Coping With Rats

Coping With Rats

Rats like other rodents have their economic values. The domestic ones are specialise at putting most housewives on their toes as items not properly kept stand the risk of being destroyed.

“They are hideous, dreadful and very wily. They often find ways to outsmart you, especially when they know you are out to get them. It is often said that when rats bite you, they blow air on that spot to prevent you from feeling the pain,” Alt my ‘crazy’ friend said recently during lunch as we discussed a topic.

Behaving like rats

When we relate the above characteristics of rats to some human nature, it’s no news to note that some humans behave like rats and it’s more pathetic when these people actually live with you; or they are people you really care about.

Rats in their nature always want to hide. But humans with similar attributes hide behind a façade.


My sister’s friend

“Last year, my sister accommodated one of her friends for nine months. I’ve heard a lot about this friend for a long time but really didn’t bothered about meeting her despite my sister and mother’s persistence. I heard all the beautiful things she did to them – how nice and sweet she is; how she had helped sold most of my sister’s goods and paid promptly; how a very good business woman she is and how compatible we would be (because of her business acumen). Did I leave how very beautiful she is with the right ‘aggregates’? Well, we finally met and I was excited. The first person she asked of was my mum. “How kind of her,” I thought. She is really beautiful but…

Too good

The first thing I noticed was her entourage. She came with two of her kids, her sister and a house help, to live with my sister in her three bedroom apartment.

“She’s too good to be true,”  I said to myself, and I still couldn’t place why my system wouldn’t relax with her as against my true nature which normally enjoy meeting people. In addition to the all the good things I’ve heard about her. I asked, ‘why does my sub-consciousness keep giving me these alarms?’ I kept my cool and observed further.

I went out of my way to make her comfortable while I waited for my sister, who was not at home. Her kids are really cute ‘angels!’

Throughout my stay I observed that there was something about this woman that is really unnerving. So when my lunch hour was over and my sister wasn’t back, I excused myself and went back to the office.


“She went to my neighbours, spreading all sorts of rumours about me and my home,” my sister whined one day. I tried to comfort her and at the same time avoided mustering, “I told you” as that would only worsen matters. Although I never warned her. “One time I travelled home, she went about saying evil things about me,” my sister said looking me straight in the eyes. “Is it a sin to accommodate someone and give her a place temporarily?” She asked hoping my answers would justify her actions.

“Dear, if you had told me she was coming to stay I would have advised you not to,” I told her calmly. “Sometimes, good intentions are always misconstrued. You know I’ve been there before and sometimes these people don’t just get it

No competition

“No one is in any sort of competition with anyone. So I wonder why I should for no reason start competing with someone that I don’t share family or anything with. Even if it’s a family member, why should there be a competition of any sorts when God created every one uniquely. What is good for the goose may be awful for the gander!

“Seeing you and your husband live in peace may not augur well with them. All may not be too rosy for you, and the fact that you are not complaining does not mean that your life is perfect. The ability to accept the flaws of life is the only way to live well which I think does not exist in the vocabulary of some people. They resort to the ratty attitude by biting you and blowing air to make you feel better. To them, they are being smart, when in the real sense they only outsmarted themselves and are left with the burden to deal with it.

“You did not give them accommodation to harm them but out of good will. So who is left with guilt, agony and trepidation when such good gesture is repaid with evil? Them, so they would definitely live with it.


“So my dear, if it would make you feel better, you have not done anything wrong by giving her a place to live, you should be given an award for helping a friend in need.”

“Why would she leave her base to Abuja with her family in the first place?” I asked rhetorically to break the silence that pervaded the room after my ‘sermon’. “Most women try to be in the same base with their husbands. So I don’t see why she should deliberately seek a job elsewhere from her husband’s. It’s not as if the job is a fantastic one. That alone should have let go of your alarm system!” I chided.

“Well my dear, things like this happens for a reason. This was possible because God wanted you to learn from it.” “But do we?” I asked myself as I recalled how many times I have vowed not to let such things happen to me or the people I love…


“The most painful part of it was that she allied with my sister-in-law and said things about me that never existed,” she narrates bitterly. “You know sisters-in-law now; she tried to use it to goad me for giving in to the thought of bringing my friend to live with me.

“On another occasion, when I travelled and left her with my family, she approached my husband, telling him all sorts of things about her husband which she never told me. I wondered what she wanted him to do about her tales of woe. I didn’t bother reproaching as I thought she had her reasons for keeping it away from me and telling my husband, whom I introduced her to.”

Author: Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya

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