I get a phone call from my buddy Ken. Yet another one of the blokes from work has moved on to ‘pastures new’ and we who have been left behind are meeting up for drinks and to chat. It is a welcome distraction from the events of the last few weeks – missing EJ, a couple of massive projects at work and the fairly steady haranguing I have been getting from my mother.
We meet up at the Moonlight Bar in town. It is owned by a Nigerian chap, who is friends with a few of the guys so we get to use it free for events as long as we buy beers from him. I am the fifth person through the door, but the place rapidly fills up until we are well in excess of sixteen people. We dive into the bottles of beer – as usual I settle for Becks blue which is supposedly non-alcoholic.
Informal introductions take place – everyone is a geek of some sort – and then we all begin to give and take banter as the beers flow. As usual there is talk about Nigeria. Someone brings up the comedy of errors that were the postponed elections, GEJ’s Biafra faux pas, and we all give a piece of our minds. Feelings begin to run high as people whose interests lie with different political parties and camps begin to analyse the pros and the cons of their positions.
After a while, we break into little groups. The Ibo chaps all gather over bottles of gulder and pepper soup. Jay and I come together in our own little two-man group.
-So how’s EJ doing, he asks. In the past he’s insisted he’s EJ’s biggest fan, bar me, so his question is expected.
-She’s fine, I say. He peers into my face, as though he somehow detects there’s more I haven’t said. I weigh the pros and the cons of a full disclosure, but decide to hold off. He is clearly not satisfied and he proceeds to probe a little more. I finally let it all out.
– We broke up a couple of weeks ago man, there was the small matter of an irreconcilable divergence in opinion on a particularly heated subject.
– There you go again this man he says as he shakes his head, his brow creased into a frown due to the mammoth effort he appears to be making to understand what I am saying.
– Na grammar go kill you ooo. So you lot broke up just for one reason?
I nod in agreement. He motions to the barmaid to send two more bottles our way. He is still shaking his head when the bottles arrive.