Aneju just couldn’t sit still. She paced around her big office like a fly being chased by the back of a slipper. Aneju was insatiable and Zika was annoyed.
“Abu please bring water for me.” Aneju said to the big man that stood at her door. Zika sighed at that as it would be the seventh bottle this hour.
“Nne you need to calm down,” Zika said “They are almost done counting the ballots, relax.” Aneju clicked her tongue and put her finger in mouth, not that there was any nail to bite again. Zika had not seen Aneju this shaky since District Anuura where they were caught stealing beans. They almost died that day and Zika was sure that if Aneju didn’t win, another near death experience would occur right in this office.
“Okezika you need to stopping tapping that table abeg.” Aneju said facing the window. Zika didn’t realize she was doing that and mumbled a small apology. “It’s okay, I just want to think.” Said Aneju.
“What are you thinking about?” Zika asked like she didn’t know exactly what was running at the forefront of Aneju’s mind like a plague right now. Aneju could only be thinking about the election, for two years and change, that was all Aneju thought about.
Zika can still remember fondly how Aneju looked when she presented the idea to her. Her eyes were full and her body, plump and rosy but now she is the shadow of her shadow. Politics could do that to a mere man. And she is quietly wishing she didn’t let it do that to Aneju.
“I’m thinking about our options,” Aneju answered “if we win we’ll stay here and if we lose we’ll have to go to one of the Divided Kingdoms and start afresh.” It pained Zika to say it or to even think it but the second option looked the most appeasing. She was ready to leave this all behind. She was tired of having to look left, right, up, and back just to take a stroll. It would only get worse if Aneju wins and Zika couldn’t even say for sure that she still wanted that.
Zika thought of telling Aneju these worries, thought of telling her that she wanted nothing more than to sit in a quiet home with her and listen to the news instead of be on it. But on a second thought she encouraged “There’s no way you wouldn’t win Ane,” she stood up and walked towards her, “Nobody deserves this more than you.”
“I’ve been telling you since this election started that whether I deserve it or not does not matter,” Aneju replied. Zika noticed her eyes started to well up “It doesn’t matter if I’m the most pious and truthful or if I sat on or shot or paid every penis just to get here, I could still lose.”
“You’ve said this from the beginning and yet the thought of losing still makes you want to blow your brain out.” Zika fired back, “Perhaps that’s cause I have sat on and shot and paid every penis and vagina to get here and I don’t want it to all go to hell,” She looked at Zika for the first time since they stepped into that office “I’ve done too much to be here Okezika, if I lose I will definitely run mad.”
Zika didn’t want to admit it out loud but Aneju was very correct, they could have, they have, put in perfect place every single odd they needed to come out on top and it was still possible to lose for one flimsy reason or the other. Then all the blood, sweat and Naira would go down the drain. She shivered at the thought of it.
The thought of the Divided Kingdoms vanished from her head. There was no way Aneju would leave her career here. Win or lose. As a matter of fact, after now, this unquenchable and hot tempered Aneju would be her Aneju forever. There would be no space for such a frivolity such as traveling out of the here, no space to slack, there might even be no space for her. Was there even space for her before now?
Zika’s tears began to drop from her eyes and a painful regret started to form in her heart as she recalled when Aneju asked if she should enter the election — it was like a marriage proposal. “I can’t do this without you my best friend,” Aneju said to her that day “You have to promise to be with me in this till the end.”
“Madam they’re about to announce the results!” Abu shouted unexpectedly as he ran in with the bottle of water. Aneju turned her neck so fast, Zika could swear she had done permanent damage to it.
Aneju took a breath in before walking towards the lights outside the door. She held out her hand to signal for Zika and Zika stared at the open hand, it was her choice. She knew taking her hand would be acceptance of all the things to come. “Acceptance or defeat?” She asked in her mind but the answer didn’t matter, Zika took her hand. She promised that day and even though it killed her from the inside out, she would keep that promise.