I have a story to tell. Maybe I shouldn’t even be telling it but I think I should, for posterity’s sake. I am the only son of my mother; I have five sisters and being the only son, there was so much pressure on me growing up.
My parents wanted me to be the one who would achieve so much in order to carry on their name.
I was about seven years old or maybe eight, I cannot quite remember, when my mother began to take me to the hospital. I wasn’t sick, I didn’t feel feverish, I just recall that every time we went to the hospital, the doctors would ask me to pull off my shorts, they would examine my penis. At first, I wasn’t bothered but as I grew older, I became conscious of myself. I began to ask my parents why the doctors always wanted to examine my penis.
‘It’s because we want to be sure you are ok.’
‘But there is nothing wrong with me,’ I would complain every time they told me we were going to the hospital. I didn’t enjoy the attention my penis was getting from the nurses and doctors and even my parents.
At age 10, my father thought it was then ok for me to know, so he told me: ‘When a man is complete, his penis will rise in the morning, a healthy male will always have an erection. Does your penis rise when you wake up?’
At that time, I had never noticed, I didn’t think so, in short, I never did. I mean, you can imagine, it was not an issue for me, I didn’t even know boys were supposed to have early morning erections, I was a kid, remember.
My parents were worried I may never father any children. At that age, I couldn’t care less, in fact, fathering was not on my list of wants. I was 10 years!
Anyway, with therapy, drugs and plenty of agbo that my mother almost drowned me in, my penis would rise at half-mast in the mornings and being persuaded that it would rise to full mast at the right time, my parents were satisfied they had done their bit to give me a comfortable life; hospital visits and agbo intake reduced drastically.
I didn’t understand the full import of their care until I went to boarding school for boys at Ijebu Ode. What is a man without a full erection? He will never feel like a man and so growing up in my late teens, when my friends were having sex like rabbits, I had occasional flings that almost became disasters.
I had no girlfriend, until I finished secondary school and returned to await my result in Lagos. That was also when Mercy came to live with my elder sister. Mercy was a nanny for my elder sister’s children but she also went to school. Mercy was a flirt, a real tease. Whenever I visited, she would deliberately rub her breasts against my hand when serving me food. I may not have had girlfriends but I was also not a eunuch; I still wanted to keep test running my tool so as to truly ‘belong’.
So, one day, we arranged to meet when my sister had gone to work and the house was empty, I went there and Mercy came from school shortly after.
Hummn, my staff was still not rising to full mast but I didn’t want to trouble my mother, she had gone through difficult times all that period we were going in and out of hospitals looking for a cure. My friends had introduced me to some local herbs and chewing stick that helps a man stand to deliver the goods, so I used same for Mercy.
I had no mercy on her at all. She was young, inexperienced and wouldn’t even know if my performance was great or not.
The truth is, I suspect I under performed. I wanted a repeat match and bought more herbs and chewing stick, still, my stick was not as hard as it should be but it tried.
I expected nothing, just more blissful sex with Mercy and no, we did not use condom because truthfully speaking, I never thought I could make any girl pregnant. my milk was weak, my thrusts lacked real strength, so…
Then Mercy became pregnant!
I was at their house the day my sister announced that a friend had told her Mercy was pregnant, she herself did not know. My sister was mad as hell, she beat Mercy insisting on being told who made her pregnant. Then Mercy pointed at me.
How can? I have low sperm count, I can hardly rise to full mast and yet, this girl, this loose girl claims I got her pregnant.
I denied it. Yes, I did. I knew deep down, deep, deep down, I could never be responsible for this pregnancy!
I told my sister Mercy is a loose girl and indeed she was; but my sister would hear none of it, she insisted I had to bear responsibility for the baby, that I was the only one she knew with Mercy. Can you imagine? She didn’t even know Mercy was pregnant in the first place, someone told her after Mercy was already 6 months gone and suddenly she says I am the only one she knows…
That is how I became a father before I even got into the university.
My mother took the child, a baby girl we named Ruth. She looked nothing like me or my sisters, yet, everyone insisted she looked like an old aunt of ours.
Anyway, from then on, I kept my rod well sheathed, no more shenanigans, besides I wanted to compensate my poor mother who was struggling to send me to school, I didnt want to give her more babies than she could care for.
My father? He had passed on before I finished secondary school.
After university, I found a job and met a lady, Shade. I married her. I never told her about my ‘condition’ though she knew about my daughter, Ruth.
For more than 7 years, Shade and I couldn’t have children. Let me say this again, I never denied her sex, with the help of herbs and chewing sticks, I managed to get in and do the job. But you see life, deep down, deep, deep down, I knew the problem was me, not Shade.
But of course, I already had a daughter, Ruth, so everyone would believe Shade was the one who was barren.
Though to be honest, I begged Shade not to do anything stupid by way of looking for a child, I told her I was content with being with her. But you know you women, she was running from pillar to post, church today, Alassalatu tomorrow, Imam today, prophet tomorrow. After many quarrels, I just let her be.
Then she got pregnant. It was halleluyah all over. I tell you my sister, deep, deep down in me, I knew, just like with Ruth, that the child couldn’t be mine. I’m telling you!
But you know what? I love my children. Today, I have three in all. All girls and I love them to pieces. I know, deep, deep down in me that these girls are not mine. Every time I see my wife talking to a man, I watch, I want to see if he displays certain mannerisms or even has a likeness to my two younger daughters.
I have no plans to expose anybody. I will work hard and care for my children. They are mine, they bear my name. I just pray, I pray the day never comes when they would ask them or me to donate blood and we will find out that we are not of the same, that’s just my only prayer.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)