In life there are so many things that test you as a human being and if you believe strongly in God, it would test your faith.
I got married some 15 years ago When I did, my elder sister was still unmarried. I got married in Nigeria but my husband and I relocated to Chicago, Illinois shortly afterwards.
Now, like I said, my elder sister was unmarried and throughout the wedding period, I mean while we were making preparations and all that; families and friends who came to visit or greet us as we prepared, would tease my sister saying something like, “Don’t worry, your own too would come.” The mean ones would say, “You don’t want to get married, now your younger sister has surpassed you.” Or “you want to grow old in your father’s house?”
I felt bad for my sister and I would often stand up to the person saying these things whether old or young. I was the wild younger sister, younger by five years, I was the crazy one, the one who dared to break several family rules.
So, when I was about to get married, I am sure my parents heaved a sigh of relief, they were like, ‘finally, this one is out of our hair.’
Was I a rebel? I won’t say I was; I liked parties, I liked boys early, I had boyfriends before my elder sister, I was doing all kinds of bad things while my elder sister was the good girl. So, when I met my husband and told my parents I was getting married at 24, they were relieved that I didn’t have a child out of wedlock, that was their mortal fear.
Now, my sister and I are close; she was the one I shared my escapades with; she was the one I told when I did bad things, when I went out with a married man; when I had three boyfriends at once; when I you know, crazy things at school.
But when I met my husband, I knew all those games were over. He was a different man, a gentleman, quiet, while I was loud, he hated public gatherings while I thrived on them, people ask me, ‘how did you two meet?’
I just chilled and agreed to get married when he asked me.
When I left Nigeria, my sister was uppermost on my mind; I worried about her state of mind, I worried now that people would be more mean to her because I saw myself as her defender, her Voltron. And in deed, sister was being tortured and harassed and told all kinds of things, taken to all kinds of pastors and imams for special prayers because, pretty as she was, she never seemed to be able to keep any relationship. Our parents said someone was ‘stepping on her shine,’ so they needed to cleanse her spiritually.
Of course sister was frustrated; she would call me and we would cry together on the phone for several nights.
Six years after I left Nigeria, one day, I said to her, ‘Sister, come and live with us in Chicago, come for a change of environment, come and start life anew.’
My sister has a green card; she schooled in the US, we all did in our family; so I was glad to have someone to gist with once again, my husband is a recluse.
My sister first lived with us for one year and afterwards found her own space; she also had a good job but before then; things began to deteriorate between my husband and I.
I am an RN, registered nurse and I was making money and my marriage was good at some point; my husband being the quiet type, worked with some Africans doing their own construction business.
Trouble began with my husband on small quarrels, he would say I shouldn’t go out, I shouldn’t attend parties, I shouldn’t spend so and so money. Now, if you live abroad, you will know we don’t get to do many parties like that and when we do, we just want to let our hair down and boogie down, I loved such gatherings, I thrived on them because my hours are shitty!
When my husband began to complain, of course the person I turned to was my sister. I wondered why my husband was ‘misbehaving,’ making threats and if you know enough of me, you will know I don’t bow to threats, I am too bold a woman to cower at anyone threatening me.
This continued for sometime…you know when you are nursing a grudge against someone, even when the person smiles, you will be angry, so everything I did annoyed my husband.
I came back from work one day, and my husband was packed for a trip, as in packed to relocate to Nigeria. What did I do to warrant you leaving me with two children in Chicago? What about your business?
How would we cope without you?
What did I do?
Finally, I wrangled it out if him, he said our second born was not his own! The boy at that time was almost 5 years old.
Husband said my sister told him that I had been sleeping around and that boy wasn’t his own, he couldn’t live with the betrayal!
‘My own sister told you what?’
You can imagine!
Even if he didn’t want to believe, he was given the story by my own flesh and blood!
Is it true?
Haba, how can you ask that of me? Of course it is not true! I told my sister about getting unwanted male attention but that is all there was to it. Who else would I be gisting with if not my own sister?
Where was my sister?
I called her to ask why she would tell my husband such a thing, she lied, she said she never did. Neither did she show up at my house to confront my husband of the so called lie, neither did she come to me to console me after my husband left!
We dragged this fight for more than one year; DNA finally laid it all to rest; the boy is his and why not, sef?
My husband and I are finally mending fences but that lingering doubt still remains for him and I can’t blame him; my own sister lied. He shuttles between Lagos and Chicago; we haven’t lived properly as a family; I can’t relocate to Nigeria, I only visit. Something broke between us and I have my so called still unmarried sister to thank for that.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande)