Black, Gay, Waiting 4
I could feel the heat in my ears.
Also in my fingertips. It felt like someone was standing behind me and forcefully pushing down on my shoulders. It just felt like a weight was on my shoulders and I couldn’t breathe.
We were sitting at one of the restaurants in the airport, I can’t remember what it’s called but I wasn’t paying much attention to anything else.
My mind was racing and back to a familiar place. A place I had hoped getting on a plane would keep away from – for good.
“So Dee, I didn’t want us to meet like this but I am glad that I was able to reach you before you got on that plane.
I know you must have a million questions and I promise, I am here to answer them all.
I am tired of having to keep you in the dark”
I just sat there silently.
Sandra pushed the cold bottle of water that she had just bought towards me.
I didn’t even look up. My eyes were fixed on a chip in the tile.
It truly felt like if I opened my mouth, it would be a watershed of tears.
With my left hand, I reached for the bottle and twisted the cap open.
I took two full gulps before I looked up and said
“I don’t even know the questions I should start with…”
He straightened up and then said
“I completely understand… how about this?
I’ll start with the things that I think you need answers to and you can fill in?
How does that sound?”
I nodded without making eye contact.
He started and said
“I have known your mother since we were in university and before she met your father, we were very much in love.
But we had different life goals at the time. I wanted to move to Ethiopia to work for Shell and your mother wanted to teach. Everything happened very fast and before I knew it, she was off to the States with your father.
I never even got the chance to stop her. She was gone.
And I had to settle with that for 6 years, until they moved back to Nigeria with you.
We met up and at first, I was just glad that she was back and I was able to spend time with her.
I very quickly noticed that she was still in love with me and I never stopped loving her anyway.
One thing led to another and we were sleeping together and basically living our lives outside of our marriages… yes I briefly got married but it didn’t last because I was not in love with her.
I loved and I still love your mother very much. “
I looked up with a scowl on my face and said
“So why didn’t both of you just get divorces? And save us all the pain”
He looked down and sighed before saying
“We should have. I totally know we should have.
But there are certain things I am not able to speak about. She has to be the one to tell you much of what happened”
Sandra placed her hand on my lap and said
“Dee, are you okay?”
I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. I just kept my head down and continued crying.
She moved in and hugged me tightly. It just set me off even more.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see people worriedly looking on, trying to decipher what was going on.
This went on for a couple of minutes and then I stopped.
I looked at him and said
“I need to talk to my mom”
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After more than an hour in traffic, we pulled into our home.
I think all our workers were surprised to see me coming back so soon.
“Oga wetin happen?”
I just ignored and walked into the house. There were people there.
Two of my mom’s childhood friends, and they immediately smiled when they saw me.
One of them, Aunty Dolapo brightly said
“Dee baby! Look at you all grown up.
You’re a big man now. I remember when I used to cradle you to sleep. See you now!”
As she rubbed my back.
I sheepishly smiled as my mom greeted Sandra
“Ehn, bawoni Sandra” (translates to how is it going?)
She knelt in courtesy to my mom and my aunts.
As she rose, the main door quietly closed. Everyone including my mom looked towards the direction of the hallway that connects the main entrance and the sitting room.
My mom curiously asked
“Did you guys close the door when you entered?”
I didn’t answer.
I knew what was about to happen. She wasn’t ready and somehow I was happy about that.
The hallway was dimly lit and connected a few rooms, so the image was going to come as a surprise.
A few moments passed and there he was.
My mother’s lover.
As he emerged, she gasped. They all gasped.
Not because they didn’t know who he was but because they were surprised he was there.
They all knew who he was from their time in college.
And I would later find out that they knew about them sleeping together for more than two decades!
My mom found the words and said
“Lamide, what are you doing here?”
He didn’t respond as he took a few more steps into the room.
A quick glance around the room and you could pick up the jaws of my mother’s friends off the ground.
They couldn’t believe what was happening.
Ki lo wa se ni bi????”
She screamed at him.
He didn’t flinch and he moved closer. Then he said
“I didn’t think it was right for him to leave like that. You can’t push him away because your world is changing. He deserves all the love he can get.”
She snapped, and you could tell she was trying to hide something.
“Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do???
Who gave you the right?!”
He took a step back.
“Who gave you the right?!”
I stepped in and said
“Here I was thinking I was the fucked up one. I have attempted suicide. Wanting for the whole thing to end. Yet here you were with secrets so big that they have killed people for less.
You are evil.
You tried to ruin my world when you were living a lie! And you go to church and mount the pulpit like some holy person. You are fucking evil!
I wish my father could look into your eyes and see how much you lied to him and cheated on him for years!
Gosh I hate you!”
As I wrapped up. She quietly laughed amidst her tears and said
I didn’t hear her properly so I asked
She looked up teary eyed and sniffling as she said
I was shocked but she continued and said
“He always knew.
This was always his idea. Your father was a dog when I met him.
He wanted to be with anything, man, woman or whatever. I had to keep his secret and the whole marriage was a cover!
For many years, I had to pretend to love him and be happy. I couldn’t anymore. So I decided to be with someone who actually makes me happy.
And your father knew about the whole thing… It was all his idea”
I couldn’t believe her so I asked
“So why didn’t you just get a divorce?”
She laughed and said
“Omode lo n se e
(Your naivety is evident)
We didn’t get divorced because your father never wanted a divorce. He wanted to keep his ministry and getting a divorce would break that. And yes, more than accusations of him sleeping with men.
After all, there are men of god who lay with other men or people’s wives”
I was fully enraged at this point.
I started yelling
“So you and your husband had a plan to live your lives but you crucify me for being myself.
For something I am not even able to control?????
You are both devils. OMG!
I can’t even believe this shit…. Arghhhhh I wish I could strangle you!
I pray you rot in hell. You are wicked.”
Olamide stepped in and said
“Dayo, I know you are upset but we don’t need to say all that”
I turned to him and said
He put his hands out and moved them as if to try and calm me.
I continued and said
“Why do you even care?!
She had you in the shadows for 22 years! And you are okay with that?”
He smiled and said
“I had to keep her close. It was the only way I could stay close to my son”
My mom screamed
My jaw dropped. Both my aunts sitting gasped and Sandra just stood shocked.
I moved forward and said
He straightened up and said
“You are my son”
I shot a look at my mom and she couldn’t hide her face fast enough. More tears flowed down her cheeks.
I looked at my mother and said
“What is he talking about?”
She dropped her head and said
“Your father couldn’t have children!
It was part of what made him live so recklessly. I wanted children. I thought I loved him and when I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t even try to debate it.
He always knew you might not be his but he was willing to go along with the lie because it protected us”
I couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth.
He spoke next
“I knew something was off by how quickly your mother married him and how they ran to Boston.
I think she was pregnant and her family would have killed her. So she married the man that was ready and moved with him.
When I first set my eyes on you, I knew you were mine.
I was just glad God brought you back to me. I have always loved you from afar.”
“Yet you watched me suffer for years in the hands of this woman?
Some father you are”
I snarled back and stormed out.
Sandra followed me and soon we were gone.
It had been three years since that day.
I hadn’t spoken to anyone in that room that day except Sandra.
And I was living in Virginia now.
One evening, I logged into Facebook after a long day of work.
I had so many friend requests, many of which I continue to ignore. As I was scrolling through, I clicked on the messages tab and noticed a few messages.
One of them was from Micah – remember him?
The deacon from way back.
Apparently, he had messaged me a few days before I opened the message.
He had won the visa lottery.
He was coming to America.
I don’t know why, but I smiled at the laptop and a soft voice said
“Babe, what is making us laugh?”
I moved my laptop to the couch with my left hand as she straddled me.
“One of my childhood mentors is coming to America and wants to stay with us”
She smiled and said
“Oh thats dope. How long?
They can stay in the guest bedroom”
I nodded as she kissed me and said
“Look at us making adult decisions.”
I chuckled and she said
“Would this be before or after the wedding?”
while getting up and heading for the kitchen.
She stopped, turned and said
“Ooooh, so I’ll already be your wifey. “
I nodded and said
“Yes you will”
She did a shimmy dance with a huge smile on her face as she walked out.
I turned to my right and saw the stack of wedding invitations we were about to mail out and only one thing came to my head.
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