In all of these, you had said, nothing vexed you as much as how Chioma and I chose to rub it on your face. Why did we choose to take the best seats at the hall? Why did we choose to always sit close to you and Tameh? And how dare I now want to turn the story around by saying that you chose to sit close to us and that you were stalking us? And yes, you mentioned jealousy, how dare I suggest that you were becoming jealous of what was going on between Chioma and I? You wanted answers to why I cared to know whether or not you were jealous, and in a very bad taste, why I shouldn’t carry on with my ‘new lover’ and stop offending you with unnecessary bygones.
Now, dear Ewatomi, I wonder if I should placate you or douse rage in humour, however, there are times even in comedy-making when one has to be serious. I am not one to subscribe to that fabled ingredient of genius; the understanding of the margin between adequate and excess, but I believe that I have given you neither excess nor adequate information on the matter of which you have seemed to pick offence. Of what value then would it be if I should desire to pursue genius seeing what has become of an inadequate chronicle? All the same I would go ahead to spell issues out as they really went down.
From our correspondence, it is obvious now that we were victims of our individual pride in letting what we had going slip away. While you waited for me to act, I waited for you to do the same. And while we waited, life, which abhors vacuum couldn’t wait. Foremost, I would like to clear up what I believe to be your misconstruction of the person and intent of Chioma. Yes, how a known snub suddenly became radiant with conviviality, and shades of gregariousness is worthy of probe, and when a young man is by her happy side, love is right to be the first hypothesis. You, I believe, have not put her on trial for being a snub so long, nor for turning from that unpopular path, but for, as I perceive, breaking the girl code-an unwritten constitution that provides that a girl should not move in on another girl’s guy. On the surface level, I would agree, perhaps some inches deep too, that there was a moving in on someone. But the first question should be who moved in on who? It is as that aphorism of the yam that suffered a bad cut and the people arguing whether it was the knife that fell on the yam or the yam that fell on the knife. Note, that it is still debatable whether this cut did happen, because a slap on the back to one may be a pat on the back to another; or even more conveniently a kind attempt to kill another man’s mosquito-what one thing is to me may be another to Chioma. So, perhaps, until Chioma agrees that there was indeed a cut, this debate is not won or lost yet. However, if eventually the stars align and Russia and the US are in accord, and we all agree that there was a cut, I would own up to say that the knife did fall on the yam and that I am that guilty blade. Save for that long hug which served my purpose, Chioma did not press any buttons. I was the one moving all the motions as in plenary, and it is to her credit that some bills were not passed. Case in point, I mentioned in the first letter, in excusing you of fault in your continued attachment to Tameh that no one would refuse the invite of a soldier’s company in that camp where such a connection was an insurance against severity and stress. This point was originally not mine; Chioma had said it to me in assuring me that all would be well between you and me at the end. Yes, I had gotten enamored with her in the vacuum of your absence, but more than that I was amazed at her for always being there for you, coming in your defence at every juncture and not moving in with reckless abandon.
My dearest Ewatomi, though we should agree that we are not all innocent of blame, but there are really no devils here-we merely reacted almost as perfectly as circumstances demanded. Nevertheless, all of these have channeled my mind to an entirely new path; and perhaps in the coming weeks I hope to reveal the details to you. Suspense ‘kills’ me, but I enjoy keeping others in it. In my next letter, my dear, I will tell you the story of Hannah, a young lady who got into a man’s life with the naivety of a wildebeest who, though seeking shade but having no idea how delicious it looked, wandered into the lions’ den. At least, I hope, another vitriol would not follow thereafter from you.
Stay safe my dear Ewatomi. Like Jews greet over a festive meal, next year (we shall be) in Jerusalem. Bye.