Through the years we've shared good times and bad times. We've made each other laugh, we've even made each other cry, but all in all he is one of the few people I consider a good friend.
Samson smiles at me and Peace, his wide smile showing his small gap in his upper set of teeth. He reaches out and I do the same; both of us greeting the African way; strong handshake ending with a click. He ushers me and my sister in.
Samson's home is spotless; as it's always been. Instinctively me and Peace take off our shoes. Aunty Mfon (Samson's mum) doesn't allow people with footwear in the living room.
One day when me and Samson were kids, I was over at his place. He made the mistake of wearing his shoes into the living room. His mum was not happy! She looked down at the carpet at the tiny little stain his shoes made and began cussing him out in Efik, her mother-tongue (His dad is Igbo)...anyway lets just say from that the on, he never made that mistake again. (Not while she was around anyway.)
The living room is a beautiful place. It wasn't too over decorated; it was simplistic yet very noticeable. His mother is an interior designer. Samson stands by the doorway of the living room.
"Can I get you anything to eat or drink guys?" asked Samson.
"Nah, man. I'm good" I replied.
"I'm ok thanks" says Peace
"Are you sure?..Come on; Don't act like strangers in my house. I've just finished cooking"
I laugh at Samson and shake my head.
"In that case it's a definite no. I've tasted your cooking before. Never again"
"Hush up, boy. I've improved my cooking skills since I last saw you. Besides you can't even cook rice; Infact you can't even cook water!" he says amused.
Peace giggles. I nudge her with my elbow. I guess they both remember the time I tried to cook pasta. It was when I was 12 or 13. I used one of my mum's expensive cooking pots she uses for special occasions. I put water on to boil and forgot about it, I was watching 'Kenan & Kel'. Too cut a long story short the pot almost burnt and mum was ANGRY. After landing me with combination of smacks she made me kneel down and raise up my hands. Lucky for me dad wasn't home.
Samson leaves to go to the kitchen. He's gone for a few minutes then returns with a plate full of food and a glass of coke. He has alot on his plate. Chicken, rice, salad and fish. He looks at me and Peace teasing us with his eyes.
"So, Mikel how was your graduation ceremony?" Samson asks me with his mouth full.
"It was ok. Just like other graduation ceremonies...long and boring"
"Peace; you're very...peaceful today, how comes? You’re not runnin' your mouth as usual." Samson says cheekily.
"You used to talk just as much as me, sometimes even more." She responds kissing her teeth.
Samson always likes to teas her.
"What about your mum and dad?" he asks
"They're fine thanks" I reply.
Samson was very popular with my parents; my dad especially. Samson was extremely bright and always did well in school and my father never let me forget that. I recall times when he would say "Don't you see your mate, Samson?! See how well he's doing! You should try to be like him; even better..Does he have two heads?...If he can achieve high then so can you!" That was one thing which almost stood between me and Samson.
In recent years Samson has decided he doesn't want to go to uni. I laugh to myself when I think of this. If only my father knew; he wouldn't think Samson is so perfect anymore.
"So, have you started job hunting?" Samson asks between mouthfuls.
"No and I don't plan to anytime soon. I just wanna relax abit." I reply nonchalantly
"Serious? I thought you would have had something coming up by now"
"Well, you know...Your dad? He's a serious guy I thought he'd probably..."
I decide to cut him off because I know where he's going with this convo.
"Forget about my father for now. I'm grown now. What about you? You found a job yet?"
"Easy, bro. I was just askin'." He takes a big bite out his chicken. Samson really needs to learn table manners.
"Have you decided what you wanna do with yourself?" I ask him
He stops chewing for a split second then swallows hard.
"I'm going through my options"
"Haha! I wish my dad could hear this. He’d see how wrong he is about you"
Peace giggles a bit.
"What's funny?" I ask
"I was just thinking about the times dad always used to compare you to Samson"
"Don't remind me" I reply.
Samson looks on at us curiously.
"For real? So your dad actually does that? Wow."
"He used to. And it was very annoying. If only he knew how you behaved outside school"
"My grades made up for my behaviour. Besides you're no angel yourself.
"I never said I was. But compared to you...."
"Well that's the thing Mikel, compared to me I still got ranks over you. You just said your father compares you to me; ha! Anyway I guess were on the same level now. Seeing as you also don't know what to do with yourself"
Although he's joking I don't find it funny.
"Relax, Obi. You know Sam is kidding with you" Peace says.
"Well, I have my degree...from uni" I say without smiling
"A degree you didn't want. So hush Mikel"
It seems tensions are rising. I have a slight flashback to our last meeting; our disagreement. I won't lie; I kind of feel bitter now.
There is a small moment of silence which I decide to break.
“You're still kinda mad about our plans right?" Me and Samson are staring at each other now.
"Bro, that was a while ago, I'm over that"
"What plans?" Peace asks.
Before I left for uni, me and Samson planned to travel around together. But my father wasn't having it. Samson saw it as my fault and was very angry at me. I thought by now he'd have let it go. I guess I was wrong. With Samson, we could always forgive and forget. I guess this case was different.
"Mikel! What plans?!" Peace asks again.
Me and Samson momentarily look at Peace then back at each other.