John ‘Dare Okafor
It was one of those cool evenings; the sun had reclined into the clouds, and the flowers on the field blossomed in different colours.
Under a big mango tree were two elderly men, both in their late eighties, sipping palm wine from their cups and enjoying the cool of the evening.
‘’You shouldn’t take much of that, Biyi. We both know how fast you are becoming old,” Gbade cautioned his best friend of many years, with a smile on his face.
Biyi laughed, showing two rows of browning teeth, all thanks to the long years of chewing kola nut. There were two or three missing teeth in the rows.
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‘’See this old boy calling another person old. After all, you are still a year older than me,’’ Biyi returned, slapping Gbade playfully at the back. They were both familiar with banters such as this.
‘’At least, I’m still looking fresher than you. At this age of eighty- five, I can still woo the finest of ladies in this village,’’ Gbade said as he sipped the wine from his cup.
Biyi couldn’t hold his laughter any longer, this time louder than the previous one.
‘’Old man like you! Do you think you still live in those days when ladies flocked around you like bees? Besides, don’t allow Motunrayo hear that; her grave is just behind us,’’ he joked.
Gbade’s face sobered. The mention of his late wife’s name brought back memories of her. ‘’Hmmm… ‘Rayo mi….,” the old man thought aloud after some minutes.
“This year would make it the tenth year since she left to be with Eledumare. Do you know I still see her in my dreams every night?’’
‘’I know, my friend. You’ve always told me about it. This year would make mine the sixth year. Although I don’t dream of Aduke often, but I really do miss her,’’ Biyi said as he removed the aso oke cap he was wearing on his head, showing his grey hair.
‘’It’s only a matter of time; we would also join them. Look at our friends: Tade, Ogunjimi, Boidun, Badebo, Ogunsegun; they are all dead,’’ Gbade reminisces, picturing how they usually gathered under this same mango tree for evening drinks as they discussed on happenings within the village.
‘’Hmmm… life is truly a gift, and I count us privileged to be bestowed with it up till this time. Eledumare has been truly merciful to us; we have both seen our grandchildren, and even our grandchildren’s children,’’ Biyi’s eyes lighted with thanks.
‘’That’s true, Biyi. We have indeed been blessed, and I’m also glad we are still together as friends till date. I can still remember how we both met at the village stream as teenagers, and how you taught me to swim on that particular day,’’ Gbade said, a smile spreading across his lips.
With a broad grin on Biyi’s face: ‘’ You hardly forget things, my friend. I’m also glad we are still together. ‘’
Gbade looked at his friend intently: ‘’ Biyi, promise me you wouldn’t cry whenever I die.’’
‘’How do you even know you would die before me? My friend, what matters now is that we have life. Let’s not think about death, but make every minute of our remaining days on this earth count,’’ Biyi said.
The evening had gradually crawled into the night, as the moon shone in its glory, casting the shadows of both men to the ground…