December 1980 

There are so many activities going on in my father’s compound. Tomorrow is my traditional wedding and I am over-the-roof-top happy. People came from different places to grace the ceremony including many of the young men who had shown interest in me earlier. I guess they all wanted to see the man I finally opted for; they probably would have done some research and found out that he was not from our village which will pique their interest further. My mother was all over the place. My step-sisters, their spouses and children were all around some of which I have not seen before due to my study abroad. Cousins, Uncles and Aunts were present as well. Everyone wanted to attend the wedding ceremony of the most educated daughter of Chief Ojo who is also getting married to an Igbo man. They all seem to have made peace with it but however wanted to witness the event. 

Uchenna and his family arrived not too long ago. I have made arrangements for them to be lodged somewhere not too far from our house. Some part of the compound was being decorated for the event. I am seated on a bench while Jumoke was doing my hair and I remembered when the tables were turned.

“Sister Jumoke, can you recall, I was the one who also did your hair when you were getting married?” I said fondly

“Yes, I remember perfectly and our mothers were fighting with one another because of that” she replied smiling

“Oh yes, that is true, funny women, now they are more grown and united” 

“True, true” Jumoke replied. 

Myself and Jumoke talked for  a long time. She told of the many events that had taken place while I was away. My brother hung around anywhere I was like a leech. I could guess he was happy that I was getting married but yet worried that I was leaving. 

I smiled at some point.

“Olumide, I can see you everywhere I turn, do not worry. We would continue to keep in touch. Just prepare well during your final exams and apply to the University of Lagos so you can be close to me or you can also try any school abroad so you can have the travel experience and international exposure. I am willing to support you in any way that I can”

His face lit up at that idea and I could sense the relief.

******

The wedding was bigger than I imagined. I felt like a princess thanks to my sisters. They had my clothes sown and designed but refused to show me until that day. Jumoke made my hair into a very beautiful style and decorated it with various beads. Sincerely I was looking very beautiful, I was sure Uchenna would be blown away. 

The party started at 11AM, various traditional songs were sung and the dowry was collected. Uchenna was charming in his Agbada, Buba and Sokoto, he prostrated countless times and paid small tokens at every phase of the ceremony. He was eventually welcomed into the family and told to sit on the special seat for the couple and I was asked to come in. I was dancing and swaying my waist to the music and drumming yet I could not take my eyes off my charming prince. His mouth was agape, he could not believe his bride was that beautiful. 

By 3pm the main event had ended. People were in various groups having small talks and enjoying various local delicacies. I kept receiving gifts and greetings. Jaiye came over to greet myself and Uchenna. I was surprised to see him. 

“You came?” I asked, shocked

“Yes, do not forget my father is a chief as well and he told me about the wedding. Congratulations to you. He stretched his hands to Uchenna. 

“Congratulations man, you found a priceless jewel”

“Thank you so much” He replied

I introduced them to each other and we had a few talks before he excused himself.

At about 4.00pm we took our leave and travelled back to Lagos. We arrived just before midnight. Lagos was till bubbling as usual.

*******

I woke up to see Uchenna looking lovingly at me. 

“What?” I woke up startled

“I was just remembering everything that happened since we met in secondary school and I am so glad we both did not give up. I promise to be a faithful, loyal and loving husband to you and to stick by you till the end.” He said

All I could do was smile.

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