written by Serah Iyare
Didi and Mara were childhood friends.
Nothing in the whole wide world could ever separate them.
One man rocked the boat of their friendship.
Will their relationship sink or withstand the overturn?
“Proclaim your awesome power, Tell of mighty deeds, Declare your future kingdom, Of everlasting peace, And my eyes, They look, Unto you, Always, And I am captured, By your majesty, All of my days, I will sing of your greatness, All of my days, I will speak of your grace, All of my days, I will tell of your wondrous love, Your love in my life, Your love,” they chorused the lyrics of the Darlene Zschech song playing on the car’s DVD player.
“I love this song,” she grinned from ear to ear and nodded her head in sequence with the rhythm of the song. Her excited dark eyes remained on the road, while her hands held the steering wheel firmly.
“Me too,” she continued humming the lyrics of the song.
“Abeg increase the volume,”
“Why?” she glanced at her fair skinned neighbour who was seated at the backseat of the car and returned her attention to the road.
“Just increase it,” she eyed the driver, her dark skinned neighbour.
“Ah-han what? Do you want to make us the center of attraction?” she hissed.
“The weekend has just begun. We are entitled to enjoy ourselves.”
She hissed again, “This is my car. I decide what goes on in here.”
“Sorry o! Madam Car owner.”
“And my eyes, They look, Unto you, Always, And I am captured…” her friend continued to sing, ignoring them.
“You keep quiet now,” she attacked her.
“Leave her alone. Is she singing with your mouth?” the driver eyed her.
“Madam Car owner please mind the road and get us home safely.”
“Hey! Hmmm… Ehn… someone has a very big mouth.”
“All of my days, I will sing of your greatness, All of my days…” she went on singing.
“That reminds me, will you like to come to church with me on Saturday evening?” she glanced from one to the other.
She stopped singing and made eye contact with her fair skinned friend.
“It is a Singles’ programme. I heard that the guest minister is very gifted.”
They both remained quiet.
“I noticed that you do not attend church on Sundays.”
“We just moved into the area,” her voice was laced with defense.
“We will scout for a place of worship when we are ready,” her friend chimed.
Their neighbour shook her head. She turned into the busy street and parked the car in front of a one storey building.
“Thanks Shalewa,” Mara opened the door and jumped out.
“You are a God sent,” Didi dashed out of the car and hurried after her friend.
“Ah! Wait!” She watched them dash into the compound through the open gate. She shook her head again.
These girls are something else.
She turned off the ignition.
I am not going to let them get off that easily.
She got out of the dark blue Toyota corolla 2008 car and locked it. The gateman greeted her; she returned his greetings and headed for her flat which was on the ground floor.
Didi joined Mara in the kitchen.
“You are boiling water; do you want to make eba?”
She shrugged and brought out a small pot of ogbona soup from the refrigerator.
“Please make my own too.”
“Am I your personal chef? You better boil your own water and make your own food.”
She stared at her friend who was turning the defrosting soup with a long wooden spoon. The brown skirt suit she was clad in complimented her fair skin. None of them had gotten out of their work clothes.
“What is doing you?”
Mara threw a glance at her.
“Why do you like acting difficult?”
“Difficult? Really? Because I refuse to make your food, abi?”
“It is beyond food. You are always like this.”
She placed the spoon on the four burner gas cooker and clapped her hands.
“See hunger…” she started to laugh.
“You better arrange yourself and add my portion to whatever you are making or else, I will make this flat uncomfortable for you.”
“You are threatening me, hey! Look at this small fry.”
Didi strode out of the kitchen. Her high heels made click sounds on the tiled floor.
“You are threatening me instead of begging me.”
She watched her friend leave. She returned her attention to the steaming soup.
Didi returned with a white towel wrapped around her slim creamy brown frame, “What do you think about the Singles’ programme?”
Her brows knitted in a frown.
“Abeg I need my Saturday,” she switched off the gas cooker. She lifted the kettle from the cooker and poured the hot water into a big bowl.
She opened the container they kept garri and poured some into the water.
“We need a place to worship. Let’s attend the programme and see how her church is… we haven’t attended church since we moved into this area.”
“I am not interested,” she turned the mixture with a wooden spoon.
“She has a car. She will pick us up and drop us. The same way she picks us up at work every day.”
She dished the eba and ogbona soup into two different bowls.
“Didi follow her if you want to. I will find a place of worship when I am ready,” she placed her food on a tray.
“Watching TBN and all these Christian stations isn’t enough.”
She lifted the tray and walked out of the kitchen. Didi picked up her bowls of food and followed behind her, “Mara…”
“Didi leave me alone. Salvation is personal. My God and I understand ourselves.”
She halted, looked at her, sighed and headed for her bedroom. She would take her bath first, and then eat later. There was no use trying to convince her friend. Mara had a mind of her own. Once her heart was set on something, she wouldn’t budge. They had known each other since they were children. They both grew up in Ikorodu. They attended the same schools, from primary level to tertiary institutions. They even served in the same state. They had gotten jobs in the same company, PZ Industry, Ilupeju, six months after their service year. They left the comfort of their parents’ homes in Ikorodu and moved to Shomolu. It was a whole new experience for them. They hoped to get married before their thirtieth birthday and have all their kids before they were thirty-five. They had talked, dreamt and prayed about it. Their plans, hopes and dreams were placed in God’s hands. They believed he would perfect all that concerned them. She kicked her bedroom door open with a leg. She hurried into the room and placed her bowls of food on the table beside the bed. She entered the bathroom and turned on the tap. The cold water made her to shudder a bit.
“And my eyes, They look,Unto you, Always, And I am captured, By your majesty, All of my days, I will sing of your greatness, All of my days…” she sang out loud. She would collect the CD of the Darlene Zschech song from her neighbour after she had eaten that evening. She was a sucker for that genre of music.