Not So Happily Married…… Episode One

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Yes I do…………..But should I really be doing? I asked myself the moment the pastor said the words “You may kiss the Bride”.

“Join me in wishing the latest couple in town a happy married life.” the pastor shouted as soon as Jite’s lips met mine.

The cameras clicked away and the wedding guests shouted excitedly as we kissed. It seemed genuine enough; we tried to make it look so.

As we received hugs after hugs and wishes after wishes the smile plastered on my face never wavered, perfectly masking the fear and sadness that enveloped my throbbing heart.

****

To say I didn’t know I should not have married Jite will be a big lie. Who else marries a man that hates her? Truth be told, I don’t know why he married me either. He obviously hates me enough to not go on with it but for some reason he saw it through. I have my suspicion though. I think it might just be due to plain ego. He once promised me it was either him or no one else. If he can’t have me, no one will.

 Jite used to be wonderful you know. Every inch the gentle man. He was the kind of guy that won’t expect you to cook for him just because you are his babe, he was a man that would open doors for you, fight anyone for you and say I love you like a hundred times daily. Yeah he was that kind of man from the first day we met until the day an unborn baby and a cripple came between us.

*****

I don’t know whether to call how we met unusual or dramatic. I had been in Game to look for a set of pots. For some reason I had scoured the whole of Lagos looking for a set of non stick cookware and had frowned upon every brand I saw until that day in Game. There it was on a well polished low shelf; sleek, red, with ornate wooden handles. Just what I had been looking for. I was about to grab the carton not bothering to check the price when another pair of hands touched it.

‘‘Hey, I bought that.” I said.

“And you bought it how?” He asked fixing me with a piercing glance.

 “Errrr…. I bought it by thinking of it already and as you can see I was standing in front of it about to carry it.”

“And madam, as you can also see, I was about to carry it too and I think my hand touched it first though.”

“It did?” I asked unsettled by his glance. He had on one of those massive eye glasses that some guys believe look cool. We looked about the same height but because of the advantage my heels gave I decided to stare him down but I needn’t have bothered. Dude was ready to stare back.

“What kind of a man even drags pots with a woman?” I exclaimed exasperatedly.

“The kind of a man that cooks and also appreciates good quality cookware.”

“But there are other brands here, Mister. Why don’t you just pick one?” I asked my eyes already getting misted with tears. 

“No Madam, I want this.”

“Okay”, I said walking away before he could see the tears in my eyes.

“Hey, you know we can solve this by getting married. That way the cookware will be ours or better still yours.”

“Oh, Jokes.” I replied waving him off. I would later learn that phrases like “let’s get married”, “I love you” and “let’s break up” were some of the easiest words for Jite to say. They come naturally and it’s hard to decide if it’s being said jokingly or seriously.

I left the mall few minutes later. I was about to start my car when someone leant in and said

“Can you open your Car boot”? I looked up sharply and it was him.

“Hey, I’m sorry if I sounded like a twat in there but I was just pulling your legs really. You can have your cookware; all you have to do is refund my money.” He added handing me the receipt.

I didn’t even think twice before jumping out of the car to hug him. I didn’t let go until he started patting my back like I was a baby. That was when the irritation came back full force and I condescendingly pointed to the boot for him to drop the carton in.

 “Can I get a ride?” he asked afterwards and against my better judgment, I allowed him. Halfway through the journey, we were already talking like old friends and I think I fell in love the moment he told me he left his car at the mall just so he could meet me. Yeah, that was the cool Jite. Not the one he became after I did what I did.           

****

We prepared for the wedding with so much passion and energy that you couldn’t tell how much Jite detested me. Sometimes I blame him, Most times I blame me and the rest of the time I blame both of us for going through the charade of getting married.

The day we went to see our wedding planner. I smiled when the wedding planner asked what the budget was and said just one word.

‘‘Unlimited’’ Jite’s mom had decided her son’s wedding was going to be one to remember and had given us a blank cheque. She had just finished a contract for the federal government and was rolling in cash. We were to spend as much as we wished she had said while giving us the cheque.

The event planner shifted in her seat and then asked.

“What and what do you want, how do you envision your day to be?”

 I told her we wanted something that screamed money, romance, elegance and class. I pushed away the niggling thoughts at the back of my mind and smiled.

“Just go all out please, go all the way. Money is not a problem.” Jite interjected rubbing my arms affectionately.

And all the way she went.

****

My friends’ emotions were bitter sweet and also tinged with slight doses of envy. I had paid for their bridesmaid dresses and I had also handed a kit to each of the sixteen of them complete with jewellery, hair accessories and even toiletries. In the midst of the oohs and the aaahs I couldn’t fail to see some of what they really felt. It was quite hard for them to get over the fact that I was leaving the single’s league and in style too. We had all shared stories of our efforts to make the men in our lives propose and they knew there weren’t going to be such stories again. That brought a kind of grief. I have felt it before and so could recognize it.

Our theme colour was Gold; it dominated the 1200 capacity hall that was our reception venue. The hall was exquisitely decorated. There were Gold draperies, fireworks, table to ceiling high center pieces, Candle holders, and a cozy couch for Jite and I strewn over with rose petals. The dimness of the purple lighting and the coziness of the couple’s enclave gave our reception the perfect romantic ambience that I wished for.

Our faces radiated sunshine, warmth and love, we smiled at the cameras, we kissed at every available opportunity, we both smiled for the guests, for the cameras. We danced for an hour to Lionel Richie, Phil Collins and Marvin Gaye’s songs; our favorite songs. He held me close and we smiled into each other’s eyes. To the world the pictures will show a couple totally in love but within us we know it was all a lie, we know it was a mistake that should never have happened.

****

The Limousine that took Jite and me from the reception was snow white. Mom stood by the door and wiped at her eyes. ‘‘Go well my daughter’’, she said. ‘‘We miss you already’’. I felt tears roll down my eyes and Jite wrapped a hand around me to comfort me. He kissed my ear and cooed against my ears. ‘‘Don’t cry baby’’. We closed the door, and we watched them wave till we could see them no more.

Jite’s mood went black immediately the Limousine moved. ‘‘Drive us around’’ he told the driver before closing the partition.

I cleared my throat. “Jite, aren’t we going to the hotel?”

“Not yet.” he grunted removing his arm from around me and shifting to create space between us.

“Okay, Jite will you just hold me? I’m cold.”

“Well, that’s your business. Didn’t you know you would be cold when you chose that dress he asked pointing a finger to my strapless mermaid tulle dress. I would have thought wearing a dress that accentuates your flat and firm stomach would have given you enough happiness and you won’t even need me.”

“Jite, please let’s not do this, please make me happy if only for today please.” I said my eyes misting over. Silence. It was as though I was talking to a wall.

to be continued …………

image designed by Okunade Hammed (@okunadegoodman)

The Footpath

 

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It was a footpath she knew so well. A route she had walked for at least forty of her fifty and one years of existence. She would arise every morning before the Cock crows, scoop cool water from the clay pot in her veranda and splash it on her face and legs. She would raise the pillow on her spring bed and pick her Bible and rosary. She would then close her door and begin the short walk to the village church.

She would hum as she walked and occasionally chew a stick. Her route was through the pathway that ran by the side of Torokinkin; one of the many rivers in the village but the only one that was clear and cool all year long, the one where everyone got their drinking water, the one no one must step into. A calabash whose back had cowry shells glued to it hung on a tree beside the river, this was the calabash that anyone who wants water from Torokinkin must use; every one knew the rule and kept it, everyone except her. She was too religious for that, she merely avoided touching, stepping into or using the water of Torokinkin.

She walked the footpath again that morning her Bible and rosary firmly clutched in her arms, she walked briskly determined to get to church before the service began. She was half way down the length of the river when she heard the loud noise. She would have screamed Jesus and say a prayer if only her mouth could still move. She never heard the end of the noise, she had fallen before it finished, her body nestling against the river bed.

The shooter walked to the dead woman holding the Dane gun gingerly and smiling in satisfaction. It was two days to the election of the church building committee leader and the major opponent was gone. The shooter’s only regret was to see her blood forming tributaries that washed into Torokinkin. Kneeling, the shooter sent a silent prayer of forgiveness to Oluweri the river goddess.

photo credit: google images

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