I watched the airplane taxi down the runway and couldn’t help but smile to myself.
This would be the first time in 10 years since we’d last seen each other. It was Chidi that suggested this reunion. “A renewal of friendship“, he’d called it.
I couldn’t agree more. I remembered those times in the university when we would go to a bush bar and buy plates of pork, then down it with bottles of 33 Export Lager Beer. Then Obinna will start an argument with the ‘outsiders’. That was what we called men that didn’t drink 33 Export Lager Beer. He always won anyway, after-all other drinks had nothing on ours.
I was so lost in my thoughts, I didn’t notice that the plane had parked at the tarmac and the passengers were already alighting from it. But a heavy slap on my back snapped me out of my reverie.
“Ye!”, I turned to check where it came from. Immediately another slap landed on my back again. Followed by a familiar laughter.
“Kevo, so you’re still daydreaming while standing”. Obinna hadn’t changed one bit. He was still loud and jovial as always. He didn’t carry much luggage. Just a small leather bag that probably contained only the essentials. He wore casual jeans, T-shirt and sneakers with a hoodie. No one would believe he was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“Guy, don’t you know you’re hitting a father of two kids here? “, I said as I tried rubbing my back to no avail. It hurt like mad.
“Just that small pat. Your wife must be feeding you ogbono soup every time. Come to Abuja and spend one weekend with me. After one bottle of 33 Export Lager Beer, your life will not remain the same,” Obinna said and looked around, “Where’s Chido?”
“He’ll meet us at the bar. He’s still at the hospital . You know all these doctors and their busy lives, “ I said as I slowly began to steer Obinna away from the boarding area to the taxi stop. If I left him, he’ll stand there for hours because of gist.
We got into a taxi and drove to our reunion spot: the bush bar we always hung out in the early years of our friendship. We sat down and ordered two plates of goat-meat pepper soup then began discussing our jobs while waiting for Chidi. Few minutes later, he arrived. He was wearing corporate shirt and trousers with his stethoscope still hanging on his neck.
“Guy, so you couldn’t leave your stethoscope in the car?”, I said as I shook his hand.
“You know all of us cannot wear anything we want like you programmers. This stethoscope is my identity,” then he turned his attention to Obinna, “Obyno, you’re eating criminal law money. It’s showing on your skin ooo. How did you make time for us lowly people?, “ he joked as they both hugged.
“Anything for our friendship, my brother. And besides, who is lowly? You that owns 3 mega hospitals. Or is it Kevin that has developed one billion and one apps? “
“16 actually,” I corrected as Chidi sat down.
“Ah, so what are we eating now? “, Chidi said and took one meat from my plate.
“First things first,” I ordered 3 bottles of cold 33 Export Lager Beer. When they arrived, we poured a glass each and raised it up.
“To drinks that holds memories,” Chidi said.
“To 33 Export Lager Beer,” Obinna added.
“To friendship,” I finished.
And our glasses clinked.
By Onyejeme Chimere Philemon