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By Joseph Anumbor
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Chapter Four
Take care of fire, learn from water, co-operate with nature:

HOSHI, a Japanese inn founder in Komatsu, in 718 A.D.

Leo made two friends in the audience. Both girls, both lesbians, it continued the contradictions in his life. It was so natural a friendship that Fred stopped to seek an explanation why gays seem to be forever taking a liking to Leo and his fondness for them. Tesabeth Wolfowitz came from a Baltic background that doesn't explain the aura of reproach about her. The furtive airs that made her always look like a rabbit burrowing for food robbed her of a social life for many years. The amazing thing about Tesabeth is that she was an A student all through her academic life, eventually earning a first class degree in criminology. A promising love life in her final year at the University of Auckland nearly collapsed because Indee Gudarat, her brilliant Indian medical student boyfriend found her names laughable. “Queen Elizabeth sounds majestic! And I don't want to be a bloody Sunday supper for any wolf!” Tesabeth became Tessy, to please Indee. When he died in a motor accident two months after her graduation, she took an overdose of sleeping pills. Somehow, she survived. In the hospital where her concerned parents sent her, a dutiful Baltic doctor, Dr. Tona Andulan nursed her back to health. They hit off a genuine platonic friendship. Finding her parents presence boring, Tessy moved into Dr. Andulan's flat. And that was when she discovered lesbianism. Somehow, she couldn't break away from Tona, a lover of flirty camisoles with inviting low, lace necklines suspended by spaghetti straps. Somehow, Tessy became her lover. On a Parisian vacation, an Alsatian redhead snatched Tona from her. In pain, this simple beauty pulled down roots in New York. Gina Raffarelli came across to Leo as a campus and Whitehall mix breed. There was a vanishing rock concert atmosphere in her steps. She had a careless presence that nonetheless revealed a mind exposed to detailed thinking. Her cosmopolitan outlook initially dismissed any friendship with the provincial Tessy, but nature is nothing but a master baker. Fun, leisure and cultural sites were factors in her choice of New York as a vacation spot. Gina looked great in a brown summer vest top with crisscross straps and lovely black coral beads enhancing the neckline. Financially, she was stable, from her law earnings and considerable inheritance from her parent's investments. The product of this unlikely pair instantly became a winner that very day they met at New York's Public Library. And they have been one item ever since. Gina drew Tessy into the playgrounds of Harcourt Hotel. “Girlfriend, let's get away a bit from the lovable madness of the thoroughfares. Tell you something, I am being charmed by the chic barbarism of this wonderful city.” Tessy felt at ease with this lesbian girl who has not reduced their friendship to coital matters only. “I am feeling great, but the beauty of it is not solely generated by the frenetic grace of this city. I was hurt when I came here and you Gina have been a great healing balm.” Gina melted within. She smiled brightly at Tona. “You are a lovely person, girlfriend.” Gina decided to broach a subject that she had nursed for the past few hours.

“You said last night that you wanted to confide in me about something bothering you. Well, I am all ears. Shoot!” Tessy frowned. “I don't know, I guess am okay now.” Gina settled her gaze on her friend. “You look troubled girlfriend, please talk to me.” Tessy breathed hard and loud. “My social intercourse is troubled thoughts these days. My internal contradictions are playing up riotously. It's not fair to bring you into my turbulence. It will trouble your private thoughts and that won't be fair to you. I guess I will be okay, thanks.” Gina laughed and hugged her. “Do you doubt your sexual fantasies? Do you entertain guilt over your sexual orientation even if you deny it or you put up appearances?” Tessy hurriedly sat far from her. Gina laughed consolingly and moved towards her. “I have my own doubts which I am trying to resolve by being open, by talking to experienced, truthful people in our community. If I tell you what counsel that I have received, you will be damned girlfriend!” Tessy couldn't believe her ears. “Jesus, do you mean what you just said Gina?” She ignored Tessy and brought out a letter. “Read this please.” Tessy accepted an old letter and digested the contents. Puzzled, she looked up in shock and handed the letter back to Gina. “You have a son, how come? You adopted him?” Gina had a good laugh. She looked at Tessy in sympathy. “Yes I have a son and he came by natural process after nine months pregnancy. And I was not raped! I had a boy friend. I was in a relationship that I wanted to lead to marriage because I loved him dearly. But I never knew that he didn't want to marry me. My plan was to trap him into marriage via pregnancy, but he solidly stood his ground. I was too afraid to consider abortion and I really wanted a part of him for keeps via the baby. Eleven years later, I still love Bruce even though his rejection forced me into hatred of men which led me into lesbianism. I have been greatly deceived many times by my lesbian lovers and I am not the only lesbian who is a secret mother!” Tessy's lung threatened to burst. She felt dizzy with confusion. “You may talk to me in the strictest confidence,” encouraged Gina. Tessy didn't know when the words left her mouth. “Well, I got a little problem. Though I am a confirmed lesbian, I am still secretly attracted to men. That's confirmed too! I don't know why it is so, but it is a never-ending fact! I find it impossible not to develop fast heartbeats whenever men look at me lustfully. Romantic compliments from guys always nearly make me get wet. I think that I am going mad!” She was shocked to see Gina look unsurprised. “Let's drink to our little secrets, girlfriend,” laughed Gina. “We are not the only lesbians battling to contain with real sexual feelings for the 'enemy.' Let's take a break because this girl could use a glass of sherry on the rocks!” Tessy followed her friend into her kitchen. Gina poured herself a generous portion and proceeded to demolish it with relish. Her companion was more reserved. “Welcome to realistic humanity, girlfriend! You are not mad Tessy. But tell me; when, why and how did you become a lesbian?” Tessy's brow creased into a frown. She sighed heavily. “I had normal relationship with Indee until he died. At Tona's place, I secretly watched a lesbian film that looked hype and classy to me. I must have viewed it up to ten times and I began to fantasize about the lead actress. Gradually, I styled my hair like she did in the film; I modeled my sexuality on hers and ultimately sought out the kind of company she kept, like Tona. I admired lesbians then because they looked like émigrés nobility, like White Russians, like exiles from Vichy France! I saw them as the Huguenots of the sexual revolution. It sounded sexy to be hated because of one's sexual preference! I worshipped homosexuals for being different but I didn't know that there are costs attached. The rest as they say is history and here I am!”

Tessy looked bewildered. Her teeth clattered. With much effort, she braced up and filled up her cup. As she took her drink, tears streaming from her face refilled it. Gina retrieved her cup silently. “And I thought up to this moment that I was confused! I suffered for a long time for nothing, Gina. I wish I knew better!” Gina half filled her cup as Tessy digested her relief in peace. Gina went down memory lane. Her voice carried a distant regret. “Tessy, what matters now is what you know today. In a parallel way ideologically, the same thing happened to Richard Wurmbrand.” Tessy stared blankly. “Who is Richard Wurmbrand, I have never heard of him and his ideology.” Gina stood up. “He is a Romanian Jew who was an active atheist in his youth, but later became a fiery born again Christian leader. Even as an atheist, something within Wurmbrand always pulled him towards churches, he never passed one without entering. The communist government reacted fiercely to his later missionary efforts which made nonsense of their attempts to render Romanians godless. Wurmbrand was imprisoned for fourteen terrible years, a good many of them in solitary confinement. He was horribly tortured by the Romanian secret police beyond Inquisition methods. Finally, they expelled him after some western Christian organizations paid the communists thousands of dollars for his freedom. Wurmbrand went down in history as the Iron Curtain Paul and as the living Martyr. I believe that Wurmbrand was a factor in the public execution of former Romanian Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife after the fall of the Berlin Wall. One time Romanian Prime Minister Gheorhuiu Dej greatly persecuted Christians, but he later as Christian believers would say, 'gave his life to Christ!' He died in the faith.” Tessy was baffled all over but Gina continued. “In the former Soviet Union the ex-Jerusalem of Communism, citizens brought up right from childhood as atheists and even high priests of communism still felt a hunger for the Almighty in their souls. But because they could be imprisoned or killed by the terror squads of Beria, Iogoda, Yezhov and Andropov if they ceased to be officially 'Bezboshniki' i.e. godless citizens, they became worshippers of 'Nobody' whom they truly but secretly knew to have created the heavens and the earth. When atheists are in serious trouble, they secretly pray to the 'Unknown God.' Open your eyes girlfriend; don't allow my mask to fool you. I am a camouflage in a covering. I live in fear of being unveiled, of the real me being understood, of my cover being blown. I have perfected the art of blending with the image I put on, exuding an air of camaraderie in lesbianism. But it is a cameo appearance, given the other side that I live by myself alone. I keep a psychological bouncer that screens my words, outward feelings and actions into complying with the psyche of a lesbian but as Luther Vandross cautioned, 'don't look any further.' I say to you friend, don't be fooled by me or any other pretender to the throne of contentment in our movement. I go to the ends of the earth for appearance sake but I walk the length of hell recanting for my soul's sake! By day, I shout 'I feel alright' but come darkness, I wail 'somebody help me please!' Publicly, I stand tall in defiance, but in my closet, I crawl into the halls of conformity. To many, my inhibitions as a lesbian has fallen like the walls of Jericho, but a very select few attests that they are in place like the Great Walls of China! So I have become a backpack, happy to be without responsibility but dying of the respect and honour responsibility confers. To all intents and purposes, I am living the life I want, but I feel that another person somehow invaded my senses and imposed her will on me. To cover my weakness, I play along. To shield my vulnerability, I double crossed my inner man. To remain independent, I was forced to concede that is violation is desirable, that rape is noble. A white lie! Welcome to my world, to your world also, a zone of games, subterfuge, deception, half-truth, spin, bluff and puff. Mind you, I speak of us only, at least in the first instance. Some are happy being lesbians and I respect them. Some are very unhappy, full of regrets, but keep putting on pretences like you and I. Pardon me friend, I take pity on them and spit upon them equally. Girlfriend, that is the secret life of many a lesbian. In public, we pretend to be very happy, even in front of fellow gays but alone, we either deny reality or face reality and try to bury it! Anytime some fringe scientist discovers homosexuality in animals, be prepared to see gays celebrate it with loud, lewd fanfare. Many a gay is like a 'liberated' woman who declares herself above the burdens of marriage, but in several post-marital relationships, suffers far greater disgrace, inconvenience, sickness, trauma and losses than the average husband would have ever inflicted! But as she gets on in years, she goes after younger men and willingly endures stress after stress from trying to make her love affairs successful. Have you noticed that while we proclaim that we are different, we imitate what we lied to have left behind? We desire to marry using the script of the world we rejected, we hunger for parenthood; we yearn to have children, hence Christians say that we are perverts who turned everything their God made upside down! Girlfriend, do you know what? I think that they are kind of right, not hundred percent right but a lot more right than the gay community is. Even in our gay relationships, one of us pretends to be the 'man' while his partner tries to soften into a 'feminine.'”

Historian, freelance journalist and writer, Pastor JOSEPH EMEKA ANUMBOR is the author of THE INTERCOURSE OF TROUBLED THOUGHTS, a critically acclaimed discourse on homosexuality published by Author House Inc., Indiana, USA.

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