The continuous banging on the door cut short my peaceful sleep. I silently cursed whoever it was on the door as I lazily opened my eyes and picked up my iPhone which was lying on my bed table. The time was 8:45am. I glanced at my white FRP door with exasperation all over my face as the knock came again.
I rolled over my pink-sheeted bed as I tried to shield my ears from the knocking at the door with my soft pillows. My mind raced back to the previous night and the man who had made my night memorable, it was a pleasant night out with the girls and then I met this hot guy at the club whom I shared a kiss with. It was divine; I remembered every bit of it, the intense heat that ran through me and the passion I felt. I was even dripping down there. I didn’t even get his name and “Oh my God!” I blurted out in shock, “it’s my wedding day!”
I immediately tossed away the duvet across my legs and jolted out of my bed, I swung open the door to the worried faces from my mother and bridal train. They were already fully dressed and ready for my wedding
“Isn’t today supposed to be your wedding day Adaora?” my mother barked at me
“It is. Good morning mom,” I yawned noisily.
“And you’re still sleeping by this time? save your greetings please.” She walked gracefully in her elegant gold-coloured lace blouse, peach George wrappers with neck beads, earrings and bracelets and a matching head gear. She bought them all online last week, “specially for this occasion,” according to her words. Despite being in her fifties and the mother of three adults, she was more fashionable and extravagant than I was. I remember vividly when my mom had bought just an handbag for over five hundred thousand naira; this happened three years ago when life was much rosier and this singular act had threatened my parents marriage as my dad was extremely disappointed and furious with her.
After then, she became cautious with lavishing money especially my dad’s, but a leopard’s spots never wears out.
“So, it’s not enough that you refused to have a bridal shower, you also chased Ezinne out of your room yesternight,” my mother added
“Did I?” I glanced apologetically at Ezinne, who was standing akimbo behind my mom with a concerned look on her face. Ezinne was a lot of things to me—my sister, bestfriend and confidante; she was the last child and I was older than she was with two years, but she looked bigger that no one ever believed she was my younger sister. Many thought she was the second child after my elder brother who was already engaged to be married very soon.
“Amarom ihe m ga-agwa gị (I don’t know what to say to you). You’d better start getting ready, time is not on our side.” My mother walked out of my room.
I snorted as the girls spread round my bed, they were already dressed in the peach gown and gold brooch, that was the colour of my day.
“A bride still asleep on her wedding day,” Yewande gestured dramatically in the air, “that would make an interesting magazine cover, won’t it Ada?” She burst out laughing.
“Of course, it would for you, Miss Editor,” Anita rolled her eyes. “Don’t mind her Ada.”
“It’s not funny, Wandy. I totally forgot today is my wedding day,” I answered my friend right from undergraduate days who was presently an Editor for a beauty magazine; she had always been a prolific writer and her pen name was ‘Wandy’. Though we were from different tribes, it didn’t stop our friendship, while Anita was my colleague and friend at Davies & co. accounting firm where I worked as a financial analyst. The other two ladies apart from my sister were acquaintances I had chosen to be part of my bridal train.
“Isn’t the makeup artist supposed to be here?” I asked
“Have you even taken your bath, our bride? The make up artist should come and paint your wedding gown, abi?” Yewande questioned sarcastically.
“Can you just stop being sarcastic Yewande?”
I strode into my closet; sometimes I wonder how Yewande was such a good writer despite her contrasting attitude. I believed writers should be reserved and calculative in their speech. I shifted open the curtains of my bathroom as the girls chatted on, I saw Ezinne approach me from the mirror, I turned to her as she spread her hands for an embrace, my body rested on her until she withdrew and gazed searchingly into my eyes.
“You can still back out Ada.”
“I can’t,” I sighed, “I would be a coward if I did.”
“But you don’t love him, why are you doing this to yourself?” she whispered.
“Ezinne, the world is waiting for us out there, Uche seems right for me, we seem good atogether. It doesn’t matter if I don’t love him, as long as he loves me, it’s fine. My marriage to Uche would be a great turnaround to this family, and you know that especially for Dad.”
“You don’t have to sacrifice your happiness just to make our family better, it’s not like we’re poor, we are comfortable Ada” my sister replied with sadness.
“I’m happy Ezinne, believe me,” I tried convincing myself
“No, you’re not. Okay, do you know what happened yesterday night at the club during the spinsters’ night?”
“What happened?” I asked as my mind was flooded with the memory of the man I met that night.
“You left me, Yewande and the rest with a strange guy. We were looking all over for you until we found you coming out of somewhere behind the club. You were even tipsy and then you drove me out of your room when I tried to sleep in your room.”
“I’m sorry about that, though I hardly remember.”
“Nsogbu adiro (No problem).” She paused. “So who’s that guy?”
“Oh, he’s an old friend of mine,” I lied
“Don’t lie to me.” I looked at my stubborn twenty-three-year-old sister as she gazed suspiciously at me
“Okay, fine. I met him at the club and we shared a kiss and that’s all.”
“Hmm… a night to your wedding.” She shook her head with a sneer on her face.
“Mother of the Holy Ghost, thank you for your criticism, can I go and have my bath now?”
“I’m not holding you,” she answered as she sauntered away from my bathroom.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I turned to stare at my reflection in the mirror, I mentally shook my head. You’ll be fine Adaora, I assured myself as I drew back the curtains.
With my right hand in my father’s left arm and a bouquet of red and white flowers in my left hand, we walked into the Catholic church I and my family had been members of for as long as I could remember. We strode slowly to the altar with Ezinne holding the hem of my flowing gown behind me.
The man I was getting married to stood at the altar smiling expectantly at me. As soon as my eyes met his, I felt a huge lump in my throat and my mouth went dry. He was handsome, tall, muscular and every lady’s dream guy. Why couldn’t I love him? His best man stood behind him and the priest at the pulpit holding a Bible.
The church was filled to the brim and everyone turned to watch me walk up to the altar, some videoing with their phones, others were smiling and admiring the bride of the day. I knew I looked beautiful in my breathtaking white flowing gown with a beaded edging complement on the v-neckline, the outer layers of the bodice of my gown reflected sharp sparkling linear throughout the embroidered tulle. There was also a split in the side of the skirt revealing my left thigh through a thin layer of tulle fabric. I had chosen the gown because I loved it the first time I set my eyes on it, but wearing it now, it felt like the worst piece of clothing I had ever worn.
My father shoved me slightly and smiled at me, I forced a smile back. He was the reason I was getting married to Uche, I couldn’t let him lose everything he had worked tirelessly for; he had lost almost everything he owned and was almost at the verge of losing his company until Chief Ikenna, who was an affluential politician had come to his aid with the condition that I married his son who was already interested in me. I just had to do this for my father, if I didn’t he would lose everything and I can’t bear to see him miserable, I loved him so much and I wasn’t as strong-hearted as my sister who had tried dissuading me from getting married.
Our discussion rang continuously in my head and I prayed silently as I approached the altar because I wasn’t sure what I would do next. I was unaware of my absentmindedness throughout the wedding rites until the priest asked me if I took Uchenna Wilson Ikenna as my lawfully wedded husband, I stared at Uche and that was the last thing I remember.