Summer Cyrus is from Nigeria.
Cyrus is a lucky number. He’s the youngest member of his family. The 11th kid of his mother. The 45th kid of his father.
In some way, Cyrus is a spoiled child. He’s the babiest baby in a large family. His mother, his siblings, his half-brothers and sisters’s mothers, his father, the money of his father, his father’s fame and power. They provided him the best care.
With everybody under the same roof, there sure was no way to remain aloof. As a matter of fact, Cyrus had the most community-oriented upbringing. Family values shaping all types of interactions. Heavily and heavenly reinforced by Christian religion. Prayers, masses, first and solemn communion.
His father’s status would just give it more cohesion. Living in a street named after the latter. Receiving the best of Nigerian education. Cyrus always knew who to owe it to. But as you owe things to such a figure, your subtle duty is to honor it. Respect the surname, family honor.
But lucky Cyrus did play with fire. At an early age, his girlfriend, who was more of a girl than a friend, got pregnant. Lucky number. Young father jeopardizing his own father’s honor. Love and affliction.
Cyrus was young and what he took time in figuring out was what could have had him cast aside. No honor, no pride. Because having a baby when you’re a teenager, unmarried. It sucks big time. Draws judgment from the others.
But goofing around with other boys, when your priest, your father, every authority around you fiercely calls it a sin, a dishonor. This. This is real trouble.
Trouble was already there. It’d even started long ago. Cyrus had been playing with other boys for years. But it was just a game. Wasn’t it? Although it meant more, way more, in these other’s boys minds. Cyrus wasn’t like them. He wasn’t like that. He wasn’t a sagba.
And it’s funny how Cyrus, who wasn’t a sagba, slowly, unintendedly started making sagba friends. He would hang out with them all the time. And how surprising it is to hear that Cyrus had feelings. What a dizzying thought. Realizing one of your friends, ends up being more than a boy, more than a friend. In a nutshell, Cyrus was confused.
Cyrus graduated, he became a man. And as it is expected from young male Nigerians, he did a civilian service for a year. He went to the North of Nigeria. Where homosexuality ain’t the best thing to do, nor the safest thing to be. But love has no borders, love has no patterns. Despite the fear of exposure, if someone comes to you, hits on you, and might as well make you feel good. When it’s dark out. When people sleep tight. You surrender love to the night. Cause in such places, night is your most reliable ally.
And since Cyrus was far from home, as night would fall, he’d sneak into Paul’s house. For a soft kiss. For a nice ass.
Then Cyrus came back home. He couldn’t afford being troubled anymore. Real trouble was ahead, and was already taking some of his friends. Homosexuals in Nigeria face high risks of being harmed. We’re not talking about insults, we’re dealing with physical attacks.
It seems like civilians choose gay people, sagbas, to be the most perfect outlet for their violence. So gay people are mugged, stabbed, beaten up, burned alive. And if your attacker is lenient, he’ll eventually keep you intact.
But at what price?
An attractive one.
Kidnapping gay people gives you many options. You can call their family, for extortion. Or you can call their friends, make up a list of names, give it to the police, make it a master piece. In a country where homosexuality is a crime, capturing and blackmailing homosexuals to get more names, put more in jail, is a common practice for both crooks and police.
So Cyrus took a decision. He would fly, and he would fly away. He would make his way to a city where being gay is easy. But family pressure, and peer pressure in general, also made it to NYC. Still feeling observed, across a full ocean, Cyrus keeps some silence.
That same silence he’s preserved for years. That same silence way too many LGBTI people are able to feed, making it a castle resilient to the years.
Nobody knows he likes men. His family doesn’t know. His friends don’t know either. Even those who happen to be gay, wouldn’t get an answer. Call it a secret if you wish. But even well-kept, a secret is swished.
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