Josh drove towards home in trepidation. The call from his wife had drained him; he wished he could crawl into a rock somewhere and hide from all these issues.

If only that were possible, he thought, but he was a man and a man doesn’t run from his problems.

He anticipated the verbal wash-down he was bound to receive from his wife with a shiver.

The woman had the tongue of a viper, just as poisonous.

Theft! Hah! As if he didn’t have enough problems acclimating his wife to the idea of the children staying with them.

He just couldn’t understand why Demilade would destroy the slight tranquility he was beginning to enjoy by stealing. He knew the children probably didn’t know the battle he had had to fight to make their stay possible in that house.

He could hardly do what his wife wanted and throw them to the wolves; they were only seven and five for crying out loud. And it wasn’t their fault their parents died in a car crash or that their father had been his elder brother.

His brother, who had also been his best friend, he thought with nostalgia. He could still remember some of the mischief they had wreaked as kids. They had been as thick as thieves growing up, guess they had had to be considering they had been just two.

And when his brother died, his family had naturally assumed he would take responsibility for the children. Josh knew his brother wouldn’t have had it any other way either.

His wife probably wouldn’t have minded so much if they had kids of their own but they had been trying for five years now to no avail. He imagined the boys served as a constant reminder to her of what she was lacking.

He had tried telling her the presence of children in the house was exactly what they needed. Who knows? It just might prompt the answers to their prayers but she was having none of that.
Dealing with this wasn’t going to be easy but he knew no matter what happened, he couldn’t send the children away, his wife would just have to get used to them.

He helped himself inside when he got home and saw the children on their knees, facing his wife who was obviously fuming.

Sighing in resignation, he went all the way in and noticed their eyes were closed.

“Open your eyes,” he ordered before finding a seat on the settee close to his wife, who he noticed completely ignored him.

He decided he would deal with that later.

“Demilade,” he started calmly, “why are you stealing from your aunty? Why didn’t you come to me if you needed something?”

Crying , the boy stuttered as he tried to get the words out best as he could amidst the tears, “I…did…not…steal…her money.”

At that, his wife sprung up from her seat, “see! He is not just a thief but a liar. He has been insisting he did not take any money when I saw it with my own eyes. I thought your brother claimed he trained his children in the way of the Lord.”

“I don’t see how bringing up the dead will help this situation,” Josh responded coolly.

Looking surprisingly mortified, she sat again, “I’m just wondering why a little boy would resort to theft.”

“Why don’t you calm down and let me find out then?”

Josh faced the children again, “so you want to confess or you want me to use punishment. Damilare, you shouldn’t support your brother in telling lies, why don’t you tell me the truth if he doesn’t?”

Damilare – who Josh always knew though younger, was the tougher of the two – looked him in the eyes with his tear-rimmed pair and said with a voice much calmer than his brother’s, “we did not steal, daddy told us stealing is a sin.”

At his wit’s end, Josh dragged his hand through his head and questioned, “Okay, where is the money in question?”

The boys turned to their aunty with a look that all but said, “Well! Where is the money you claimed we stole”.

She glared at them in return, wondering how the boys could look defiant despite their bawling earlier.

Standing up, she said, “follow me” and led the way to the room shared by the boys. She rummaged through their closet and came out with a tin of Milo, opened the lid and looking smug, poured the money on one of the twin beds.

Different notes of #5, #10 and #20 spread around the room as some found their way from the bed.

Josh took some of the notes and with fire in his eyes pointed it to the children, “where did you get so much money from?”

When they kept quiet and only looked at each other, he retorted in a huff, “don’t let me lose my temper boys, you better start talking. Where did you get this money from?”

Demilade, after sharing another look with his brother, who if Josh hadn’t known better would have thought shrugged, stepped forward and explained more coherently this time, “uncle, true we did not steal. We don’t use all the money you give us to go to school, we are keeping it so we can give it to God so He can give you a baby, we hear aunty crying that she want a baby.”

He stopped and his brother continued as though on cue, “we want to use it to thank you for taking care of us since mummy and daddy went to heaven. And our Sunday school teacher told us to give offering to God; and ask Him what we want.”

For what seemed like forever, Josh stood motionless staring at them, stunned.

When he could finally move, he turned to look at his wife and saw tears quietly streaming down her eyes. There was indeed more than meets the eyes.

Many times we write people off due to one selfish reason or the other and jump to conclusions at the slightest provocation.

Everybody has a story to tell. Admittedly, the story might not always be positive but how do we know when we wouldn’t even give them a chance to explain themselves. How do we know if they are not one of those whose story is more than meets the eyes?

Next time you appoint yourself judge over anybody’s issue, make sure you have the full story and not just preconceived prejudices. Give people a chance, there is a reason we were all given a voice.

How sad will it be if after condemning someone, you find out they were thinking about you all along?

Today is my daddy’s birthday. He had a great influence in what I am and where I am going to. Join me in wishing him happy birthday in the comments. Thank you Don’t forget to share with your friends.