It used to feel good being the odd guy at school. From the first till his final year, everyone knew Collins was the go-to guy to have a free insight into the latest happenings in the minds of the females on campus. From the way he talked, acted and walked, many suspected he was gay, but no one really cared. To the many who knew him, he was a jolly good fellow, and that made up for whomever ruffled his sheets behind closed doors.
All that changed when he went on the National Youth Service and had to share a room, after camp, with five macho men. Suddenly, all that used to feel normal and regular felt out of place. His life was no longer his. Every little thing he did was looked on with disdain, as though he stained everything he touched with a physical manifestation of sin.
On very good days, the farthest they’d go was to call him a pussy. But on bad days, they’d attach more demeaning tags to their name-callings. Amongst which one stood out… ‘Homo’.
While, on very bad days he’d get beaten-up by the youths of the community who’d made it their personal project to rehabilitate the guy who swung his hips more than the females whenever he passed by.
This was the story of a young man serving a community that refused to understand him for who he is. It was the kind of treatment he got because he didn’t fit into their stereotype of ‘how a man should act’.
Why you no dey watch ball?
Why you dey always like waka with women?
Why you dey always whyne nyash pass woman?
These and many more streamlined questions was he faced with on a regular, all of which contributed to his increasing state of depression.
One could only pretend to have a thick skin for so long. Everyone had a breaking point. For Collins, that meant falling, slowly, into depression. And the worse part was, those girls he called friends didn’t even realize.
The painful realization that he was all alone in this world started to creep in. It wasn’t his parents who understood, definitely not his two older, macho brothers… Nor was it the men from this locale who’d forcefully held him down, one night, for two prostitutes to rape him. The judgement was too much…
Yes, he wasn’t interested in girls, but neither was he interested in boys. If the latter case had been different, at 23 he’d have found a lover who he could depend on for emotional support.
So, one day, while most people were away at work, with nothing, but the echoes of an almost empty compound to grant him clarity, he decided to end it… He took his own life drinking a last supper of very milky custard laced with rat poison.
Whoever the smelling corpse of a rottening, suspected-gay man disturbed the most, let him knock.
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