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He turned up the music full blast and headed towards Western Avenue are of Lagos.
Like old times, he met his friends outside sitting on white plastic chairs facing a football field, watching teenage kids playing soccer while sipping on gin and juice. It was their after church Sunday ritual. A ritual he had tried to get away from, but right now he knew he needed to be around familiar people.
As he parked his grey 2017 Camry by the road side, he looked at all the cars lined up at every his old street, and he was reminded where his love for cars came from. This had always been the trade in this part of town, and it was so easy for him to go into it. You could get just about any car you wanted here; from an old Jaguar, to the latest Bentley.
Before he got out of his car, some of his friends were chanting his name, ‘ANDREW!’ ‘ANDREW!!’ He felt so great and his spirit was lifted instantly. Even though he was not Yoruba like most of them, they had taken him like a brother. He rolled up the sleeves of his white long sleeve shirt, and tucked in the shirt properly into his sky blue jeans when he stepped out of the car.
“Andrew! I thought you had checked out of the country?” One of his friends said and they all laughed as he approached the table.
“Nah! We are going to make our billions in this naija.” Andrew said as he greeted a lanky guy in white native with a bottle of Jack Daniel Whiskey in his hand.
The guy poured a little content of the bottle in his hand on the floor before saying “To our fallen one, Tunde.” The atmosphere around them went dull, as they all got up and poured liquor out their plastic cups. And then, after the few seconds of silence, the lanky guy turned to the barber shop across the street and shouted out “Yusuf, play us some music men! No dulling.” ……….
The music was not so loud that they couldn’t talk, but they still had to use loud voices in communicating with each other. Andrew joined in the political talk every once in a while, but his mind was miles away. He didn’t care if the President had been away from the country for more than two months. He didn’t even care about bad governance anymore; he just wanted to be happy.
Every now and then, a new plate of fried meat would be brought to the table, and within 5 minutes, the plate would be empty. They were on their second bottle of Jack Daniel and Andrew was thinking of leaving any time soon. Even though the drink and being with old friends had lifted his spirit, he didn’t want to get drawn back to the old lifestyle.
He gulped down the content of his cup and was about to announce his departure when power went out, and everywhere became silent. The lanky guy then turned his car to face Andrew and said “Yes! I heard you are in love.”
It got Andrew off guard and he smiled before saying, “Who told you that?”
“Hahaha! So, it is true? Praise God o!” The guy said and his other friends shifted their attention from the football field to Andrew.
“What!!? Are you for real?” The short robust guy in black Adidas track suit said as he drew his chair closer to Andrew. “Please, I want to hear this story.”
As he thought of what to say, his phone started vibrating on the table. When he picked it up, he was shocked to see the caller ID display ‘Angela.’ “Please give me one minute guys.” He said as he got up and walked towards his car. “Hello.” He said into the receiver.
“Hey! Are we still watching Logan today?”
“Umm! Yea.” Andrew responded as his mind wondered what was going on.
“Cool. I’m driving to the mall now. Can we meet there in about an hour?”
“Okay then. See you in a bit.” She said and the line went dead.
Andrew stood still, with the phone still glued to his ear after the line had disconnected as he thought of what had just happened.