SILENT CRIES - Episode 14

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - I had to take the next flight back, The long hug was Ijeoma's first clue, the couple's relationship was more than business, , realisation hit her hard, could not talk about on the phone, jump on to a bed of hot coals, deserve this interrogatory process.


Both Ijeoma and Ngozi looked at their mother in horror. How could Mama approve of what James did?

Mama faced Ngozi, arms on her hips, “It is fine for you to feel that what he did was unfair, making you go through so much agony all alone and turning you into a single mother overnight. But believe me, at that point, I think he was left with no choice. I've told you this and I'll say it again, James had to make the painful decision of abandoning you and Obi thereby guaranteeing your safety or staying and bringing about your death. He made the right choice.”

“You say he did right? Abandoning us for three years and refusing to see me even now?” There was cry in Ngozi's voice. The doorbell rang. When their mother rushed to answer it, Ijeoma shook her head. One would think Mama owned the house.

It was Ikeobi, Ngozi's benefactor and the quick way their mother returned to her seat left Ijeoma wondering if she was expecting someone else.


Ngozi stood to her feet. “Ikeobi, are you back already?”

“Yes I am,” he replied. “You sounded very worried when you called earlier, I had to take the next flight back and come here immediately.”

“Thank you so much.”

Ikeobi folded Ngozi into the thick folds of his Agbada and stroked her hair. The long hug was Ijeoma's first clue that the couple's relationship was more than business as she had thought. Her raised eyebrows to her mother got a nod with pursed lips.

“He called me and asked to marry her.” Mama whispered.

“No way!” She folded her arms and sat back in her seat.

“Good evening Mama,” Ikeobi greeted.

Mama sniffed and Ijeoma almost choked on the laughter bubbling up her throat.

“Ijeoma, how are you?” Ijeoma got to her feet and walked towards him and they shook hands.

“I'm fine, thanks Ikeobi.” She turned to the others. “I have to return to the office now.” There was obviously a lot of gist but she could wait.

“No, Ijeoma wait. There's...”

“Mama please, not now. My boss will have my head on a platter...” Ijeoma opened the door and the words flew out of her head.  Someone stood at the door, hand upraised to knock.
-
There he was. The man who had refused to call. The man who had made her feel ridiculously foolish and yet made her want to try again. Ijeoma was shocked to see him after so many weeks! She had to blink to be sure that this was not a trick her eyes were playing.

“Nnamdi, what on earth are you doing here?”  As the words left Ijeoma’s lips, realisation hit her hard.

MAMA!

She had been right all along. The woman had been expecting someone else when Ikeobi appeared on the scene. She glanced back and the look of ultimate satisfaction on Mama’s face said it all. Right in the middle of this storm in Ngozi’s living room, Mama was grinning from ear to ear. The smile of a woman whose mission had been accomplished. Unbelievable!

Ijeoma tried to caution herself from jumping to conclusions but Mama’s voice sealed her suspicions.

“Oh Nnamdi. I have been expecting you! How are...”

“Wait, you were expecting him?” Ijeoma turned to her mother.

She knew Mama was a matchmaker but did not believe she would go that far. So all that delay asking for details about James was just to buy her some time so that Nnamdi would meet her here? As Ijeoma extricated herself from the confused web of emotions that her mind had become, she realised Nnamdi was explaining.

“Yes your mother called me here... she said she wanted me to come help her with something.”

“So you're not here to see me?”

“Yes...Erm...No... Your mother said...” Nnamdi stuttered.  The funny thing about shock or stress is the disconnection between thought and speech. His words were as eloquent as those of a teenager asking for a first date.

What Nnamdi was thinking was, How dare you? I am the one who should be demanding explanations here. You made up your mind without hearing my side!  These thought flitted through his mind, yet, the exasperation he felt was far outweighed by something else he couldn’t explain. Like why he could not erase her from his thoughts like he did with his phone. She had a hold on him and he didn’t like it. He realized that she had also gripped his arm literally.

“If you would excuse us,” Ijeoma said to everyone. All eyes were fixed on them by now. “We need to talk,” she whispered to him.

Nnamdi was as surprised to see Ijeoma as she was. He did not know her mother was playing one of her tricks again! The woman had called him earlier to come and help her out with “something”. She said it was an emergency and something she could not talk about on the phone. God he had so not planned on seeing Ijeoma! It was the middle of the afternoon and she was supposed to be at work. Now all the emotions that had seemingly been buried were rising from nowhere. His thoughts were paused by the sound of her voice... he had almost forgotten what listening to her was like.

“I’m talking to you Nnamdi! Did you know I'll be here when you agreed to Mama's request to come?”

He pretended nonchalance. “I came to see your mother; I honestly did not plan on seeing you.”

Her next words came out of nowhere. “That’s not even the issue! How dare you ignore me since? After that episode with Bola, you did not even think of calling me to explain. You completely blanked me and acted like we shared nothing.... like I did not mean anything to you! How could you let me go? Why?”

First, it was his past. Now she wanted an explanation for Bola. Ijeoma wasn’t even his woman so why was she angry at all? How could she be so worked up when they were not even together? He wanted to tell her he was sick of her excuses. Instead, Nnamdi remained calm...

“They say if you love something you should let it go and if it comes back then it’s meant for you.” Ijeoma hissed,

“Oh don’t give me that! You did not even act like you were hoping I’d come back! Tochi said you never brought up the subject after that day.”

“I was giving you space, you needed to sort out your feelings.”

“I don't blame you.” Ijeoma rolled her eyes. “Am I not the one that drove all the way to your house to tell you how I really felt but you happened to be with someone else?”

At her rankled tone, he began getting worked up too. “Ijeoma, I’m trying to be as civil as possible but you are not making it easy! For Pete’s sake I’m the one meant to be pissed here. I do not deserve this interrogatory process that’s going on here! In fact, I did not deserve the show you put up that night. You came to my house and I had a visitor, so what? you chose to walk out without giving me a chance and you chose not to pick the calls I made to you that night!”

Ijeoma piped down quickly. He was saying the obvious. And after her confrontation with Bola earlier, she knew what she had to do. “Okay, okay, I’m sorry,” Ijeoma said. “I really did not mean to raise my voice.”

“Is that all you're sorry for?” Nnamdi snarled. After putting him through all that heartache? Making him wonder if he had done anything wrong? Not trusting him? Ruining his relationship with his workers because he had been terribly grumpy since then? And she was just sorry for raised voices?

“I’m sorry for everything! I should have trusted you! Something else happened that night with my family but still I shouldn't have flown off the handle so easily. I’m truly sorry.”

Nnamdi felt peace flood his heart. He wanted to hug her. He smiled and moved closer. Just then her phone beeped. Ijeoma quickly read the message from Jane. “Oh no! I’m so sorry, I have to run to work now. I'm late and my boss will fire me if I’m not there this minute! Can you call me later so we can make plans and sort this thing out?”

Nnamdi stepped back. With a heavy sigh he said, “Sure I will. What’s your number again?”

Ijeoma fumbled in her handbag for her car keys. “What?”

“I don’t have your details any more. I deleted them...”

“You did what?!”

-
After her outburst, the silence lengthened between them.

“Ijeoma!” Her mother's scolding voice cut through the charged atmosphere. “Is that how to greet your mother's guest, ehn? With confrontation?”

Letting out a loud hiss, Mama came to Nnamdi’s aide, stopping what was about to turn into a train wreck.  “Don’t mind her, my son. How are you?”

If she was a meddling mother, she was gladly an enabler. At least, she came through for him? He thought.

Dear God! Smiling sheepishly, he could have kicked himself for the nearly perfect impression of the awkward teenager he was putting on show. Cupid was surely having another laugh at him.

Highly irritated, Ijeoma cut Mama's bonding session with her perceived potential son-in-law short. “OK… I really don’t have time for this. I have to get back to work.” She stormed off, leaving Nnamdi with Mama. At the door, she hurriedly mumbled some awkward but polite goodbyes and “nice to see you” to Ngozi and Ikeobi. In truth, she wasn’t totally thinking about her job after that last titbit about deleting her details.

She would have agreed to jump on to a bed of hot coals if it meant avoiding Nnamdi.  The man might have been shaky with his words in the beginning, but he definitely wasn’t playing at the end. Even when caught off guard he exuded a natural confidence that couldn’t be taken away from him. He had just told her he had been ready to throw her over and here she was still salivating. The fact that he was just as gorgeous as the last time she saw him wasn’t helping either.

STORY CONTINUES...
                                CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 15

                                CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 13

Written by:
Ikpo Henry Chigozirim

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: SILENT CRIES - Episode 14
SILENT CRIES - Episode 14
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - I had to take the next flight back, The long hug was Ijeoma's first clue, the couple's relationship was more than business, , realisation hit her hard, could not talk about on the phone, jump on to a bed of hot coals, deserve this interrogatory process.
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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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