The Brother formerly known as last born(TBFKAL) was a terror in my life growing up.
TBFKAL is the Father incarnate to my Mother incarnate. He never really used the 'incarnate status' as flamboyantly as I did, but he is the acknowledged 'true son of the soil' (compared to the eldest bro) amongst the village people. He knows the family genealogy like his palm, and every twist and turn in the village.
I sucked my left thumb until my first night in boarding house at 12. As an avid reader of Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven, Mallory Towers, St Clare’s Series, nobody needed to tell me that the teasing that would follow if I was caught could last me a life time.
But………… I nearly stopped one time when I was 6. After reading to me the story about Pinocchio, TBFKAL told me that if I continued to suck my thumb, that it would grow and grow and grow like Pinocchio’s nose and I would never see the tip again. I cried nonstop for 5 hrs holding on to my (imagined) increasingly lengthening thumb. It was till my Mom came home, hugged me, told me it was a lie and gave him a well deserved cuff that I stopped. Missed opportunities.
At various other times he had also tried the pepper treatment, the bandage treatment, the bitter leaf treatment. All to no avail I sucked ‘em all off. Now when I see Moms worry over their thumb-sucking kid, I’m like don’t worry, s/he will stop when the time is right.
TBFKAL used to beat me if I sass him. Once or twice he even threatened me with his belt. That was after he became a boarding student and decided that I would be his practice fag.
I had a special song for him too.
Oke Clementi – Clement the rat
Osa Simonu – Simon the squirrel etc etc This song was guaranteed to raise his ire! Then I would run to the nearest eldest sibling for protection. A bit of Tom and Jerry.
I was my brother’s ATM machine growing up. He knew I was in awe of him and he used it to his advantage. I always had money courtesy of coming first in exams. and I was so thrifty. I would save and save so I can splurge it on presents for my best friend and myself. Bro would ask me for some (promising to pay back)and I would give him and that is the last I hear of it. If I dare to remind him to pay, I get threatened with a beating. My sisters were sympathetic initially but got tired when I kept falling for his crap over and over again.
Thanks to him I was the acknowledged ‘happening’ babe throughout secondary school cause he introduced me to all the latest hits and their dance steps. I was called the Music Dictionary. I owe my love of rock music to him.
TBKAL could tell a mean folktale with ‘Mbe’ the tortoise as his muse. He introduced me to Omenuko, Omalinze, Oka Mgba, Mbediogu, Isi akwu dara n’ala, etc. All those Igbo literature masterpieces. Sigh. I prolly owe my A in Igbo language to him.
I loved him best when we are co-conspirators against the elder siblings. Yes! being the youngest ones and getting talked down to can be a pain atimes.
He gave me the sweetest nephew Dubs. Love him like he were mine! He was born when I was old enough to appreciate the miracle of birth. He used to call me 'Mom' and his mom – Aunty. Sweet!
I love you brother dearest and wouldn't exchange you for another. Miss you.
Got any sibling story to share? Go on tell…