Nnamdi could hear the thuds from his heart pumping blood faster than it had ever done before, he was surprised that Chinwe hadn’t asked him about it, couldn’t she hear it too? He wanted to hold her, hold her until they fused and no one could tell where he ended and where she began.
“Nnamdi!” Chinwe’s voice cut into his thoughts.
“What is it my love?”
“I have been talking and you ignored me”
“I am so sorry, I was thinking about you”
“You were thinking of me so much that you ignored me, right?”
“What were you saying Nkem?”
Chinwe gasped when he called her Nkem, he had never been that demonstrative of his affection for her.
“Oh! I have never called you Nkem before” Nnamdi exclaimed. “You are mine for now and for always, whether you accept me or not”.
Chinwe wanted to ask him how she could still be his even after rejecting him and going to another man. How he could be so arrogant about their relationship? She wondered.
“Chinwe I know I am not perfect, I know I am not the best man for you but I love you with a love that is perfect.”
“A love that is perfect but will withhold things for me, okwa ya?” She shouted.
“I wasn’t hiding it, I just didn’t think it was necessary to talk about it when we were just getting to know each other. I am pretty sure you would have left me if you knew I wasn’t an ordinary lawyer but a very wealthy man.”
His words hung in the air and yet impinged her with the weight of unvarnished truth. She sighed as she remembered the letter she had sent to Madu, sections of it came to her mind even now.
“When I got your letter, I was very angry with Nnamdi- my current boyfriend. He had hidden something from me, something so vital that I felt betrayed and decided to leave him.
As I read your letter, it occurred to me that I could reply your letter in a way that will rekindle our relationship. After all you are single and I was about to be too, one of us might have to relocate but the logistics really wouldn’t matter as long as we are together.
However in that instant, I knew that my life is nothing without Nnamdi in it. While I was hurt by his action, if I was being logical- like he always is, I’d understand his motives for “hiding the truth” from me. You see, I’d never have given him time of day if I knew he was rich. Not because I had something against wealth but because I wouldn’t have trusted him.
I had been blessed with a man who understood me even better than i did myself, who knew what made me tick. Yet I almost threw it away in the heat of anger, this love that had taken me all my life to find. Don’t wince at my words, what we shared is a pale shadow of what I have found with Nnamdi. Maduforo please don’t be depressed about that Folake, she wasn’t meant for you. Look for someone else, someone who knows the song of your heart and can sing it to you, you deserve better- much better”
Pride and anger wouldn’t take them anywhere she decided, so she stood up and went to sit on his lap and he held her so tightly that she felt like her bones would melt. They sat like that for ten minutes, Nnamdi eased the pressure of his hug a little.
“When are we getting married?” Chinwe asked
“Anytime you like my love”
“Can we go to Nigeria this weekend and get it over with, I can’t wait to be Mrs Nnamdi Asoluka”
“Let me call the ticket agent to get us on the next flight to Lagos”
“We’re going by air?!” she squealed.
“Only the best for my future wife”
“Thank you Nnamdi”
“You do not need to thank me, I love you and I’d always want you to be happy.”
This is the first time you told me you love me” she noted.
“You haven’t told me either”
“I am Matilda’s daughter, I will not make such a weak statement” she laughed and jumped out of his arms.
“You will not?” he challenged and he chased her around the cottage until he caught her and began to tickle her.
“I am Matilda’s daughter AND I will not..” she was laughing so hard that her ribs seemed to crack. She told him she loved him and they collapsed in each others’ arms.
“I can’t wait to meet your mother” He said suddenly.
“I already know that she can’t wait to meet you” He leaned over and kissed her forehead and she sighed in contentment.
“Brown skin gal, stay home and min’ baby
Brown skin gal, stay home and min’ baby
I am going away in a sailing boat,
and if I don’t come back, stay home and min’ baby.”
The song made Madu look up, he had finished reading the letter and he felt a sadness that threatened to crush him. The voice singing one of his favourite songs was as tiny as a sparrow’s.
She wasn’t as small as her voice suggested, he looked at her carefully. Taking in her gown made from the latest abada wrapper, the beautiful but dainty looking sandals that encased her feet and the sheen on her skin that reminded him of polished mahogany. She put her envelope into the slot and he noticed that she had no ring on any of her fingers, her hair was long, jet black and tied with a rubber band away from her face.
“Have you finished looking?”
“I’m sorry, I got carried away by the song and by your beauty”
“My beauty versus the song, which carried more weight?” she asked with a smile.
“I haven’t even introduced myself, my name is Maduforo and I work in the College Hospital”.
“I know you, Dr Maduforo. You worship at the University Chapel. You like to sit at the edge of the second center pew”
“How did you… Oh! you must be in the choir with your beautiful voice.”
“I am in the choir” She chuckled “You have a silver tongue Dr Maduforo, you can charm the birds off the sky”
“Now that you know me, tell me about yourself, your name, what you do… in short your entire life history.”
“My name is Uchenna and I work in the West African Pilot Newspaper”
“A female journalist? Interesting…” he mused.
“Do you have a problem with that?” She challenged.
“No I don’t but we can’t continue talking here, let’s find a more convenient place to get acquainted”
“Get acquainted? Why?”
“Because I want to get know you, let’s go to the University garden and talk” he smiled and extended his right hand to her.
“I don’t go out with strange men” she countered with a smile.
“But I am not strange, you know my name, where I work. Being a journalist, I am sure that you know more about me than I do about myself”
“I could be engaged you know” She said with a smile. “But you are also very funny”
“Someone told me that the woman I’d marry would be the one who’d find the song of my heart and sing it to me.”
“And Brown skin gal is the song of your heart?”
“Well.. it is one of my favourite songs and your singing it to me is definitely a sign that you’re meant to be very important to me”
She laughed, it was a rich sound that gladdened Madu’s heart “I was singing to myself o, you turned it around to say I was singing to you”
He waggled his right hand and raised his eyebrows meaningfully, she smiled and took his hand. They walked out of the post office together and got into his car. As he started the engine, he smiled at her and she smiled back. In that moment he knew he had found his destiny.
Right now, I have mixed feelings about ending this series. From relief that I can move on to other things to a deep sadness because I will miss the characters that have lived in my head for about a month.
Thank you for following this series- my stats have been booming, and for all the likes, comments and shout-outs. Will I write another series soon? Definitely. Something contemporary and set in Lagos this time.
PS: New to Pendulum? Follow the story from the beginning or catch up from where you left off HERE