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. Iphey 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.
“Chinedu, what on earth are you doing here?”
As the words left Iphey‟s lips, realisation hit her hard. MAMA! She had been
right all along. The woman HAD been expecting someone else when Otunba
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. Iphey tried to caution herself from jumping to
conclusions but Mama‟s voice sealed her suspicions.
“Oh Chinedu. I have been expecting you! How are…”
“Wait, you were expecting him?” Iphey turned to her mother. She knew
Mama was a match-maker 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
Chinedu would meet her here? As Iphey extricated herself from the confused
web of emotions that her mind had become, she realised Chinedu was
“Yes your mother called me here… she said she wanted me to come help her
“So you’re not here to see me?”
“Yes…Erm…No… Your mother said…” Chinedu stuttered.
The funny thing about shock or stress is the disconnect between thought and
speech. His words were as eloquent as those of a teenager asking for a first date.
What Chinedu was thinking was, “How dare you? I am the one who should be
demanding explanations here. YOU made up your mind without hearing my
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,” Iphey said to everyone. All eyes were fixed on
them by now. “We need to talk,” she whispered to him.
Chinedu was as surprised to see Iphey 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 Iphey! 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 Chinedu! 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 Bisi, 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?
First, it was his past. Now she wanted an explanation for Bisi. Iphey 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, Chiendu remained calm…
“They say if you love something you should let it go and if it comes back then
its meant for you.”
Iphey hissed, “Oh don‟t give me that! You did not even act like you were
hoping I‟d come back! Aisha said you never brought up the subject after that
“I was giving you space, you needed to sort out your feelings.”
“I don’t blame you.” Iphey 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
At her rankled tone, he began getting worked up too. “Iphey, 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
Iphey piped down quickly. He was saying the obvious. And after her
confrontation with Bisi earlier, she knew what she had to do. “OK OK… I‟m
sorry,” Iphey said. “I really did not mean to raise my voice.”
“Is that all you’re sorry for?” Chinedu 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.”
Chinedu felt peace flood his heart. He wanted to hug her. He smiled and
moved closer. Just then her phone beeped.
Iphey 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?”
Chinedu stepped back. With a heavy sigh he said, “Sure I will. What‟s your
Iphey fumbled in her handbag for her car keys. “What?”
“I don‟t have your details any more. I deleted them…”
“YOU DID WHAT?!”