I have just one brother.
He is not my mother’s son but my father’s only son and he has stopped speaking to all of us for 10 years now.
My father has 9 children and of all the nine of us; only teo belonged to the same mother, the rest, have different mothers and none of the women stayed with him.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. My father is not a model citizen but we are not discussing his morals here, we are discussing the fact that his son has turned out to be just like him but you see while it may be too late for my father to change his character my brother still has a chance, who knows?
My father is a lousy husband but a good father to us his children. He is a kind man, he never had much, in terms of money because you see, there’s no way your loose living won’t catch up with you; so daddy never had much but when he did, he lavished it on us his children.
Did I mention that there are nine of us, only two of us came from the same woman, the rest came from different women who couldn’t resist my father’s charms. My father knows how to toast women. I have seen him in action on a number of occasions. He is a master toaster!
There was one day this woman came to his shop; he told her, “I wish I could stop the sun from shining as it has thoroughly drenched you but if I did, you would never have stopped by at my shop for relief.”
Ehehn, what was that?
The woman laughed, she was happy…before I knew it, he sent me to one far place to buy coke for the woman, even though they sold coke two shops away. He said that coke wasn’t cold enough, I should go to the far away shop!
Truth be told, if there’s a photo of irresponsibility, my father’s face should appear beside that word; he started his life with my mum from secondary school; she got pregnant when she was just in form three!
These people have been doing this thing since…and there he was when I was in secondary school, he would tell us his daughters, “I don’t want to see you talking to any boy,”
“I don’t want to see any boy in this house,”
“…you must not let any boy touch you…”
You nko? Daddy, you nko?
Anyway, back then, after my mother got pregnant she stopped school. So, I was born and immediately, my grandma, my father’s mum took responsibility over me and while my father finished secondary school, my mum couldn’t go back, she was too ashamed of herself, so she later took to selling provisions and she also lived with my grandma, in the same room with my dad.
Before my dad completed secondary school, my sister was born.
Ehen, what do you expect? Two young people living in the same room? With someone taking care of their 3 year old daughter? Recipe for another baby.
In one room!
By the time my sister came into the picture, our mum was ready to bale because, another lady was already pregnant for my dad. When my mum found out, she gave birth to my sister and seven days after birth, she left us…we never saw her again. She was 19 years old then…we never saw her ever again!
So, my grandma took care of me, my baby sister and in a few months, the other lady gave birth to a baby boy…that’s how we began to pile up.
My father when he finished school, decided he wanted to be a trades man; he had a huge provisions shop and did quite well for some time. He couldn’t sustain it because women under the pretext of buying stuff on credit repaid in kind. That’s how come the rest of my sisters came into the picture.
But my grandma would always say, “I will not reject any child born to me.” so there would always be room for one more mouth in grandma’s 4 bedroom bungalow.
My brother, being the third of the 9 and the only son grew to hate our dad. He blamed him for not being able to further his education; he blamed him for having so many children he couldn’t cater for, he blamed our dad for so many things. As soon as he was able to finish his OND, he left the house and generally stopped talking to our dad.
Then he too began to have children with women he didn’t get married to; yes, my brother, I mean.
The first was one lady he introduced as his fiancé
After a few months, they quarreled, but the lady was already pregnant. Gbam she came to drop the child with my brother…thankfully, he was already was living by himself then.
One of my aunties took the baby to care for her; because grandma was too old to. Then maybe a year after, my brother said he had met someone and wanted to marry her and settle down…gbam, they were already living together, in fact.
We were already calling her ‘our wife’ before she gave birth to a lovely girl. One day, katakata burst, brother said he caught the lady with another man so he kicked her out of the house, she left her daughter…that is number child number two from woman number two…
A few years ago, my brother had issues with the third lady he was with, this time, he made sure he took her to the registry, as if he was trying to exorcise a demon, he did everything well but the lady died at child birth…three children, three women…
When our father went to pay him a condolence visit; he walked him out and said our father was responsible for the bad luck plaguing him. He told our dad never to come to his house again and never to call him his son again.
That was ten years ago.
Today, my brother has no wife and I hear he is seeing a woman again because even the Bible says, it is not good for man to be alone… and she is pregnant again… i just began to think about these things, maybe our father is really responsible for his luck, just maybe.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)