Chronicles of ajidara – Wedding Steps #2+Temitope Oyetunji
For me, there’s no such story as my prince appearing from nowhere onto my front porch.
He had been there all along right before my eyes, he was my friend. And even though we were getting real close, still I convinced myself we were BFFs – best friends for life.
But before I knew it, with my eyes wide open he had gotten past my signpost demolishing it as he went, crept under my thick skin into my heart disarming my built-in defenses, then having secured a soft spot for himself, he came back out and erected a new signpost which read ‘KEEP OFF! THIS ONE’S TAKEN’
It was the first wedding we were attending together as intendings. We had attended a wedding earlier in the year before his invasion process was complete; a colleague’s wedding where we wore the same ‘aso ebi’.
Being the picture freaks we both were, we had posed for a snapshot outside the church, where other colleagues gave us what he called an admiring stare.
At first I thought nothing of his comment until that photograph of us standing close together -in the same material like a couple- began to tease me.
He had a smile on his face that tugged at my heart. It was the smile of a contended and proud man almost with a sheepish tinge.
Every time I saw that smile, I longed to say yes to it and keep it permanently on his face. But it takes more than a smile to win a girl’s heart, and this particular one needed more assurances, a conviction from a higher source, so she waited.
While I waited I tried to ignore that literally charming smile, there were many issues to be settled, for one I never really wanted to marry a medical doctor, I thought it would be too monotonous.
But there I was, standing next to my prince at the wedding of two doctors thinking how our wedding would be just like this one – an all doctor affair.
Medical students my old self inclusive, doctors, doctor couples and doctors.
At the church service, I was surrounded by a sea of familiar faces – our fathers and mothers –colleagues of the groom who graced the occasion in numbers.
But things had changed; now there was a wide gap between us. Since the exit gate of our eccentric institution had been rudely shut in our faces after their departure, we had watched them – our fathers and mothers – gone on to become grandpas and grandmas.
At first we had struggled with the gates; kicking, banging and shouting, hoping someone would come to the rescue and let us out.
But in the end we had settled to our fates, watching the outside world from behind the bars.
An exciting moment at the church service came when the Christian Medical and Dental Association choir rendered the CMDA anthem, a welcome respite from the non-classical classical music they had performed first.
I stood my prince with me, along with one fourth of the congregation and as we sang excitedly, hope leapt up in me.
I was singing with doctors who were once students, some of them for many years than necessary like I have.
But they were doctors now and all that pain they had to go through had become tales by the bedside.
So I sang hopefully, like a trapped bird looking forward to the day when the gates will be flung open again, when she would spread her wings and fly with all the energy she’s gathered, until she reaches the highest mountains where she’ll sing again, a different song like a free bird.
Clichéd as it may sound, I’ve never been lucky with food at receptions.
Either I had to sit for a long time while food trays made detours around me pretending that all was well, or I had to leave with a drink filled stomach.
At the last wedding I attended with my prince, after sitting for a long while trying to dilute the rising tension in our stomachs with gists, the gists stopped coming and we just looked on as trays travelled in different directions but never made their way toward us.
After such an ordeal, I had begun to wonder if I had infected him with my hypo-luckemia.
Now that we were going to become a couple attending many functions together, I had hoped that this wedding would prove for both our sakes that there was really nothing wrong with me.
As we entered the gorged reception venue, my eyes filtered through the packed hall scanning for two empty seats.
While scanning I saw some colleagues seated together at a table, I greeted them briskly and resumed my search envying their luck – the trays would definitely not elude them with such a formation. In the end, we secured two seats – odds number one out of the way.
We settled in, enjoying the sight of the exquisitely decorated hall and the sound of music playing underground.
The last time I had been in that hall was three years before, the occasion was my sister’s wedding and that event was the one that christened the hall – barely completed at the time.
At that wedding, the disloyal chief bridesmaid who forsook the bride and ran around in 6inches heels trying to get food for her guests, who also managed to misplace the wedding certificate, would be none other than the ‘talkative’ writer of this piece.
As I looked around at the now transformed building reminiscing, the food bearing trays started travelling.
In no time the trays started for our direction, but my smile of triumph had hardly left the corner of my mouth than I discovered what was in the trays – dark brown round balls glistening in their transparent wrappers, no way!
For me, eating amala at a wedding reception would be like reliving those moments in my childhood when my mom stood over me with a cane in her hand while I tearfully gulped down a plate of solid pap and vegetable soup.
The other guests on our table didn’t feel that way as they collected their wraps and dug in.
I looked around; no tray of rice in sight, and the trays of amala kept parading around as if begging me to reconsider.
But I couldn’t!
If I was forced to eat amala at this wedding, that would put the cane in the hands of the bride and groom, and that wouldn’t be good for them now, would it?
I concluded it wouldn’t, and a look into my prince’s face when another tray pleadingly passed beside us told me we were on the same page.
So we watched as the balls disappeared into the mouths of guests surrounding us bolus after bolus while our own mouths remained idle.
And then the doctor in my head, who had diagnosed me of hypo-luckemia began:
“You see, you have the same problem that most patients have; they don’t come to terms with their diagnosis on time.
I have told you that you simply do not have enough luck receptors especially when it comes to free food, a condition called specific hypo-luckemia.
Yet, you keep going to wedding receptions hoping for a miracle and now you have succeeded in infecting an innocent man with the same condition.
Right now what I’ll advice is that you leave right away and get something to eat on your way home so that your condition would not be complicated by hypoglycemia”.
I sank into my seat in defeat; maybe I’d better confess to my prince that I was the cause of our food misfortune.
Then like an angel bringing my miracle this man appeared, with two plates of cooked grains smiling at us in their lemon and orange shades, he dropped them before us and left as we echoed our thanks.
I looked down at our plates of rice garnished with milky vegetable salad and I smiled.
I was smiling at our fortune and laughing at the quack in my head.
He was wrong! At the last wedding, it took up to two hours of waiting before we were served, at this one it only took about forty five minutes – things were getting better.
You gave me my first story in a line of stories to come. My second step at your wedding was a memorable one, one where I forgot about myself completely, and focused on the hearty laughs of the bride, and the ever widening smile of the groom. You both are a source of inspiration to me. Don’t ever doubt that girlfriend!
When I was a child, I played with umbrellas a lot and I must have used them under the roof a couple of times while playing out different roles in the family dramas that coloured my childhood.
And as I sat under a shelter at the bus-stop on that 22nd day of September waiting for the rain to stop so I could hop on a bike and get to my friend’s wedding in time, I got thinking.
What if on my wedding day as I prepare to step out in my gorgeous white dress, I am startled by the sound of heavy thuds of raindrops on my roof?
What if the umbrella fairy decides to punish me because I didn’t listen to the warnings of my mum when she told me it would rain on my wedding day if I kept using umbrellas indoors?
As that thought ran through my head, I began to see the good in the conniving drizzle which was then intensifying – it was a warning!
So I made up my mind, I would never be caught wedding in the raining season, I’m not taking any chances.
But wait a minute! I’ve always wanted a December wedding anyway, so who cares about the umbrella fairy?
Let’s see how he or she cooks up rain in December.
Read Wedding Step #3 here