“If you can look at her without remembering the other man and what he did, then you can forgive her and let her back into your life. But if you cannot then tell her to find her fortunes with another man.”
“But Mpa” Madu began
“You know I do not usually like to interfere in these kind of matters” Odocha, Matilda’s usually taciturn husband put his hand on Madu’s shoulder and squeezed it.
“Let me just ask one question my son, this love that you young people talk about all the time, is it what you feel for this Folake?”
They were sitting on the verandah of Madu’s house while Matilda cooked her famous bitter leaf and ogbono soup in the kitchen, she had instructed Odocha to talk sense into the boy before they travelled to Mbaise the next morning.
“I’ll leave you to think about it, you don’t make such decisions in a hurry”
“No Mpa, your words have shown me what to do.” He replied
“Already?” Odocha asked.
“Yes Sir, let me go and see her now” He went inside the house to change into a suitable attire before going to Folake’s flat.
Just as he was parking his Morris minor, he saw someone else coming out from another Morris minor, a green one as opposed to his blue pride and joy. His breath caught when he realised that the person was also headed for Folake’s flat.
“MacGregor” he called out.
“Maduforo” he replied and waited for Madu to get to him.
“Why are you here now” Madu asked “What about Nurse Ruth your new lover?”
“Ruth was a mistake, a decoy even. I never touched her even though I wanted to”
Madu laughed, it was a rich, harsh sound that made Mac cringe.
“MacGregor himself! Ultimate sampler of African women. I am loyal to your government forever and ever”
“Why are you here, I thought you ended things with Folake because you found out about us.”
Madu exhaled and tapped his left leg three times.
“I’m sorry Madu for reminding you of that, I’m also sorry about what happened between Folake and me.”
“You’re sorry?!” Madu’s voice rose as he asked the question.
“Yes I am, I didn’t know about you and Folake before we started and when I found out, it was too late because I’d already fallen in love with her.”
“You love her?!” Madu asked with incredulity expressed clearly on his face.
“Yes I do and she loves me too, even more than she loves you” he said plainly.
“Do you want me to punch you MacGregor?”
“I am only saying the plain truth, I don’t know what you’re here for but I’m here to beg Folake for a chance to redeem myself and I don’t need you around here to confuse her”
“Me?” Madu croaked.
“Yes you, I don’t want her choosing you out of misplaced guilt”
“There’s nothing I will not see in this world kwa” Madu quipped.
“Please go, you can find another woman. You’ve done it before, I heard about your village girlfriend who’s a doctor now and you left her for Folake.”
“This is interesting, you’re implying that I’m a specialist in leaving women” Madu smiled “You’ll have to pay me off if you want me to back off”.
“How much?” MacGregor asked hoarsely.
“One thousand pounds” Madu pronounced each syllable distinctly
“That’s two months’ pay man!”
“Is the woman you love not worth two months’ pay? If I walked to that door and told Folake that I want to take her back, don’t you think she will jump for joy?”
“But it’s me she loves” Mac shouted.
“But it’s me she wronged” Madu countered “She’s struggling with a guilty conscience and she’ll do anything to achieve penance, even throw away the love you share.”
“Let’s go to the bank.”
“After you” Madu gestured and they both strode to their different cars.
Madu counted the notes carefully while Mac glared nonstop,
“I feel like Judas” Mac said finally
“This will only make you value Folake more, my friend” Madu said with a sad smile “Let me go and deposit the money into my own account”
Folake opened the door to see Mac standing on her verandah with his hands jammed in his pocket and his eyes looking at everything but her.
“Why are you here?”
“What do you want?”
He gestured to the cane woven love-seat on the verandah, he couldn’t trust his voice yet. She strode to the chair with her shoulders raised and her back straight, she had never looked more regal and for the first time he realised that he was extremely lucky to have been loved by this princess.
“How is Ruth?”
“Do I detect a note of jealousy?”
“I want to slap you so hard that your ears will ring like the church bells of the cathedral at Lagos” She fumed.
“Anyway Ruth does not exist, at least not for me. You’re my everything, my first, my next, my always” He smiled at his poetic lines, so it was true what Plato said, “at the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.”
“See this one smiling like Mungo Park when he saw the Niger’s source” Folake’s voice cut into his reverie.
“Folake I want us to get married”
She laughed and laughed and laughed, she laughed until she started coughing.
“But I am not of your social strata, I am not fit to wipe your shoes, remember?”
He drew her head to his chest and inhaled the scent of the coconut and palm kernel oil mixture that she regularly applied on her hair.
“My tribal scent” she said with a small smile lighting up her face before she remembered that she was angry with him and wiggled out of his arms.
He held her waist and pulled her in despite her struggling. “Hold still my love” he said and Folake froze.
“Let me tell you a story Folake, it’s a story you’re familiar with but you do not know all the details. It’s a love story, a simple one that we’ll have to edit the more risqué portions when we tell our children and grandchildren. It is the story of a young Nigerian nurse and how she brought a Scottish doctor to his knees.”
Madu decided to check the hospital post office box for any letters for him since he was already in town. He wondered if Chinwe would have replied him by now, it had been twenty days since he sent her that letter.
He tore open the envelope feverishly not minding if he looked a little insane as he struggled with bringing out the paper. The envelope had borne a London postmark and the writing that sent him long letters when he was an undergraduate.
“My dearest Maduforo” the letter began with that line and it made Madu smile. He decided to look for a chair so he could savour the letter fully.
When I wrote yesterday’s episode of this series, I was pretty, definitely, certainly sure that it was going to end today with the tenth episode. It would have been fitting to end it on a Friday just as I started it on Friday but when Madu and Mac continued to talk and talk despite my repeated shouts of “will you keep kwayet”, I knew that Pendulum- 11 was definitely written in the stars.
Thank you for reading, for your comments, for pointing out my mistakes (you’re making me a better writer) and for your encouragement (that’s ink to my pen).
The ogbongeh wordsmith herself Nedu wrote two pepper soup themed posts, I promise that you will laugh and learn. Check out Pepper Soup which has my new favourite line “stop it but I like it romance” and her guest post on Xocara’s blog which was aptly titled Peppery Perspectives which features Nedu’s awesome niece.
Adaezewrites has a beautiful new series and in true Adaeze fashion, she brings the drama, the emotions (her main character makes me soooo ANGRY most times) and the suspense- because Adaeze cannot write ABCs without adding suspense! check out The Runaway Bride Series and her other scintillating series like Senorita the Lagos Chick, Wife Material and Blackmail
Ibukun how far all our series them? Ibukun does amazing poetry on her blog and on instagram, I might just join the instagram poetry bandwagon. Look for on instagram @ibukunwrites and click on her name to see her awesome blog.
Umunnem na Umunnam, what are we going to do about this heat? Isn’t it time we talk about adopting a “greenprint” to reduce the rate of global warming. It’s getting hotter and hotter, I am sitting in a room with the AC set at 17ºC and I am still feeling very hot. Na wa o.