The Sloopy Steep

My mistake was thinking I could save people, that because we are queers alike it was my responsibility to save them. I did this a lot, in relationships and friendships alike for many years until recently but the most outstanding for me would be with my ex-friend Gizzie.

I got my first apartment after three months of arriving in Lagos because I worked with an NGO and that threw me deep into the community, before long I had a lot of LGBTQ persons as friends. It was exciting for me to always be in the midst of my kinds, while attending a friend’s party at the beach I met Gizzie. She was the life of the party and before long everyone was swooning around her. Nest dancer, best in ping-pong, she was just groovy. She had run behind the bar to hide a bit like I was and we met there, I was taking a cigarette break from the crowd and was enjoying the quiet when I heard a big sigh from the corner, turned in panic and recognized her, the dancer playing and winning all the games!!!!.

She was surprised to see someone else in the seemingly hiding corner but we got talking immediately and didn’t stop till the end of the party. She was going my way and I let her share my Uber ride home.  On the trip, I learnt Gizzie lived in Magodo with her step-sister who is making her life hell so she always finds reasons to leave home and catch a few minutes of mental and physical break. I immediately understood her because I grew up with my stepdad and I knew how hard it can get.

We exchanged numbers but I phased out on reaching out to her so imagine my joy when she called eight days after our first meeting. She had called on a Saturday evening “Hi, I came to Island and thought to reach out”. I was impressed by her thoughtfulness so invited her to hang with my cousins and me the next day, after the hang out with my cousins, we were caught in traffic for so long that by the time we came from Ibeju Lekki to my side of town it was already very late for her to go to Magodo so I offered her my place for the night and before long she became a constant in my house and before long again she moved in, I didn’t think of it that way until after three months.

I helped her get a job in a lounge as a waiter and from the money she made she sent some home and kept the rest for herself. I earned way more than she did and so I didn’t bother asking her to contribute to house bills and upkeep. She was a good cook and so made sure we had good homemade meals but I bought the food items. Things went very well until I met my now-ex.

Jenny and I met online on an LBQ Whatsapp group and hung out a couple of times until we decided to make it official. The first day she visited was awkward as Gizzie kept moving in and out of my room for many excuses. It got so bad I had to speak to her about my wanting some privacy, it was only then she stopped but Jenny was already concerned and suspicious, even asked if we had anything together but I explained our living conditions to her. She wanted a place to stay, I had an extra room and so I let her take it and that’s all. We have never seen each other in romantic eyes, not from my end anyways. She is a stud and I like femmes and Stems.

After Jenny left  I noticed Gizzie was giving me attitude, she was only saying things in mono-syllables. I was reluctant to ask at first but the next evening I lightly knocked on her door and enquired what was wrong with her.  “You didn’t bother to mention you were having a guest; imagine my shock when I saw her here, I know it’s your house but I live here too”. I thought of it and realized I was wrong for not informing her and I apologized. “No vex, I have lived alone for a while and have forgotten how to account for myself to others except at work, I apologise…. But wait o, was that why you kept going in and out of my room” she responded with a laugh and I joined in too. I did inform her we are dating now and Jenny would be a regular face.

By her fourth month, she was marking territory but that didn’t mean anything as it was just the two of us and I travel out of Lagos often because of my job so there was no big deal. One day she came home with a younger girl, a stud, she looked underaged even though she isn’t. she introduced the girl as her friend’s sister who recently moved to Lagos for training and possibly a job she told me and being tech savvy  I was glad to welcome her to my house and was available to help out if she needed any.

 A few months down the line this new stud, her name is Chubby moved in too, Gizzie said she didn’t tell me because I was out of town and she didn’t want to bother me, but I still did not make a fuss about it but things started missing from my house. First was my hard drive, I searched their room one night they were both out and found it in Chubby’s bag with many of my work files deleted, she apologized, said she borrowed it and forgot it in her bag, and then my portable speaker, that one I never saw again. I would come home and my house would be covered in weed smell. I smoke weed occasionally and don’t mind it but I had never smoked in my house. It was always in the toilet or at the balcony. And food items were never enough, especially the beverages. I complained and asked if they can reduce the quantity they take of everything or contribute so we would buy more food for the house and that was when hell broke loose.

I began to feel like a stranger in my own house and before long I would only feel safe in my room. I remember this one day I came home to a party in my house. My house was filled with strangers, weed smell and loud music. I didn’t even know who the celebrant was or what was being celebrated and I didn’t ask. I went straight to my room and didn’t come out till the next morning even when I heard someone knocking. The next morning I got ready for work and left without seeing either of them. By that weekend my landlady called to schedule a meeting, which infuriated me even more because I already know what the meeting was about. I couldn’t talk to my work friends about it because I didn’t know how to explain the mess to them and how I got myself into it.

I got in and asked for an explanation on why there was a party at my house and I wasn’t informed or my permission asked and Gizzie started to make me explain why they should ask for permission when we all lived together. “No be all us dey follow stay the house? Do we need permission to have some friends over? Hian!!!! You be our mama?” I was shocked for more than 24hrs that they see nothing wrong in what they did.

After the meeting with my Landlady in which she asked me to sack my tenants since I signed an agreement that no visitors would stay for more than three days and would allow the landlord to evict anybody in my apartment who is breaking the compound rules. The hardest part was finding the motivation to ask them to move but I regret I did, I should have just moved out instead. I spent the night tossing in bed but after I spoke to Jenny about it and she gingered me up to tell them, I took the bait. It was a Saturday morning and I had called them both to the living room to inform them they had one week to move or the house owner will be forced to bring the police to forcefully evict them. Gizzie got so mad and started to scream at the top of her voice. Chubby, on the other hand, was quiet, I saw worries on her face but being an official resident I didn’t want them to affect my reputation at work.

“Where do you want us to go to” Gizzie kept asking me, not with remorse or worries but as if I was being interrogated. I responded with “I don’t know, am I your parents” at that point Chubby threw a pillow at me, I wanted to walk away but Gizzie blocked me from going into my room. I was in their middle with each of them lightly hitting me inquiring where they should go. The next I know the light hitting became serious and before I could say “Jack Robinson” I was on the floor with Gizzie sitting on me.

“So because person dey your house you dey form wetin? Are you the first person to accommodate somebody? Person cannot smoke and chill in peace” I kept struggling to wiggle her off of me but my small weight had nothing on her. Chubby was kicking me on my sides and telling her ‘partner’ what to take when they are ready to leave. Gizzie only got off of me when my asthma started acting up, at first she thought I was faking it but when I was almost passing out she got up and they both walked to their room leaving me there reeling in my attack.

I managed to get myself to my room and found my inhaler. I think I passed out for a few minutes because I couldn’t believe what had just happened to me. It felt real and at the same time like a nightmare. I think my landlady heard the noise from my flat and called the police. Chubby opened the door when they knocked and by the time I came out of my room they were already in handcuffs.

Gizzie didn’t take her eyes off me while being taken away but I found the voice to ask that they come to get their things as I didn’t want to have them come back to my flat ever. The drama of that morning remains ingrained in my head and I am doing my best to heal but I have also learnt that some queer people can be bad people too and that I don’t have to shoulder a person for the sole reason that they are members of the community and needs help.

I kept receiving threatening calls and messages from Gizzie for a long time and because of her I changed apartment and left my area entirely because she wouldn’t stop and I was so scared to report to the police because like she said she “is from the streets and nothing stops the street even the police”.

To this day the experiences still traumatize me but I can’t let it rob me of the fine family I have also built in the community with some amazing queer people I have met in the course of my life so far.

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