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Why can’t I have her?

By Yetunde Arebi


Though I have not been able to establish why sexual relationships between in-laws are frowned at, I have however been able to establish that it is not taboo. I can mention a couple of people who have married their in-laws and the heavens have not fallen

However, no matter the argument you may    raise, getting most people to consent to such a relationship is like talking to a brick wall. This was exactly what happened to the man in the story you are about to read.

Kemi, now a 43 year old banker, shared an experience that almost rocked his world as a young undergraduate. Today, he still insists he does not understand why society frowns at such a relationship and wanted me to provide him answers.

He refers to Lande as his first true love and he would have married her but for the refusal of both their families. And though both are now married with children to other partners, he thinks they would have made a great couple together unlike their siblings whose union, the reason for the rejection of theirs, broke up a few years ago.

Is it right or wrong? I will love to know your take on this subject via the contacts on this page. A friend’s husband is currently caught in this web. Two years ago, he decided to take as his third wife, the younger sister of his younger brother’s wife.

While all hell broke lose, the mother of these ladies stood firmly in support of the relationship, insisting that her older daughter was jealous because the younger sister was marrying the richest man in her husband’s family.    Please don’t ask me what my friend thinks of the whole drama. That is a story for another day.    Kemi and Lande’s story first:

“Until their marriage broke up, I hardly ever visited them. Even at functions, I stayed away from Aunty Moyin. My brother’s wife always managed to make me feel terrible, as if I were a rapist or some kind of sexual predator. But it is far from the truth. I loved her sister and would have married her. It happened during my undergraduate years at the University. Lande, her sister was not a baby, she was a student at the School of Nursing too.

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I had known her for about three years before the affair started. Since both our parents resided in Ibadan, it was only natural that our siblings’ home in Lagos where we both school would be our holiday pad of sort. I was in my third year while Lande was just wrapping up her first year when we were beaten by the love bug.

The affair had started like a joke during that holiday period. I had arrived before her and was already settled into the guest room when she showed up. Being a female, it was impossible for us to share the room, so I moved into the boys’ room with my brother’s children.

However, I often ended up sleeping in the living room since I stayed up to watch the late night movies. I can’t really figure out what got into my head as I had never looked at her affectionately before then. I doubt if she too had thought of me as any other, but a brother.

However, that day, I did notice her backside as she walked across the room. I thought it looked nice, it was big, round and firm. I was fascinated. But I soon dismissed it. But a few days later, she ran across the living room from the bathroom with a towel tied around her bust. She had been cooking something in the kitchen while having a bath and rushed out to make sure it had not burnt. As she walked back to her room, I looked at her and the thoughts came back to me. From then on, I began seeing her in a different way. It was exciting and I loved what I saw.

Initially, I tried to resist her, but the proximity make things impossible. Soon, I began to justify to myself why it would not be a bad idea if we started dating. One, we were both age mates and adults. Though Lande addressed me as ‘brother’ I was only a year and few months older than her. Being a student of a higher institution, no one could accuse me of taking advantage of her. Besides, if she didn’t want me, she would say so and it would be over.

Thus, a few days later, I summoned up courage and playfully tapped her backside. Unfortunately, I miscalculated. Lande was really annoyed. She almost bit my head off. She warned me never to try such a prank with her ever again. She asked if I thought she was one of the lose girls in Ibadan that I follow around. I was thoroughly ashamed. I apologised profusely and promised her such a thing would not happen again. All these only endeared me to her the more.

Finally, one afternoon, cupid seemed to remember us and our relationship took a new turn. As usual, we were both alone at home. She called me to come and have my lunch. After taking my seat, she came to my back and pushed my head jokingly and said “what’s wrong with you Kemi?”

“Like how”, I asked.

She said, “I think you have been avoiding me lately, or have you lost your nerves?”

I was happy but did not want her to know, so I pretended to be hurt. I told her I didn’t want to annoy her again by playing too much with her. To my surprise, she apologised that she didn’t really mean to sound as nasty as she had, suggesting    that we forget about all that transpired and be friends again. As she spoke, she took my fingers in her hand and squeezed them. That was all the encouragement I needed.

If she did not want me, she would not have called me by my name and squeezed my fingers. After my meal, I kissed her on the cheek to say thank you and she did not raise any objection.    That was how our relationship began. We would talk about everything and everyone, and it seemed we shared a lot of things in common. It was like meeting a new Lande all over again.

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Before long, I was completely sucked in. I took her on the floor in the living room one afternoon. It was an experience like no other. I’d had sex a few times before, but what I had with Lande was completely different. When my brother and her sister returned from work that night, she treated me just like before, as if nothing ever happened between us that afternoon. That became the pattern of most of our holidays.

I had planned to go to Ibadan for a few days but I had to abandon the idea as things had changed. I could not imagine leaving Lande for that long a period. We graduated from the living room floor to her bed in the guest room and as time went by, in the dead of the night, while everyone was asleep, I would steal into her bed too. Then one day, the bubble burst.

We had over slept in her room and only woke up at the sound of the call for the early morning prayers from the mosque across the street. I quickly dashed to my post and thought we had made it. I didn’t realise that we had forgotten to properly dispose of the used tissue paper. Lande’s sister walked into the room and found them on the floor. Of course, she could not explain it and trouble broke out.

Perhaps Aunty Moyin suspecting her husband might be responsible, so she began shouting for him to come and see what was going on in their house.

He did, observed the situation and walked away without saying anything. Lande refused to confess to anything and neither of them confronted me. Lande’s sister had been so upset she’d    burst into tears calling her a prostitute and other unprintable names. She said it was a taboo for two sisters to be sleeping with two brothers and that no one had ever done such a thing in their family before.    After everyone left the house, Lande and I discussed, and I assured her of my support and love and that nothing would happen to her.    She told me her sister said she already suspected that something was going on between us, but did not want to believe it.

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Aunty Moyin had already informed Lande that she could no longer stay in her house and would have to remain in school always and go to Ibadan for her holidays.

She accused Lande of bringing shame and ridicule to their family, insisting that we have made her the butt of jokes in the family.

How? I could not believe what was happening. In what way was our relationship an embarrassment to her? It was not my brother that was involved with Lande, I was. I only happened to be his younger brother. What was the abomination about it?

Are we related by blood? Are they saying that if Lande and I had met somewhere else and not their house, we would have been stopped from dating? If the problem was that we were carrying on in their house, that is understandable.

Not that we could not see each other again. Lande also agreed that we had not committed any offence and wondered why her sister was making a terrible issue out of the whole thing. We were both sad and Lande cried all day, especially after she received a call from their mother. I tried to console her but she went about packing her things. Her mother had ordered her to return to Ibadan that day, no matter the time. I dropped her off and the park and promised to come and see her over the weekend. I was sure everything would be alright by then.

I had no idea what my brother thought about the whole thing as he had not said a word before he left that morning. When he returned in the evening, he called me into his room and asked if it was true. I was surprised he was even asking. I confirmed it and told him that I think I had fallen in love with Lande and would not mind if he would help me talk to his wife to let us be.

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To my surprise, my brother started laughing. He laughed so hard that I started wondering if something was wrong with him. When he finally took hold of himself, he started making jokes at me, calling me a dog, buddie and sharp shooter, you know stuff like that. He said he could never have guessed that I was as dangerous as that.

Then he suddenly became serious and began chorusing his wife that I had stepped out of line and it was a taboo to date Lande. He said he had tried to persuade his wife but she had refused, therefore, I would have to go to one of our uncle’s place or return to school that night and remain there until the dust settled. The opposition from both sides of the families was so intense that the affair was muffed to death. I never forgave Aunty Moyin. Deep inside, I have not gotten over Lande and I suspect she feels the same way.

Do have a wonderful weekend!!


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