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“It was spring wasn’t it?”
“Spring? What do you mean?”
“I mean when we met”
“Dummy, we met in March”
“Isn’t that Spring?”
“Don’t be an idiot, We have no spring in Nigeria. It’s either Rainy season or sunny season”
“Can’t you let me be tush even once in my life?”
George looked at Bade with serious eyes. “No… no I can’t. It’ll be you lying to yourself. As your friend, I can’t let you do that. Be true to yourself man”
They sat under a tree. The leaves were falling. In another country they’d call it fall, but it was really just windy. Good windy, not the gusty type that got sand into your eyes; just that cool calm one that washed over a person’s face. The one that brought a strange type of hope with it. Bade wanted to look at the sun. George didn’t know why, but hey, he was his best friend and it was his job to do what Bade said… well at least try to.
“You’re so gay,” George said.
“Why would you say that?” Bade didn’t sound offended, merely curious
“What grown ass man would want to stare at the setting sun with another under a tree? Are you going to ask me out? Cos I can promise you that the answer is no. I’m not going to date you.”
Bade chuckled. “You aren’t my type anyways.”
George feigned hurt. “I could be your type.”
“Ewwwww,” said Bade, and they both sat back and laughed
“We both fought over her, didn’t we?”
“That was the stupidest thing ever, eh?”
“The stupidest thing.” They kept silent for a while. George hadn’t thought about Viv in a while. It didn’t matter anymore; she was history. They had met her around the same time, both tried to court her and had fought for a while over her. She was beautiful. Her eyes had been so captivating. But she was married now to some bloke and George and Bade had moved on. Here they were, still friends
“A blanket would have been nice,” said Bade.
“Some food perhaps.”
“At least some drinks,” Bade said.
“14 years” answered George with a slight smirk.
“You’re no fun.” Bade crossed his arms.
George laughed easily. “You’re so dramatic.” Bade scowled.
“Did you ever picture this though,” George asked.
George shrugged. “You know, spending this time like this, sitting here staring at a waning sun, with one friend.”
“I dunno. I don’t think I expected anything to be honest. But if there was a birthday I wanted, it’ll have been a concert. I always wanted to hear Switchfoot live and maybe even do a song with them, you know, just sing…. That’ll be so awesome.”
Bade had always loved the relatively popular rock band’s deep songs and amazing lyrics. And George couldn’t blame him; they are good.
“You could have that.”
“Will you pay to fly them down?”
“I’m not doing too badly you know.”
“Enough to fly four men first class and lodge them?”
George didn’t answer.
Bade’s eyes widened. “Why in God’s name will you be sorry? This is the second best way to spend a birthday. With a good friend.”
“A distant… distant second,” Bade added cheekily.
“Stupid.” George nudged him.
Bade laughed. He looked genuinely happy. George was glad. He deserved to be happy
“Ever going to marry Ruth?” Bade’s voice was low, quiet, serious
“I don’t know,” George answered.
“If you don’t, I’ll snatch her.”
“You want another Viv?”
“No. This time, I’ll win”
George smiled again. “What if she’s not the one?”
“Does she make you happy?”
George thought about that. She does make him happy, or does she not? He sighed
“Then don’t be a sap, do something about it.”
George nodded. “You should get a girlfriend too Bade.”
“Pfft! No one likes me.”
“So not true! Everyone loves you.”
“Maybe… I don’t know. I always searched for someone to love me. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”
“We all deserve love.”
“We do. But maybe searching for it is…”
“I liked too easily. I loved attention and always felt I never got it back.”
“But you’re here.” He looked towards George.
“Of course dummy. If you’d told anyone else to come for your birthday, they would have.”
George regarded Bade for a while. “Yeah,” he said, finally.
Bade just chuckled. “I think I’m going to lie down now”
“You’re going to sleep here? Under a tree, beside another guy?”
Bade chuckled again “Free me, guy.”
“See you soon?” Bade yawned a little. His voice sounded tired, sleepy.
“Yeah, I’ll be right here when you wake up”
“Make sure you see the Lord of the rings movie. It’s awesome, I don’t understand how you haven’t seen it.”
George nodded, a little choked up.
“Sure, I’ll see it.”
“Liv Tyler is such a beautiful woman.”
“I’ll be up in no time.”
“Sure, you just rest. okay?” Bade nodded, closing his eyes.
George cried silently. His best friend had been so strong. He deserved the world. George grieved that out of six billion people in the world, only a few hundreds—and that was being optimistic—would know this: that he was the best. Bade had chosen to spend his final moments with his best friend. George didn’t understand this. He could have spent it with so many other people, but he’d chosen him.
The doctors and nurses started to come towards where Bade lay beside George. He looked so thin, yet so peaceful. “Happy Birthday Bade,” George said, kissing the now cold forehead of his best friend. “Yes, it was Spring.”