A BEFRIENDED ENEMY

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THE BIG DAY

CHAPTER TWO

The next morning, Chidi couldn’t help but notice that something was off about his wife. She was unusually sluggish and got lost in thought every now and then. He chosed to ignore her because he needed to concentrate on the activities of that day; a big day whose outcome would turn their lives around. But he couldn’t look away any longer when every little noise startled her. She was obviously troubled.

When asked, Nnenna narrated her dream to her husband. He was kind enough to listen to her till the very end, without reprimanding her. When she was done, he let out an exhilarating laughter. The type that makes the other party feel stupid.

”Nne (as he fondly shortens her name), you need not be told how far Obi and I have come in our friendship. A mere argument rarely come up between us, and even if it does, we will settle it in the spirit of our friendship, let alone a fight. That, can never happen………we were only being too playful in that dream of yours” he resorted to a fresh round of irritating laughter.

His wife agreed with him but not in totality. She didn’t doubt their friendship but however insisted on what she saw the night before. She emphasized the most worrisome parts of the dream one by one; the angry Obi and his swollen face, the sleepy Chidi that got the vent of his anger, the irreconcilable connection between the monster and her husband …

“Even in reality, Obi will beat me hands down, let alone in sleep. Remember he is still very much active in wrestling. He may just want to try a new wrestling skill. I can only appeal to him prior to that time, to take it easy on me.” The man stood his humorous ground and laughed hysterically once again.

Nnenna didn’t find any of his talk funny and was about to voice her worries once more when she was cut off.

“Woman, can I have some peace? Do you need to be told that today, more than ever, I need to have a clear mind? Would you rather tire me out with your rantings and cause me to sleep right there at the award-giving ceremony?”

Silence engulfed the room, at first but the woman soon realized that she had taken the talk a little too far so she quickly apologized.

Chidi had mentioned “his sleep” which in their home, is as dreaded as the word “death” itself. The same magnitude of fear exist for those who have lived in Ohia community for more than a decade. This is because when he was younger, he was a wrestler; a promising one, just like Obi. But there were several rumours surrounding his sleep habits that no one truly knew the truth about and dared not ask. One day, in the middle of a wrestling match, he fell into a deep slumber, right there on the pitch!

Everyone was scared. He was thought to be dead at first but was later confirmed to only be catching a nap. All attempt to wake him up went futile. That was even scarier. Most people there present believed that his opponent probably jinxed him, in order to win at all cost. For that reason, another wrestler was asked to take up the fight under the watchful eyes of the organisers. No one wanted to, as they were not prepared and perhaps, they were scared too.

Ohia’s glorious record in wrestling was at stake, so was Chidi’s honour as an all-time winner. Obi therefore, took up the challenge, fearlessly. And he won! He won for the community and for his friend who woke up when he has gotten his full dose of sleep, the next day. Afterwards, no one dared invite or take Chidi up in any fight. His robust career in wrestling died a natural death.

Nnenna also took note of the words “tire”. She is very much aware that after tiredness comes his sleep. He always say so himself. There was no better time to stop her expressing her worries than now. She broke into a pretentious smile as she shoved her initial thoughts aside. She stepped closer to the man with an exaggerated interest in the ceremony he mentioned earlier.

“Nnayi (could mean my husband), finally the award winning ceremony is here. The day you will reap the fruits of your labour in Ohia community” she slided into a short dance session and successfully bought her husband over.

He liked what he saw and was soon smiling and praising his wife.

“Nne, as a young lady your dance steps attracted me to you and I'm still fascinated by it after many years. For this you’ve done, once our land is allocated to us, our house will be built without delay. I’ll ensure there’s enough room where you can dance to your fill, for my pleasure alone’’

The couple laughed in unision.

“My husband, my priority is a space where I can use as a vegetable garden. I need that handy to make sumptuous soups for you. And secondly, our children will need a big playground. Please look into it"

‘’That will be done too without jeopardizing my preference’’ Chidi stated matter-of-factly, laughing confidently.

A little chit chat continued happily before they started preparing for their outings; both of which are related to the ceremony of the day. Nnena would be joining Obi’s wife to cook for the felicitation party in honour of their husbands’ awards. The men only need to attend the ceremony and bring home their reasons for celebration; the awards!

Chidi prepared slowly for the ceremony. It is second nature to him to do things at the speed of a snail. He barely rushes anything especially because he has a dependable friend who fills in that gap for him.

Although both men are about the same age, Obi is an exact opposite of his friend. He has a very responsive personality though much less calculative. He is very quick to everything, anger inclusive. His fearlessness and determination always make him achieve success where everyone fails.

He is also a very resourceful team player with high spirits. Above all, he is a friend one can count on at all times, hence the reason why Chidi do not see the need to improve on his weaknesses.

Their big day has finally arrived and Obi was one of those who almost couldn’t wait for the day to break before arriving at the community hall that morning. More than a thousand attendees would grace that occasion and he cannot afford to take rear seats on a day where they would be called upon as beneficiaries. He took two comfortable seats and waited eagerly for the commencement of the program. He knew for sure that his friend would be late but his seat would be waiting.


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