The Church Scandal (Episode 16)

By Ikenga Chronicles June 4, 2018

The Church Scandal (Episode 16)

Inibehe arrived London uninvited.

He stared deep into Eddie’s eyes when he narrated what happened to Nduke.

“She was very sick after you got married, she had to go.” Eddie said.

“Go where?”

“I don’t know. The school ambulance took her away.” Eddie shrugged. Inibehe began to weep like a child. His school son could not console him. He took a long walk to the reverend’s office to find out where Nduke had been taken to.

“She was terribly sick. She was at the Cambridge hospital for months, after her recovery she bought a ticket. I am not certain about where she went to.” He said in a high pitched tone.

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Inibehe cried out and brought his fist to his mouth. The Reverend was confused. His breathe halted. Slowly walking away, he walked down to the school waterfall behind the school chapel, a monolithic cascade of crushing water that tumbled a hundred feet to the boulders below. The river was fed from a dozen creeks and smaller tributaries that snaked the hills and made the slope too slippery to descend. It was his father’s school. He built it in 1978, he’d said it at home countless times, that he would give Rhapsody missionaries to his favorite son. Growing up, Inibehe wanted to be that favorite son. But right there, as he stood in front of the waterfall, he never wanted to be his father’s favorite son anymore.

Heart pounding, he dropped behind the rocks and sat there like he was expecting someone.

“Nduke where are you please?” He asked rhetorically.

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She didn’t drop her number with anyone. He couldn’t even find her school daughter Serena to ask of her whereabout.

She didn’t have a friend, he was her only friend. She was an introvert, hardly talked to anyone except it was necessary, she was talkative only to him.

He couldn’t hear anything else except the falls. A sick feeling ate at his stomach.

Heart racing in his throat, he crawled backward into the sphagnum beneath the protruding root of a large oak. It was as if he was running away from something. But he was looking for a more weird and comfortable place to stay and be wild in his thoughts. He felt in his heart that he’d lost Nduke forever. He wept bitterly like a baby. After he had thought about Nduke and how he’d lost her for hours, he began to sweat. He was very tired. The school had given him a luxurious guest room to stay. He wanted to be only in bed, in the heavy, total darkness of his room, drowned in the glottal underwater song of the air conditioner. He wondered fleetingly if Nduke was really meant to be his, or Uduak.

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He went to bed with one thought in his heart, he will get a ticket to Nigeria and be a good husband to his wife. He’d wanted to cut the necklace on his neck and dispose it in the room bin, but his heart said no.

*******************

He became cheerful and energetic the next morning, waiting impatiently for the school driver to come pick him up to Canary wharf shopping center, where he can get gifts for Uduak. He must really be better, he thought to himself.

When he goes back to Nigeria, he will make love to her, tell her he is sorry and be a good husband, while they make babies. They will read the bible, pray together and fulfill their dreams together. And even if he didn’t love her, he would like her and try his best to serve her right.

He laughed when he got into the plane and stared at his wedding pictures, and everything went normal again.

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When he arrived Nigeria and got back home the next day, he suddenly appeared in his sitting room and walked straight to the kitchen where he suspected Uduak might be. When she saw him, she was surprised. “I didn’t expect you to be back so soon.” She said looking amazed when he hugged her.

He handed her the gifts he bought from London and she wondered if it’s Inibehe who was standing right in front of her or she was dreaming in her wish world.

She was in shock while she stared at him eat the food she’d made for the first time. He was always encouraging employing a cook, but Uduak protested against female cooks in the house.

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“Your meal is delicious baby.” He said delightedly.

Did he just call her ‘baby?’ she didn’t hear him clear.

She got into bed with a tattered volume of chimamanda Adichie’s half of a yellow sun, and lay propped against the pillows, alternately scanning the pages and listening to Bishop Cosmos’s preaching on the TV.

She felt something move down her legs, her heart fell when she realized it was Inibehe’s hands. Her heart zoomed and sang, and the sharp lump of submerged anguish the estrangement from him had left in her chest melted away as if it had never been.

She felt giddy, light, exuberant.

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