Forums Coolval Family (drama) MAGDALENE

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    Written & sent in by Ohibenemma

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    Episode 1

    From the roadside, I heard the baritone voice of Pastor Josiah Obazu as he led the congregation on some prayer points. I paid off the commercial motorcyclist who had just dropped me off and, after a quick glance at my belt, wristwatch and sparkling shoes, marched confidently to the church. I was accosted by an usher at the entrance. She was dressed in a red long-sleeved shirt which was firmly tucked in a white skirt. With a white tie around her neck and high heeled red shoes which illustrated her firm calves, she was every inch smart looking.
    ‘You are welcome, sir,’ she said in a sweet voice, flashing me a smile. ‘Please, follow me.’
    ‘Thank you, ma’am,’ I replied and followed like a sheep to the slaughter.
    She led me to a seat in the front row, a row I had never sat in before. I didn’t argue with her; it was actually a vantage position for my plans. I sat down, closed my eyes, bowed my head and muttered some gibberish – feigning prayers. I opened my eyes and made sure to wear a big smile for effect as I sat up to see a lady from the choir go to the space between the congregation and the altar. She was holding a red capped microphone which she lifted to her lips with her left hand while raising the right above her head. She was dressed, like every other female member of the choir, in a black top and skirt with a gold coloured tie to match. The male choristers were in black suits with gold coloured shirts inside. They wore no ties. From my position, I could feel their egos emitting forth.
    The lady shut her eyes and made a face like one about to purge. The pianist was already playing an intro and the drummer beating an accompaniment when she broke into a song.
    That is why you are called Jehovah…
    That is why you are called Jehovah…
    What you say you will do…
    I slyly smiled as I watched the congregation join her – some swaying like palm trees left at the mercy of the wind. The drama seemed funny to me – I, who hadn’t been in any church for about ten years. So why the change of heart?
    Magdalene Okegbu was the reason. I had known her from the time we were kids, though I was a year older than her. Then, she was part of the neighbourhood playgroup of kids rolling on the sand, kicking at objects and playing hide and seek in the uncompleted buildings in our surroundings. She was one of the first kids to break away from the group. I was about nine years then. Suddenly, it became rare to see her outdoors. The few times I saw her was when she was on her way to school or the church or in the company of her parents or elder brother who was then in the university. She also assumed a kind of cockiness which made me dislike her. And she had also grown taller than me! Then, she was sent to a boarding school and I forgot about her.
    Shortly afterwards, my dad completed his house in another part of the city and we parked out of the area. Though I still visited some of my old friends in that area after our exit, I never saw her again until I gained admission into the university.
    Mandiba University was a school where students took pride in the extent of their sociability, which was mostly in the extreme. I had stopped church many years back when some family problems made my mum start a new church, leaving my dad in the old Orthodox Church we had always attended. That separation gave the kids the opportunity to make choices and my choice was to stop attending church altogether. In the place of church activities, I participated heavily in social activities and this lifestyle was only lent wings when I gained admission. Within a year of my entry into the higher institution, I had already joined a string of social clubs. Hardly did two weekends go by without my being involved in a bash; it showed in my grades – I was barely managing to get by. I didn’t give too much thought to it; I hoped to sit up in my third year.
    I was travelling home from school two weeks back when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to behold a faintly familiar female face. Her face curved into a shy smile.
    ‘Good afternoon, bro.’ She greeted after a moment’s hesitation.
    ‘Good afternoon, baby,’ I replied, wondering where I had met her before. She was beautiful, I noticed that instant. I had become an expert in assessing women; it took me only a few seconds to know whether a lady was worth my attention or not. I was about to ask where we had met before when she spoke.
    ‘Do you remember this face?’

    I smiled and shook my head in the negative. ‘Though I know I’ve seen it somewhere before. Can you help me out?’ I was having two minds between saying the truth and lying, but opted for the former.
    She frowned slightly, almost confirming my reasons for wanting to lie to her: some people were usually turned off when you confessed to not knowing them. Then she smiled, ‘Do you remember the name, Magdalene Okegbu?’
    The name struck a cord, but it took another five seconds to register. So the little girl had grown so big…and so beautiful, I thought, joining in the smile. I had been straining my neck to converse with her on the back seat, but didn’t actually feel the pain. Not yet.
    ‘Oh! Don’t tell me that that little girl is the one I’m beholding,’ I exclaimed, unmindful of other passengers, some of which were obviously eavesdropping on our conversation.
    ‘Who is a little girl,’ she playfully protested, making a face.
    ‘You, ma’am,’ I affirmed. ‘Thou, of course.’
    She smiled coyly; ‘And that small boy is now quite grown up,’ she replied.
    ‘I take that as a compliment,’ I said as we both burst out laughing.
    It was then I tried to straighten my neck and was greeted by a very sharp pain. I gnashed my teeth as I inaudibly bore the pain. I had enjoyed the conversation thus far and still wanted more, despite the price my neck was paying. Luckily for me, just that moment, the man beside me asked the driver to stop, that he was getting off there. Magdalene quickly took his place, by my side.
    She was a new student and had been offered admission to study political science, she told me, and had only come to pay her admission fees. She was returning home to carry her belongings, having just secured a lodge that week.
    ‘That’s good,’ I told her. ‘You could have shared mine with me, though. I have a self-contained mini apartment to myself.’ I stared at her, awaiting her response.
    ‘Wow, that’s quite impressive,’ she replied, ‘but I can’t even imagine it.’
    ‘Imagine what?’ I asked, but she demurred, shrugging her shoulders.
    ‘Please, I have a problem,’ she said next, suddenly changing the topic. ‘I visited one fellowship last Sunday, but their mode of worship was too drab for my comfort.’
    ‘Okay,’ I growled. If she needed any help concerning campus fellowships, she was onto the wrong person.

    Which of the campus fellowships do you think is the best?’ She asked.
    I shook my head slowly. ‘None.’
    She stared at my face as if to ascertain whether the statement had emanated from me. I frowned in response.
    ‘Did you just say none?’ She inquired.
    ‘Yea, Magdalene. The thing is I haven’t attended any so far.’
    ‘Oh, so you don’t do campus fellowships? I was told the churches are even worse, with their services tailored towards meeting the needs of the elderly.’
    ‘Magdalene, I don’t do churches,’ I said gently but firmly, drawing another incredulous stare from her. I wondered why she was staring at me like that, but didn’t ask. She wasn’t done yet.
    ‘But your parents used to attend the Orthodox Church those days, right?’
    ‘Yea and they still do – at least my dad does,’ I replied, bored of the topic. ‘So, how has life been all these years?’ I gave her an appreciative look.
    ‘What are you looking at?’ She asked, looking away shyly.
    ‘At you, of course,’ I replied, maintaining the stare. Twice she tried to stare back, but always ended up looking away.
    ‘You are discomfiting me,’ she stated, finally returning my stare. ‘Your eyes are kinda scary.’
    ‘If you think so,’ I growled, pretended to take offence and looked away. My eyes went to the speedometer, only to discover that it wasn’t working. After that, I tried to read the signboards in the little town we had just entered. Most of them were homemade, poorly shaped letterings, probably drawn with fingers dipped in paint. Some even had the paint overlapping and trailing down to the letterings below, making a mess of everything. I hated slapdashness, and it was written all over the town. I was about to make a remark to that effect when I remembered that I was supposed to be annoyed. I swallowed my words and hummed a tune. Five minutes later, Magdalene was yet to say a word. I had expected her to be, at least, concerned about my silence, but her thoughts seemed to be on other things. I swallowed my pride and was about to break the silence when her phone rang.
    ‘Hello, good afternoon,’ she greeted the person at the other end. The caller was enquiring about her whereabouts, how the journey was and what time she hoped to get home. These I deduced from the replies she gave. From their tone, I knew it was a guy and I felt jealousy stir within me.
    ‘Who was that?’ I asked when they had ended their conversation.
    ‘A friend,’ she replied, smiling dreamily. ‘I met him during registrations – a very funny guy.’
    ‘Okay,’ I said and looked away. After some seconds, I turned to look at her and she was still wearing that faraway dreamy smile. ‘What’s getting you so excited, suddenly?’ I asked.


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    Episode 2

    ‘You won’t get it,’ she replied. ‘So, I won’t bother telling you.’
    ‘Okay, you may suit yourself,’ I said civilly. I was losing control of my emotions. I knew I was, but couldn’t help it.
    I wasn’t a novice anymore when it came to the womenfolk. Due to my social activities, I was constantly exposed to them, and I had indulged in quite a number of flings with them. I had two steady girlfriends, each suspecting the other of having an affair with me, but my sleek tongue and firm self-control had always ensured that their suspicions never got confirmed. And now, I was falling in love with my childhood friend… Was it really love, I asked myself, or just lust. It could be mere jealousy, but why was I being jealous in the first place?
    ‘Why are you being dramatic?’ She suddenly asked, catching me unawares.
    ‘What…? Am I?’ I stuttered, composing myself.
    ‘Yes, you are,’ she boldly insisted. ‘You are acting like an insecure boyfriend. Is there any problem?’
    ‘Yes…and no,’ I replied, then smiled mischievously. ‘You won’ get it, so I won’t bother telling you.’ I used the exact words she had earlier used.
    ‘If you insist,’ she said and started playing with her phone.
    I wanted to apologize but decided against it. I didn’t want to appear too weak – not to the little Magdalene Okegbu of those days.
    The driver brought the car to a halt when we got to the first park in the city and announced to us that he won’t be going beyond that point. Some passengers angrily exchanged words with him, but it didn’t change the situation. I would have joined in hurling invectives at him, but for Magdalene presence. She was already removing her luggage from the boot, which the driver had first opened, even before opening the doors.
    ‘But you know the driver isn’t right,’ I told her as I removed mine too. ‘He is only taking us for a ride.’ I tried unsuccessfully to hide the bitterness in my voice.
    ‘Arguing with him won’t change the situation,’ she said in a light tone, ‘especially when decisive action won’t be taken.’
    I nodded in agreement, though I didn’t quite get her point. ‘Please, elaborate.’ I said, remembering that she would be studying political science.
    ‘Please, there’s no time for that. Most times we waste precious time starting what we can’t finish. It could be due to fear or just impatience, but we end up raising resistant strongholds, only to abandon them at the brink of accomplishment.’ She looked at my face and, seeing the bewilderment there, added with a smile: ‘Science student, go and read up the policy of passive resistance as applied by Gandhi and Mandela.’
    I wasn’t going to take up the advice, I knew already. We were now by the roadside. I cleared my throat, aware of the rising tempo of my heartbeats. ‘Magdalene, when next would we be seeing?’
    ‘I don’t know,’ she replied indifferently. ‘Maybe when we get back to school.’
    ‘When will that be?’ I asked, unhappy at her attitude. She was already proving herself a hard nut. I wasn’t one to give in easily.
    ‘I think that should be about two weeks hence.’
    ‘I can’t bear that,’ I blurted out, ‘spare me the torture.’
    She laughed and fixed me an intent stare. ‘I know, if asked, you would claim to have fallen in love with me, but…that’s simply untrue…’

    []‘Why would you say so?’ I demanded, making no attempt to deny her charge. Her response was a ringing laugh. ‘Okay, can I have your number?’
    ‘I don’t think so,’ she replied and clutched her phone tighter. Did she think I would attempt to snatch it from her?
    ‘Why?’ I asked, my voice a mixture of anger and emotions. ‘Why are you acting like we are strangers?’
    ‘Well, let me be frank; I don’t give out my number anyhow. I am very sorry about that.’
    ‘But you gave your number to the guy who called you earlier on,’ I accused, my voice surprisingly hoarse. I didn’t know why I was losing my cool.
    ‘He’s my brother in Christ,’ she said curtly.
    ‘And I am your enemy in Christ?’ My question only drew more laughter from her. I watched with some disgust, but was determined to follow through with my plans.
    ‘Okay, let’s have it this way, bro,’ she quipped, ‘I will give you my number after our church service on Sunday. Will you be there?’
    The proposal sounded good. It sounded easy but equally challenging. I knew she was giving me that condition because of my earlier confession about not attending any church. I hadn’t stepped my feet in any church for about ten years! I thought it over for some seconds before replying in the affirmative. She gave me directions on how to locate the address and flagged down a cab. Just as the cab moved away with her, my phone rang. It was Sonia, one of my girlfriends. The call had come at just the right time, I noted with relief. She would have been a killjoy had her call come through a minute earlier. I thumbed the answer key and lifted the phone to my ear.

    []… I thumbed the answer key and lifted the phone to my ear.
    *********
    The worship session was now frenzied. Some persons were not only swaying, but also shedding tears. Many were now on their knees and I could see two persons rolling on the floor. To my disappointment, one of them was Magdalene. She was making a mess of her uniform, her beautiful choir uniform.
    Why her? I asked myself, fuming within. I had brought my camera, hoping to convince her to pose for one or two shots with me, but now… Was she so shameless? The church was almost filled to capacity, and she could afford to start rolling on the floor – in front of everyone! I hissed in disgust. No spirit, I reckoned in my mind, could make me lie on the floor. Not in front of such a large congregation.
    Then, just as I was on the brink of honourably exiting the hostile gathering, they brought the worship session to a close. This time, a guy walked out to take the place of the lady who had been leading. He smiled proudly, running his eyes across the congregation. What was it with this people and pride? I asked myself.
    ‘Tell your neighbour it’s time to praise the Lord,’ he boomed, his voice deep and well groomed. I felt some envy. A guy walked up to me and did as the song leader had instructed. I muttered some gibberish in response. ‘If your neighbour ain’t clear and sure enough, move to someone else and make the declaration…’ I noticed that even the pastors were moving obediently. Self-deceit – that was my impression of the whole scenario.
    My neighbour had left me, for this time, I heard a female voice. I was surprised to look into Magdalene’s face. I was surprised to see no speck of dust on her; she didn’t look like one who had been rolling on the floor some moments earlier. Then I looked at the choir stall and saw, for the first time, the red plush rug laid on the floor. It was still new, I observed, and appeared well maintained.
    ‘Hi,’ I told her and smiled.
    ‘That wasn’t the instruction,’ she whispered. ‘Well, hope you are enjoying the service?’
    I nodded in the affirmative, wondering why I had to lie. I wasn’t enjoying any service. It was a far cry from the fun the clubs provided. It was devoid of the heavy and fast paced music, the body-intertwining dances and brain warming booze we enjoyed in our parties. I wasn’t enjoying the service.
    ‘Good, I will see you when we close,’ she said next and went back to the choir stall while I looked on stupidly.
    I would have said something; I would have told her that I might not be able to stay till the end of the service. I would have cooked up a convincing lie to get her to give me her number, but I didn’t.
    The song leader raised a popular song and in a short time the whole congregation was in ecstasy. Gradually, the pace picked up; so much that it felt like the parties. I could see many dance steps that I thought would be taboo in a church being performed with reckless abandon. Everyone seemed to want to outdo the other – even amongst the choristers. I smiled; feeling entertained for the first time, but still couldn’t join in. I wasn’t sure if it was shyness, as I was never shy in our parties, but I felt indisposed to strutting my stuff in front of such a congregation. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and marched out to receive the call. The usher who had led me to my seat initially was still at the entrance door. She smiled and bowed low as I walked past her, a gesture I reciprocated. She was becoming more beautiful with every passing moment, I noticed, and I was almost tempted to request for her number too. I made mental comparisons of her physique with Magdalene’s but couldn’t adjudge any superior. They were both endowed, in their own ways, and I thought they would make good lays. I mentally checked myself for contemplating such things in church, but didn’t really care anyway.

    TBC

    #717848 Reply
    Mubarak master postMubarak master post
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    nyc/ ride on oga

    #717849 Reply
    Certified BaeCertified Bae
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    Isorit..

    #717852 Reply
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    Ride on

    #717854 Reply
    Macrex {phunny dude}Macrex {phunny dude}
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    NEXT! PLS :g

    #717895 Reply
    Mz UniqueMz Unique
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    Nyc one

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