No, it was not ‘love at first sight’. Nor was it lust at first touch.
Those things, which I have experienced, are sometimes too shallow. The waters of a pond, reflective, calm on the surface. Treacherously shallow beneath.
The day we met, and he agreed that we spend the night together, we took a ‘taxi’, the 14 seaters minibuses, to his rental room. He was renting in Bukoto.
I don’t remember much of the night. Except that he gave me water to bathe, and changed the sheets on his bed, and then, we slept, together, in each others arms for the first time.
A wonderful experience. Maybe I had fallen in love by the next morning?
I don’t know.
But, imagine this. Wake up early morning, new bed, new mate. At first a disorientation. But then, he moves so familiarly into my hands, my arms that, I grasp him closer, sink in deeper, hold him tighter.
Got out of bed at last, and I took stoke of where we were.
A single room. Bed-seater, with all his worlds possessions crammed in. Hey, he was in the city to work. Building is done in the village. On the city, we rent single rooms, to eat and sleep, and remember home.
We dressed, and went out.
Neighbors on the doorstep. Morning greetings. No suprises, two guys getting out of the same house, the same room. Mind your own bloody business, if you do wonder.
Different ethnic groups we are, but, we were both relatively proficient in the most commonly used language. Luganda.
He prepares breakfast.
We talk, he tells me about his neighbours, the goings on of a small, tight community. Strangers pushed together by physical proximity. There were many houses, all rental rooms, grouped around a small courtyard which they shared. We took breakfast, companionably. He offered to show me around the neighbourhood. Good for me. Didn’t know the Bukoto suburb.
is big, 2-3 million people, all living mainly in the suburbs. Of which Bukoto is one densely populated one. Kampala
Later, getting tired of the sights, I invited him home. To my home.
I don’t remember much of the journey. Just made sure he got a royal welcome. To my humble abode.
Now, I must admit I was slovenly. Just imagine, bachelor boy, with a younger brother, (I had taken the trouble to explain to him the realities of my sexuality, and offered that he could live with his dad…!).
I was slovenly. Dirty dishes in the kitchen, unkempt living room, sheets on the bed that had not seen water for some time.
I am lucky I didn’t read his thoughts. Did I see anything of his expression when he saw my bed? I remember I offered to immediately buy a pair of new sheets. Which we went off to town to buy, on the same day.
We spent the day together. Bought the sheets, brought them home.
Then, he takes on himself the task of cleaning the house, unasked. I helped.
That night, we spent it together, at my place.
And the next, for the next few weeks, we were either at my place, or at his place. Just happened to be at the one which was most confortable.
I can safely say that by the second week, I did know that I was hooked. I was in love.
No. A one night stand does not lead to the love of life. The chemistry is more subtle, more distant.
To date I joke that it was a one night stand that has lasted the nine years. And, in a way it is true. What do I know of love?
I cannot counsel lovers. Because, despite the experience, to me it has been a day at a time. That is how they have come, that is how they were taken.
People ask us, what was the trick behind all this?
I don’t know.
Maybe I was ready, and he was ready. A trick, a coincidence of the times.
Remember this was
in 2001. The only gay community I knew at that time was the bar scene which I had thought inappropriate. I didn’t want to take him there. I didn’t, not at that time. It was a honey moon that we had announced to no one. Not even ourselves. Uganda
We were always together, moving in the city. He would come to my place of work, we would talk endlessly. Working nights, I would ring and talk for hours on end…! It was like we couldn’t have enough of each other.
The world outside us?
I don’t know, it just seemed to disappear. We were aware that our world was, is homophobic. That our people saw us as two guys who were friends. The rest was detail. Of course the brother who lived with me knew. I just talked to him again, told him this guy was my partner, and, I offered that he could go stay with his dad. He demurred.
We were in love, and the world didn’t matter. Not at all.
Whether they saw us, whether they noticed, in our delirium, seeing one another, being together, talking, chatting, spending the night in each others arms,- the world simply didn’t matter. It existed, but outside the cocoon of our existence, our love.
Our love, our partnership was un-acknowledged. That didn’t matter. Not a naught. We were into each other, and that is all that mattered.
Gradually, we found that we were spending most nights at my home. And, he started moving in, bit by small bit.
It was no longer ‘at whose place?’, we both knew it was at ‘our’ place now. And, we would only go to Bukoto to pick up something else that he needed.
Our work schedules dovetailed. We started moving around schedules to accommodate one another. Life, living was fun.
We so didn’t want anyone to budge into our world, that I found myself neglecting my brother. Well, he was eating, he was drinking, he was going to school. His big bro was in love, and, he shamelessly became an afterthought. Of course, I was to pay for that later, but, during those heady first months, I was oblivious of my neglect.
They were days of love, exploration, talk, thinking. They were days of accommodation, months of getting to know one another.
Don’t know when I took him home, to see my mom. But, I did.
And, he took me to his home, to see his parents. And where he lived. Yes, we did.
But, we didn’t say that we were partners. Just wanted one another to know where we came from.
Of course we quarreled. Always happens.
Apologies and making up can lead to great bonding. I can swear to that. No quarrels were serious. And, since our world had ceased to exist around us, I don’t even remember anything except the fact that we were, together.
Yes, of course we were hiding our love. But, that didn’t seem to matter at all. As long as I knew he loved me, and I knew I loved him. The differences didn’t matter.
He would go to church, I would wait for him. Outside. No, he didn’t tempt me inside. Couldn’t. But, we were together, even then.
By the second, third month, I knew definitely that I had found the guy that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
I told him that, and, he was of the same mind.
So, we made it official. My home was our home. And, we were always, unfailingly together. But, we were pragmatic. No rings exchanged, no relatives, friends informed. We were two guys living, sleeping together. In
Uganda, in . Kampala
We did keep his room around, rented, for something like the next couple of years. Yes we did, but, well, life continued with us together.
And, now it is nine years since that first day…!