Read Chapter 18 here
“Babe, where are you now?” I asked, the phone pressed to my ear, as I stood just outside the church door.
Today is Bola’s wedding, and it’s off to a great start, at least aside from Omololu’s lateness. The church is packed, as expected at a wedding of two people from big families. I had chosen a seat towards the back of the church, away from the other aso-ebi ladies, only to make it easy for Omololu to locate me once he arrives. Now that he’s running late, my smart plan seemed to have backfired. I'm beginning to think my choice of seat at my best friend’s ‘practiaclly sister’ must have communicated loneliness because I have already been comforted thrice and assured that my wedding was next. So, Omololu’s call was a welcome excuse to step out of the church even for a few minutes.
“I’m just about entering your town,” He responded.
“City! Ibadan is a city o, don’t be rude now,” I corrected, rolling my eyes playfully.
“Sorry, madam. I just got to your city,” He said, laughing softly.
He had travelled home to Akure during the week, as planned, and was supposed to leave early enough to be able to catch up with me before the church service ends. But when I called him at dawn to wish him a safe trip, he mentioned he needed to take care of something with his Parents and so would be leaving later than planned.
“I’m sorry babe. I know I left later than planned, but I still didn’t expect the traffic to be so heavy today,” he sighed. “What’s happening now?”
“Don’t worry about it. You are not missing much anyway, except you count the overly long sermon that no one is listening to, and the three ‘well-wishers’ who came to assure me that my wedding was next,”
“Already? I thought you would at least get to the reception before they start wishing you well,” He said laughing.
“Well-wishing does not have any timeline, my dear,” I snickered. “Just come quickly jare, I need backup,”
“Backup is coming right away,” He responded. “So, I should meet you at the church then?”
“No, go straight to the reception venue. I can hear the Pastor rounding off his sermon already, so we should be done here soon. Just call me when you arrive okay? I have to go in now for thanksgiving. Oh, and watch out for those rat-like taxis on the road. They can be a pain in the ass, trust me”
“Okay ma’am,” he said. “I will see you soon,”
I ended the call and hurriedly walked back into the church just in time to join the thanksgiving dance.
“I think I have received more prayers that my wedding is next than the couple receives congratulations, it’s so unreal, babe,” I said as I walked into the reception with Omololu.
He arrived at the reception while we were still taking pictures with the couple, and had decided to wait in the car till I was ready to go in.
“Maybe they mean well? Or you don’t think so?” He asked as we took a seat at the front left of the reception hall. I could see the effect of Bola’s exquisite taste in the décor and the whole ambiance of the hall. She wanted it a particular way and they got it right.
Taking my eyes off the décor, I looked back at Lolu and responded, “I think some of them do, but most of them just said it for lack of what to say. Bola and I have been friends for so long that I know a lot of her family members, but I’m not particularly close to all of them, so I didn’t expect to have such conversations with them,”
“I see,” He nodded in understanding. “They are just a result of societal expectation then. I mean, they expect us to be married at a certain age, and I’m aware it’s worse for women,”
“30 is the magic number,” I muttered.
“Which is exactly your number in a few months, so you see why you have a target on your back,” He said, grinning.
“And that’s why you are here, as my backup,” I shrugged, sitting back.
“I’m happy to take on the role,” He said, flexing his muscles dramatically. “At least, until I meet your Parents, because then I will be upgraded,”
“To what o?” I asked, my eyebrow raised.
“Son-in-law in waiting, of course,” He responded, his expression serious.
“Oh!” I said, speechless, and silently telling my erratically beating heart to be calm.
This man, I thought, biting my lip to hide my smile, how did I get so lucky?