Best Friends Forever By Serah Iyare

“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.
Best Friends Forever
Best Friends Forever 

“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 story 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.”


“Why not?”

“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.

“Shalewa said…”

“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.


“Take me Deeper-Deeper in love with you-Jesus hold me close in your embrace-Take me deeper-Deeper than I have ever been before-I just want to love you more and more-Lord I want to be deeper in love,” the Worship leader sang beautifully.

She lifted her hands and sang along. Her friend tapped her on the shoulder. She turned her creamy brown head to face her.

“Who wrote that song?”

She blinked and dropped her hands, “I think it is Don Moen.”

She raised an eyebrow, “Are you sure? I thought it was Bob Fits.”

She shrugged, “Why don’t you Google it?”

“I like the song.”

“Me too,” she returned her attention to the Worship leader.

She tapped her again.

Oh Lord God Almighty. I can strangle this girl right now.

She looked at her through the corner of her eyes.

“He has a nice voice.”

She glanced back at the Worship leader.

“Assuming he was taller, muscular, you know…”

She placed a hand on her forehead and shook her head.

“Did you see Shalewa among the Choristers? She didn’t tell us that she was in the Choir. What is she feeling like?”

“Ssssssh….” She placed a finger on her lips.

“You too sssssssh!”

They both eyed themselves. They realized that they had attracted the attention of the people standing around them.

“Next time, I will not sit beside you.”


The Pastor took over the service. An hour later, Mara and Didi found their neighbour at the car park. She was leaning on her car and chatting with someone.

“I have been waiting for you two, come and meet one of our diligent Protocol department members.”

They stood beside her and seized up the six feet; dark skinned, broad shouldered young man clad in a black trouser suit. His white long sleeve T.M Lewis shirt and matching black tie made him look like someone in the ‘Men in Black movie’. What was missing was a dark sun-shade.

He shook hands with Mara, “It is nice meeting you.”

“Yeah…” she blushed, his dark piercing eyes engulfed her, “I am Amarachi, but everyone calls me Mara.”

“Okay Mara.”

She liked the way he called her name. Her hazel eyes fastened on his square like shaped face.

“I am Onuwagbe, call me Uwa.”

She chuckled. She felt excited, “You are from Edo State.”

He nodded, “Yes. I am from Esan.”

Her eyes brightened, “My mum is from Esan.”

“Really?” His eyes shone in surprise. It was a good thing that the different tribes in Nigeria were beginning to inter-marry. Her mum who was Esan married an Ibo man.

“Yes…” It suddenly dawned on her that he was the perfect physical description of the man she would like to spend the rest of her life with. He was tall enough. She was five feet nine inches. Anyone shorter barely caught her interest. He was broad shouldered, dark skinned and easy on the eyes. It was her lucky day.

He let go of her hand and turned to face Didi. He stretched out his right hand, “Hi.”

“Hi,” she shook his hand, it felt warm, soothing and firm, “I am Edidiong.”

“Edidiong…” he repeated her name.

It sounded soft and felt like a warm caress. Brown eyes locked on dark ones.

“Can I call you Didi?”

She blinked in surprise, “Everyone close to me calls me Didi.”

He grinned, “Nice. I believe I can join that club.”

She laughed, “Yes you can.”

His dark gaze took in her creamy brown oval face and travelled down her slim curvy frame cradled in a simple pink flowery short sleeve knee length A-shaped dress. She felt uneasy. His perusal made her feel self-conscious. She released her hand from his grip and took a step backwards. His intent gaze captured her oval face again; she looked away and noticed the sheepish grin on Shalewa’s dark oblong face. On the other hand, her friend had a scowl on her fair round face.

Now what?

“Will you be here tomorrow?”

She took a quick look at him.

Tomorrow? What is he talking about? Oh! Tomorrow is a Sunday.

“Yes!” Shalewa interrupted.

Didi glimpsed at her. Mara eyed her.

“They will both be here,” she added.

He smiled, “Good, will you like to have lunch with me after the service tomorrow?”

Her surprised brown gaze flew to his dark face.

Lunch? Lunch after Sunday service? Is he asking me out?

He sensed he had taken her by surprise, “I apologize if I come across as being forward. I hope you are not offended.”


She shook her head.

I am not offended. I am shocked, flabbergasted, nonplussed…

“I know we have just met…”


He smiled. He had indeed taken her unawares, “I am a straight forward person. I don’t beat about the bush. When I see something that I like…”

She swallowed hard.

He likes me. Is that possible? Just like that? Is he trying to flatter me or what?

“Something that I want, I go for it. I don’t play or joke with opportunities.”

She stared back at him. He seemed honest and sincere. It had been ages since someone who she met for the first time would like her at first glance, especially in the company of Mara. Her friend was two inches taller, more beautiful, more physically endowed, and on top of it all, she was fair skinned. She was a queen, compared to her humble self. As far back as she could remember, men chose Mara over her. Even if they met her first, once they saw her friend, whatever they felt for her evaporated. Mara had been in more relationships than she had. It was hard to believe that Uwa was asking her out for lunch when Mara was standing right there. It had never happened before.

“Didi, I like you. I want to get to know you better. I hope whatever this is… this bubbling beautiful feeling within me… I hope it will blossom into something special and long lasting.”

She blinked, opened her mouth and closed it.

What did he just say? Feelings? What feelings?

She was used to guys who hung around her and moved like pendulum bobs before they declared their intentions. She had met a few people who were truthful and sincere upfront. Yet, Uwa’s confession, confidence and out-spoken attitude surpassed them all.

Wait a minute. Is he really being honest with me or does he see me as an easy prey?

“I don’t ask every girl I meet out on lunch dates.”

She sighed with relief.

“I know that we are meeting for the first time, but, sweet heart, this is the way I feel right now. I like you and I want to get to know you better. Will you go on a lunch date with me tomorrow?”

Their gazes locked. Her heart raced.

Shalewa was excited with the scene before her. She used to have a crush on Uwa in the past but the fact that she was three years older than him didn’t sit well with her. She killed her feelings for him and remained a loyal friend. It would be nice if he started dating Didi, they looked good together.

Mara couldn’t believe what unfolded before her. She thought something clicked between them. Was she the only one that felt the connection? She thought he liked her. The way he looked at her a moment ago, she could have sworn that he found her desirable. Why wasn’t he asking her out? Why was he asking her friend? Didi was nothing compared to her when it came to physical beauty and endowment. What did he see in her? As far back as she could remember, no man had ever chosen her friend over her, especially when they were together. She watched them with disdain. She hoped her friend would decline his offer. The Didi she knew would never go out with someone she hardly knew.

Didi tore her eyes away and stilled her emotions. She liked him too. There was no harm in going out with him for lunch. She could always back out if things didn’t go well. She had never gone out with someone she barely knew. She hoped she wasn’t lowering her standards.

“Okay,” she glanced back at him, “All right, lunch it is then.”

“Yippee!” his dark square-like shaped face brightened with excitement. It was contagious. Shalewa clapped her hands together and laughed out loud. Mara’s frown deepened. She felt like someone had punched her in the tummy.

“Can I have your number?”

“Absolutely,” she brought out her phone from her hand bag. They exchanged numbers and other details.

“See you tomorrow Uwa,” Shalewa waved and got into the car.

“All right babes, thanks,” he waved back at her.

Mara got into the front seat without uttering a word.

“Tomorrow,” he whispered.

“Tomorrow,” she responded and got into the back seat of the car.

Mara watched him through the side mirror of the car as her neighbour drove off. She would never understand why he chose Didi over her. She thought she had met the man of her dreams, but her friend had stolen him away from her. How was she going to relate with her henceforth? She hoped the lunch date would turn sour. If it did, she might still have a chance with him. A relaxed smile spread over her face; all hope wasn’t lost after all.


He removed the Cece Winas CD from its jacket and slotted it into the DVD player on the shelf. He had about twenty minutes to prepare for church. It was a good thing that he lived close by.

“I wasn’t looking-All the colours were grey-It’s hard to notice-When you’re out in the rain-All of a sudden-Colours are starting to change-You brought the light-Now the darkness is gone-The search is over-Now I know you are the one-Somebody tell me-Where does an angel come from-Cos you’re more than just the one-Yea you’re more than what I wanted-Everything I never had-Gotta get it right through your heart-You can show me where it’s at-You are the miracle I needed so bad-And you’re more than what I wanted-Everything I never had,” the music filled the room.

He hummed the song while he buttoned the sky blue long sleeve Mark and Spencer shirt. The lyrics of the song brought back memories, good memories. He could still picture her creamy brown oval face in his mind’s eye. His heart beat accelerated at the thought of seeing her again after the church service. He had planned everything. Where they would go, what they would eat, what they would talk about, everything. He was eager to know all about her. He wanted to know everything. It had been a while since he had been attracted to anyone at first sight. His last relationship didn’t work out because his ex-girlfriend wasn’t ready to get married. She enjoyed his company and swore that he was everything she wanted in a man, but she needed a few years to solidify her career before thinking of marriage. He had promised to support her every way he could, but, she chose her career over him.

He gave a shake of head and put on the black suit. The moment he saw Didi, he felt a peace within him. He had a strong feeling that she was the one he had been searching for all his life, the woman he would spend the rest of his life with. There was something special about her. He would derive pleasure in uncovering the beautiful gift God had given him on a platter of gold. An excited smile spread over his face. He was going to see her again that day.

“Didi you are more than what I wanted, everything I never had…” he sang out loud.


She lay on her side and pulled the blanket up to her chin. An ache in her tummy roused her. Was it indigestion? She ate oatmeal the other night. Oats aided digestion, the fiber in it prevented constipation, and it definitely didn’t turn her tummy. She groaned. It was as if her intestines were tied in knots. Brutal sharp pains engulfed her.

Oh God… help me…

What else did she eat? Her mind became blurry. She couldn’t think because of the pangs that nagged at her. Someone knocked. She heard the door open.

“Look at this sleeping beauty,” her friend’s voice filled the room.

She closed her eyes and opened them. She wished the pain would go away.

“Why are you still in bed?” she approached the bed and pulled the blanket away from her friend’s body. She was coiled up in a ball. Was she in pain?

Didi turned to look at her and snatched back the brown blanket. She lay back on the bed and covered her slim frame.

“Are you okay?” she settled on the bed.

She shook her head.

“What is wrong with you?”

No response. Mara eyed her. The doorbell rang.

“I will be right back,” she got up and headed out.

She caught a glimpse of Mara as she left the room through the corner of her eye. She noticed that she was dressed for church. She had on a red knee length pencil skirt with a white short-sleeve V-neck blouse and a pair of red high heel sandals. She looked stunning. A sharp throbbing pain gripped her.

Oh God help me!

She held her belly. Mara and Shalewa walked into the room.

“Why is your friend still in bed?” she eyed Mara and kicked at the bed.

She shrugged, “I met her that way.”

She stepped closer, “Didi, are you awake? Aren’t you going to church today?”

No response.

She glanced at Mara who shrugged again. She frowned.


“Both of you should better find your own way to church. I am leaving.”

“Come on Shalewa.”

The dark skinned tall plump oblong face lady hissed and walked out.

“Shalewa wait!”

Her neighbour hissed again and slammed the door behind her. She turned to look at her friend.

“Didi I have to go. Get off that bed and eat something,” she hurried out, leaving the door open.

God where are you?

She groaned and tried to sit up. She felt very weak. She felt like throwing up and using the toilet all at once. What was wrong with her? Was she ill? She rarely fell sick. Her mum told her when she was a child that she had a very strong immune system. She pulled her weight from the bed and tried to stand. Her knees buckled. She fell, hitting the tiled floor with her buttocks.

“Aaah!” her belly tightened. Her stomach felt like it was being turned inside out. She held it with both hands, unable to stop herself, she vomited. Smelly whitish semi-solid liquid gushed out of her mouth, spilled on her night-wear, thighs, and around her. Her breath came fast and hard. She threw up again and again. It was as if life was being wriggled out of her.

Oh God please help me.


Uwa leaned on the dark blue Toyota Corolla car and waited in excitement. He was going on a lunch date with the lady of his dreams. His eager eyes scanned the crowd gathered at the car park. Where was she?

“Our Protocol Officer.”

He heard a familiar voice behind him. He smiled and turned around. Shalewa and Mara approached the car, grinning at him. Where was Didi? His eyes darted about. Maybe she was still in the auditorium or probably in the restroom adjusting her make-up. His lips broadened in a Cheshire cat smile.

“Hi,” Mara flashed her white set of teeth.

“Hi,” he nodded at her and turned to look at Shalewa, “Hi, hi.”


He returned his gaze to Mara’s fair round fair face, “Where is your friend?”

Shalewa hissed and unlocked the door of her car, “She was still in bed by the time we left this morning.”

He threw a glimpse at his friend who was obviously cranky. Didi wasn’t in church. He paled at the realization that they might not go on a date after all. He believed she had a good reason for not showing up that morning. He was a bit disappointed. Truthfully, he was very disenchanted. He had hoped to take her out and spend the rest of the day with her.

She got into the vehicle and started the engine, “Are you coming or not?” she directed her gaze at her neighbor. Mara felt torn between standing there with him and getting into the car. She turned to look at her. Her grouchy disposition irritated her.

“Look I am hungry, get in or I will leave you here.”

She eyed her. No wonder she was so crabby.

“I will come with you, I want to see Didi,” he fished out his car keys from his pockets.

“Hurry up,” she fired the engine.

Mara got into the front seat of the Toyota car and smiled to herself. She was excited that Uwa was coming home with them. She hoped he would stay for lunch. There was ogbona soup in the freezer. She could make him Semovita or eba. They would eat together and chat. She couldn’t wait to spend the rest of the day with him. This was the opportunity she had been looking for.

Uwa hurried to his car, a white Skoda parked behind the Toyota. He unlocked it, got in and started the engine. Shalewa had already driven off. He followed and caught up with her at the gate. He felt a tinge of happiness at the thought of seeing Didi that noon. A smile spread over his dark chocolate square-like shaped face.


Didi opened her wet dark brown eyes. She felt extremely weak. She had been sitting on the tiled floor all morning. The room oozed with a foul smell. She couldn’t get up, she had no strength. Her stomach contents surrounded her. She had also defecated on herself, not once, not twice, but several times. The stench of it all made her wish the ground would open and swallow her up. Where was Mara? Where was her best friend? Why did she leave for church without her? Why wasn’t she concerned that she was still in bed instead of preparing for church that morning? The Mara she knew would never abandon her, but she had done just that. Why? She wondered if the church service had ended. Her friend would soon be home. The thought gave her some relief. She needed help. She began to hear voices. Was she back? She looked towards the open doorway. She heard someone laugh. It sounded like Shalewa. Then she heard a male voice. Who did they come home with? She strained her ears and listened. Her heart missed a beat. She recognized his voice.

Oh God no! What is he doing here?

She looked down at herself, her facial expression changed from relief to panic.

He can’t see me like this. Jesus, God… no!

She tried to get up, but her hands were too weak. She froze when she heard footsteps. She remained motionless, unable to speak or move. Her heart beat skyrocketed.


She lifted her head and saw Shalewa standing at the doorway. Her hands were placed on her head and her mouth was ajar.

“What happened to you?” her dark shock gaze found Didi’s tired ones. Mara and Uwa walked into the room.

“What’s that smell?” she covered her nose and shot her friend a stonily stare.

Shalewa approached her, “Didi are you okay?”

“The whole room smells like a sewage tank,” Mara took some steps backwards and bumped into Uwa.

He watched the one his heart beats for closely. She didn’t look well. Her long brown weave-on was in tangles around her strained oval face. Her night-wear was stained with puke and drenched with faeces. She was a total mess. He felt pained. What happened to her?

“Why didn’t you go to the bathroom if you felt like throwing up? I can’t believe this. Now the whole house smells badly,” Mara rolled her eyes and placed a hand on her forehead.

Didi stared at her best friend. Why was she upset? What was worse, a smelly house or her state of health?

“I don’t even know if I can sleep in this house today,” she began to pace the room.

Uwa stepped forward, knelt beside her and lifted her up. Shalewa and Mara were caught unawares by his gesture. Didi could hardly believe it.

“Where is the bathroom?” he threw a glance at Mara.

She gawked at him. If he could carry her friend in her despicable state, then he must really like her.

“We need to clean her up. We can’t leave her like this.”

She pressed her pink lips together and pointed at the brown wooden door opposite the bed. He carried her across the room and kicked the bathroom door open with his leg. He placed her gently in the bath-tub.

“I need your help,” he called out to them.

Mara and Shalewa exchanged glances.

“I am not going in there.”

Shalewa eyed her annoying neighbor.

Uwa came out of the bathroom and observed Mara, “You need to bath her.”

“Bath who?” she scowled at him.

He placed both hands on his hips, “I am a guy. I am just a friend. I am not her husband.”

She started to shake her head. Her short jaw-length braids danced about her face.

“Come on Mara. You are supposed to be her friend,” Shalewa chimed in.

His dark brows knitted in a frown, “Aren’t you her best friend?”

“Oh please… I am not her mother,” she spun and marched out of the room.

Shalewa approached him and placed a hand on his shoulder, “Mara can be… you know… but, she has a good heart.”

His doubtful stare regarded her, “I find that hard to believe.”

“I will bath Didi.”

A smile of relief spread across his face, “Then I will clean the room.”

“It stinks,” she wrinkled her nose.

“Tell me about it.”

She found her way into the bathroom and shut the door behind her.


Mara lay on her bed feeling infuriated. Uwa’s feelings for Didi were deeper than she thought. She had been shocked to her marrows when he carried her stinking friend in his arms. She had thought she would have him all to herself when he came home with them, but the moment he saw Didi in that pathetic state, he dashed to her side like a knight in shining armour. She thought her plan was going to work, but it had backfired. The Andrew liver salt she poured into her friend’s dinner had made her too weak to attend service that day. Didi had reacted badly to the purging chemical. Nevertheless, she would be fine in a couple of days. She rolled on her tummy. She must not give up. Things might still turn around in her favour. She needed better plans. Uwa and Didi must be separated before they had the chance to date and fall in love. When she wanted something, nothing stood in her way, not even her best friend. At the end of it all, they would have a beautiful relationship and end up at the altar. They were perfect together. She sat up. She would take a cold shower, change into something sexy and go and look for him. Her face brightened. She got down from the bed and zoomed into the bathroom.


“I called a doctor friend; he said you will feel much better after eating and taking some Boscopan tablets.”

She nodded. She was already feeling better. The hot watery milky custard he prepared for her gave her some relief. She was still weak, her tummy hurt a little, but she was no longer feeling nauseous. The hot bath had also refreshed her.

God bless you Shalewa.

She had been ashamed at her best friend’s behaviour and her neighbour’s sisterly care had astounded her. The thought of bathing someone covered in vomit and excreta was revolting enough. The act of doing it was gigantic. She would call and thank her again later.

“You need to rest. You need to call your boss at work and get a sick leave or something.”

She lifted her dark brown eyes and met his concerned dark piercing gaze. She would ask her friend who worked in the same department with her to fill a sick leave request form for her and give it to their head of department. They might give her a few days, but if she was lucky, she might get a week leave.

“I was a bit terrified when I saw you looking like a rag doll drenched in puke and… and… oh my God,” he placed a hand on his forehead and shook his head.

* * *


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