Saturday morning dawns, bright and clear. It is Bunmi’s wedding day and I’m her chief bridesmaid. I’d set my alarm to wake me up an hour and 30 minutes earlier than usual. I set out her wedding dress, her veil and the decorative beaded combs that will fasten the veil to her hair. The photographer is going to come and take pictures of the items. None of us have ever really cared about makeup so instead of paying a makeup artist an outrageous sum of money to come do our makeup, we plan to do them for each other. Bunmi is only going to be wearing mascara and lipstick. No foundation, no powder. I’ll be helping her with that.
After I’m done setting everything out, I set out for a walk, with my watch timer set to beep and vibrate after 30 minutes. All the bridesmaids and everyone in the bride’s wedding party is staying at Frank’s house, except my dad who’ll meet us at the church where the wedding will take place.
I walk, lost in thought, thinking of Stephanie. Her boyfriend had asked her to marry him and given that the both of them are part American and unwilling to move back to Nigeria, her father’s dreams of having his baby move back home have died a sad death. He’ll be arriving tomorrow to meet with Stephanie’s dad and her brother.
Thinking of Iris, she would have loved to be here today. One of the promises Bunmi made her when she began walking again and undergoing painful physiotherapy, was that if she (Bunmi) ever got married, she’d be on her bridal train.
Thinking of Morayo, who seems so lonely. She needs friends. I’m trying to be that. We; Stephanie, Amara, Bunmi and I met up with her yesterday. But what else does she need? As irritated as I am with Boma, I’m not willing to donate him to her though. Even if I wasn’t interested in him, I’ve never felt comfortable being a matchmaker.
Thinking of Boma and trying to decide what to do about him. I’m upset and disappointed about his attitude and I need to be sure of what action to take next. We haven’t spoken to each other since the night we went to pick his sister up, by mutual decision.
I’m thinking of what to do next when I sense a presence power walking close to me. I turn to look.
“Good morning Frank”
“Today is a Frank day?”
“Seems to be. Getting ready to walk your favorite stepdaughter down the aisle?”
“I don’t know why all of you keep insisting that Bunmi is my favorite. I love all of you equally.”
“You don’t believe me?”
“I plead the Fifth amendment”
“The Fifth Amendment applies to America. This is Nigeria. Nigeria is a sovereign state with its own laws.”
“How’s my mom this morning?”
“Fine. She’s praying with Bunmi now”
“He’s playing games with Amara and her husband”
“Amara has already arrived?”
“Around the time you left. Are you feeling closed in again? Thinking of where you’ll travel to next?”
I stare at him. “Actually, I was thinking of Iris and some other people. I miss her. And I feel so lonely without her. No one ever seems able to understand me the way she did”
“You sound like you don’t believe me.”
“That’s not for me to say. Do you believe you? And if you do, what are the grounds of your belief? And once you’re done asking and answering those questions, ask yourself this, am I too invested in the past that I’m neglecting my present and my future?”
“Very clever. I’ll think about it.”
We walk together silently until my watch begins to beep and we both turn around.
“For the record, my favorite among you girls is the one who invested so many years diligently caring for my daughter. I’ve never forgotten that. I’ll never forget it.”
“I love you too Pabby.”
Arm in arm, we head back home.
As Patrick’s Best Man, my duties included helping him decide which tuxedo to wear, helping him knot his bow tie (he almost strangled himself), organizing the rest of the groomsmen, sharing breakfast with everyone and having an hour prayer session with everyone about the wedding as well as the marriage. Then we took a ton of goofy looking pictures.
I had thought he’d be nervous, fantasized that I’d be telling him to calm down but as the convoy rolled to the church, I looked over at him and he was serene and smiling wistfully.
“Last day as a bachelor, old friend”
“I thought you’d be nervous. You don’t seem to be”
“I’m not. I found my one and I’m as sure as ever about it.”
“I wish I had your confidence.”
“Ask yourself this question, ‘where and with whom do I see myself in 5 years?’. If you can see her in your future, then you need to do whatever you can to make it work”
“The guests are arriving. Time to go inside and get you married”
He opens the car door, “Boma, think about what I said, okay? I want both of you to be happy, with or apart from each other. You’re my brother and from today, she’s my sister. I don’t want you guys hurting each other. Think and think hard.”
Forty minutes later, as the organist plays a Jazz number I cannot remember the name of, I watch as Bunmi’s bridesmaids file in.
Then the music changes, and Patrick takes a microphone and this time I recognize the song although I can see that not a lot of others do.
Bunmi’s whole family surrounds her as she walks up the aisle while Patrick sings.
One by one, her family members fall behind, first Amara’s husband, then her brother, then Amara, then Ebube, then Frank and her father, her mother kisses her on the cheek and hands her something then Bunmi turns around about a foot from the altar and with microphone in hand, she sings the last verse in sync with Patrick while everyone claps in time to the music or takes video coverage of the event:
“I see a world for you and me
I hear a perfect harmony
Where you are is where I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be
And I’ll be the one you can run to
I’ll be the one who’s meant to love you
Now, and always till our days are through
You know I doooooo
You know I doooooo
Time to say the words
Never been so sure
Wanna spend my life with youuuu
You know I do”
When they’re done singing, they hand their microphones to the Pastor and grin at each other.
Then the wedding ceremony starts. Bunmi says her vows first.
“The first time I met you was not ideal. At all. I wanted to get something from you and you were being obnoxious and annoying. And worse still you took a liking to me. I don’t know what came over me that made me agree to a second meeting but I have had cause to bless that thing since then.
You’re really kind and really funny. You quiet the noise in my head, you restored my faith in humanity and I’m never afraid when I’m around you. You are my rock, the love of my life and every day, I thank God for bringing you into my life. You make me see colours where before I only saw grey. You make me snort, I’d never done that before I met you. You make me so happy. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had and I’m so very happy that I met you. I love you. I plan to keep loving you till the day I die. So help me God.”
Then Ebube hands her a ring which she slides onto Patrick’s finger.
Then Patrick says his vows, the one we helped him write and once he’s done reading them, Ebube and I look at each other in bemusement.
Then they both turn to the Pastor and he blesses the marriage.
Bunmi’s wedding is very emotional for me. Tears are running down my face unchecked and I’m laughing and crying at the same time.
At this point the wedding is over and Bunmi and Patrick are signing the register. Suddenly a hand appears, holding a handkerchief out to me.
It’s not Boma and I’m surprised to note that I wanted it to be him. His name is Tega and surprisingly, his hasty, horribly told jokes are able to incite a laugh from me.
“That’s much better. I hate to see a woman crying.”
“Are you coming to the reception?”
“Will you save me a dance?”
“Sure, especially as I’ve ruined your handkerchief”
“See you there.”
He leaves and I blow my nose into the handkerchief.
“I’m sorry about what I said”
“It’s okay. Everything is fine”
“Because of Tega?”
“You know him?”
“He’s Patrick’s cousin. Is everything fine because of him?”
“Can we have this discussion at the reception? They’re about to take pictures.”
Song lyrics: I do by Drew Seeley