My younger brother is a lay-about; he was spoilt rotten by our parents because he came out as the last born. Our parents didn’t discipline him the way they did us, so he has ended up spoilt, entitled and generally of no good use to himself or anyone for that matter.
so, it came as a huge surprise to me that he found a woman who agreed to marry him.
What nonsense did he tell the woman before she agreed to follow him to his place? I mean, women can be funny. This is a guy who has no steady source of income; he worked in insurance briefly, then he said their wahala was too much, so he moved to one micro- finance bank…I don’t even know whether he is still there!
Would you believe my parents still gave him monthly stipends? A man of almost 38 years old? A graduate for that matter? They not only gave him stipends from the money the rest of us contributed to them monthly, they also paid his rent!
I told my brother a long time ago, “Just pray your parents live long because you will suffer once they die!”
It has now come to pass!
When my brother was about to marry the woman, my parents practically did everything for him; his suit, the bridal gown, the reception, even the ring he put on his wife’s finger was bought by our mum! Our parents never did any of these for the rest of us!
I remember my father telling me he couldn’t be expected to ‘help me marry a wife.’ He said if I was “old enough for a wife, I should be financially ready to carry it.” That was years back when I went to meet him about my wedding!
When my brother came to me about his marriage, I said to him “So you want to get married, do you have a job?”
“Does your intended have a job?”
“How would you cope when you start having kids?”
“Can you pay your own rent now?”
His answers were, “God will provide.”
That means, he had left his micro-finance bank job…and was hoping as usual our parents would step in.
Thankfully, I heard the wife had a job as a teacher…I don’t scorn teachers but how much would she bring in monthly? Before the month ends nko?
When it seemed I was making too much noise. I closed my trap and gave what I could without any sort of iinconvenience to my person.
When their first baby came, our parents prevailed on the rest of us to contribute money to help pay the hospital bill; why? The wife went through CS, so the bill was more than they had planned for. We split the expenses, one of us paid for the hospital, two of us combined to sponsor the naming ceremony, another was in charge of helping them get things going in the house!
I did my bit but I kept telling my people, ‘we are not helping this boy! We are enabling him to be lazy; he has a wife, why didn’t he call any one of us to come and help him sleep with her, if really he is that totally useless?
Eeehhh, I am simply using that as an analogy; saying if a man can spread a woman’s legs, he should be prepared for what comes out between those legs nine months down the line!
But my people said I was too harsh, they said all fingers are not equal, they said the boy was trying, they said I should not make comparisons…
I said, “ Ok, o. Continue to help him zip his trousers whenever he needs to take a piss.”
A little over a year later, my brother’s wife was pregnant again and again it had to be CS!
“What is wrong with these people?”
Again, we rallied around them and paid their hospital bill but I did not contribute to any naming ceremony! I told my other brothers, “you can continue to indulge this idiot, I won’t!”
I also remember telling the wife, “Iyawo, it’s your life, you can’t continue to do CS every year unless you want to lose your life. You guys are struggling to care for the one you have, now you have added another. Do you want to die?”
Everyone took offence, they said it was not my place to say that sort of thing, that children are gifts from God…I said, ‘make una no vex o. I needed to say my bit!’
Then our parents died, almost at the same time; it was our father who passed away in his sleep, he was 79 years old, then our mother; she was same age…I guess mama couldn’t believe that Baba could just die without warning. It was one small sickness after the other and four months after, mama too, died.
After we did the burial and everything; we were having a family meeting, discussing what to do with our parents’ things, when I saw my younger brother’s wife was pregnant again!
Three children in almost five years! Wetin! In these times!
Ha! I called my brothers aside, “I hope your youngest brother knows he has no father and mother to keep bailing him out of the hospital? I hope he knows the monthly stipends he gets from them will not come anymore?
I hope…they said I shouldn’t worry, “God will provide!”
Since I am not God, they should go and bail their brother and his wife at the hospital!
They’ve racked up over N450,000 because again, the baby was CS…the hospital has now told the woman not to have children again except she wants to die!
As things are, every one is ‘rich.’
We buried our parents last August; coro came and stopped many things this year. Everyone is looking for how to survive.
My brothers all have things they need money for; school fees, rent… plus we are all recovering from the twin burial of our parents.
See, I swear, even if I have the money today, I won’t give that useless boy! They have detained his wife at the hospital because they couldn’t raise the money… I hear she and the baby are sleeping on the floor of the hospital. Well, I didn’t impregnate her, I didn’t put her on the hospital floor, I didn’t even gang up with the hospital to do this. So nobody should say, ha, wicked man and if you say I am wicked, go and bail them yourself!
(series written and and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)