Growing up with three older brothers in the cold city of Jos, it wasn’t uncharacteristic to return from school to find either a locked door or greetings from used condoms at the entrance to our two-bedroom apartment. The triplets were finding it increasingly difficult to gain admission into their preferred university – The University of Jos. It was their third time applying, and to cope with the constant rejections they sought solace in the warm hands of fornication. Our father recognized this mania when it first started, yet did nothing to tame it. In the real sense of things no one could blame him; it’d be hypocritical of him since they’d learnt from the very best.
Peter, Paul, and Pius were rumored to have rescued many marriages and fathered countless children in the area. Their enthusiasm matched our father’s in his heydays, possibly even greater. Not a day went by without a woman passing through the front door. Sometimes, they were new faces, but mostly, it was a spin among the regulars: Nneka, Bose, Oti, Yetunde, Amina, and Aunty Adah.
I was in JS1 when Aunty Adah came into the picture. It was Pius who first got the chance to meet the pretty, young class teacher of their frigid baby brother. He’d gone to school with me on behalf of our father to appeal my suspension for punching a classmate in the eyes, but lost track of his mission almost as soon as he set eyes on her. Peter and Paul liked her because she was the only one to let all three of them have their way with her in unison. A triplet fetish, they called it. And I was forced to live through the many nights of their debaucheries. Sometimes they made me watch, other times I enjoyed watching myself, but most times I just wanted to go to bed in a quiet room like every other nine-year-old.
Dad worked with the Federal Government at a power station in Potiskum, Yobe State. The far distance meant he spent the weekdays there, and most times his weekends too. We almost never got to see him. He’d breeze in and out once in a while, but that was it. The triplets were in charge of the day-to-day running of the house, and were already used to not having him around. But I was ten years late to the party, and still hadn’t yet learnt the ropes of mastering his absence.
Our mom had died giving birth to our only sister, Ada, five years earlier, and Dad never saw it necessary to remarry. After six months of fooling himself trying to raise Ada by himself he finally let mom’s eldest sister, Aunty Chi, take her away to Lagos, but resisted her attempt to take me too on the grounds that I was a man.
“No son of mine would be raised outside my roof as long as I live, and that includes Patrick.” I recall him saying about me.
Aunty Chi stopped fighting when she saw I echoed my father’s sentiment. What she didn’t understand was that what I truly cared for was not to be separated from my big brothers. At that stage in my life all I wanted was to earn their approvals.
By the time I was in SS3 I’d began to find common footing with them. I wasn’t yet half the scamps they were, but I was far from the cagey boy I used to be. For starters, I’d finally lost my virginity and shagged a few of the girls at school and around our home. I’d even shagged a willing Aunty Adah too.
It was a hot Saturday afternoon, and she’d come without prior notice to bid us farewell as she was finally leaving the area for her husband’s in Abuja. She seemed disappointed to be greeted by the triplets’ absence, but we soon got chatty, more comfortable in each other’s presence than ever before. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I had my pants down and erect member buried deep inside her. Not long into the business, Pius walked in on us. He couldn’t be prouder. And that marked the beginning of a new kind of friendship between us.
Heartbreakingly, I woke up to the news of his death few weeks later. He’d been killed in a clash with boys from a rival cult gang, from a neighboring street.
I ran to the bus stop as fast as my legs could carry me. There, I met a thousand and one eyes clustered on Pius’ corpse as though hoping he’d come back to recount the incident. I noticed the two gaping holes on his lower torso, and instantly knew there was no coming back from that. Tears begged to escape my eyes, but I couldn’t let them. I had to be strong, and preserve the invincible persona my brothers were well-known for. Peter and Paul were already on ground asking questions, trying hard to establish a timeline and make sense of the shooting, so it wasn’t as though I had much of a choice. There were various accounts of what transpired, but all fingers pointed in the direction of the Agwillo boys.
A rumor had circulated earlier that week that Pius had raped the girlfriend of their leader, and we’d all jeered at the news. Pius never actually denied the report, so his silence was all the evidence the world needed to convict, his murder the sect’s response. At the end, he’d never get another chance to address the issue. And, even though it was in the past I knew it’d be uncharacteristic of Peter and Paul or their goons to let it slide. It was only a matter of time before they delivered a response of their own,
There was only one way that would end, and that was with splattered blood and slit throats lolling in every direction of town. I didn’t want any part in that. I just wanted to mourn my brother in peace. So, two days later I made the shocking decision of joining Ada and Aunty Chi in Lagos. Neither Peter or Paul liked the idea, but they respected it as far as I did their resolve to honor our fallen brother with carnage.
“No one touches an Obi and goes scot-free.” They both echoed.
That was the last I ever heard from them.
Two weeks later report of their deaths in a shootout involving both the Agwillo boys and the police flooded the 9PM news. And so, I went from mourning one brother to three at a stretch. I was devastated, depressed, broken; but Dad had it worse.
Though he tried his best to handle his swift loss, nothing was ever the same with him again. He fell into depression, and started withdrawing from the world. He was a year shy of his retirement when the incident happened, so they mostly tolerated him at work until the very end. Since then, he’d spent a large chunk of his time and gratuity pursuing transitory pleasures. And, now, five years later he still spends the better part of his time playing chess with other elderly men at the park close to where I now live in the heart of Lagos. He hopes his boys return someday; Ada and I sometimes do too. But we know better, and I hope he finally comes around to enjoy the best things life still has to offer before he dies.
I still miss my brothers, always will, especially Pius, but I can’t help but think I’d have joined him sooner if I hadn’t rested my case exactly when I did.