I was just a few months old in London. I had spent the first two days in a University of London Hostel in Holborn and from there moved to the Catholic International Students’ Hostel in Manor House. Finsbury Park was on the other side of Seven Sisters’ Road and provided relaxation especially for weekend football. As a lifelong football enthusiast I was aware that the Arsenal football club was just behind Manor House in Highbury. But for unknown reasons I never liked Arsenal. My favourite football club was the then all-conquering Liverpool hundreds of miles away. I also liked Tottenham Hotspur which was up the Seven Sisters’ Road.
At the beginning of the new season I decided to go and watch Tottenham Hotspur. I had never been inside such a large football ground nor seen such a sea of white faces. All around me were youthful strangers, all animated, interested in the action. I was a bit overawed by the crowd but as the game got underway my anxiety waned. Suddenly I noticed that the man standing next to me was trying to make conversation, to attract my attention. I had not really noticed him but now that I took a closer look he seemed a bit older than my teenage classmates in the Technical College in Walthamstow, unruly, smoking while the lecturer was speaking, sometimes climbing on to the tables, all probably over five years or more younger than my  twenty-four years. I reckoned that he would be about my age, slight of build, good looking. Here I was, a black man lost in the see of white faces and this good looking man wanted to be friendly. I warmed up to him and we introduced ourselves and chatted about the match. He said his name was Brian.
It was therefore natural that we left the grounds together at the end of the match, weaving our way through the milling crowd. He guided me to where he had a smart red sports car parked. He offered me a lift and I eagerly accepted. At least he would save me the bus fare back to Manor House. But he did not drive down Seven Sisters’ Road which I was familiar with but I felt relaxed thinking he must know a shorter way there. But he did not drive to Manor House. Soon he parked outside one of the terraced houses in one of London’s long, seemingly unending terraces. He said he lived there. Could I come in just for a short while? As we walked up the short steps to the door I noticed that the autumn sky had suddenly darkened with gloom descending. I wondered when he would drop me back at Manor House.
It was a small, decent place. We chit-chatted as he prepared sandwiches and made tea. He was a very pleasant person and I felt relaxed but at the back of my mind was thought of my getting back to the Hostel as well as the thought that I did not know where we were. But I felt comfortable. Soon it was past nine o’clock. Brian noticed me glance at my watch and quickly reassured me. He said Manor House was quite near. Besides, I could spend the night and he would drop me off early. I felt strange. Back home I had never been used to sleeping out. But his friendliness put me at ease.
Soon it was bedtime and I was looking forward to being shown to my room. But Brian said there was only one bedroom and we should share the bed. I felt very strange. In all my life I had never slept in the same bed with any senior brother as I had none. I had not slept with any other boy of my age. Now to sleep in the same bed with a white man! The bed was large enough and I made sure to get in and stay by one edge. But not long after Brian put out the light he was all over me, his hands everywhere, one hand grabbing my crotch. I jumped up. I shouted, `What are you doing?’ He did not put on the light but the street lights filtering through the window showed enough light. He was sitting up, hands outstretched towards me. He said, `Peter, I only want to play. Don’t you? Please.’ I was shocked. How can this man want me to play with him? What sort of play? I backed up to a chair and sat down, watching him all the time. I was bigger than him and my weightlifting back home had helped me develop bulky shoulders. I was confident I could defend myself if he got other ideas. He stayed like that for a while then he lay back pulling the sheets to cover his whole body. I could not imagine what could have come over him. I sat like that till morning, hardly sleeping.
Quite early he was awake, dressed. He said, `Peter, let me drop you off at the Hostel. And he did and that was the last time I set eyes on him.
Phillip, my room-mate, was shocked that I had been absent all night. He was the son of a dentist and had been in the Hostel for three years and knew his way around London. Once in a while he partied all night in a night club. But I had never missed a night in the Hostel. And he had been shocked to see me being dropped off  by a white man in a red sports car. I told him my story. He laughed loud and long. He said, You JJC! You allowed yourself to be picked up by a homo, a pervert.’
`Homo? What is that?’ I asked.
`A homosexual is a man who has sex with other men. A lesbian is a woman who sleeps with other women.’
`How is that possible? God forbid!’ From my childhood I had always believed that a man is meant to go with a woman, not with other men. I had never heard of those types of people.
`My dear, be careful who gives you a lift. London is a crazy place. You meet all sorts. You are lucky he was not the violent type. Do you know he could have killed you in frustration?’

I have not forgotten that day. One night I woke up sweating, thinking. What if he had used his kitchen knife on me? But as time passed my eyes were opened. I began to learn that there were other types of human beings. The world had moved so fast, changed so fast. Now they have what they call LGBT, all sorts of different people. In some countries men are now legally marrying men and women marrying women. For some of us in our seventies and above these changes would be hard to swallow. The line between what is normal and abnormal is now so confusing! 

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