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Short Story: The Kind Housewife


I had just joined my in-laws’ family as a new bride. My husband and I were living in Lagos then. Also living with us was a younger brother of his, whom my husband always tagged ‘lazy’.
Sometimes, my husband would even ask me not to give him food. But I said to myself ‘’not me. For as long as I am in this house…that young man will not go hungry under my watch’’.
So, I devised means of sending food to him. Sometimes, I would emerge from the kitchen carrying a bucket (especially when my husband is in the sitting room) as if carrying water but inside that bucket is a plate of food and spoon for my brother in-law.
The guy in question is such an easy going guy, whom the brother only saw as a ‘never do well’ but I saw a young man who was yet to find his bearing in life.
I am the eldest (and only girl) in my family. I have younger brothers and I see a lot of similarities between them and that particular brother in-law of mine.
The same brother that my husband ‘bad mouths’ in the bedroom is often seen chatting with him (in the sitting room) and the two brothers would be laughing heartily. I told myself that it’s only a ‘naïve somebody’ that hasn’t realized that, at the end of the day…blood will always prove to be thicker than water.
Things continued this way…with my husband (often) instructing me not to give food to his younger brother.
As dutiful a wife as I was….I never listened to the instruction of starving his brother. Whatever we ate in that house…he ate.
I must confess though that my brother in-law had an annoying attitude of always leaving the plates (after eating) under the bed. So, I would end up taking my plates to the kitchen.
Fast forward to a few years later and the same guy is now in Europe.
Right from the early years that he left the country till this day…I have neither bought the cars (that I drive) nor the phones that I use by myself. All came from him. And we are talking about fifteen years now!
It got to a point that whenever any package comes from him…it’s assumed that it belongs to me. He doesn’t even give his sisters as much as he gives me.
The desire to tell this story became strong because of the cheque that has just arrived for me…from him. The amount is unbelievable.
What still confounds me is that I am currently separated from their brother (I couldn’t give him a child and he found another woman) but the family still cares.
My brother in-law never stopped recounting how much I treated him with dignity-when he was a nobody.
Truth remains that (given his condition then); it would have been a lot more convenient to treat him ‘anyhow’. And still get away with it.
But here in comes the advice that I have for us today…LEARN TO TREAT PEOPLE WITH DIGNITY, irrespective of their circumstances.
And with in-laws…PATIENCE is it!
Today, the brother that was always instructing me not to give him food is also benefiting from him.
You have more to gain from being good to those around you.
With a good person…your good deeds will always pay off. And if your kindness is abused…life will not only reward you (still), it will also fight for you.”


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