Tunde was riding on a crowded train on a windy Monday morning trying to get to work on time.
Train stops … people get off and it continues again on a seemingly endless journey.
He sighed with every stop wishing that the train would not stop until he had reached his destination which was only an hour away.
Suddenly his phone rings, he looks at the screen …… its Emeka his friend.
He had mixed feelings about picking up. He and Emeka had fallen out and had some bad blood that was prematurely swept under the rug. He had been putting off taking this call for weeks.
He reluctantly picks...
Tunde – Hello, what’s up Meka, as he fondly called him. He wondered why that term of endearment fell off his lips so easily.
Emeka – Hey boss. How’s it going? I have been trying to reach you for weeks. Hope you are good. Can you talk? There’s something I need to tell you.
Tunde – Sorry man, I am on my way to work. I am good though.
Emeka – Snap I forgot, my bad!!! I am currently off work so I assumed everyone else was free like myself. I am coming to town this weekend, there is something I need to tell you and I want to do it in person. Will you be off as usual?
Tunde – Err, why so sudden, why didn’t you call me a week in advance.
Emeka – But I did, you just wouldn’t pick up and I can’t put this off any longer.
Tunde – hmmm, sounds important. Hope all is well. Did someone die?? What is going on?
Emeka – Don’t worry Tunde, everything is ok. It is good news but I don’t know how you would take it, that’s why I want to say it to you in person.
Tunde – Ha!, this is really something. You should know I don’t like suspense, any clues? So, I know what to expect.
Emeka – No man, it’s all good. We will talk at length over a drink when we see. Later man, enjoy your day.
He cut in to avoid spilling the details…
Tunde – Alright, take care of yourself man. See you Friday night.
Tunde couldn’t help but wonder what the important message Emeka had was, after all it had been almost six months since they really spoke and enjoyed each other’s company.
He brushed aside all thoughts of Emeka and the uneasiness he felt. He went back to counting stops on his way to work.
Closing all tabs and shutting down his laptop, Tunde could only think about the impending arrival of his friend Emeka.
He picked his jacket and headed out of the office and to the train station. He contemplated going the route to the airport or just heading home.
“Emeka should be arriving in twenty minutes and I should head to the airport as agreed” or not he thought.
“He knows his way around town and should not have any difficulties getting to his hotel”. He concluded.
He shrugged off these thoughts and headed straight to the airport. The ride lasted twenty-five minutes, and as he entered the airport he got a call from Emeka.
Emeka – Dude, where are you at?
Tunde – Am here. Come out to the lounge and chill with me before we head out.
Click! The phone went off.
He ordered a beer while he turned his gaze on to the screen hanging just above his head. He was staring but not really paying attention to the game.
He was lost in his thoughts and suddenly he felt a light tap on his shoulder, he turned to find his friend Emeka standing behind him with a stupid smile across his face.
“How far!!!!” they both screamed at the same time, hugging each other, and almost toppling the table in excitement.
It felt good seeing his friend again and for a moment he forgot all that had happened between them in the last one year. He beckoned to Emeka, adjusting his own chair.
Sit man let’s have a few brews before we head out to the hotel.
The next forty minutes was mostly catching up, trading insults and friendly banter until Tunde snapped back to reality and said, “man why did you come all the way here just to talk?’
Then after a gulp of a beer each, Emeka said “dude let’s get out of here”
They both motioned to the waiter, Tunde paid and they left.
Now both seated by the pool at the hotel having barbecue and drinks. Emeka started by accusing Tunde of intentionally ignoring his calls and asking if everything was cool between them.
Tuned nodded, saying “nigga we good”.
“Here goes nothing”, Emeka said.
I am getting married, and immediately Tunde almost choked on the barbecue ribs he was trying to enjoy.
He struggled with his cup and after a gulp, he was fine. He then asked, “to whom?” and “why am I just hearing this?”
The next words that rolled off Emeka’s lips literarily punched Tunde in the guts.
I am getting married to Chioma.
Tunde was enraged and speechless. He nodded for Emeka to go on.
“I proposed a month ago”. Emeka said and she said “Yes”. I was the happiest man in the world when she agreed to my proposal.
At this point, Tunde tuned out and could no longer hear the words but was intently staring at Emeka’s lips. He was buried deep in thought, all the events of the last year were pouring back. It was overwhelming but he managed to keep his composure for the second time in a year, instead of being true to himself. He bit down on his lower lip and suppressed all conflicting emotions.
He forced a smile and said the words “congratulations brother” so faintly.
Emeka was relieved to hear that, it was very tense and uncomfortable breaking the news.
No one could tell Tunde’s real reaction as his face was layered with so many masks.
He smiled and asked the waiter to bring the finest wine to celebrate his friend.
Before the waiter returned, Emeka said “I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me and I would like you to be my best man”.
At this point Tunde laughed hysterically and Emeka was worried.
Tunde said, “Water under the bridge”
I am super excited for you and it would be an honor to be your best man. He stood up and hugged Emeka.
He whispered in his ears, I would organize the best bachelor’s eve in the history of mankind ……. To be continued.