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by - July 21, 2018

My 56 year old auntie was getting married again, I didn’t understand why after being married for over 25 years, and being through so much, my auntie Ify would want to get married again.

It wasn’t until after the toast that it all made sense.

My godfather; uncle Toke gave the toast, and till this day I remember his speech, word for word.
Unlike most weddings, my uncle Toke requested something rather odd from the guests before he begun,

“Can we all raise a glass of “33” Export lager beer,” he said.

Uncle toke’s speech started with him telling everyone how he, my auntie and her newlywed husband met.

“The year was 1980, barely a year after the launch of “33” export lager beer, and every Friday night, Osi and I met at our favorite bar to share a bottle or two of our favorite lager beer.

“It was on one of these nights that our friendship with Ify was born,”

 “The day we met Ify started off like just another Friday night.”
 Ify walked into the bar, and even though I can’t remember what we were talking about before she did, I remember us arguing whether or not women drinking beer was classless, while Ify sat at the table beside us.”

We must have been raising our voices, because not long after, Ify walked to our table holding a bottle of “33”, she poured a glassful, and emptied it before she spoke;

“Yes women like me enjoy a good bottle of beer too, that doesn’t make us classless.”

“She sat at our table, and spoke with us for a while, in that time, we learnt that Ify who also attended our university, had just been stood up by her boyfriend.”

“ After that day, we saw Ify more often, and the three of us meeting at the bar on Fridays for “33”’s became a tradition.

“From meeting in only on Fridays, we gradually began to meet every days of the week, and our conversations became more serious.”

“ It wasn’t long before we started looking out for one another, especially with our education.”

“During that time Ify volunteered to help Osi and I study for courses in School that we found difficult.”

“Our relationship always excited me because, for the first time in my life, I was part of a genuine friendship.”

“I remember one rainy Friday; Ify had stayed at her dorm, so Osi, and I left the bar earlier than usual.”

“That night, Osi told me about his feelings for Ify, but made me swear never to let her know, because
he wasn’t ready to gamble our friendship for a relationship that might not work.”

“By the end of our final exams, Ify was engaged, and yes it was to the same boyfriend who stood her up the day we met at the bar, and she was married to him for twenty five years.”

“During the course of those twenty five years; work, raising kids, and building businesses made us see less of each other.”

“That was why the morning I got news of Ify’s accident, I was devastated."

“Imagine not speaking to your best friend for months, and when you finally hear from them, its bad news"

“Ify lost not only her sight that day, she also lost her husband, and in that moment, it Felt like all the good in the world had been sucked away, so much that I cried in the hospital.”

"My family, and I lived in a different state from Ify, so after a few days later I had to leave the hospital, with Osi who never married despite his two kids, and he stayed by her side throughout.”

“Fast forward four years later, and we’re not only toasting their union, but thirty two years of friendship, the kind that was so selfless, that it birth true love.”

“To the bride and groom.”

“Thank you for being the best friends a guy could ask for.”

I shed a tear or two, along with some other guests, as we all rose our glasses of “33” export lager beer; the drink that brought this amazing trio together.

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