Key To My Heart



♣ ♥ ♣ 

SHE only had a few deliveries that evening and since all four were closely located, she was done within the first hour of her leaving the farm. Though it was well past six p.m. the sun refused to slide back behind the sky and chose instead to deceive folks into believing that there was still enough day to do the things they were desperate to get done in twenty-four hours.

She wasn’t deceived herself, not quite. She wasn’t small-town minded enough to calculate the passage of time by the direction and brightness of the sun, she had her wristwatch to do that for her. But if the sky was still bright enough to provide natural light to her pathway, she might as well take advantage of it and take care of the toiletries shopping she’d earlier earmarked for the next day.

As was Obi’s routine, he already had some chairs and tables set out on the veranda of his supermarket building and folks were already seated sharing drinks, the fried meat and well-grilled fish that Obi’s wife prepared for their makeshift drinking bar every evening.

There were other spots to drink, eat goat-meat or fish pepper-soup, but Obi’s place was the most decent of the lot and the closest to residential areas in the town, so folks preferred to do their drinking and relaxation there. Of course the fact that his wife’s grilled fish was legendary in their town also backed their choice.

“Good evening, all.” She warmly greeted, sending a friendly smile to the familiar faces that hunched over the wooden tables.

“Evening, Patti.” Came the generally chorused response.

“Done with your deliveries for today?” Ben asked. He was a civil servant and worked with the Ministry of works and housing at Asaba. “Did you stopover at my mother’s? I believe she needed broilers for the cook-out she is planning next Sunday.”

“I did. And I got the snails she also saved for us.” Patti lingered at his table. They were friends, even though Ben wanted more and never made any bones about the fact. “How was work today?”

“Boring as usual. I swear if I didn’t enjoy having so much time at my disposal, I’d leave my job just for the lack of challenge of it all.” As she’d known he would, Ben patted the space beside him on his bench. “Sit down a while with us, Patti. Have a drink and some of Obi’s wife’s grilled fish.”

“I am sorely tempted, Ben.” She wasn’t. But it was always polite to have an excuse and to massage a friend’s ego. “But Nnadim is waiting for me for us to eat dinner and I am already running late.”

“Let me call Nnadim and ask him to go ahead. I am sure Nneka can perfectly serve his dinner.” Ben took her hand and pulled her closer. “Come sit. Obi bring Patti a bottle of Malt.”

She didn’t pull back from the hold. It was a conscious effort but she managed it with her smile still in place. “Obi save that Malt for next time, please. I really have to run, Ben. Had to take Nnadim to the clinic yesterday morning and he is still not feeling strong enough to be left on his own.”

“Oh, is it his arthritis again?” Ben was instantly sympathetic. “Chei, that sickness is a menace to old folks. Tell him ndo on my behalf. Maybe I will find time on Saturday to come see him.”

“And he will appreciate that.” Her hand free, she stepped back from the table. “Let me just grab a few things and then be on my way.”

But as she was about to step into the store, she heard the new chorus of greeting. “Good evening, doctor.”

Though her body, for its own reasons, stiffened involuntarily, Patti refused to turn around, instead she walked ahead and into the store. “Obi evening oh, please let me have my bathing soap, toothpaste, hair cream and Nnadim’s body ointment.”

“Coming right away.” Obi cheerfully called, already moving through his shelves for the items. “Evening, doc.” He added the greeting with a toss of a smile over his shoulder.

“Good evening, Obi.” Isidore stopped beside Patti by the counter, sent her a casual look. Did the woman wear nothing but jeans and t-shirts every day? “Evening.”

She spared him a glance. “Evening.”

“How are you finding our clinic, doctor?” Obi filled in the silence. “Must be completely different from the hospitals in Lagos, right?”

“It is.” Isidore inclined his head. “But it is also a relief to be so much less over-worked.”

“Is that why you chose to come here, to be less over-worked?” Patti didn’t know why she butted into the conversation when she should be avoiding talking to him altogether.

“I chose to come here because I wanted to come here.” Isidore met her point-blank unfriendly gaze. “Do you have a problem with there being a resident doctor now at the medical centre, ma’am?”

“None whatsoever. I only hope the resident doctor plan to stay long enough and to do his job rightly enough whilst here.” She dug her hand into the back pocket of her jeans and pulled out some bills which she passed to Obi. “And it’s not ‘ma’am’, Patti is my name and I prefer to be addressed by it.” She picked her packaged goods and sent a smile to Obi. “Thank you, Obi, and have a good night.”

“I plan to stay long enough here and I have never but done my job rightly… Patti.”

She halted and turned her head. “We will see on both claims, doctor.”

“It is not doctor. My name is Isidore and I too prefer to be addressed by it.”

This time she did not stop and she did not respond. Only called out farewell greetings to the folks on the veranda and got back into her truck. It was going to be a tedious month with her having to keep running into the new resident doctor.

And yes, she was more than certain he won’t outlast his first month here.


♣ ♥ ♣


HE met his grandmother on the veranda. “Good evening, Mama-Onye. Not inside yet?”

“Not on a bright evening like this.” Mama-Onye smiled affectionately at him. He had always been one of her favourites because of his kind heart and hardworking spirit. “How was your day at the clinic?”

“Good. We had more patients from Ubulu-Unor than from here in town.” Since she was outside, he dropped beside her on the high-back cushioned bench.

“It will be so. Now we have a doctor permanently here, many of them will be more confident coming here rather than going all the way to Asaba.”

“Maybe. But I don’t think it’s everyone who likes the idea of a resident doctor being here.” Isidore murmured. “I think they preferred the way the last doctor came and went.”

“What is that?” Mama-Onye adjusted her head to look at him. Noted his frown. “Who would not like us having our own doctor right at our own clinic? Has anyone been saying anything to you?”

Isidore pulled up his shoulders. He didn’t even know why he allowed that annoying woman to get to him. “Not really. But I don’t think your delivery girl likes my presence in this town. In fact, she can’t wait for me to go.”

“You mean Patti?” At his nod, Mama-Onye barked out a laugh. “Oh, is that who’s got that frown festering on your forehead?” She let out the boisterous laughter again. “Oh, Patti is harmless. In short, she is much like you—kind-hearted and dedicated to her duties.”

“Kind-hearted? I don’t think so.” Isidore scoffed. Then recalled she’d been quite friendly to the fellow who’d been holding on to her hand back at the supermarket. “Maybe she is… but she hasn’t been to me. I always figure kind-heartedness went with friendliness and that lady has been anything but friendly to me.”

“You talk as if you’ve seen her more than her bringing Nnadim to the clinic yesterday.”

His grandmother’s curious stare made him shrug again. “Met her for the third time this evening as I stopped at Obi’s store to pick up my shaving sticks. First time was when I went out for a stroll the other evening and stopped by the fence of their farm to have a look at it. She told me I was trespassing and demanded that I desist from doing so. In fact, I don’t know how that woman is any success at the work she does because every time I’ve met her, she’s oozing of unfriendliness.”

“Really?” Mama-Onye’s features creased with a thoughtful frown. “So she hasn’t been friendly to you, eh?”

“She has been rude… and unapologetically so too.”

“Ha, I see.” The mild frown shifted into a smile. “And what do you think of her?”

“I just told you what I thought of her, Mama-Onye. She is rude and annoying.”

“So she annoys you, eh?”

Isidore looked at his grandmother and frowned at the smile on her face. “Let me assure you, Mama-Onye, that that lady is not my kind of girl at all. At all.” He repeated.

“Mmm-hmm.” Mama-Onye continued to smile. “Your dinner is on the table. I’ve eaten though but you can bring yours out here and continue to keep your old grandmother company as we gaze at the night sky.”

“Um, okay, I’ll do that.” But he still stared at her dubiously. “Don’t start getting any ideas at all, Mama-Onye. I don’t like that girl and I can assure she doesn’t like me either.”

“I am old not deaf, young man. Go get your food and stop repeating yourself like a parrot.” His grandmother snootily ordered.

But even as he walked inside the house, the smile on her face continued to worry him—or was it the annoying fact that he couldn’t stop thinking about that annoying woman?

Dedication: For all June & July Celebrants, may your lives be blessed.

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21 Responses to Key To My Heart

  1. Dhebra says:

    Wow..This is lovely.

  2. Jeffrey Jamez says:

    She is indeed annoying

  3. Emmanuel says:

    Good one. Patti but why….

    Keep it coming pretty….

  4. Gloria says:

    Yah, only a thin line btw luv n hate

  5. Nykky says:

    Na so e dey start now. Chemistry at first then head over the heel later. Nice one TM

  6. iyke david says:

    That mostly how it developes!
    *TM you understand now*.

  7. Fsf says:

    Aunty Patti,when you go …

  8. Ego says:

    Patti be forming iron lady

  9. Asheadzi says:

    Isidore and Patti will soon. be friends. Weldone TM for this wonderful episode.

  10. Roselyn says:

    Sister Patti free yourself and enjoy a new company naa. Thanks TM

  11. Pacesetter says:


  12. Uchechukwu says:

    Hmmmmmmm!!!! Patti and Isidore
    Think I’m gonna lyk dis

  13. imotolab2014 says:

    thin line

  14. Datoks says:

    This Patti gal is just forming strong woman up and down

  15. kulvivi says:

    from annoyance love will come in. d tin line btwn love n hate. weldon ma

  16. Pele o Isidore and Patti.

  17. Paula says:

    Patti cool down small

  18. Toyenlon says:

    Patti and Isidore….looking out for you…Mama Onye already knows how the thing go be…lol

  19. Cheriepet says:

    TM pls make the annoyance a little longer and unknowingly wooing sweeter. because no matter what Isi and Patti will dance together pretty soon


  20. mady says:

    lol.. its expected

    Mama Onye must av been naught wen she was younger.

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