‘I will kill you,” he shouted at his brother.
‘I swear I will kill you!’
Then he turned to me, his eyes red with anger and tears. It broke my heart as he kept repeating himself.
‘Tell your son, I will kill him if I find him!’
I was also crying, begging him, ‘Please, calm down. Please, my darling son, your younger brother did wrong but let us discuss this as a family.’
‘I have no family!’ He stormed out of the house and I haven’t seen him since then but I hear he is fine and still goes to his job at the factory. I have called but he won’t pick, I have sent for him and he won’t come.
I am a mother in a dilemma.
My first son is in his late thirties while the second one is in his mid-twenties both of them have different fathers but the elder has always taken care of the younger one.
They have different fathers because the father of my first son was a married man with two wives when I became pregnant for him, the two wives did not let me stay, so I moved out to live by myself to raise my son in peace.
Seven years later, I met the father of my second son. He was a fine man. He took my son as his own and provided for us, unfortunately, he too was already married but we had a relationship and two years later, we had my second son. But Micheal, my second husband didn’t live long, he died in a motor accident before his son was even 1 year old.
I have been alone since then, raising my two sons by myself. Timothy, my first son had been like a little father to his younger brother John. He would take care of his little brother when I go out to work to keep a roof over our heads. He was always indoors but he never had a head for books so it was a struggle for him to finish secondary school.
You know some people are just like that, they will struggle but never learn like the rest of their mates. Not that he didn’t want to be educated, it was just not his destiny.
John on the other hand was brilliant. He could read well, write well and did well at school but he never stayed. John was a rascal, still is. All he wanted to do was play ball with his friends, join bad gang, smoke weed and carry girls.
I tried my best to keep him straight but the boy was just too stubborn. I would beat him, punish him, deny him things but he was born bad from the beginning. See the irony of life?
Timothy’s father was no good but his son was an angel, John’s father was a good man but see his son John, a disgrace. I am their mother; I am telling you the truth.
How did this wahala start?
Timothy, like I told you is a responsible human being. When he finally finished school, in fact before he finished his secondary school, he had begun to work in one of these Chinese companies.
Chinese people are stingy with money but my boy was loved because he had a good heart and after some years, he left there to other places and he was earning good money because the money he gave me every month end was good money to take care of me and John as well.
Then he met Justina. I really don’t know where he met her but he introduced her to me and I thought she was a good girl. They were going out and for some years, I didn’t hear anything bad between them. She would come and stay with us for weekends where we live in a two bedroom apartment. The boys have one room, I have the other but when Justina comes, John would sleep in the parlour.
Then one day, Timothy came home one day to say Justina was pregnant!
What did I expect? Didn’t I know they were sleeping with each other? Of course they are both adults so…
And Timothy was already a grown man, therefore I had nothing to fear. It just meant that he would have to marry her or so. I thought because I didn’t want what happened to me to happen to another woman after all, she was carrying my grandchild.
Like I said, Timothy is a very responsible man, he took care of Justina but he told me he wasn’t ready to marry her but he would care for her and the child. I didn’t push because I knew my son, when he is ready, he would do the needful. He paid for ante-natal, delivery and baby things. He gave Justina money every month.
Then Justina gave birth to a baby girl and we did the naming here in my house. She would often bring the baby to visit us.
Two years later, I don’t know what really caused the fight but I met my sons about to strangle each other with neighbours trying to pull them apart and Justina and the baby were crying from all the noise and confusion.
Everybody was talking at once.
Later, I found out the truth.
Timothy is not the father of Justina’s baby, it is John!
Oh Lord in heaven, John will not kill me!
But I am their mother and the baby still remains my grandchild, so I begged Timothy for peace. I begged him not to kill his brother because I would lose two sons and probably my only grandchild in the process. If one is dead and the other in jail, Justina will just run off with my grandchild.
I begged Timothy, I told him I understood his pain; being deceived about another man’s child, caring and loving the child as he did…as for John, he is still my son, would I have chopped his head off because of this? No, I am still their mother and that Justina, what will I do? send her away? No, she is the mother of my grandchild.
(series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)