Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Adaeze* (21) and Angel* (23) were roommates who fell in love along the line. In this episode of Love Life, they talk about developing feelings during the ASUU strike, hiding their romance from their other roommates and navigating religious guilt and internalised homophobia.
Tell me your first impression of each other
Adaeze: It was September 2021, the beginning of a new school session. She was one of the last people to move into our room, but immediately she came in, she started smiling and talking to everyone as if she’d known us before.
Angel: The first time I saw her, I didn’t even think we’d have a good relationship. We didn’t talk as much as I did with my other roommates. She didn’t seem like a social person.
The first night we had a conversation, she was saying some homophobic things, so I thought we’d be cordial at best.
Adaeze: Yet here I was thinking we’d be friends. I liked the energy she brought into the room. She may have wanted to just be cordial, but I was determined to get to know her better.
How did the shift from roommates to friends happen?
Angel: The next day, we got a chance to actually have more one-on-one conversations over time. We had this “midnight friendship” where we’d be up together when everyone else was asleep, talking about how our day went. She’s such a good listener.
Before I knew what was happening, I was looking forward to having conversations with her. She was so sweet, constantly getting things I wanted and going out of her way to make sure I was comfortable. She’d lay my bed for me or get me food when I’m hungry.
Adaeze: I think it dawned on me how close we’d gotten when her birthday rolled around. She’d resumed school a week to her birthday, so of course, we barely knew each other by then, but I wanted to buy her a gift.
I kept fighting the urge, so I eventually ended up not doing it. I regretted it so badly because I didn’t think she got as much care as she deserved. Whatever I’d have given her would’ve made a significant difference. I didn’t do it because I didn’t want her to think I was crazy or for her to interpret my actions wrongly.
In the past, I’d cared so much about the female friends in my life that people made jokes that I liked girls. It always scared me and hurt my feelings.
Angel: It’s not like it stopped you because you bought me food every night from a place I mentioned I liked.
Adaeze, why did the jokes bother you?
Adaeze: I was scared they were right and I actually liked girls. It was an internal battle because I knew I liked boys, and I thought it could only be one or the other. That’s when I learnt about being bisexual and that was scary too.
I’m a Christian. All my life, I’d been taught liking the same sex was wrong. That’s why when Angel helped me point out I had feelings for my best friend, I was so sad. It felt like I had this huge secret I had to spend the rest of my life keeping.
Angel: I remember when she came to meet me about her problems. It was February 2022, just before we went on strike. Her best friend had gone on a date with a man, and Adaeze had been sulking the entire day. She’d cooked food at around 5 p.m. and was about to eat when her best friend came back. Someone who’d not eaten all day, she left the room to meet the babe and even slept there. When she came back around 12 p.m. the next day, she kept complaining to me about how hurt she was by her friend going on a date.
I couldn’t believe she was so oblivious to her feelings. Everyone in the room could tell she had feelings for her best friend, but not Adaeze. She thought it was just “friendship”.
We talked about it and she realised her feelings were not the type you’d have for a friend. Seeing her so hurt about it hurt me too. I wished I could make all her pain disappear. It also made me aware of how jealous I was of their relationship. I had a crush on Adaeze, and I wanted her to feel as strongly for me as she did for this babe.
Adaeze: My midnight friend was my only confidant during that period. No matter how busy she was with school and work, whenever I told her I needed to talk, she’d drop everything and attend to me. Then the strike happened and our conversations didn’t immediately translate well over text.
What was it like?
Angel: Too much time at home, so I was depressed and unable to text. We didn’t talk as much as we did when we were in school.
Adaeze: We’d reply each other’s statuses and check in once in a while.
Angel: But then, we started calling each other and the conversations were much better. We could be on the phone from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. I don’t think a day went by without us speaking to each other. Even if it was just to see how the other person was doing.
Adaeze: Initially, we mostly discussed the issues I had with my best friend, but over time, it became “I just want to hear Angel’s voice.”
Angel: Sometime in May, I jokingly said that I liked her but was going to suppress it because of her feelings for the other babe. From then, she started to question her feelings towards me and admitted it was beyond platonic.
Did it go beyond declaring feelings for each other?
Angel: In August, she asked me to be her girlfriend, but we broke up about a month later. Small love wey everyone dey love, e reach my turn, I chop breakfast.
Adaeze: I got back from church one day, feeling really bad about being bisexual. I knew I wasn’t myself, and I didn’t want to carry that energy into our relationship. So I broke up with her.
Angel: While I was hurt, I understood how hard it was for her. If there’s anything I’m sure of in my life, it’s that I love her and she loves me just as much.
How was it like when school resumed?
Angel: I was so excited to get to see her again. The strike was eight long months, and I missed her. We’ve been unable to stay apart. We’re always cuddling or just staying together, marvelling at each other.
I remember when she got dressed to go to church one day, but when she realised it meant leaving me, she sat back down and said she couldn’t go.
Adaeze: We talked over the phone throughout my journey to school, and she was the first person I wanted to see as soon as I arrived. I was worried how the other roommates would handle it, but she reminded me that we already spent so much time together and liked each other’s company. That it was nothing new for our roommates to see us being together.
Angel: We try to behave so our roommates don’t suspect too much, but behaving is hard. The attraction we share is really strong. Sometimes, she just finds herself on my bed, her hands on my thighs. Other times, it’s me on her bed, unwilling to let go of her.
Adaeze: Her presence soothes me, and I try to hold on to it for as long as possible.
How’ll you describe your relationship?
Angel: We’re great friends, and I never want that to change, so we’ll stick to being friends who love each other.
Adaeze: It’s like honey the world will let us taste and enjoy but won’t let us keep.
Angel: In an ideal world, I’d be in a committed relationship with her. I just want to live and do everything with her without having to jeopardise our safety or relationship with family.
Adaeze: The ideal world is where I get to watch her sleep, be beside her when she wakes up, do all the work and make so much money she won’t need to work. I want to buy her anything she’ll ever want and ensure she’s treated like the princess she is.
I want to raise kids with her. Kids who’ll be such a plus to the world and consider themselves lucky to be raised in a home full of love. Whenever Angel walks into a place, it becomes paradise, so our kids will be raised in paradise.
God, abeg. How’d you rate your love life on a scale of 1-10?
Angel: 9 and a half for me. Even though we can’t be together right now, there’s love here and it keeps me at ease. I struggle with depression and anxiety, and on most days, I don’t want to be alive. But when I’m around her, I feel alive and unbothered about everything. The remaining half is for the homophobia that pops up to give us a reality check that there’s a price to pay to be together as we want.
Adaeze: 9. I feel safe, loved and looked out for. Loving her is so easy because she gives me reasons to day after day. She doesn’t stress me over anything. She’s so smart and thinks ahead about how I’ll take things when she says/does anything.
The remaining 1 is because of homophobia too. Knowing that just the existence of our love puts our lives at risk hurts me. If I could, I’d create a world just for us, where we could be anything we want without the fear of discrimination.