Young sad black couple.Upset man being ignored by partner at home in the living room.American african men arguing with his stylish girlfriend, who is sitting on sofa couch next to him.Blurred.

Returning Home After 6 Years,My Younger Brother Had Taken Over My Wife, Son And Home

I am John, a serving solider with the Nigerian Armed forces. I joined the Nigerian military some 15 years ago, at the formative stages of my ascension to adulthood. I was young, vivacious, brimming with verve and gusto, unwavering in my quest to serve my fatherland.

I joined the military in a period of ‘warlessness’. I was more of a sedentary soldier, attached as a security aide to a frontline politician within the state. Then came the Boko Haram tsunami.

The Boko Haram insurgency was an unanticipated deluge of deadly events. The military became overwhelmed at the war front. I was among those redeployed to the trenches of konduga, mailari and Maiduguri..

That was 2014. Six years on, I have a story to tell. Not of my encounters with fiery bombs and inundating artillery at the warfront. Not even of the meagre renumeration and days of starvation and hopelessness. It is a story of love, and betrayal, treachery and familial denial at the highest levels.

My posting to the enclaves of the terrorism -ridden North eastern Nigeria had come thick and fast. The letter came through and was unmistaken in its order: You are to report to the Konduga Cantonment in three days.

Three days was all I got. Three days ! For crying out loud, I was a family man. Married at 25 and a became a father at 26, I had a woman and a child to cater for. But when national service came with its absorbing demands, I had no other option but to accede.

“Take heart Funke love and be strong. I promise to reach out as I can. I will make sure you and Jake are adequately provided for. I will call as regularly as I can.  James has been officially transferred to our town here. He will be close to you guys and ensure that you lack nothing”

I struggled for words as my inconsolable Funke crashed into tears. I held her close, feeling her now slumping body against my muscular frame. I drove my lips into her, and kissed her passionately. She responded, maniacally pulling me off my singlets before pushing me to the bed. She rode me like never before.  I was going to miss Funke. She was going to miss me also.

Two days later, I had to take my leave. But not before James returned to town. James was my younger brother. Taller and bulkier, with fuller beards and thicker moustache, he had a frame that made people think he was older and the one in the military. A handsome geek by several respects, James was a professional model who had been transferred, based on his request to take care of his brother’s family by the modeling agency for which he worked.

 On the day of my departure, Funke, with jake straddled to her back accompanied me to the park while James drove. I kissed my wife passionately, murmuring words of encouragement into her ears. As I entered the bus and it zoomed off, I saw my wife burst into an uncontrollable round of tears. At that point, I was determined to come back alive, for her and my little Jake.

Northeast Nigeria came with torrents of battles. The high-sounding Kalashnikovs; the days on empty stomach; the unending rumours of the possibility of our transfer from the theatre of war. In all of it, I remained hopeful. Going back in one piece to Funke and Jake was non-negotiable.

Over the first two months after my departure from home, I regularly had video calls and chats with my wife. Initially, everything felt fine. We talked. We gisted. We laughed. She serenaded me to stories of how James had been caring and concerned. But as the war progressed, I became more distant. Eventually, I had to go off reach.

We spent months in the jungle, fighting terrorists without access to mobile telecommunications network. Soon, the months rolled into years. I rarely had opportunities to reach Funke. It was indeed a war that threatened to consume me and my marriage.

Six years on, we made considerable progress in our war against insurgency. The military hierarchy deemed some of us worthy of redeployment. The list came out. I made the cut. I had been granted a promotion back home. I was to resume at another senior political figure’s residence, not as a private aide, but as a chief security officer.

I had not spoken to Funke in over a year. But there was a part of me that wanted to make my homecoming a surprise. I decided against calling.

The journey back home felt like ages. I groaned and whined as the vehicle sped across zones and states. Finally, I was home. I could barely remember home. The lush grasses had grown with verdant sprouts.

My house wore a new painted cream look. I walked into the gate, immersing myself in the breath of fresh air. I didn’t stop in my tracks until I got to the entrance to the living room. It was then I heard some strange noise


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