Like Penguins: Micro Reflections on Queerness

The first time you saw her, you would have sworn you were hallucinating, except the sun doesn’t shine this zealously in an imagined vision. With all its brilliance though, the sun was eclipsed by the vision of beauty that you were slowly walking toward. It was as if you were a saint in ecstasy and she was the apparition that fueled your religious fervour. Hellfire had nothing on the heat that pooled low in your belly. You wanted her, badly. When she smiled, you realised that you’d never truly understood the word radiant until that very moment. She was beauty, she was grace, she was all your fantasies made manifest in one masterpiece of flesh, curves and verve. You wanted her, badly. 

In the trosky, the anxiety was a boa constricting your throat. Instead of saying to her all the words that were swimming in your brain, you read poetry. Your friend was infatuated the second he laid eyes on her. You weren’t even mad. You were infatuated the second you laid eyes on her too. 

When I was growing up, boys interested me, but merely as a strange new species excited a scientist. I never thought of them as creatures I’d want to share a bed with. Sure, I tried. That phase of trying made for some of the most interesting dreams I’ve had in this life. In one of them, the dude I thought worthy of my daydreams was a captive underwater and I was his only hope. Needless to say, his dream self quickly learned that hope is fickle. 

I noticed girls more than I noticed boys. I couldn’t tell anyone about it because what was I going to say? That when we all took our baths in the communal bathhouse in, I tried very hard not to stare at all the magnificence that was on display in the form of naked female bodies?

The play was good, but it turned sour along the way. Instead of paying attention to the play, your eyes were reading the hieroglyphs that made up her skin. You love her skin. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is. All the poems teach you to expect silky smooth skin and a flawless complexion. She taught you without trying that poets, like yourself, are so lost in the grander beauty of things, they fail to realise how simple they actually are, and how this simplicity is the essence of living. Her skin wasn’t smooth at all, and yet it was so soft. She has truly beautiful skin. You spent half the play wanting to touch her but afraid to. You spent the other half imagining you were touching her. After the play, you opened the door for her when the Bolt arrived. She said you did that before the play too. No one had ever done that for her. You found that strange. You didn’t even realise you were doing it. 

Boys were sort of an experiment for me. I thought, I’m supposed to like them, right? What if I don’t because I haven’t actually tried? You know how it goes. You try, it’s trash. You give up and decide to just stick to your fingers and lube. Same thing. The only pleasure I got was from myself. Self-exploration made for some of the best days of my sexual growth though, no cap. 

I knew I was attracted to women, but I could hear all the sermons echoing in the back of my head. There was a huge fire somewhere lit to burn people like me. I didn’t allow myself to consider the possibilities. I dated men, I tried to be present, but it seemed like an imitation of something that was of much greater quality. I didn’t even know what I was comparing my experiences to, but I knew that this wasn’t for me. This couldn’t be it. There definitely had to be something else. 

You were anxious about being alone with her in your room, by yourself. You wanted to touch her, but you were afraid to ask. What if she said no? What would you do with the awkwardness that was sure to follow? 

She preferred it when you turned the blue lights on. “Your skin is beautiful in the blue light,” she says. You smile at the compliment. She’s playing with your hair in bed, and every nerve ending you possess is intensely alive. You want her to continue, you want her to stop. Her touch calms you, shuts up all the loud voices in your head telling you the many ways this could go wrong. Her touch turns you on too. You’ve never wanted anyone like this. 

“What do you want to do?” No one has ever asked you this, and the question surprises you. You tell her this is nice, and talking with her is easy. You’re okay with just talking. 

You aren’t, but how do you find words to describe the hunger gnawing at your core? Your pussy is pulsing and your clit is almost throbbing, and all she did was touch your hair. 

I stopped lying to myself because I made a friend whose revelry in himself, no matter how reluctant, gave me permission to revel in myself too. The dude is gay, and he accepts it. He doesn’t show this to the world because the world doesn’t need to know. Sure, there are days the conversation is hostile towards homosexual people and he feels like he’s the deviation from the normal. When it comes down to it though, he likes dick and he’s not lying to himself about that. 

The first step to accepting myself as I was, was recognising that my sexuality was no one else’s business but mine. The world would shout in your ear, but peace of mind begins with getting earplugs. In my case, earplugs were ceasing to lie. You have to be able to call your own self out. 

You don’t expect it when she kisses you. You like it though because you’d been thinking about what it would feel like to taste the lips of a goddess. Touching her feels like a million angels lent you their wings so you could fly. You touch her skin, finally. Your fingertips are dancing gently to the music of your loud heartbeat. Her breath is a symphony whose crescendo you want to be the cause of.

When you taste her breasts, her soft moan encourages you to press them together and feast on them, as one. That’s what her body is; a sensuous banquet of erotic delights. You want to touch her everywhere. You want her to surround you until there’s no telling where you begin or where she ends.

“Can I go down on you?”

“I’m on my period, remember?”

You don’t care. You want her. She’s surprised when you take off her panties. It occurs to you that perhaps a towel would make this less messy. The towel is too far away though and you’re already addicted to her touch, to the feel of her body, to the taste of her skin. Going away for those thirty seconds to get the towel will cause your withdrawal symptoms. 

It wasn’t easy, considering that everything I’d been taught and accepted without question asserted that it was wrong to be homosexual. Even the very word sounded scandalous to me. Till today, I’m still quite uncomfortable around the word lesbian, and I’m learning to make my peace with it. 

I stopped blindly accepting things because “that’s how they’re supposed to be.” I asked questions, and the answers didn’t make sense. Sometimes, there were no answers at all. I realised that most people had an opinion based on sentiment and general public chatter. They had no actual evidence to back their angry assertions. The evidence that they did manage to put up was false or grossly twisted. My teacher said to me once that even animals aren’t gay. Wehu s? ap?nkye afu ne nua ap?nkye beema da? Mp?nkye mpo! 

According to Bruce Baghimil, same-sex animal behaviour has been recorded in over 450 species worldwide. Goats aren’t the only animals in the world. There may not be a gay goat, but Thelma and Louise* are relationship goals so what are you talking about? 

Your head is between her legs, her hands are in your hair, and her moans are the crescendo the orchestra that is your tongue has been playing towards. She’d protested getting head because of her period but now, all her arguments were forgotten. She was writhing on your bed, and your fingers dove into her pussy, slick with her blood. You thought this would be weird, but it really isn’t. 

It’s like you’ve known her body before it was made, like the creator of this masterpiece sat you down and gave you the blueprint to his greatest work. You never want to stop touching her.

Later, you clean up in the bathroom, and she leans against you. You make a mental note to switch out all the bulbs in your apartment for blue ones. As you sway gently from side to side to music that only you can hear, the soft after notes of the music of your lovemaking, you realise that this is home.

If the fire was meant to purge me of my sins, this wouldn’t be one of them. There is no virtue greater than love. The warmth of her embrace, the comfort of her presence, and the soothing calm her voice teaches my demons. How could it be an infraction against divine law when I’m staring divinity in the eyes, eyes so intense, they don’t just see me, they see my soul and all the hopes I’d suppressed because I thought them nothing but painful reminders of a future that’s already past because I won’t allow the present to be? She looked at me and taught me how to hope again. 

*Thelma and Louise are a lesbian penguin couple. Google it. 

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