My Bro is a biweekly Zikoko series that interrogates and celebrates male friendships of different forms.

Osagie and Raymond have been friends since they fought and got beat up by a bully when they were eight years old. In this episode of My Bro, they talk about bonding as children and why Raymond’s parents are no longer in support of their friendship. 

Our origin story

Osagie: My first recollection of you was in 2009 when your family moved into our neighbourhood in Port Harcourt. I remember being eight years old and wondering how rich your family was to have not one but three gigantic “jeeps”. I saw you once or twice, walking with your maid, and I knew you were an ajebo to the core. 

Raymond: Why would you start this thing by telling everyone I’m an ajebo? My reputation is on the line here, my guy. 

My family used to move a lot because my dad was a professor, so it was mostly me and whichever maid we had. I was an only child, and they were my only friends. 

I saw you too because we lived opposite each other, but I was very shy to talk to you. LOL. It wasn’t until school started that we finally started talking. 

When we became friends 

Raymond: Apparently, our parents gisted one time, and it had come up that you and I would be in the same school and class that year, so they agreed that our driver would pick you up every morning, and we’d go together. We did that shit for almost two weeks before we even started talking. 

Osagie: What did you expect? I was mad intimidated at the time. New kid with fancy everything? I didn’t want to overdo it. I remember it was when we both had to fight this guy two classes above us that we finally cracked the wall. I couldn’t allow some bully to beat my carpool partner, so I stepped in, and we both received the beating of our lives. 

Raymond: LOL. Plus, another round at home. 

It was a long time ago, but I remember feeling a certain way that you were willing to stand with me to fight a bully, knowing fully well we’d get our ass beat. I think this was when everything changed, and we became guys. The car rides stopped being silent from then on.

Osagie: We became inseparable after that one fight. We ended up going to the same secondary school, and we couldn’t spend 24 hours away from each other. It was insane. Fun fact: I saw the guy we fought recently, and he’s married. 

Getting separated by life 

Raymond: Omo, our life was good until my parents had to move again in 2014, when we were in JSS 3. 

Osagie: Dark times, my brother. 

Raymond: I thought Port Harcourt was it, but that year, they just broke the news that we had to pack our lives and move again. I was so fucking devastated. I’d built a life there with you and our other friends. The thought of starting all over again just made me depressed. 

Osagie: I don’t know which broke me the most, losing you or my free ride to school. 

Raymond: Wow! Men are truly scum. 

Osagie: Okay, seriously, it was hard for me too. We had other friends, but it was always you and me. We’d been together since I was eight. I wasn’t sure I knew who I was without you. 

Raymond: Stop using these dead lines you use on your babes, abeg. 

Moving to Kaduna was tough. I was angry all the time, and frustrated. It didn’t help that my parents were distant as usual. For them, it’s all about work and Jesus; everything else is by the way. Talking to you constantly got me through most of it. 

Osagie: Shebi their love for Jesus is why they banned you from interacting with me. 

Raymond: Ewo. You’ve chosen violence. 

Moving back to Port Harcourt and falling out with Raymond’s parents

Osagie: In 2016, while you were away in Kaduna, I lost my dad, and my life changed. I was very close to him; his death made me question a lot about life, one of those things being religion. My dad was the most devout Christian I knew, and for the longest time, he kept asking God for healing while he battled cancer. But nothing happened. 

I wasn’t really into religion, but my dad’s death had me considering whether or not I still believed in God. By the time I got into university, I knew I’d become an atheist. Your parents weren’t exactly thrilled to hear that about their son’s best friend. 

Raymond: A whole deacon and deaconess? Guy, let’s be serious here. 

I hated that I couldn’t be there for you in person when your dad died. But I was excited when my dad retired and decided it was time to move back to Port Harcourt. Moving back meant I had my manchi back, but then the whole atheist thing got to my parents, and shit hit the fan for real. 

Osagie: I don’t precisely recall what led to what, but I know I said something about being an atheist, and your dad was there. His face changed immediately, and I knew he didn’t like it. I had the chance to backtrack when he and your mum spoke to me about a week later, but I maintained that I was an atheist, and they asked me to never come to the house or talk to you again. 

It’s crazy how people I’d known since I was eight were so quick to shut me out because I didn’t share their beliefs. They’ve known me all my life. 

Raymond: I was shocked when they told me. I knew they’d freak out, but I didn’t think they’d ban us from hanging out. I talked to them, and it was the first time I had a big fight with my parents.

Osagie: That’s not what I wanted. 

Raymond: But it was necessary. I told them that banning you from the house was fine since it’s their house, but asking us not to be friends was impossible. They went on and on, but I’d made up my mind. I hate to admit it, but I’m still disappointed in them. 

Osagie: They don’t want me to spoil you. LOL. 

Raymond: If only they knew I’m the spoilt one in this friendship. Thank God, we’ll soon finish university and get our own place. All this wahala will end. 

Why this friendship is important regardless of religion

Raymond: You’re the first friend I ever had. I was lonely for a long time as an only child, but then we moved, and I met you. We’re more than friends at this point. We’re like twins. There’s no way I’d let all that history go because of what my parents wanted. 

Osagie: I feel the exact way. I had siblings (before they drag me on socials), but I didn’t have actual friends. You changed that, Raymond. You’ve stuck by me from primary school fights to adulting stress. 

Raymond: Ride or die for life. 

Osagie: Please, who is dying with you? Not me. 

If I could change something about you

Raymond: Please, open up more, my guy. I always have to force you to tell me what’s going on, like when your dad died, and you were struggling. It’s okay to not say, “Fine” when I ask how you’re doing. 

Osagie: But you know I’m trying. 

Me, I need you not to take life so seriously. You’re cracking jokes now, but you’re always carrying face and forming deep on a normal day. Fix that, bro. 

Raymond: Have you met my parents? Chilling is not in my blood, abeg. 

I want you to know 

Osagie: No long talk, guy; you know I love you, right? 

Raymond: I do. 

Osagie: That’s all I want to say. Full stop. 

Raymond: Actually, me too. I love you, and I’m sure you know it, so full stop. 



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