The tables were wooden but looked golden from the way they were polished. Same with the chairs Andrew and his friend were sitting on. The air-conditioning was set for when the bar was filled to the maximum, so it was extremely cold with just 3 people in the 12 by 12 room. He held tightly unto the girl on his laps as he engaged in an argument with his friend at the table.
It was 2 in the afternoon, but the room was covered with the heavy blinds, and you couldn’t tell what time it was if you had been inside for a long time. Red light bulbs placed inside the glass floor and a chandelier of yellow light gave the room its only illumination.
The place used to be a small furniture showroom, and the new owner bought the furniture along with the space.
The girl started giving him a lap-dance when a song she liked came on and it didn’t even distract him from the discussion he was having. She had her eyes closed as she moved seductively, rubbing her butt on his g—n. Her black leather skirt went higher and higher, revealing a huge portion of her thick laps, which caught the eye of Andrew’s friend’s who was seated directly opposite them.
Andrew smiled when he saw his friend staring. She opened her eyes and laughed when the room got quiet. She leaned back and whispered in Andrew’s ear before hopping off his lap and doing a catwalk towards the entrance.
“Dude, where do you get these girls from?” Banky, his friend leaned in to ask him. “You have a new girl with you every time we hangout.” He added.
Andrew laughed a little before answering. “I don’t know. I guess the ladies love them some Andrew.” He said and poured himself a drink from the Hennessy bottle. He was scooping up some ice-cubes for his drink as he added, “with my pot belly and all.”
“But dude, for real, you anchor weddings every weekend, but you don’t believe in love. How…”
“Love! Love never helped anyone but the two people in love.” Andrew said, cutting his friend off. He shook his drink gently before continuing. “Love is selfish. Love makes you contented with your life. How many people that changed the world were in love when they did so?” He said and waited for his friends to answer before adding, “That’s right…none. That’s because love is an unnecessarily distraction on your way to success.”
“Well, that’s your theory, I just want to know why then you do what you do?”
“I do it because I am really good at it.” He said with a smile. “ i do it because people are ready to pay me a quarter of a million Naira for it.” Just then his phone rang, and he pulled it out of his pocket with his left hand while his right hand held on to his glass cup. He stared into his phone screen and the smile on his face was replaced by a frown.
And then his whole body tensed up before the glass cup in his hand was shattered by his grip and pieces of glass and ice cubes went flying in every direction.
The wake keeping service was held at the school assembly hall that Andrew and Tunde attended as kids. It was close to Andrew’s house so he got there earlier than most people. He watched as people walked in dressed in black, with long faces. He recognized some of Tunde’s family members, but most of the people in the hall were unfamiliar faces. He still did’t want to believe his friend was gone. And the fact that his family had deiced to bury him a week after his death was weird to him. Why were they so much in a hurry to bury him? He thought to himself. He guessed they wanted to do it as fast and as quietly as possible to avoid the possible stigma that might get attached to the family.
As people got up to sing another song from the hymn book they had all been handed when they came in, two boys appeared from the back of the stage with a big placard. When they turned it around, it had a picture of Tunde on it, with a smile on his face. Tears rolled down Andrew’s face as he quietly walked out of the hall.
He stopped just outside the hall for a couple of seconds to take a few deep breaths before walking to the back of the building, towards the school’s football field. At the end of the south west part of the high school wall was a small rusted gate. Memories came flooding back; he could remember how he and Tunde used to sneak out of school sliding underneath the gate, and a smile appeared on his face.
He pulled out a lighter and his pack of Pall Mall cigarette from his back pocket. A stick of cigarette slipped out of his fingers as he picked it out of the pack and he caught it just before it dropped to the floor. He placed it between his parted lips and flicked the lighter. With his back to the wall, he took his first drag and let out a sigh of relief as he exhaled.
To be continued