I almost never saw her face in my dreams. It wasn’t that I didn’t see her, it was like her face was blank and watery, like something could pass through it and was waiting for me to perfect it. To draw a perfect face there.
The first time I saw her, her back was turned to me. I could see her outline though through her flowing black gown. She looked like a fallen angel not trying hard to seduce. Her hips were swayed to the right as if she wanted to rest it on her thin bare arm, and it looked like it could be eaten raw. Well, I could eat it raw.
She was moving up the staircase, long and wide, and by virtue of the height she had attained, she looked tall, delectably tall. Hercules strangled Athena in a portrait that hung on the wall at the end of the stairs. I tried to call her, say anything, just call. She might look. But she didn’t, because I didn’t call. And I woke up sad.
The second time I saw her was that same night. After I had dozed off towards morning when the muezzin prayer rang through the air like a gunshot in a graveyard. I shouldn’t have slept, but I did, and I saw her. Again. She still wore black, long and flowing. And now I could see that she was tall, really tall.
Wait, not that tall.
She carried an off-white long-strapped handbag. It had silver edges around the tips of its four corners and it looked like the leather of an ancient animal. Maybe it was superior angel leather.
She still turned her back to me, but she stood standing. My heart bled. The candles that stood on chandeliers, made of glass, and music, and dreams, stood watching. The candles didn’t melt, the orange flames didn’t dance on the wicks nestled between the waxes. Everything looked like it was a picture. A still picture. And then she moved. She stretched her right pixie finger from her side where it lay, as if she wanted to do a ballet dance. It was taut and long, and slender and white. I tell you, everything looked like it wasn’t real. And again, I tried to call her. It was like I knew her name, but I couldn’t call it. It got stuck in my throat.
Her left arm moved too, and then she started. The ballet dance. My heartbeat was the music, she could hear it, and I could hear it too. And then she danced, and I stood. Watching. Transfixed. Numb.
Let me tell you more.
Her blonde hair never left my mind even as I woke up. The way it whipped in the air, like a phantom, like a shadow. I knew she knew I was watching, and so she whipped it more, and the strands caught my heart, entrapped it, in its web.
It was a year until I saw her again. I was drunk, and tired, and frustrated. My boss wouldn’t even give me breathing space, he always pestered me for things I couldn’t give. Things I didn’t want to give. My rent was long overdue, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t sleep well, and I couldn’t love the other gender. And then I saw her.
She wore pink now. This night.
She was kneeling with her back towards me and was facing pots of sweet smelling flowers. I didn’t love flowers. At least, Nigerian flowers. They never smelt good. The flowers were of different colors and sizes. Prominent ones were purple, and broad, and had petals that looked like they were detached. She smelt them. I know. I knew because I felt her inhale, and the sweet aroma invaded my nose and my lungs and my very existence. I trembled, but she giggled. Her voice was tiny but high pitched, like mine and it echoed. Wait? What is this?
Then she caught me off guard when she stood up to move on to the next flower. She wore a gown again; I could see it now. It was flower-patterned and it looked silky.
The next flower was yellow, like a different breed of sunflower but the middle wasn’t brown, it was blue, like the ocean, like the flowers my neighbor had given me on my birthday last month. That guy, full of himself.
The flowers she knelt before wiggled at her touch, as if it was a snake left with a stump for a head. It was strange, yet beautiful.
I loved it. I loved her. And then my mind whispered to me, love yourself too, it isn’t that hard. I won’t tell you the remainder of the dream, it is personal, but I would tell you the result.
I loved myself. I accepted myself, my queerness.
It is hard to be a female and yet love another female in Nigeria. The stigmatisation, the dirty and scornful looks, the deliverance section that would be organized by my Deaconess mother and Sunday-school-teacher father, the disbelief from my childhood church friends. The person I loved.
It was Becky, my pastor’s daughter. God punish the devil, she had said one day, when I asked if she could ever like a girl other than friend-stuffs.
Why should she?
But I still like her. No, I love her, her naivety, her geekiness, her small smile, and her body.
And that was it, her body. Homophobes think sameness in sexuality revolves around the body and sex. I couldn’t agree with them less. I love her body, but I haven’t tried the sex yet. I should enter into UNN first. I heard there are so many LGBTQs there. Let them show me the ropes, let them teach me how to accept and enjoy my queerness.
You should wait and see.
Photo by Alessia Cocconi on Unsplash
COMMENTS ( 4 ) -
Abimbola December 08, 2021 21:35
Blessed is the man with the rhythm gliding of the pen. Keep it up Prof.
Tobi December 08, 2021 04:50
Read en digested After all i didn't waste my time reading some sweet as this ❤️ keep it up lil buddy
Ugochukwu Anadị December 08, 2021 04:38
I love the artistic nature of the story. It reads like a poem and I'm not surprised because it's a poet that wrote it. Wonderful display of artistry. I love how you were able to draw attention to the discrimination and persecution queer people face in the county, artistically. Without sounding like an activist. Keep it up.
Samuel Eniola December 08, 2021 03:34