We are roommates who fell in love

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Love life is a weekly Zikoko series about love, relationships, situations, entanglements and everything in between.

Adaeze* (21) and Angel* (23) were roommates who fell in love over time. 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 internalized homophobia.

Tell me your first impression of each other

Adeze: It was in September 2021, the start of a new school session. She was one of the last people to move into our room, but as soon as she walked in she started smiling and talking to everyone as if she had known us before.

Angel: The first time I saw her, I didn’t even think we would 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 homophobic things, so I thought we’d be cordial at best.

Adeze: Yet here I thought we would be friends. I liked the energy she brought into the room. Maybe she just wanted to be cordial, but I was determined to get to know her better.

How was the transition from roommates to friends?

Angel: The next day, we were lucky to have more one-on-one conversations over time. We had this “midnight friendship” where we were up together when everyone else was sleeping, talking about how our day had gone. She is so good at listening.

Before I knew what was going on, I was looking forward to having conversations with her. She was so kind, constantly getting what I wanted and going out of her way to make sure I was comfortable. She would make my bed for me or bring me food when I was hungry.

Adeze: I think I realized how close we were when his birthday came around. She had started school a week before her birthday, so of course we barely knew each other then, but I wanted to buy her a present.

I kept fighting the urge, so I ended up not doing it. I regretted it so much because I didn’t think she was getting as much attention as she deserved. Anything I gave her would have made a significant difference. I didn’t because I didn’t want her to think I was crazy or misinterpret my actions.

In the past, I cared so much about the friends in my life that people made jokes about me liking 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?

Adeze: I was afraid that they were right and I 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 found out I was bisexual and that was scary too.

I am Christian. All my life I had been taught that loving the same sex was wrong. That’s why when Angel helped me point out that I had feelings for my best friend, I was so sad. It was like I had this huge secret that I had to spend the rest of my life keeping.

Angel: I remember when she came to see me about her problems. It was February 2022, just before we went on strike. Her best friend had gone out with a man and Adaeze had been sulking all day. She had cooked around 5 p.m. and was about to eat when her best friend returned. Someone who hadn’t eaten all day, she left the room to meet the baby and even slept there. When she returned around noon the next day, she kept complaining about how she had been hurt by her friend going on a date.

I couldn’t believe she was so oblivious to her feelings. Everyone in the room could tell that she had feelings for her best friend, but not Adaeze. She thought it was just “friendship”.

We talked about it and she realized that her feelings weren’t the kind you would have for a friend. Seeing her so hurt about it hurt me too. I wish I could take all his pain away. It also made me realize how jealous I was of their relationship. I had a crush on Adaeze, and I wanted her to feel as much for me as she did for this girl.

Adeze: My midnight friend was my only confidant during this time. No matter how busy she was with school and work, whenever I told her I needed to talk, she dropped everything and took care of me. Then the strike happened and our conversations didn’t immediately translate to text.

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How was it?

Angel: Too much time at home, so I was depressed and unable to text. We didn’t talk as much as when we were in school.

Adeze: We answer each other and check in from time to time.

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 goes by that we don’t talk to each other. Even if it was just to see how the other person was doing.

Adeze: At first we mostly talked about the issues I was having with my best friend, but over time it turned into “I just want to hear Angel’s voice”.

Angel: During May, I jokingly said that I loved him but was going to delete him because of his feelings for the other girl. From there she started to question her feelings towards me and admitted that 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. Little love that everyone loves, I arrive in my turn, I cut breakfast.

Adeze: I came home from church one day feeling really bad for 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 realized how hard it was for her. If there’s one thing I’m sure of in my life, it’s that I love her and she loves me just as much.

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How was it when school started?

Angel: I was so excited to see her again. The strike lasted eight long months, and I missed her. We were unable to stay apart. We always cuddle or just stay together, marveling at each other.

I remember when she got dressed to go to church one day, but when she realized that meant leaving me, she sat back down and said she couldn’t go.

Adeze: We spoke on the phone throughout my school career, and she was the first person I wanted to see as soon as I arrived. I was worried about how the other roommates were going to handle this, but she reminded me that we already spent so much time together and enjoyed each other’s company. That it was nothing new for our roommates to see us together.

Angel: We try to behave so that our roommates don’t suspect too much, but behaving is difficult. The attraction we share is really strong. Sometimes she just ends up on my bed, her hands on my thighs. Other times it’s me on her bed, not wanting to let her go.

Adeze: Her presence soothes me, and I try to hold her back as long as possible.

How would you describe your relationship?

Angel: We are great friends, and I never want that to change, so we will stick to being friends who love each other.

Adeze: It’s like honey that the world will let us taste and enjoy but won’t let us keep.

Angel: In an ideal world, I would be in a committed relationship with her. I just want to live and do everything with her without having to compromise our safety or our relationships with the family.

Adeze: The ideal world is one where I can watch her sleep, be next to her when she wakes up, do all the work, and earn so much money that she won’t have to work. I want to buy her anything she wants and make sure she’s treated like the princess she is.

I want to raise children with her. Children who will be such a plus for the world and who consider themselves lucky to have been raised in a home full of love. Every time Angel enters a place, it becomes heaven, so our children will be raised in heaven.

God, abb. How would you rate your love life on a scale of 1 to 10?

Angel: 9 and a half for me. Even though we can’t be together right now, there is love here and it makes me feel comfortable. I struggle with depression and anxiety, and most of the time I don’t want to be alive. But when I’m near her, I feel alive and indifferent to everything. The remaining half is for the homophobia that pops up to give us a glimpse of the reality that there is a price to pay for being together the way we want.

Adeze: 9. I feel safe, loved and protected. Loving her is so easy because she gives me reasons day after day. She doesn’t stress me out for anything. She’s so smart and thinks ahead of how I’m going to take things when she says/does something.

The remaining 1 is also due to homophobia. Knowing that the mere existence of our love puts our lives in danger hurts me. If I could, I would create a world just for us, where we could be anything we wanted without fear of discrimination.

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