Twice Is Not Enough… When Love Clashes
Words, they say, are the most powerful instruments in existence; they are capable of playing up emotions, feelings, and reactions when in the hands of an expert wordsmith. Twice Is Not Enough (Boxwood Publishing House, Frankfurt, Germany; 2015) by Che Chidi Chukwumerije is a story of love in its deepest and truest form, of love lost and gained over time, and then lost again in the strangest of circumstances. It’s a story of intense emotions expressed and repressed, of barriers, and friendship, ties and bonds that seem to bind forever.
The novella will certainly evoke diverse feelings from different readers, which is at the heart of its success, the unfulfillment of a love that is seemingly given.
It’s the story of Ngozi, a painter and Tony, a poet, who, having dated back in the university, got estranged from each other, find their way back to each other’s arms again a few days before Ngozi is scheduled to travel to Germany. Ngozi, who intends to spend the rest of her life in Germany with her current lover, Tanko, is reluctant to leave as her love for Tony is reawakened like a fiery furnace, but only it gets tamed by Tony’s indecision what to make of his life, his poetry and a new love just about flowering with yet another woman.
Chukwumerije aptly plays up the elusive love between Tony and Ngozi in their reunion since he left university, “And they laughed, smiled, but did not embrace. The weight of the years, somehow lay yet upon them and between them. Memories of pain slowly arose. Tony saw it steal over her eyes like grey clouds across and open sky. He had hurt her. Deeply. She had had her faults, some of them major pain-bringers. But in the end, it was he who had delivered the fatal blow. And she had not forgotten. It was in her eyes”.
However, the ghost of their past and the decisions made while apart create a huge wall between them despite the intense love they share. The web of love which engulfs Tony and Ngozi stretches further to brew a new friendship like none other between Ngozi and Ada, Tony’s twin sister. In the end, a love rekindled isn’t quite enough, and it seems Ngozi and Tony would have to live it apart.
Twice Is Not Enough takes the reader through Ngozi and Tony’s journey of pain, hurt, friendship and emotions. As Ngozi and Tony try to decide if love is all they need to be together again, Tanko battles his fear of losing Ngozi to Tony while Ada struggles with her fears and resigns to Tony’s decisions that always seem to confuse her. Tony having to drop out of university to pursue a career as a poet, for instance; and the uncertainty of his love for Ngozi. For Ada it appears Tony is abdicating his duty as a man who ought to be responsible. Although she knows he writes good poetry, but she fears that poetry alone is no guarantee for anyone to be held in any esteem in his peculiar environment.
Indeed, Twice Is Not Enough charts the peculiar path of two artists caught in intimate but difficult relationship. The confluence of their artistic minds does not follow the regular pattern. Tony’s sudden decision to drop out of university thwarts what was already a blossoming and foresworn relationship that no barrier ought to break. But artistry bears heavily on what he is to become and it breaks the rhythm of love between these lovers.
As Ada puts it, “Tony. Why couldn’t he be like other people? Afterall, he wasn’t the only poet ever born, not would be the last, would he? Thinking about Tony brought pain always to Ada’s heart. If it wasn’t the pain of disappointment, sorrow or worry, it was the pain of incomprehension and yearning”.
The author of Twice is not Enough Che Chidi Chukwumerije’s prose poetically infused, but in a pleasant sort of way. He pays attention to details of the environment of his subjects. Like the poet he is, Chukwumerije plumps up deep emotions in his characters and immerses his readers in the deep well of those emotions. His ability to craft words like a skillful potter makes Twice is Not Enough a masterpiece and a must read for all.