I could point out my friends in a crowd no matter how dark the place was or how noisy it was and tonight I knew it was them sitting at the bar admiring the female bartender.
“Gee what’s up” I greeted them snapping their attention back to reality.
“Pay up” Ifeanyi, the tallest of the group said removing his cigarette from his lips .
“Not now” Obinna the shortest says not smiling at me and I knew once again they had placed a bet on whether or not I would join them at the bar. I smiled at them and sat in-between them as that was the only empty seat.
“What can I get for you Sir? ” She asked smiling it was then I understood why my friends were tripping for her. She had a dazzling smile and her cleavages were popping out and it looked like they were about to pop out each time she mixed the drinks .
“His usual, Vodka” Obinna answered for me which made me smile.
“Please give me water, I’m driving after this ” I corrected which got them laughing.
“Wait,. Backus, the god of drinks is asking for water? ” Ifeanyi asked calling me by my Nick name.
“Marriage na bastard oh” Obinna chipped in laughing, which got the bartender chuckling.
“Why are you guys laughing” I asked them thanking the bartender with a nod as she placed my water before me.
“When did you stop drinking and driving? You that drank and drove us from Abia to Enugu one night just because you heard that Dj spinal would be performing at that club 8″ Obinna said reminding me of my youthful escapades.
” You that could drown a bottle of whisky without diluting it with water or groundnut?” Ifeanyi reminded me of my crazy days
” This is different” I tell them taking a sip of the tepid water in front of me as they continued with their jest that had the bartender chuckling.
” Yes it is, Man you got married and changed after few months” Obinna said with all seriousness.
“I’m telling you bro, we thought that a whole Backus like you would be a tough one to bend ” Ifeanyi chipped in making me smile.
“If it’s like this I’m not going to let you marry before you leave me here to be drinking alone” Obinna tells Ifeanyi who laughs since his wedding was fast approaching.
“It has nothing to do with marriage ” I try to explain but again they burst into laughter .
“Oyah, what is it about?” Obinna ask after calming down.
” Thank you for asking” I pat his back.
“It’s about the fact that I’m not living for myself again” I start but as usual they interrupt making jokes of how everyone should live for themselves since Christ had died for everyone.
“No seriously, I’m living for my family now, even if I don’t want to live for myself I have them now” I continue, ignoring them.
” How?” Ifeanyi asks sounding curious.
“For instance, when I drove drunk I had no one looking up to me , no one waiting for me to return home.” I say now getting their attention.
” Imagine if I drink now and drive and get into an accident which might result to me loosing my hands or legs? Then Ada has to live her life taking care of me because of my stupidity” I catch the bartender nodding in agreement as she shakes the drinks.
“Imagine telling my children, daddy lost his hands driving drunk” I tell them painting a vivid picture so they could understand.
“Most married men you see that stay at home don’t do it because they are stupid, they do it because it’s more peaceful” I continue after taking a sip of my water.
“It’s not like I can’t come out and have fun but of what use is such fun if it’s going to cause me harm?. Don’t get me wrong there is no harm in hanging out with friends but doing things that will put my family in tears, like drinking when I know I would drive or going out to clubs without my wife isn’t something I want to do” I finish off.
“I don’t understand you, it’s still marriage that is changing you Man” Obinna say shaking his cup before gulping the whole content. “moreover I don’t get how a little drink will harm anyone and living life a little would hurt your family” he say .
“I don’t want to be the reason why my family can’t come out in public with their shoulders high, I want to be a proud dad and husband” I say, knowing Obinna he would argue until he won and I wasn’t in the mood . I had only come out because it was Ifeanyi’s bachelors party.
During the first few months of my marriage I had quit somethings and I stopped clubbing unless I went with Ada and instead of hanging out until late I stayed out in eatries and restaurants with enough light and security so as not to be caught in a compromising situation
“Ifeanyi you might get to understand all these after your wedding when you get to realize that every decision you take affects your partner. If I stay away till 12am , Ada would stay up waiting for me by the door and she would still have to wake up by 6am to get ready for work. Do you know how exhausting that would be for her?” I ask Ifeanyi who I saw was understanding me unlike Obinna. ” she has to do the chores alone and instead of me helping, I would be nursing a hangover. O di gi nma na” it’s not fair na I tell him this time around getting him to nod.
“Isn’t it hard giving all these up? Don’t you want to ever go back to the life you had before?” Obinna asks not wanting to be left out of the conversation.
“It is. I drink at home most times, and whenever I’m staying out late, I try to be back before it’s 9pm, so she doesn’t worry. But then no matter what you think you are sacrificing in a marriage remember that your wife has done the highest sacrifice” I tell them smiling as their faces changes
“How? ” They ask in unison
“She changed her name to yours, she has dropped the people she has known for close to 21 years of her life to move in with you, the least you can do is to make sure she is happy and comfortable.” I answer which gets them laughing in agreement.
“True tho” Obinna says asking for a refill.
“Let’s toast” I urge them raising my glass of water as they raised their glass of Vodka.
“To sacrifices ” the bartender say as we nod in unison and with a click we drown the content of our glasses.
David Vera Sorochi