Guardian Angel


I told her not to marry him but it was like talking to an electric train. Her mind was made up, my words were a waste.

I listened in disbelief as my twenty-one year old sister begged me to remember her “biological clock was ticking.”

I marvelled as she bade me to reconsider, because “all her mates were married.”

I gasped when she declared that I should get used to it, she was marrying Leo with or without my blessing. Kponkwem.

As I listened to her, lava coursed through my veins. I was angry, livid even, but I wasn’t sure who my ire was for.

Part of it was for a society that made Diana think marriage was a trophy; a 50 metre sprint where the fastest women got medals and flowers instead of a gruelling marathon-relay where your partner’s skill and commitment was as important as endurance, focus and having fun.

Another part of my anger was for myself, I should have seen this coming. I should have stopped this from coming.

Maybe if I had worked hard enough on getting that government health centre renovation contract, and had the cash at hand to pay her bit for the partial Masters scholarship she had won at Emory.

Maybe if I had moved to Abuja at the beginning of the year as I had earlier planned…

Maybe, the eternal twin of perpetual regret.

I told Nkoyo that Diana wanted to get married and she was quiet. She was so quiet that the silence formed a cloud around my ears and began to ring like a bell.

We had been dating for three years and four months. She was twenty-seven and I was thirty. I knew we would be having “The Talk” soon and I wasn’t ready.

It wasn’t the money or anything. As a site engineer for a telecom outfit, I could afford a family. What I couldn’t afford was my well ordered life spinning on its heels. I liked the single life. Change was inevitable, I knew but I wasn’t in a hurry.

Hadn’t been in a hurry, until now.

I called a colleague on vacation in the US and asked him to help bring the platinum ring I ordered.

I shouldn’t have bothered, Nkoyo left me four days later.

“I am sorry, Mon. I don’t think this is what I want anymore.”

I thought she was joking.

It took two weeks of failed reunion attempts for me to get it.

I had been dumped.

Diana and Leo’s wedding held three months later, Diana was glowing like a giant fire-fly while Leo was a frowning frog.

Mom was so happy, I thought she would burst.

I hid my frustration and smiled for the cameras. But inside I was drowning in a bog.

The conversation we had at the doors of the church before I walked her up the aisle lingers…

“Monday”

“Yes, Diana”

“Be happy for me, OK? Please?”

“Diana, you know– alright. Don’t look at me like that. Look, everyone is waiting.”

“Let them wait. I need your blessing Mon, please.”

“God be with you little sis.”

“Amen.”

With that, she raised her head and straightened her back and we walked into the church. Behind her veil, tears shone in her eyes, and I began to wonder if it was real.

Could Leo be the love of Diana’s life?

Was I just being a miserable brother-in-law eating ogre?

After the wedding, Diana went back to her job teaching at a private university in Aba while Leo was in Calabar with me. He worked at a bank as a marketer, but we seldom met and never called.

A month later, Diana got a fabulous job in an international oil company in Port Harcourt. No matter how I teased she wouldn’t tell me how much she was earning.

“Mon, it is huge. Gosh! I can’t believe it.” She kept saying again and again.

Soon she called to say she was expecting. Twins. No, she didn’t know what sexes yet. Yes, she was fine. Very fine.

She had boys after ten hours of labour. Twinkle and Delight, Leo called them, like they were puppies or bear cubs. My dislike for him morphed into congealed contempt.

One weekend, I ran into him at a supermarket.

“Hey Mon, how are you doing?” Leo said.

“Good. Aren’t you supposed to be in
Port Harcourt with your family?

“I couldn’t make it man. I was tired, needed a rest.”

There was a pause. My sister was juggling twin boys, a new job, a strange town and this idiot was talking about rest?

Thoughts shifted in my head on cue, then all I saw was red, my fists burying themselves in his light skinned jowls, my knees kneading his balls in sharp succession, a tooth or two rolling on the cream tiles, and an immense sense of relief.

I smiled instead and walked away.

That weekend, I called in a few favours and by Monday, Leo was sacked.

When Diana called I sympathised. It was horrible, Leo being let off like that. Curse those horrid new generation banks.

The next time I saw her she was lying in a hospital bed with wires running out of every part of her.

“He didn’t mean to,” she croaked out of a broken jaw.

“Of course not, love. Shh don’t say a word.” I replied, crouched by her bed. That’s when everything became clear and I knew what had to be done.

The police booked it as a hit and run. Leo survived, making kids orphaned had never been my style. I was content to see him lose a leg. There wouldn’t be anymore beatings, or absenteeism.

Who knows? Maybe Diana would wake up someday and leave him. Yeah, I know, fat chance.

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36 thoughts on “Guardian Angel

  1. Awww. Her forever guardian angel brother, ever looking out for her. I think we all need one of those. When our heads or hearts spin out of control and we get things all messed and muddled up, someone to go behind the scenes and fix things for us.
    Good one πŸ™‚

  2. Na wa o…. is it jealousy or over protectiveness or the guy is just mentally unhinged?

    Marriage is an individual decision, and even if he feels otherwise the sister is old enough to run her own affairs and if she makes any mistakes, it would be hers, an experience to learn from…. we are too nosy in Africa all in the name of caring or family….

    Na Diana fault say you get commitment issues? Or that you are too self centred to love another and put their needs above yours? Or that you lack much needed maturity to know that two is always better than one and that companionship and tending to another is way better than any ‘single, free life’?

    Kai…see as I dey vex?! I have ranted enough…nice story!

    • πŸ™‚ I am delighted to see you saw alll the possibilities. People are imperfect. Sometimes they are more ‘gifted’ in aproko. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts, Topazo.

      • Like most good story tellers, you open up the slight possibility that Monday’s actions may not all have been driven by brotherly devotion alone. Could his ditching by Nkoyo have unhinged him? And why did she ditch him?

  3. Chai. This angel overdid it biko. Cripple your sister’s husband over what? If the sister ever finds out what he did, his life will even be more miserable than it already is.
    Short and sweet story, as usual. πŸ™‚

  4. I’m usually put off by any story that starts out with a marriage gambit because that seems to be an eternal and rather tiresome preoccupation in a world with so much more. That said, Mon as a bad guy with wrongheaded “good” intentions is an interesting twist. Leo; not so much. So he lost his job and he turns his wife into a punching bag? Also, whether in literature or in real life, there are way too many Dianas who romanticise marriage and raising a family — two things that are exceedingly complex but are often over-simplified. It would have been interesting to see a Diana that bucks the trend. Kudos on brevity, though; that is always a plus.

    • Thank you very much for this comment. I was trying to look at an unconventional response to a common problem and an unconventional Character, Mon.

      But most of all, I wanted people to read this and enjoy it.

      Thank you.

  5. The darkness in this story sneaked up on me–in a good way.

    I don’t know why, but I’m interested in Leo’s part of the story and how it compares to Mon’s perception of him.

    The narration was pulled tight. Well done.

  6. Yes!!

    That’s in response to the story not, we’ll, the story. I loved it.

    Now, I understand Mon’s need to protect his sister, my brother sees red when I cry. However, isn’t adding a badly behaved amputee to her long list of responsibilities putting her in a worse position? Me, I say beat Leo senseless once or twice but leave him whole to contemplate the matter and he may change. Or not. Who knows with these things?

    Again, good one.

  7. I love his idea of being her guardian angel, its desirable but not to the level at which he operates.

    If he takes time to think about his actions, he might realize that pulling strings to relieve Leo of his job might be the reason for his sister lying on a hospital bed.

    He gave Leo plenty of time to do whatever. He didn’t want to be home and now he has to because he lost his job. A lot of ugly things would definitely rear heads.

    The beating seems inevitable for Diana but she could have had time to maybe at least see the marriage is going nowhere and then think of what next. Fat chance at that right.

    All in all it was a good and relevant read.

  8. I totally understand the first lines, but why are we rushing into marriage? 21? Like do you even know your favorite food by 21 its now husband?
    I enjoyed the story, the tiny paragraphs and little sentences.
    Good work. As always.

  9. Nice work. But the guy’s reaction seems overboard. Getting his brother in law sacked,and arranging a hit and run accident is to the extreme. Seems unreal. Personally won’t allow my sister marry at 21. At 24 sef,me and the husband to be need to sign some agreements.
    Keep more coming

  10. This is good. There are so many possibilities. Our actions can lead so many paths to open. What if he hadn’t had the in law fired. Would he have become abusive of his wife?

    The brother character is very real to me, I can relate to his going the extra, though unnecessary mile for his sister especially when he was so helpless in his own life.

    And for a woman whose ambition is to be wife and mother, 21 is a perfect age to get married.

  11. First time here. Thanks for leading me here πŸ™‚ I have a feeling if Mon was in a stable relationship, he would not be meddling in other people’s marriages. It’s sweet to have a guardian angel but Mon is a quite extreme.

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