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LOUD WHISPERS: The Online In-Laws

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Thursday, August 10th, 2023
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I don’t know if you read it

I did

The story about how a woman could not get pregnant

She sought out her Pastor for counselling

He dropped his trousers for divine anointing of her womb

He instructed her to go straight home to her husband and get him to do the needful

 God would complete his work

That is how Baby one arrived

When it was time for a junior one, the ‘enemies’ started to disturb the poor woman’s womb again

Enter another round or rounds of divine anointing

Sealed by the clueless husband

Gbam! Baby two arrives

The story would have remained unknown

Buried in the bottomless pit of unspoken secrets

The online in-laws were sitting in judgement of a case of a woman who had been defrauded by a Pastor

They made the usual remarks about the misdeeds of some so-called men of God

Auntie ‘miracle babies’ now comes and opens her mouth wide to tell of how her Pastor made it possible for her to become a mother through ‘special anointing’

Even the unshockable online in-laws were scandalized!

They made all kinds of unsavoury comments

A common thread being something about one of the two ‘participants’ firing blanks

Auntie please shhhhhhhhhh. Otherwise, Uncle will hear and start looking for the nearest DNA lab.

One of my wise friends taught me that the only difference between a stupid person and a wicked person is the intention

The consequences are the same

There was another matter brought before online in-laws

A Nurse whose mother-in-law is ill and bedridden

The husband wants her to look after his mother – for free

The sisters-in law want her to look after their mother – for free

The Nurse said Yes – for a fee

So, the online in-laws were asked, ‘Am I wrong to demand for compensation’?

I did not understand the question

So, the many answers of the online in-laws befuddled me even further

Nurse. Mother. Husband. For better for worse

The online in-laws were split on this one

Some advised Auntie Nurse to ask her husband and in-laws to look for someone else or leave their own jobs to care for their mother

Some more reasonable ones remembered the ‘For better for worse’ vows and suggested a deal that would make both sides happy

Yet another story

Rich man passes on and leaves a big house for his daughter in Ikoyi

Daddy’s girl gets married and her husband and family want her to sign over the house to him

Pooof! The marriage is over

The online in-laws were unanimous on this one

Daddy’s girl dodged a bullet

Daddy, thank you for not sleeping too soundly in heaven

Gold-digger husband, go and find work and build a house for your son-in-law to snatch from your own daughter

Then there is the one about the newly-wed young man who had agreed with his wife that they would wait till they could afford a family.

The poor man in question has probably not watched enough Nollywood movies

He would have known how that story would end

A collaboration between his wife, her mother and his mother gave birth to a conspiracy

A condom ‘malfunctioned’ and a baby arrived

Now there is no money for rent, food and other things

And the collaborators are wringing their hands

The online in-laws are fully sympathetic on this one

It is a rare case for a man to be totally blameless as far as online in-laws are concerned

Majority of online in-laws are women

They do not spare other women even when they should show empathy and sensitivity

They definitely take men they find wanting to the cleaners

Their judgement is swift and relentless

Not having all the facts of the case is never a deterrent

I often wonder

Why do people pour out their souls to total strangers? Is there no one they can talk to? What happened to privacy?

Sadly, we live in a world that has changed in ways that are not good for us

There are fewer people to trust

Not many to listen or to be listened to

Too many angels around us have feet of clay

Many are lonely, isolated, scared, depressed

So, they seek solace

In a cold, charmless, judgmental, yet anonymous world

A place where secrets can be shared in plain sight

And both senseless and sensible advice offered

Perhaps we should all try being more supportive to persons we know and can touch and feel

Maybe if we listened more and cared more and talked about the misfortunes of others less

Then those who need us might actually seek us out

And not have to turn to the soulless world of the online in-laws

A place where many problems come for no solutions

If you are one of the many online in-laws

Please show some empathy

Who knows

It might be your turn tomorrow

May we all seek for and find comfort in the right places.

‘The Online In-Laws’ is in ‘Demand and Supply’ (Loud Whispers Volume 3) Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, published by PRESTIGE, Farafina books, June 2023

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Policy Advocate and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

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