Tankiso went to Ethiopia when he finished his university studies. Life was good, and he did not bother his parents for money because he had received bursaries and other awards for higher education. Upon his arrival in Ethiopia, Tankiso told himself that he would start dating. To his surprise, the Ethiopian women did not care for him: they did not find him attractive. He was confused because he was used to having his work and success speak for him, and he tried his best to let every woman he met know who he was, how smart he was, and what he had achieved in life thus far. All this did not please the Ethiopian sisters. Tankiso started going out with white women who were older than he was and also expats.

However, his dates did not develop into anything physical. He never invited the women to his apartment or visited them where they lived. After what had happened between him and Tebello, he realised that he did not want to be locked in a room with a woman alone until he had decided the future of their interactions.

“Tankiso, what’s your deal exactly?” asked one white lady.

“My deal? What do you mean?”

“Are you married back home in South Africa or what is happening, because I see that we are going out but nothing has happened between us,” the woman continued.

“I honestly don’t know what you’re expecting, but in my opinion things are as they should be,” Tankiso said, and called their waiter to give them the food bill. He felt frustrated because he was content with just hanging out and hadn’t thought about anything beyond that. He eventually stopped going on dates to avoid further disappointments.

His time ended in Ethiopia and he had to return home. He returned to South Africa, but shortly after his return, he got another opportunity to further his studies — this time to do a Master’s degree in New York.

All arrangements were made for him and this time around, he had no intention to date. Tankiso discovered that New York was not just a city like any other, it was diverse, with a wide range of ways of living and being. He felt free! He met all kinds of people, each with their own stories and opinions, and they could converse and stand for what they believed in.

“So, are you always wearing a shirt?” said a voice behind Tankiso. He was standing in line for food at the New York campus.

Tankiso looked back and said, “Ha ha! When did you notice that I’m always wearing a shirt?”

He was talking to a guy named Xavier. Xavier was a flamboyant Mexican American. A friendship blossomed right there. They realised that they liked the same things, and Xavier invited Tankiso to be part of his reading club.

In that reading club, they talked about every subject, so the topic of sex and sexuality came up quite often. Tankiso was afraid to say that he had never had sex. Xavier realised that Tankiso would shy from the discussions whenever the topic was love or sex. One day, Xavier asked him why.

“I’m don’t think I’m attracted to girls,” Tankiso said, furrowing his eyebrows.

“OK, it happens. As humans we are attracted to different things. I don’t like girls either, but I like boys. On that note, I’ve been wanting to tell you that I kinda like you…and I would like to have a romantic relationship with you. There, I said it.”

It was the first time that Tankiso had heard a man tell him something like that. What surprised him was realising that he was also developing a peculiar liking for Xavier, and even wanted to kiss him. So he did…

Tell us: What do you think will happen next?