Today, my brother turns 40; and even though we were raised by parents who constantly drummed it into our heads "Birthdays are no achievements" I can't shake it out of my head that THIS is a frigging big deal. When one of your brothers dies at 37, you begin to see life in a completely different light. You start counting every second of your future because you know, I mean really really know, that there really isn't a tomorrow. So you treat every day like a gift that it is... But before I start sliding down that slippery slope of corny bullshit, let me tell you some awesome and not terribly awesome thing about my brother, Tunji, and why the fact that it's his 40th birthday makes me want to bust a move.
One day, when I was a little doting sister, Tunji called me and said let's play a game. He held up two batteries and said, 'you lick one. I lick the other'. Simple game right? And I wouldn't have passed up any opportunity to hang out with my brother, but I was slightly untrusting, so I said, you go first. So he did - pressed his tongue. Nothing happened. So, I followed suit and stuck my tongue, without restraint or hesitation on the battery he handed me. The shot of electricity that went through me was unbelievable. By the time I recovered, I looked over at where my assailant was standing, (or rather, doubled over) in laughter. He laughed and laughed and laughed. That day, I learned two lessons. Don't just take anything someone hands you, hook line and sinker - ask questions, test it, check again, check again until you're absolutely sure. The second lesson was learning the difference between a 12 volt and a 9 volts battery.
When I worried about the fact that I had not chosen the subjects to register for my SSCE, he swiftly advised me to drop Yoruba, and use the space for something more useful. At the time, there was a threat that if you didn't do at least one Nigerian language, your results won't be released. My brother told me (in less colourful terms) that it was a truck load of horse dung. He was right. I watched him graduate from University and get his Microsoft Certification in the most impressive way. He studied like he was being chased by the demon of poverty. He has this incredible thirst for success. I have never seen him fail at anything he sets his heart to. Engineering. Attempting ACCA, then Project Management. Haaa, he is dogged (and annoying) and... okay hold on, let me address the annoying bits.
Right after secondary school, I was enrolled for the Cambridge A-Level exams. When the results came out, I failed resoundingly. The failure was epic! I cried so hard that my parents said okay no point crying, come and attempt it again. So, they registered me in another prep school which was twice as expensive as the first one. I sat on my bed grateful for a second chance... just so grateful. Guess who came in to shatter my recently found peace? Yup! Tunji. "I hope you know the money they're using to pay for this your second round could have been used to buy Mummy a new car" Those words resonated through me that year till I passed the exams in flying colours. Talk about tough love.
Happy birthday, to the one who will never let us take pictures together without him scowling. Happy birthday to the one who derived joy from always scaring me shitless. Happy birthday to the one whose happiness over my successes fills me with so much warmth, I start to think, maybe I'm not so bad. Happy birthday to the 'tall' one in the family. Lol Country of the blind tingz. Happy birthday my darling. Words can never quantify how I feel about you. Crazy and all.