When It Hits Home

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Boza returned to his bedroom only to find no sign of Bampe. He quickly searched the bathroom and found nothing until he came to the guest room, Bampe’s former room. He had already slept even with the lights off.

Boza came to the bedside and switched on the bedside lamp, sat on the bed and asked,

“Why did you come back here?”

“She doesn’t like me anymore. She hates me.” said Boza

“It’s not true. Maybe there is a grain of truth in it, but I think she is scared of the stupid laws and the police.” replied Boza.

“Please go back to her. Let me sleep” Bampe said

“She left. She went back to her house.” said

“I am sorry man. I didn’t mean to cause you any problems.” apologized Bampe

“Of course I know you didn’t.” comforted Boza.

Bampe then pulled himself up and sat beside his pillows and left only his legs covered. He asked almost in a whisper,

“What did they say in the news?”

“Well, you already know.” Boza was trying to avoid repeating the statement that his friend was gay. Bampe realized that Boza himself was uncomfortable with the question. He didn’t love making him uncomfortable but he wanted to know what mud the police had smeared on him.

“Well they said that you molested young boys from 5 to 18. That you have had... you know, sex from behind. That you received money from whites to promote the vice and that you host gay sex parties at your house.”

“Oh boy!” exclaimed Bampe

“What? Is it true?” asked Boza.

“No. All those are lies. Oh my God. I have never been with anybody less than 25 in my life. The thought of me being with someone that age only irks me out. Plus, I have never had any anal sex. I hate it more than I hate the police right now. And I have never been paid by anyone to promote homosexuality anywhere. You know how I hate parties. Why would I then host them?” He said sadly and softly as if in lament.

“Wait, so if you never have anal sex? Show do you .....” Boza tried to ask but then again thought he was being stupid and intrusive for which he apologized.

“It’s fine. Not all men that love men love anal penetration. It won’t make sense anyway.”

“Trust me I never would have even tried to guess that you love men. You don’t look like them.” noted Boza

“Mmmh Boza, I just said people are different.” remarked Bampe

“So how many........” asked Boza

“What do you mean? You mean the men I have been with?” asked Bampe.

“I am sorry. You don’t have to answer. Forget I asked.” Boza apologized again.

He had so many questions but was scared to ask. He wanted to know if Bampe had a boyfriend, how many people he has been with, if he had slept with a woman before, if there were any gay people in their circle of friends. He also wondered how two men could go at it together to see each other’s ecstatic orgasm faces. Wouldn’t it feel weird just kissing a man with all the beards and strong arms? He wondered who of the two men would be the man and the woman. His thoughts ran so deep in a very short time and Bampe scooped him up with a question.

“What is it Boza?”

“I am sorry. I must have been dozing off.” he lied.

“Don’t lie. You were not.” said Bampe

“I wanted to ask. Do you have someone special that can help us to keep you safe?”

“No. It’s not that easy in the community to meet people like that. Plus all I have met have always wanted anal penetration and it just didn’t work for me.” explained Bampe.

“I am sorry man.” Boza said.

Bampe answered him so calmly and so openly. Boza still had more questions but there wasn’t enough time for him get all the answers. He asked if Bampe had been with any woman and he answered him,

“Women love me, I have got more female friends than male. But I have never been with any one in that way.”

Boza then turned the questions just a little bit to ask how it had all started. For a moment, Bampe thought that Boza was asking when he knew he liked men and not women.

“No no no. I mean, how did the police arrest you, what happened to have them come at you?” Boza clearly asked he question.

“That noisy neighbour....”

“Mama Queen?” asked Boza

“Yeah, that bitch. She called the people on me because she recognized Martin. He had come to pick me to drop me here last Friday afternoon.” explained Bampe

“Wait, is Martin....” Boza started and right before he was about to finish the question, Bampe answered him preemptively,

“Yes. You don’t have to stutter.” answered Bampe.

“And how did she recognize him, from what?” Boza started to sound like an interrogator, the good cop.

“I thought you knew. His name and face were published in the papers some time back. He went into hiding and came back recently.” explained Bampe.

The two talked for long, and soon it was mid night. Meanwhile, Boza’s phone which he had left in his bedroom was getting full with Whatsapp messages of his friends and some neighbours asking if he had known Bampe’s situation. Some even called both of them fagots to indicate that Boza too was gay. Some of the friends that had found them the night before Kangye had moved in also sent messages saying,

“You guys we talked about this and you pretended kumbe you are husband and wife. Who is the husband though?”

So many messages came in. Mrs. Baru had called and there was no answer. Many other people had called and many more were still calling. But Boza was still with Bampe in the guest bedroom. Mrs. Baru herself had not watched the news, but Kangye had called her to tell her about the situation. Then she had turned on the TV and watched, and confirmed Kangye’s allegation, and that’s when she had started calling.

Bampe slid back into the bed and slept. Boza never wanted to leave his side. He just slept on top of the covers, intertwined his fingers to make a pillow for his head as he looked at the ceiling and went on to say,

“Man, this world is crazy. How come you never told me? Wait do I make you uncomfortable when we sleep together?”

“Yeah.” answered Bampe

“How come you have never told me.” asked Boza

“I told you and got tired. At first I liked it. You may not have known this but I had a big crush on you at campus. But it died as our friendship grew even stronger.” said Boza.

“Is there anything like that? I know that when you’ve had a crush on someone, it only dies when you can’t see the person again or they really disappoints you. So since we’ve been together ever since, how did I disappoint you?” Boza asked feeling proud because he always knew that women loved him and wanted to be with him, but just find out that there were men out there that felt the same, even if he didn’t have any intentions of playing Johnny Straight to those men.

Bampe then blushed off and said,

“Well, I could easily see you weren’t into guys. The endless queue of girls you slept with when we stayed together at campus showed it all.”

“I also don’t believe myself then. I think it was also a good thing for me. I learnt a lesson.” Boza said. He then started going on and on about his promiscuity during his time at Campus. All that Bampe already knew, but he went on to retell the story of how he found out most of the girls he was sleeping with were also sleeping with almost all of his Campus Hunks group, and how one of them had got HIV and infected two of his friends, which forced him to leave the group, make new friends and how he had started spending more time with his friend Bampe. He learnt to be monogamous so he could tell who the source of a sexual transmitted illness, if any, arose from. He went on and on for a long time and never even realized that Bampe had slept off. When he turned to look at him, he must have been dreaming already. He decided not to wake him up and he started burying himself in thoughts.

“What would he do with his friend?” he thought. He started figuring out plans in his head of how he would keep Bampe safe and away from the authorities. He never for once thought about anyone else hurting his friend. He thought he could keep him inside the house for a few weeks and then help him to get a new place somewhere safer. He never for a second got to thinking about his work. What if the news reached his bosses at work? Would he still be able to go back and work? Or he would be turned in. He also tried to connect the many dots that could have told him who his friend was, and he was stuck on the stereotypical characters like Bampe’s love for cooking, how he cared about him, how he kept the house clean, how he always spoke so calmly, even if boldly. He tried to use the biggest stereotypical characters to understand Bampe but couldn’t see any of them in him. Bampe was a gentle man. He dressed gentlemanly, even if his voice wasn’t as deep as Boza’s, he still had a manly voice. He never strutted and cat-walked like models on a fashion runway, a thing he, Boza had seen with a few twenty something year old boys on the streets whom he had automatically labelled gay. Bampe was not like any of them. It made it clear to him that there must have been many men like Bampe but no one even knew.

These deep thoughts threw him into a slumber once again in Bampe’s bed. But only this time, he was fully clothed and on top of the sheets.

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