First time encounters- The Governor’s Wife
This week I’ll be sharing the scene from The Governor’s Wife where Philip sees Ogonna again for the first time in seven years— seven years after she abandoned him.
Although not their first time meeting, it is a dramatic encounter after years of not seeing each other.
A few seconds later, Philip glanced up at the sound of his office door opening. At first, he thought he was seeing things—hallucinating—and his heart dive-bombed in his chest. It simply couldn’t be. Philip blinked, and opened his eyes again. It was…it really was Ogonna. Walking into his office like a hurricane about to upend his life. Again.
Time stood still as he took her in, almost greedily. Stunning. As always. Tall and slender with smooth ebony skin. With her heart-shaped face and deep brown hue, he’d often told her she looked like the Nollywood actress Genevieve Nnaji. Her hair was shorter now, styled in a fashionable bob, bringing attention to her fine facial features—nicely carved eyebrows over large charcoal eyes, a cute nose, and that mouth. Oh God—full and pouty lips, coated with a startling bright crimson tint that contrasted sharply with her skin tone.
Philip’s heart continued to fibrillate violently in his ribcage, his body immobilized by the shock of seeing her again. Unexpectedly. Unprepared.
For self-preservation, he had avoided any news about Ogonna. He hadn’t wanted to hear about her happily living a blissful life with the governor who could buy her the world. He prohibited close pals from even mentioning her, had cut off most of his friends from university precisely to avoid running into anyone offering information about her.
When he had inadvertently seen a photo of her standing beside her husband on the front page of a newspaper last year, smile bright as the sun and looking like she’d won the lottery, he’d experienced weeks of intermittent heart palpitation episodes that had made him physically ill. Panic attacks, the doctor had diagnosed.
He’d managed to get over that period after months of isolating himself. Now, within a few seconds of seeing her again, his pulse jerked uncontrollably, his breathing became laboured, frighteningly similar to how he’d felt then.
“What are you doing here?” he sputtered, jumping to his feet. His annoyance wasn’t just with her, but with himself…for his weakness, for allowing her mere presence to destabilise him. “I was expecting Funmi Adelaja.”
“Hello, Philip,” Ogonna answered. Her gaze slowly swept over him, widening in guileless admiration.
An intense surge of anger rose up inside him. Ogonna had no right to look at him this way, no right to walk into his life again like a beautiful apparition and mess with the armour he’d carefully constructed around his emotions after her betrayal.
“I haven’t scheduled a meeting with you. If you need to see me, book an appointment with my secretary. This slot is allocated to Funmi Adelaja.”
Her breath hitched sharply. She appeared startled by his gruff tone. He was determined to ignore it.
“I am a busy man with no time for drop-ins.”
“I have an appointment, Phil, I’m not a drop-in.”
He must have been mistaken thinking his demeanour had startled her. She sounded calm, together, and completely unfazed by his dismissal. Which made him even angrier.
Phil? Phil? Is she kidding? How dare she call him Phil as if they were old friends catching up over lunch.
“Philip. My name is Philip to you,” he snapped. “Actually, scratch that. You may call me Mr. Adamu.”
She heaved a deep sigh before she spoke again. “Mr. Adamu, I have an appointment with you. I booked it under the name Funmi Adelaja…because I didn’t think you would want to see me—”
“You’re right as hell about that,” he cut in. Pointing to the door, he added in a biting tone, “This meeting is over. Please leave now, before I call for security.”
She didn’t budge.
“Listen, Phil…Mr. Adamu. I know we have our differences, but I’m here strictly on business, to discuss renting the property I’m interested in.”
“Differences? Is that what you call cheating on me and running off to marry the next money pot that crossed your path? Does your husband know you are here? Or do you cheat on him, too? I thought you live in Ebonyi state. What are you doing in Abuja?”
A pained expression crossed her face. For a moment, Philip felt himself weaken. Even after all these years, despite his rage, her pain got to him. Clenching his jaw tightly, he pushed the emotion aside. Anger was his weapon. He needed his fury, so he didn’t crumble in front of her.
“My husband doesn’t know where I am. Or maybe he does. It matters little. We are getting a divorce.” Her soft voice brought his mind back.
Silence. The air in the room seemed to have been sucked away, leaving Philip feeling a little dizzy. Divorce? When? Why? He shook his head rapidly to clear it. He shouldn’t be even remotely interested. Nor should the news be flooding his senses with profound joy. Ogonna’s marital status was no longer a concern to him.
“Now, isn’t that something. Found a richer one, have you?” His lips tilted into a sardonic smile. “Frankly, I don’t care about you or your life, Ogonna. So, like I said before…leave.”
Her jaw dropped open, a shocked gasp escaping her parted lips. “Won’t you even hear what I have to say? I need this property.”
“What part of I don’t care didn’t you get? Nothing you have to say interests me in the least. I won’t rent to you. Ever. So, you’d best spend this time looking elsewhere.”
“You think I didn’t search for an alternative, Phil…Mr Adamu? I really need this, please,” she said in a broken voice, the last sentence a shrill, frantic plea.
Philip suddenly burst into humourless laughter. “Good God, how ironic. I remember asking you not to marry the governor years ago. Pleading with you…just like this. Desperate. But you did it anyway. Now, here you are, begging—”
“I’m not begging for anything,” Ogonna interrupted him tersely, flashing dark eyes at him. She squared her shoulders, lifting her chin with the spirited confidence he’d always known her to have. “I’m interested in renting…and I will be paying.”
“Well, I don’t need or want your money.” He pointed to the door again. “Leave now or I truly will call security.”
“You don’t even know why I need the property.”
“Don’t know. Don’t care. Out!”
She stiffened, staring at him in startled disbelief. He noticed tears fill her eyes and his stomach tumbled. Not once in their thirteen years together had he ever made her cry. A part of him wanted to apologise, take her in his arms and comfort her. But another part needed to hurt her, make her feel the pain she’d put him through when she’d deserted him. No true explanation, no remorse, leaving him to draw his own conclusions about their breakup—that he wasn’t good enough, rich enough. What other conclusion would one draw when she’d left him to marry a wealthy governor? The old wounds resurfaced, igniting his resentment.
“Leave my office, Ogonna,” he said in a low hoarse whisper.
Their eyes locked for a few moments, hers wet and shiny. A muscle in her jaw worked, as though with the effort of fighting tears. She’d lost—the tears came anyway.
Philip gripped the edge of his desk so tightly that he heard a crackling sound from his knuckles as he fought back the instinct to embrace her. How could he be so angry with her and still ache to take her in his arms? Why did she continue to have this much power over him?
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The Governor’s Wife
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