Even If I Don’t Find Peace – Episode 17


By Edwin Lamptey



Before Maxwell could get inches closer and stand face to face with Raphael, he was impeded by Prince and Linda all at once. Both of them stood as a shield between Maxwell and Raphael in the fiery moment. “Maxwell please stop this”, Linda pleaded with tears in her eyes. “You cannot destroy whatever brotherhood you have built over the years with your friends here and like this”, Linda said, while looking at the faces of the people that were gathered in the room. “He should have also thought of that brotherhood before going on ahead to act so selfishly”, Maxwell barked back at Linda referring to Raphael . “Some of us risked a lot and all of it was for nothing, Linda, nothing!” “All thanks to my selfish friend over here”, Maxwell added as he tried to breach the barricade and have a go at Raphael. “Why did you do it?”, Maxwell yelled at Raphael, still trying to break free and get closer to Raphael. “Why have you jeopardized the future of every single one of us here and stand there without speaking?”, Maxwell asked. “At least be  man enough to tell your friends here why you had to stab them in the back this way”, Maxwell continued. “Come to think of it, why didn’t you tell us this earlier when you had the chance but you had to wait till now when this has blown up in our faces and the future looks bleak?”, Maxwell asked. “You are more intelligent than this and I strongly believe you had your own ulterior motive to achieve and it led you to do this”, Maxwell added. “Why didn’t you come to see me when you were in trouble and you knew you couldn’t meet the deadline?”, Maxwell asked Raphael who was still pinned to the corner of the room by his twin brother, Rudolph. “We are supposed to be brothers and help each other out with our issues and that is what we have been doing ever since we became friends so why did you do this to all your brothers?”, Maxwell barked. Maxwell was a very fast speaker so it took those who knew him very well to understand him when he spoke. He was always being asked to repeat what he had just said to a listener who had not heard him before till that person got used to his way of speaking. The speed with which he spoke with naturally doubled when he was angry or in a rage. “I guess we were supposed to be brothers when you went ahead and slept with my girlfriend”, Raphael said while still pinned to the wall. “What are you talking about, Raphael?”, Linda asked. Linda turned and walked slowly towards Maxwell and also asked, “Maxwell, what is Raphael talking about?”. All the boys in the room turned to look at Maxwell and the struggles seized for a moment. “Ruth told you that I slept with her?”, Maxwell, who appeared to be shocked asked Raphael. “Ever since that time, we never got along and I had to do everything possible and sometimes I had to do things I didn’t want to do just to please her and keep her by my side”, Raphael revealed. “I have never attacked you on it because I know you guys had once dated”, Raphael explained. “Stop acting surprised and tell all of us that you didn’t do it!”, Raphael added. “So you did this as revenge; to get one over me for sleeping with your girlfriend?”, Maxwell asked. “And I would gladly do it over and over again if I had the chance because as far as this brotherhood goes, you are the one who betrayed it in the first place! “, Raphael added. “So you could not let this slide after all these years and you could not even consider the fact that this project involved more than just the two of us for you to act more selflessly?”, Frank, who had now stepped aside asked Raphael. Some sense of uneasy calm was returning to the room and the two parties involved were still exchanging words. “Raphael, you still haven’t answered my question!”, Maxwell started. “Did Ruth tell you that I slept with her after we had broken up and you guys had started dating?”, Maxwell asked. “Did you expect her to tell me this to my face?”, Raphael asked sarcastically. “You expected her to walk up to me and say, oh Raphael, I forgot to tell you but I just went back to Maxwell to sleep with him?”, Raphael asked rudely. “Raphael, just cut through the chase and help us make meaning out of all of this”, Frank said. “Ruth was acting weirdly so I decided to keep some close tabs on her”, Raphael started. “It was during those times that I realized she had contacted you and was checking up on you”, Raphael said. “So how does this lead to knowing that they slept together?”, Rudolph asked. “One time, I was on my way to see Maxwell but I got a bit held up so my arrival time stalled a bit”, Raphael narrated. “Before I got to the gate, I saw Ruth coming out of Maxwell’s house and she was looking around to see of she was being watched or followed”, Raphael continued. “I didn’t allow her see me so I quickly walked into the space between the big gate to Maxwell’s house and that car washing bay”, Raphael added. “This is absolute rubbish!”, Prince yelled at Raphael. “So you saw your girlfriend coming out of her ex-boyfriend’s house and you draw the conclusion that they made love to each other; what kind of logic is that?”, Prince asked. “Just let me finish”, Raphael pleaded. “So I didn’t make her see me and when she was out of sight, I went in to see Maxwell who was supposed to be my brother and tell me everything that goes on”, Raphael started. “I gave him the chance to tell me what had just happened because I feigned ignorance earlier but when the truth was not forthcoming, I asked him of what he had been up to all day and he told me he had been in bed all day and what made me more suspicious was the fact that it didn’t even occur to him to tell me that my girlfriend had just visited him”, Raphael added. “So after seeing Maxwell, I went over to Ruth’s and while she was taking her shower, I went through her phone and found out that she had just been chatting with Maxwell and if my memory serves me right, there was a message from her that read, ‘you are such a darling and will forever take a special place in my heart regardless, thanks for the thing, you know what I want and you do it better than anyone’. “Do we need a prophet to tell us what ‘the thing’ is?”, Raphael asked. All this while, there was dead silence in the room as Raphael narrated his side of the story. “Raphael, I still maintain that you are an ingrate and increasingly growing in non-existent hatred for me”, Maxwell said. “Oh, if it is coming from my friend who screws his friend’s girlfriends, I would take it as a compliment”, Raphael said sarcastically. “So why didn’t you ask me about it then?”, Maxwell asked. “Just like now, I also expected you to act as a brother and tell me what was going on without me having to ask first when it has blown up in our face like you are saying”, Raphael added. “So all you did and thought about was to stage a revenge against me for allegedly screwing Ruth at the detriment of all the people here including your own twin brother?”, Maxwell asked. “I guess there is no need holding on to the truth anymore so this is my version and let us allow the rest of the people here judge between the two of us”, Maxwell said. “This is what happened…”

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Maxwell and Ruth used to be the neighborhood’s favorite couple. There was no place you would see one without the other. They talked, laughed, held hands and even cuddled to the full glare of any company they kept. They were so fond of each other that the word making rounds on the street was that the two of them had been secretly engaged to get married when they were of age. This rumour made a lot of sense judging by the way the two of them basked in the glory of each other’s company. Maxwell and Ruth got on well for months till Ruth started demanding outrageously even when she knew full well that Maxwell was not enjoying any form of income. Maxwell tried the best he could to satisfy Ruth’s ‘high libido’ of wants for the luxuries of life. When Maxwell could no longer take it, he asked Ruth to slow down on her demands but Ruth misinterpreted it as a way of driving her away. When this happened, the once talked about “Romeo and Juliet” love affair came to an abrupt end. Before Maxwell could think of getting over Ruth, he heard rumours that she was now going out with one of his friends. It took little effort for him to find out which of his friends was going out with Ruth. When Maxwell confronted Raphael, he didn’t deny it and openly professed his love for Ruth. “You had a taste of paradise and you lost it”, those were the exact words of Raphael to Maxwell during the confrontation. Maxwell did not like the idea that his friend was seeing his ex-girlfriend. During the period in which Maxwell found out about the relationship between Raphael and Ruth, Ruth called and asked to see him. Maxwell was at home when Ruth arrived. “Hi Max, don’t you miss me?”, Ruth asked when she was ushered into Maxwell’s room. Ruth found a spot close to Maxwell and sat down. “You are looking really beautiful”, Maxwell said as he tried hard to take his eyes off Ruth’s shining cleavages. “Who would miss you if they were in my position?”, Maxwell said sarcastically. “You are nothing but trouble to a man’s pocket and I am not afraid to tell you”, Maxwell added. Ruth laughed and said, “I have always loved you for your frankness and the way you speak your mind freely without being intimidated by my beauty like all the other men are”, Ruth said. “Today is not the day for your comparison games”, Maxwell cut in to cut Ruth off before she started talking about the past . “Maxwell, stop being rude and cynical”, Ruth pleaded. “I heard you are going out with Raphael now”, Maxwell said. “How is that turning out for you?”, Maxwell asked. “That is absolutely none of your business unless you tell me that you want me back then I would consider your comeback terms and conditions”, Ruth replied. “So what brings you here this hot afternoon?”, Maxwell asked. “This is embarrassing but there is no one I can do this with but you”, Ruth started. Maxwell got alarmed and asked if Ruth was having problems with Raphael. “No, we get along fine”, Ruth answered Maxwell’s question to allay any fears of friction between the two of them. “On the contrary, I think I am in love with your friend”, Ruth confessed. “The thing is that Raphael’s birthday is coming and I don’t know what to do”, Ruth revealed. “I want to get him something that would let him know that I care so much about him”, Ruth said. “So what is stopping you from getting him the thing?” “Or is it that you want my advice on what to get for him?”, Maxwell asked. “Yes”, Ruth answered. “And one more thing”, Ruth started. ” I am broke and I don’t think I can come up with any money from now till the birth date”, Ruth confessed. “It is quite unfortunate Ruth, but at the moment, I am also cash-strapped”, Maxwell revealed. “I don’t know if I can come up with any money so I don’t want to promise and come up short so try and get a loan from a friend so that we can offset it when I get some money”, Maxwell suggested. “I have actually run out of options and I didn’t consider asking you for help looking at the fact that you know Raphael and it sounds awkward to be asking for your help to buy a gift for my boyfriend who happens to be your friend and I, your ex-girlfriend”, Ruth confessed. “At least I tried”, Ruth said and started to leave. When she got to the door, Maxwell called her back. “Even when we were dating, I never saw you talk so passionately about me like you are doing now”, Maxwell said. “Come and take a seat and let me see what I can do”, Maxwell said. “Your happiness is mine too”, Maxwell said. Maxwell ransacked his suitcase which was positioned at the far end of the room and returned with a new shirt and a box of perfume. “I had planned to wear this on my first date when I found another girlfriend but you can have it for Raphael instead, he is my brother”, Maxwell said and handed the stuff over to Ruth. Ruth was elated and could not thank Maxwell enough. “This is such a beautiful shirt!”, Ruth exclaimed as she admired the shirt that Maxwell had just handed over to her. “I know Raphael would love this!”, Ruth added. “I am so happy!”, Ruth exclaimed. “I knew I could count on you, Max!”, Ruth started. “You are a life saver”, Ruth added. Ruth hugged Maxwell tightly and as they hugged, Maxwell said, “I am glad you are someone else’s problem now”. On hearing that, Ruth broke the hug and said, “I am the best thing you never had and never will”. “Yeah right”, Maxwell responded and they both broke out in laughter. After chitchatting for a while, Maxwell saw Ruth off to the gate. “Please promise me something”, Maxwell said. “I would promise you anything!”, Ruth exclaimed. “Promise me that you would never tell Raphael that the gifts came from me”, Maxwell started. “And promise me also that you won’t burden Raphael with so many demands”, Maxwell pleaded. “I would try my best possible to be a loving and caring girlfriend to your friend”, Ruth replied. “Thanks for the thing one more time”, Ruth said and left Maxwell’s house. A party was organized in Raphael’s house and all his friends were in attendance. Ruth presented the gifts which she had received from Maxwell to Raphael and they shared a passionate kiss. Ruth never mentioned how she came across the gifts…

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“Raphael, you remember what I told you when you confided in me right?”, Maxwell asked Raphael who was now sitting on a swivel chair which was placed behind a big study table. “You told me that you were not jealous of my relationship and you would do anything to ensure that none of us gets hurt”, Raphael said, now looking very embarrassed. “I still stand by my words”, Maxwell said. “You can call Ruth right now and find out”, Maxwell added and handed over his phone to Frank to pass on to Raphael . “Raphael, you were actually hating me for the good I did you and look at the number of people you have allowed that hatred to drag down along with yourself”, Maxwell added. “Raphael you have messed up!, Frank yelled. “Is there any way we can make up for this misunderstanding?”, Raphael asked, with his head bowed down. “A resolution will require cool heads”, Prince suggested. They all agreed to go down to ‘Cool Running’, the pub that was down the road to grab a round of drinks and come back to figure out the next step to take. Before they left for the pub, Maxwell decided to take Linda home to freshen up for the task ahead. Now, they had to work around beating their previous proposal which had already been tendered in for approval. “Do you think we can pull this off?”, Linda asked Maxwell. “We have the brains and this time, we have more people to bring out ideas but it has to be damn good”, Maxwell confessed. As they arrived on the landing of Linda’s porch, she held Maxwell’s hand tightly and said, “Maxwell, this is not the right time and probably not the right thing to say but I think I am falling in love with you”, Linda confessed. Maxwell leaned in to give Linda a kiss but Linda pulled away. “What is the matter?”, a confused Maxwell asked. “I don’t want to rush into doing anything now”, Linda said. “I think you should come with me to church one of these days”, Linda added and rushed into the house but before she banged the door behind her, she said, “Please don’t forget to call me when you get back”. “One more thing, please do not get drunk because we have a task ahead to accomplish”. Maxwell rushed back to the house and called the other boys and they headed straight for ‘Cool Running’. After the second round of drinks and with Linda’s advice ringing in his head, Maxwell kept his drinking to a minimum. As he orders for the third round of drinks, Maxwell received a call from his Grandmother. Because of the loud music that was playing, Maxwell went outside to answer the call. “Grandma, I am just around the house, do you need something?”, Maxwell asked. “Maxwell, please come home, I think I am going to suffer another heart attack”, Maxwell’s grandmother said…

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MAXWELL IS ON TRACK WITH THE WORK TO ESTABLISH HIS FRIENDS BUT HAS THAT MADE HIM FORGET THAT HIS FAMILY ALSO NEEDS SAVING? A MAN CAN ONLY DO ONE THING AT A TIME..

…To be continued

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