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Home Post 10066-chapter-59

10066-chapter-59

*Nwanyieze’s POV*

Walking across the parking lot, I allow my tears to flow freely as I gulp in air. I didn’t know seeing him would affect me this badly. I’m reminded of all that I had lost, and can’t regain. But I’m hopeful that I had given him some closure, so he could move on with Agatha, the lovely journalist I keep seeing him with on social media.

The thought almost cripples me. It makes me feel like what we had…wasn’t meant to bedespite how real it was and how much peace and stability he brought me. It makes me feel…less important.

I’ve worked so hard to be here today. I can’t go down now.

But why does it feel like everything is crashing down around me? Why does it feel like everything I’ve worked hard for is at risk now? Just like that night, I am running like a coward, too afraid to face the truth.

Will I keep running?

“You should stop running.”

“You should stop following me,” I say shakily, refusing to turn towards the voice from behind me. “If you wanted closure, I sincerely hope you got it.”

“Closure means a final end to things.”

“Yes, it does.”

“Well, I don’t want it.”

“What do you want? I’m broken already. I can’t be fixed.”

Had I turned him into something like Saheed, who will stop at nothing until revenge is attained? Was that his goal, to taunt me to his satisfaction?

“Am I not being obvious enough?”

“Being obvious was never your forte,” I reply, finally turning to face him.

He sees my face and starts to rush towards me, but stops after a step, appearing to be confused. His hands turn to fists before one unclenches and he runs the fingers over his hair. I can tell he still remembers that scream.

“I searched for you after that night. More than a year, I searched for you without giving up. You moved out, returned the phone I gave you, and changed your number.”

“I had to,” I whisper. “For my sanity.”

“Did you think of my sanity?” He questions, his voice almost forceful, a finger pointed at his chest. “Did you think of how I would feel after being cut off so abruptly?”

It hits me that I hadn’t, because I’d thought it was best for him. I’d thought he would eventually care less and come to see that I didn’t matter, after all.

“I went to Shipeolu almost every day. I went to your school. I literally camped in front of your gate! I kept searching even after seeing you at that hotel.”

Did he search for you like I did? Saheed had asked countless times.

“I never thought you would want anything to do with me after that night, and even if you searched, you would give up eventually.”

Maduka scoffs. “And I wondered, ‘What would I tell her if I saw her?’ And now…the words I planned to say have all disappeared.”

“Oh, that’s alright,” I tell him, accepting the crisp white handkerchief he carefully hands out to me. “It happens.”

“But I’m speaking from my heart now: I don’t want to lose you. Not again.”

“Oh,” I gasp, totally shocked. Everything spins again for a moment but I hold out my hands to steady myself.

“Shocking, isn’t it?”

“You have a-”

“I was never in a romantic relationship with anyone. Not even Agatha.”

“Why are we even having this conversation?”

“Tell me you don’t feel anything for me. You have to mean it.”

That day after the discovery of Tasha’s underwear in his room, I hadn’t been able to lie. I still can’t lie about my feelings. It’s probably written all over my face, and it’s obvious from my reaction to his presence. But I turn away and continue my walk towards the road, where I can find a taxi and depart from this madness.

He’s mad, I’m mad, everybody is mad in this Lagos.

But my heart is beating much too fast for my liking, my lungs are working overtime, and my tears are blinding me. This makes getting away quite uneasy.

“Tell me right now,” He demands, blocking my path.

“I can’t!” I exclaim, frustrated. Temi will take the full brunt of my anger for the next decade. I will make her suffer. “As much as I want to, I can’t!”

“I understand. I totally understand, Nwanyieze.”

“Then why aren’t you-”

“I am still in love with you.”

“Oh,” I breathe, feeling my knees go weak. “That’s a bad thing, Maduka.” Being this close to him is making my body feel strange. The scent of his cologne wafts into my nostrils, making me suddenly aware of his masculinity.

“Why?”

“It’s a recipe for disaster. I’m not the same person you knew. I’ve changed.”

“I observed. And I could say the same for myself. I’m also sure you’ve observed.”

“Sure. You’re famous now.”

“You, too, only that no one knows your true identity. Lost Treasure.” He smirks at me.

It feels like someone pulled the carpet out from under my feet. “Wha-?”

“It took me a while to figure it out, but I put two and two together. I believe I am the second man in Memoirs of the Men Who Loved Me.”

I stare in disbelief. Was I that obvious?

“And you chose such a fitting pseudonym. Remember the story of how we first met?”

“You said I was your treasure.”

“I believe the tense there should be present, and you aren’t lost. I found you.”

I shake my head. “You’re doing it again.”

“Doing what?”

“Pulling me in.” I sniff to clear my airways.

He shakes his head. “I’m not pulling you in. We’re continuing from where we stopped, even without knowing it. Nwanyieze, you can’t deny the chemistry is still there.”

“Of what use is chemistry without common sense? And honesty?”

“We’re more experienced. We can fix this, and we can be prepared for setbacks. No more secrets.”

A small laugh bursts out from my lips. “Are you still serious about this? For crying out loud, Maduka, I-”

“Know what you want to say, and I believe the tense there should be past. It’s all in the past.”

“But you can’t ignore it. I can’t ignore it.”

“We also can’t let it rule our lives and ruin something beautiful. What we have is beautiful. You know this. I’ve had a long time to think this through. Your experiences, how they shape you. Same as mine. I know we are independent, but I also know we need each other.”

“This is too much,” I tell him, stepping backwards. I don’t know if it’s the cool night air or the events of tonight, but I’m shivering.

Maduka follows, smoothly taking off his blazer and placing it over my shoulders. His warmth and scent envelop me at once, reminding me of that night on Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, when Saheed had tried to drag me into his car and Maduka had saved me, finally giving me a ride to University of Suya where he had gotten pepper into his eye and I had held my breath for too long.

Could we ever get back to that level? I think wistfully.

“I made wrong choices.” My voice cracks.

“Some choices you made weren’t right. But then again, nobody always makes the right choices.”

“I slept with Saheed after everything.”

It is something I had to say without mincing words.

“Well, where is he now?” Maduka raises his shoulders and spreads his arms. ” You mean a lot more to me than segz. You know that, right?”

“What if I have an STD?”

He bursts into a fit of laughter. I can’t help but smile a bit while he doubles over, the deep sounds of his laughter sounding pleasant in my ears. I could use this opportunity to run off, but I don’t. When he manages to straighten up, he shakes his head.

“We’ll get tested, just to clear your doubts. I haven’t exactly been chaste myself.”

“Oh.”

Although I had thought of this countless times, it stings me a bit. The concept of Maduka with other women has never been pleasant to me.

“Maduka, I really can’t do this. I can’t lie to you about my feelings; I bet you can tell they’re still in existence. But we’ll never be the same as we used to be before. I’m not innocent. I’m not whole.”

“You’re perfect. You’re beautiful. You’re everything I need, and more,” he tells me, his face serious. “I’ve told you before. I thought of this. Your past. My past. At the end of the day, it’s still your arms I want around me. It’s your voice I want to hear. When I experience problems, it’s you I want to talk with about them. It’s always you, Nwanyieze.”

“What if I disappoint you?”

“You won’t.”

Hold me, I want to say. I’m uncertain, worried, fearful. What if he changes his mind along the way? What would I do?

“People might find out. Some will ridicule you.”

“Let them try.”

“You’re talking because you don’t know what it’s like!”

He raises his palms. “I don’t know what it’s like because I haven’t been there. But I’m willing to live through it with you.”

“Why are you like this? So positive despite everything?”

He shrugs, a small smile on his face. “Nwanyieze, if there’s anything I know from experience, it’s that life is too short to spend it worrying about the opinions of other people and things that have already happened. You can’t do jack about them. I want to spend it with someone who matters to me. You feel the same way about me, so why bother about other people?”

I wipe some tears away from my cheek. “Such philosophy, Maduka.”

“I could stand here and talk all night, if that’s what it takes. I’m also ready to do wh@ťěver I can to convince you.”

“Your family, your friends-”

“Doesn’t concern them. Let’s take this one day at a time, okay?”

“I’m scared,” I sob, finally giving in and leaning towards him, needing his arms around me.

He covers the little distance with a deep sigh of relief, holding my face between his warm palms. There are now tears on his cheeks, too, but he is smiling down at me. “That makes two of us, baby girl. Let’s be scared together.”

“You make it sound so funny.” I’m laughing through my tears, and soon he joins me. We embrace, still laughing at how absurd we must look, moving in circles, standing, and talking heatedly for what seemed like endless hours, with my shoes in my hands instead of on my feet.

“I never stopped loving you. I might be different now, but that didn’t change,” I confess.

“I can’t stop loving you. We’ll make this work. Counselling, therapy, wh@ťěver we need to help us heal, we’ll do it.”

“Do we even have therapists in Nigeria?”

“Of course. There’s this non-profit organization called Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative. I’m a member and I’m sure they can connect us to professionals. They are doing a lot these days concerning mental health.”

“It sounds interesting. I’ll look them up online in my spare time.”

“You definitely should.”

It feels so good to be in his arms. It feels like home, like I’m insulated from the world. All I’m aware of is him, here, now. “Preordained,” I say softly.

“Hmm?”

“Preordained. That’s what you said a few times before.”

“Things happen for a reason. We can’t change them, but we can try to make the best out of those situations.”

I understand what he means. With the losses and pain we’ve suffered, the mistakes we’ve made, we have a choice to see through them and hope for the best while working towards it. Together.

I am not as optimistic as Maduka is, but I know he’s willing to put in everything to make us happy and by doing so, I will learn along the way. It’s clear, I’m still in love with him and I need him in my life even though I’ve gotten myself back on track. He needs me, too. I can’t imagine how nervous he must have been, mustering up the courage to go through all this trouble just to convince me.

“Wh@ťěver pace you want, I’ll go along with it. As long as you’re with me.”

“If the world had more people like you, it would have been a better place, Maduka.”

“I always thought so too,” he jokes.

“You always think you’re all that.”

“Baby, I am all that.”

“Hey! The Shrimp Lo Mein is getting cold oh!”

We both turn to see Temi standing at the entrance of the restaurant, waving at us. Beside her, the Asian man who had welcomed us is also waving. We can’t see their faces clearly because of the distance, but we know they are amused.

“Let’s go and enjoy this foreign dish,” Maduka whispers to me. “I know you’re hungry because I heard your stomach growl.”

“You always hear non-existent things,” I say in denial. Temi had made me starve myself for most of the day in preparation for this outing even before telling me her plans.

Maduka raises my hand to his lips, his eyes fixed on mine. “So many new experiences await us.”

New experiences. I’m beginning to like those words.

Maybe Temi won’t really suffer, after all, I think with a smile.
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( I believe you have some questions to ask me, I deliberately said it in episode 55 that she didn’t had any segzual intercourse with saheed in other to ease up the wrath of you people on our dear queen, so that you can have something to think of and make your confusion to be confused. I’m inside my house now ooo, come beat me for the twist of the story 😋😋😋).

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