A Friend Like Nonso. Full Story

  Collet Orji was another major star on that set. Edochie found himself in a film production with two stars in it. He bit himself and began to dance in front of a bush. He

 

Collet Orji was another major star on that set. Edochie found himself in a film production with two stars in it. He bit himself and began to dance in front of a bush. He was already feeling like a super star. After his graduation, without compromise, he had left the land of the Igbos to Ikeja mainly to establish himself as an actor. He was the favourite of his mother, like a torch to her because he was very handy and loved running about the home with her. He would definitely miss his mother’s food, especially ofe nsala and his Aunty’s African salad locally called abacha. That was what he enjoyed with his parents every Saturday evening. His Aunty’s delicious abacha that sold itself before she even went out to the street to sell it was fondly called ‘utor’ meaning sweet and finger licking. He thought about all the things he would miss on his way to Lagos. He would also miss Ejike, his good friend from secondary school to university but he too had got a job in their state capital.

The female star on set was acting as a forest warrior that hunts games and set traps. She was the belle hunter of the village till a beast began to attack her people. The beast had looked too fair so the make-up artist had bathed him with a charcoal. Edochie wondered why a man will always play beast and women will always play witches.

He thought he might switch roles most times and move away from normal things when he begin his own production. He roamed around the camp imagining that one day, he would be an initiator of something amazing as film productions. Edochie acted as the lad who loved a growing maiden in the village. The maiden was playing ogah with her friends in the village square when Edochie walked in as a sweet toaster and said, “Nwamma, I want to talk to you.” Nwamma eyed him up and down till she was tired, hissed and continued to play with her friends. Some young men laughed at Edochie haven been insulted like that by the girl. Edochie and his friend Olu tried again to get the maiden’s attention but the beauty refused to be taken. So one day, in a bush path, Edochie and Olu ran into the girl returning from the stream alone. They accosted her till an argument heated up,
“I am keeping myself for my husband!”
“So I cannot be your husband. In fact, I am your husband sent from the gods of this land.”
“You liar. When I meet my husband, I must know him. He is not you.”
“But you know me. You know me. You must know me Nwamma, this is not Igbo land, I will show you what a Yoruba son like me can do.”
“Leave me alone!”
Nwamma had come to sojourn with a trader in Yoruba after losing her Mbano family in a plague. Her only surviving elder brother had died last so her relatives sent her away to live in a far land to see if she could survive the wrath of the gods.

 

Nwamma screamed terror as Edochie and his friend pushed the bucket of water down from her head. Olu watched if anyone was approaching while Edochie pushed her down and began to beat her. At the peak of it, his hands wrapped around her neck, be began to enjoy choking her. All of a sudden, she stopped screaming. She left the world too quickly. Edochie was fear struck, he froze, got up and began to walk back. He fell on the bush foolishly. His friend covered his mouth, preventing himself from screaming. As little growing boys, they had no better thing to do but to run.
While Edochie was beating the helpless maiden on the floor, he never knew that she was calling her brother’s spirit from the dead with Igbo language to come and save her.
“Brother, brother, nwannem nwoke come and save me, come and save me from people who I do not know. I have come on a journey in another man’s land but their own wants to kill me. Brother! Brother come! Come and fight for me. Fight for me!”

So the boys escaped the murder and lived with the secret. After her burial, the sun shines, the rain falls and the village strived on.

The male star on set was the one playing the beast as the brother of the girl who had come from Igbo land to avenge the sister’s death. The make-up on him was terribly scary that they had to use two consecutive days to shoot all the beast scenes so the star can rid himself of the discomfort from the costume and make-over.

Edochie acted well, although, his chin itched him a little in front of that many people and the camera for the first time. He acted approximately four scenes for which other new actors envied him. As other scenes went on, Edochie busied himself with helping the costumier, also, the lights and sound man to shout, “Quiet, tape rolling. On three, two, one, action!” He peered into the continuity guys book. He helped the welfare serve the team. He was everywhere and everyone noticed him.
He had paid the camp fee the other new actors paid to feature in the production. The producer was like an entrepreneur rising with his group. The young ones usually contributed money to aid the production which Edochie did and the team did well as it tried in pulling in stars into the production while bringing out its own faces. The problem began after the production, where was he going to stay? Who would take him in? Of all the people he had suddenly met in Lagos, who will take him in? The last day in camp left Edochie worried. He lingered on while helping various departments pack their instruments. The male star had left after his scenes but had returned probably to have an important talk with the producer. It was at this juncture that Edochie turned around and saw the star right behind him. Nonso. Nonso startled him and laughed and also commended him for being a good hand in the camp. Above all, he offered him a lift. Edochie conversed scarcely with him via the ride.

Nonso drove till he said, “Young man, you haven’t yet told me where you are going to.”
One thing was paramount, Edochie was a young man of wit and structured words. His brain quickly raced on how he could explain to a super star that he had neither a house nor a home to go to. Awkwardly, he adjusted the school bag clutched to his body and soberly looked at his new friend. Boldly and softly, he said, “I am going to your house.”
He had thought, if he would say that he was going to where he was going but thought it specific and wise to say, I am going to your house. Like hitting the nail right on the head. There, he made his report, plea and remark. A good person must surely pick it up. Nonso cordially decoded the message and decided to accept the friendship. They coexisted together till Edochie could afford his own house after two years. The friendship extraordinarily flourished till another big lacuna presented itself years later. Things went very roughly when Edochie’s wife was pregnant for the first time. Around her period of delivery, a huge sum was needed to sort out complications. Edochie raked his head sourcing for how to do the needful. The economy was shaking everywhere. Eventually, he asked his friend’s help. Nonso was also being affected by the turbulent economy. No tangible cash could come out of him but he had two cars, an old one and a newly acquired Camry. Nonso went around and sold the car in two days time.

Edochie was very grateful and teary for how his friend had gone deep to be a good human being. Sacrifices are definitely the spices of friendship. On the day of the baby’s naming ceremony, Nonso drove in with his old car. Edochie was very surprised, the question escaped his mouth, “Guy, how far na? What’s up your new car… Don’t tell me… “
“Oyeah, na the new car people go buy fast fast in that pressing situation. How is our wife?” He gently replied smiling at his friend. He sold his new car to meet a friend’s need, it wasn’t the sweetness of what he did but that he had made the problem his without any announcement or further ado. Edochie embraced him with all his strength both in heaven and on earth. A friend like Nonso.

 

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