Life and General Fiction StoriesNaija Stories

The Family Secret

I don’t hate her, neither do I love her; my feelings are just neutral, a kind of neutrality that came with torrents of bitterness.

You want to know how the bitterness started? Journey with me.

****************

I sighted the blue-coloured Toyota Corolla car packed in my father’s compound and my emotions switched from happiness to anger, anger with a rage, a rage that could burn down a house. My warnings were clear when I issued them.

“I don’t want to ever see you again in my life,” I had raged. What was she doing here now?

I stood there, contemplating whether to go and strangle her or face where my butt faced.

I decided to do the later, and then I heard a voice, the voice I chose not to hear in four years, the voice that betrayed me four years ago. The voice was that of my only sibling, my elder sister.

“When will you stop acting like a child?” she asked.

I would’ve ignored her if not for the indelible marks her actions left in my life.

Four years ago, five years after Dad had passed, I had no hope of continuing my education, yet luck smiled on me and gave me a wealthy man as an in-law to marry my only sister.

He paid my fees till the last year but all these fees came through my sister—his wife and my mother.

My final year project was fast approaching at the time and I had told my sister the deadline. Little did I know that fate had something in store for me.

My sister came home after she had been married for four years. The villagers trooped in to welcome the damsel in a car.

I was expecting a protruded belly but found none, I even teased her about wanting nieces and nephews.

That night, my mother walked into my room. She talked about having secured my project fees. I was happy, then she said that a condition would be met before the funds would be released to me.

“Anything, anything, mom,” I answered.

Then she rendered the sermon, a sacrilegious and ridiculous one at that. I refused outrightly, and her face turned red because of the tears she shed, her voice was shaky as she talked.

I had to slap myself several times to be sure of what mom was asking me to do. She went further to tell me stories of how evil can be good. How everything that happened in the family stayed in the family. How no one would ever know since it would be our family secret. How things were either going to be sweet or sour for our family. How things were evil when they were not in your favour.

I cringed and chased my mom out of my room. I tiptoed to my sister’s room and queried her on what mom had told me. I condemned her for even considering me an option, assuming her husband had obliged to her madness.

“There are many guys out there, why me? Your brother?”

She kept a sober face and tried to win me over with emotional blackmail.

I spat at the floor, with my two fingers over my head and exclaimed, “Azị gba kwa unu,” and furiously walked away.

I was desperate, I did not want to spend another year in school after six years. Mom was tenacious in her stand that I meet the condition, and my sister gave me a cold shoulder. I rallied round to get the money myself but my efforts were futile.

On the eve of my deadline, my sister came home again, and mom came to me with the same sermon, same emotions, same reasons and pointed how my future, academics and security were dependent on it.

I sat on my bed and wondered what life had turned into; my Christian mother of all people cheering and threatening me alternately. Did I accept her proposal? I couldn’t tell.

That night as I sat on my bed, I perceived the aura of an expensive perfume as my door creaked open. Her firm nipples were visible through the gown she wore, everything was transparent. I pleaded with her in tears but she was determined.

Her hand caressed the wall like a blind man as she located the switch and switched it off to cast darkness in the room

I wept after the act and slept at four in the morning. A knock on the door woke me as I beheld my project fees tripled and a ‘thank you’ note which I tore immediately.

Nwoke oma, bia rie nri,” my mom voiced with a smile.

“Chukwu ajụ!” I screamed and shook my head. From then, my relationship with both sister and mom never blossomed.

Ten months later, I heard about her safe delivery. I never visited nor called and when she called numerous times I ignored.

************

Now I stood, here at my father’s gate, in fury, with the intention of being my own karma. But then two little angels ran out with smiles plastered on their faces as they called my name in unison.

“Uncle Frank! Uncle Frank! Uncle Frank!”

I swept them off the ground, the girl gave me a kiss on the cheek, while the boy wrapped his hands round my shoulder.

Tears welled up in my eyes.

What a life, where my progenies will call me ‘Uncle’.

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