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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