Image from Pinterest

People enthuse over new-borns being the cutest thing ever. The word ‘cute’ is subjective but I can’t fathom why new-borns are referred to as that. It’ll snow in Nairobi before I lay sight on a cute new born, no? They are scary man. They look like miniature old folk, their faces all wrinkled up, eyes shut, brittle fists clenched like a fighter with scarce mane on their heads. Worse even, they grin; a toothless grin would never look good on anyone not even on Idris Elba, Rihanna, Brad Pitt, Ariana Grande or whoever crushes you gush on.

I was 16 maybe 17 when my youngest brother was born (the disparity). He was this tiny old man infused with a pinkish hue. I held him and thought ‘boy you better start taking shape soon’ since he didn’t brush remotely close to resembling anyone, not even his own mom. He looked like – himself. He’s morphed well though. A non-conformist, swats rules off his face. Babies crawl, lurch then gradually learn to walk. Little man never followed that paradigm; he used to slither on his belly then one day after having enough of that low life (literally) gait he abruptly stood and walked with a seasoned walk. I was enthralled.

He is like 5 now and I admit he’s the cutest thing on earth (very objective). He’s a good looking kid and that’s just as far as his cuteness runs. The little miscreant is loud, shrieks and yells like his life depends on it. Always pumped with energy that is replenished as soon as an ounce is depleted. He jumps around, breaks things, and occasionally gets into fights with his peers. He lives in his own anarchical world where he nonchalantly sits on the throne to mull over the next adrenaline rushing activity to do, that is if he is not eating or crying.

His stealth is top tier, if he ever considers intelligence security service his career would flourish, ascend up the ladder like it his birth right. For now he’s intent on covert operations like running off with my phone when I fall asleep to play games and take pictures. He frays nerves but I admit he is smart; wipes off the tabs he used and refreshes the device leaving no shred of evidence.

I bear subtle indignance to how my mom treats him. When I was his age my mom was a fervent disciplinarian. She would give me ass whoopings cloaked in love. I’d break a mug and innately earn myself a hiding shrouded with ‘love’. She was good, very amiable, laughed with you but that would obliterate in a whim when you erred. I once threatened to report her to the police after an ass whooping and boy that didn’t pan out like I wished. I’d crawl to my dad’s lap when I got whiff of an imminent punitive measure as he was easy and held the conviction words are more powerful only then would I get away with wrong doing.

My little brother on the other hand has it easy, never touched. The closest he comes to pain is when he injures himself in his relentless pursuits. My mom apologises when he does wrong, must be nice. He is peppered with love, if there’s such a thing as too much affection then he could be a maternal love junkie. He sulks when mom comes home sans something for him. He orders my dad around. Hogs his phone to himself. My old man has to pen an official missive, bribe him and sing to him to get his phone back lest the kid feels unsatisfied with his desperate pacifications. 

The other day my mom was making chapatis and I was seated beside her on a kitchen stool, schmoozing, trying to score one before supper in the guise of helping out. My little brother ambled in green from a nap and went for one in the bowl. He didn’t have any preamble, just curtly grabbed one and walked away casually as my mom ‘baba-d’ him away. That wasn’t my mom. The woman I have known all my life wouldn’t let anyone do that. Even my dad gets sceptical before actions of such ilk. I leaned in for a closer look. That was my cue, my moment to strike and I did. I went for it in a swift move akin to a sniper’s shot, sure not to miss. My move was cut short by writhing pinch on my hand. You haven’t felt pain till you feel my mother’s pinch, even better you don’t know pain until you see my mom pinch. Here I was getting myself pinched at 22 while some rogue 17 years my junior goes about in free will like he pleases.

I receded and brought up how she used to discipline me when I was younger, juxtaposed it against how she handles my brother and how her strictness has waned overtime. We laughed over anecdotes as she disregarded her favouritism towards the apple of her eye but admitting she was too hard on me at times. I resigned to the reality that I have to wait until food is set.

Someday, when my brother is 22 in Uni he will get his heart broken by a woke girl who relishes the then classics of Kendrick and J Cole like we do Biggie and Tupac. She will loath bras, never once donning them. She will tell him she did some soul searching and got the epiphany she’s bi. He will hurt, cuss out and one day send those ludicrous ‘what happened to us’ texts deep in the night whilst inebriated. She won’t answer. He will eventually heal and again get his heart broken. This time by a girl he likes but lacks the guts to tell. A girl he always reserves a seat for in class. The girl will walk in one day holding another guys hand indifferent to him and his seat. The two will shuffle to a twin seat, he’ll grab her heinie and kiss her before they sit. He will hurt and wonder why his mom can’t protect him from pain. He will pull out his phone and stare at his mom’s number on speed dial. Instead, he will decide to call big brother, me, since he will be his own man then, a beard sprouting on his chin. I will be 39, refined by sage. In the pensiveness of middle age. Sitting on a cliff watching the sun set on my 30’s. I will answer my phone and the confer will go like this:

“Hello, this is not mum,” I’ll say tongue in cheek.

“You are not funny”

“Ho-ho, what do you need?” I’ll ask.


“Is it a girl?” I’ll quiz, chortling.

He will hang up, pissed, and I will call back, promising to talk to him when I get home. That evening I will send him a text on WhatsApp or whatever people would be using then that’ll say:

Remember when mom let you pick chapatis and pinched my hand when I tried to do the same. Karma little friend, karma. Anyway, use the heartbreaks for character development. Take care.’

He’ll leave me on read.

PC: Pinterest

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