Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Blue



Blue is the colour of denim.  It is the colour of ‘cakes’ and condoms. It is the colour of Nkosi’s charm when he twists and turns beside me. I am leaving him in the morning for Nigeria. Our Hatfield home is all I have known for the past seven months. I love it. I love him. But home is where my butt was first whipped, Port Harcourt Nigeria. It is where green is still dense and needs no artificial watering. Home is where pap is not a thick corn paste eaten with chicken but the thin akamu lapped up with sugar, milk and moi-moi. 

But blue is the colour of our bedsheets too. It is the colour of the plastic horn Nkosi wears around his neck. Blue is the colour of Nkosi’s love. The colour of the shirt he wore the day we locked glances for the first time at a cocktail bar eight months ago. I shivered because it had been cold. But I shuddered because I had never thought myself queer enough to catch anyone’s attention. But he had seen me. Nkosi had seen me and had come to me. 

Blue, the colour of my turbulent blood and the frozen time when he held me in the space between the Joe Public night club and a raging heart, kissing and tickling my ear lobes so tenderly as his caucasian un-Zulu looking fingers held my torso in place.

Blue is often the colour on the insides of my closed lids as I, stark naked, ride his lips, while he lay slabbed between and beneath me fully clothed, drenched in our sweat.  All the while, his wide pelvis oscillating gently beneath the gentle press of both his palms. All the while still clothed.  So blue. So Nkosi.

Blue, the colour of the condom he handed me just before I fucked my thirtieth birthday present while he laid back on the grey velvet sofa puffing the cigar that he lit in the flicker of the scented candle beside him. All the while laid back stringing me tightly with his eyes, his saturating presence.
Blue, the colour of the pills he swallows at 8:00pm every night just after dinner. I serve him on a glass saucer. His eyes, half shut like Garfield's after gulping them down. He regrets. But things are better. 

I am leaving him in the morning for Nigeria. It is my nephew’s christening in a few days. I have been chosen to be his godfather. This will be my first visit to Nigeria since I told my family during our monthly skype call that I like boys that much. Blue was the colour of their silence. And the colour of the screen when they all feigned poor internet signals and signed off one after the other. They had not fought me but they had avoided talking about it. Blue is the colour of the emptiness I felt, I still feel.
I am boy. ‘Blue is for boys.’ This had always been drummed into me from birth whenever I had to choose anything from a toothbrush to a shirt, anything. So everything had to be blue, a different shade of blue, but blue. Blue is the colour of everything that I have learned to cling to. Blue is my fierce pull to Nkosi, a man almost like me. Blue is my fever. 

Blue makes me cringe at the Nigerian label tibii  and makes me embrace the South African label queer. Being tibii makes me a target but being queer validates my agitation, lets me stand behind ideologies and philosophies, walls that insulate me from stones and raw homophobia. Blue makes it okay to be insulated. I am insulated. Nkosi is not. He was born with a vulva that he will let no one touch. His vulva had annoyed me in the first month. 

‘This is simply impossible!’, I thought while my car sped away the night he told me.

It had frightened me for the better part of our second month together. I could not imagine myself sharing a home or a life with it. But Nkosi…Nkosi drove me ga-ga. He drove me kpof-corns. I stayed.  I learned to stay and grow into every part of him. Not that I mind, but somehow here in South Africa it is a big deal that his blood screams of Zulu, Afrikaans and English genetic scripts yet his skin and hair are European. He wants his skin several shades darker. He is not insulated, he may never be.
 He turns and turns beside me. His face marked by last night’s tears. His lips mumbling in his sleep the last of his plight to me. He does not want me to leave. He wants to come with. He said that he has a bad feeling about my return home. He thinks that it is a trap.

 'Tope, I have a bad feelings', he says.

 He believes that he will never see me again. He cried himself to sleep when I failed at being ‘reasonable’.

I am scared of returning home. But home is where my butt was first whipped. So I am all packed and ready to hop on that plane to return to the place where I can be uncle, son, brother. These make Nigeria worth returning to. I am not scared enough to forget. I am resolved to never be that scared. At least not yet. 

Sirens blare and someone in a blue shirt screams ‘homo!!!!’ and my lids are flung apart. ‘Jesus!’
‘I’m sorry’ she texted in a Whatsapp message just before I boarded. ‘Ejike says that his son will have no cock-sucker for a godfather. I’m sorry.’  Still, I am allowed to come home. They have said nothing else. They not told me that they joined some our church members to hold private prayer sessions for me. They have not told me that they have ransacked my room in search of proof. Proof! They had not told me that they have been questioning my friends and physically attacking them whenever they visited our home. They been quiet and courteous to me. Sending me their love and blessings.
Still I am boarding the plane, oblivious of the 42 men arrested only a few months ago for homosexual charges. The plane is packed with Nigerians, mostly Igbo men like me. I can tell, they have their blue walls up claiming their space, asserting themselves in shades of blue, from cocky loud to silent deadly. Blue!
I am going home. Nkosi is in my thoughts. I am scared. As the plane leaves the ground I regret. I want to varnish. I want Nkosi.

Queer Spaces will change things at UP

We have not done enough for queer persons at South African universities. Studies and surveys carried out at universities in the United ...