SILENT CRIES - Episode 19

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - her stained apron and tussled hair, the facade of a cake, a burgundy camisole and black short sleeved classy jacket, about their families, careers, hobbies and values, I love you, her heart slammed in her chest, this great upheaval, the greatest adventure ever lived, will you marry me?


James washed up after his simple meal, a scowl staining his face. He forced himself to smile by thinking of Ngozi and his son Obi. His hope of seeing them again soon was being boosted by his new friend Udochukwu. He had confided in him about his woes of the past and the young man had promised to help. He said he had friends in the police who would soon be on the case. James was rinsing his plate; it reminded of the day he met Ngozi. He smiled to himself, just like that day, he had a feeling that something was about to change in his life.

He couldn't remember all he had said that day, seven years ago, but there was something about the lady he'd first seen at the door that appealed to him, she looked very adorable in her stained apron and tussled hair. With the facade of a cake, their mothers had schemed for them to meet each other and he had fallen for it without knowing. By the time they both found out about the match- making, it had been a moot point. They were in love with each other. They got married six months after that day and it had been bliss all the way till he had spoiled it with his own hands. He cursed the day he decided to try his hand at gambling. Thank God he had learnt his lesson before it was too late. Or was it?
His family was still out there... A knock broke through his consciousness.

“Oga James,” the little boy that lived in the room opposite said, “one man say make I give you this.”

The prepubescent chap handed him a thin envelope and scampered off. James closed the door and opened the enveloped. Dread washed over him even before he knew what was inside. He had never received parcels since he moved into this area of Ajegunle. Did this mean they had found him again? Just as he was about to hope again? The five pictures sliding out of their cage, missed his waiting hands and scattered across the floor. There were pictures of him in his borrowed taxi, him and Ijeoma in the taxi, him and Ijeoma at the entrance to her house and then a couple of just Ijeoma, at work and at home. James staggered back till he collapsed on the only furniture in the room apart from the thin mattress on the floor. The chair creaked underneath his slight weight as he leaned his head between his knees. The envelope was now also on the floor. It was only then he noticed the writing paper peeping out. He pulled at it quickly. Scrawled in pencil, were the following words.

YOU AND YOUR NEW GIRLFRIEND WILL BE IN TROUBLE IF YOU DON'T GET OUR MONEY IMMEDIATELY!

-
Nnamdi picked Ijeoma up at seven after work on a Friday evening. Ijeoma wore black pants, a burgundy camisole and black short sleeved classy jacket. Today was special and so it deserved special attention. It was three months since she had got together with Nnamdi and everyday was a revelation of how good they were together. She smiled to herself as she went to the ladies and slipped on silver filigree earrings, slid on some gloss and did her eye makeup sprinkling loose powder sparsely on her face. Nnamdi waited for her downstairs and she traipsed down in her heels and got into his car, smiling a hello and buckling her seatbelt as they headed for Surulere to one of the tasteful fast food places on Adeniran Ogunsanya street.

They ordered and began chatting idly about their families, careers, hobbies and values, Ijeoma chatted on with no guile and Nnamdi listened enraptured. He murmured and added words that showed he was focused on the conversation as opposed to some of the other guys and rich wannabes she had been out with. He was not like most guys; he did not pretend to hear what she was saying and then launch into his own project; he actually listened to her. He must have a lot of practice, she thought and then she stopped talking as she noticed he was watching her intently, different emotions moving across his face, too fast for her to decipher. She stopped talking and laughed at Nnamdi.

“What’s up? You are staring at me like…” she shook her head then waved her hand in front of her face “…I can’t explain the look.”

Nnamdi glanced at her, his gaze open and his look sincere. “I am looking at you because…” he paused and swallowed an Adam’s apple, she hardly saw bobbing at his throat “I am humbled because I know that I could never have met you in twenty lifetimes if God did not lead you to me.”

Ijeoma looked her Nnamdi, blinked, looked at him again, she couldn't stop the tears that came to her eyes. She wanted to laugh but instead she just said, “You know you drive me crazy, right?”

He just stroked the hand she laid on his thigh.

She smiled through the tears and blubbered, “When I think I have you figured, you find a way to break my defences, however small they are…”

“Ijeoma…”

“Wait, let me finish…” she blinked to clear her eyes. “I wanted to give you a chance but I needed to do it on my own terms…” she looked away like he caught her in a lie or something, “…with barriers so I could maintain a resemblance of safety. But every time I think I am safe, secure, you slam through my defences like they were a pack of cards, disarming me with simple gestures, simple words.”

“Listen to me...”

“No let me finish.” Ijeoma shook her head. “I can’t but reveal all of me to you…” she sighed in exasperation “…you make it impossible for me to hold anything back from you”.

“Ijeoma…”

“Please, let me get it all off my chest, I have feelings for you. I fought it with all I had like I do everything else, I looked for everything, every reason why I couldn’t be with you, I counselled myself, gave myself all the logical equations that should make sense, but it all failed and I am afraid…” she shook visibly “…I am in love with you.”
Nnamdi could not keep quiet after that declaration. “Ijeoma, I love you too. Sometimes I feel it so much it scares me. That was what kept me coming back to you even at those early stages you were busy pushing me away. I am in love with you too and I promise to do everything within my power to keep your heart safe.”

Ijeoma wiped away the tears that had started dripping again. “Every passion I feel is reserved for you alone,” she murmured, her eyes glittering; her gaze was trapped in Nnamdi’s.

Nnamdi laughed and said, “Ijeoma, I want to grow old with you, I may not be perfect, but be reassured that I love you more than my life.”

Ijeoma laughed and then she murmured “I can be very silly and fussy sometimes…” she muttered looking down and then she gazed into his eyes. “I am not usually like this, you bring out the unusual in me.”

“No Ijeoma…” Nnamdi protested as he gazed into her eyes reassuring her, “I love you cheerful or crying, it’s an adventure getting to know you and love all the different parts of you.”

“Nnamdi…”

“Ijeoma...”

Ijeoma turned her gaze on Nnamdi and he froze in place, her heart slammed in her chest as she noticed the effect she had on him; and she wondered at the power he had over her. There was this great upheaval inside her and she knew that come what may, she would always be connected to Nnamdi. There was no stopping this and no running away any longer; it was time she faced up to it.

“Nnamdi, every day with you is an adventure and it’s the ride of my life, I don’t know what tomorrow holds but I know this, God has got us…”

“Ijeoma, the first day I saw you, I knew you were meant for me…” He paused as he saw Ijeoma frozen in fear, visibly shaking, he drew in a sharp breath and “…I know it has taken a while, me getting you to believe in me and what I am about…” he gazed steadily into her eyes, ”…but even though I am not certain what the future holds, I know great things are in store for us, there is so much promise and so much greatness ahead of us, all we need to do is take each day as it comes trusting ourselves and trusting in God.”

Ijeoma smiled and seemed about to speak and then thought to herself, this man is the man of my dreams, I am in such a wealthy place, my fears still speak, they tell me if I ever lost him, but would fall; my faith though speaks louder, it tells me this man was created just for me and that if I could just take God’s hands and trust him, we are in for the greatest adventure ever lived.

Ijeoma smiled and hugged Nnamdi with everything she had in her slight frame. He pulled away slightly after a short kiss and looked into her face.

Ijeoma noticed he was avoiding looking into her eyes.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Nothing,” he hedged.

“Nedu spit it out,” she laughed. “I know you too well. What are you trying to hide from me?”

He laughed and finally met her gaze. Nnamdi took a deep breath and took both her hands. “I did not plan to say this today or here or even this way...” Ijeoma was confused. Was this the end? After the happy declarations of a few minutes ago?

“Nnamdi, what is it? Did I say something wrong?”
“No, no, of course not!” He moved closer. “You said and did everything right...” His phone began to ring. He did not even look at it before switching it off. He paused again.

“Nnamdi, please tell me. Whatever it is, just say it!”

“Okay, Okay.” Nnamdi took another deep breath. “I want to marry you Ijeoma, I want you to be my wife...”

Her lips were rounding open by this time. Ijeoma's breath came quick and fast, and she pressed both their hands under her breast as if to stop her racing heart.

“Ijeoma will you marry me?”

STORY CONTINUES...

                  CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 20

                  CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 18

Written by:
Ikpo Henry Chigozirim

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: SILENT CRIES - Episode 19
SILENT CRIES - Episode 19
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - her stained apron and tussled hair, the facade of a cake, a burgundy camisole and black short sleeved classy jacket, about their families, careers, hobbies and values, I love you, her heart slammed in her chest, this great upheaval, the greatest adventure ever lived, will you marry me?
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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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