February 21st, 2013
Patrick and I got to the restaurant a little before Phillip and Diana arrived, with my brothers in tow…a beautiful restaurant that just opened in Victoria Island, with a magnificent view of Bar Beach, or should I say Eko Atlantic. It provided the setting for a beautiful evening.
I wrapped my soon-to-be sister-in-law in an emotional embrace. I was honestly, and from the very bottom of my heart, so happy that she is the one my brother has ended up with, and not that other crazy girl. And I’m not the only one with that sentiment. With the way my younger brothers were grinning from ear to ear, and the 15 minutes of praise and worship my Mother had burnt my airtime on this afternoon, it is safe to say that my sentiments are shared by everyone.
And this evening, she looked even more beautiful than I had ever seen her. There was nothing out of the ordinary about her physical appearance, but there was a glow that emanated from her, that just added to her radiance. And the ring…gosh, that ring! Even though I had seen it before, her fingers breathed new life into it. It was picture perfect. Everything was picture perfect.
“What about your sister? I thought she was joining us.” I remarked.
“Yes, she got caught up in traffic. But she says she’s nearby.” Diana responded, still beaming.
I looked at the way she and Phillip were giggling and whispering in each other’s ears, and I couldn’t help but smile.
Eiya! New love!
Diana’s phone rang, and she answered it in fluent Hausa. I always forget that she’s from the North, as she doesn’t fit the usual stereotype I had in mind. Listening to her speak the language, it had never sounded more distinguished and exotic!
Still on the phone, she waved towards the door, and I turned in that direction to see that her sister had arrived. As she walked towards us, I had to restrain myself from gaping! She was the absolute definition of royalty, as she sashayed over to our table. If I thought Diana was beautiful, then there were no adjectives to describe this woman. In fact, Diana looked like a photocopy next to her. Looking around the table, I saw that all the men, Phillip inclusive, were staring at her, awestruck!
Diana laughed. “Vou, you see what you are doing to my people?!” she exclaimed, as she hugged the other woman.
As introductions were made, and Vou shook everyone’s hand, her perfume wafted around the table, mesmerising us all the more. I could hardly take my eyes off her. I couldn’t believe this was Diana’s older sister…and that she was over 40. With her smooth porcelain skin, she could pass for a woman in her early 20s.
“So…I’m glad to finally meet you.” Vou said, looking pointedly at Phillip “And under such wonderful circumstances. I guess congratulations are in order.”
And her voice was like butter…smooth, silky butter. Unlike Diana, she had the barest hint of a Northern accent, probably because, being older, she had lived there for longer.
“Even though the first time she told me about you, I wasn’t at all impressed.” she continued.
The smile on Phillip’s face froze.
“You know…with the baby mama, and all that.” Vou continued, still looking squarely at him.
Diana looked like she was going to melt, and cast desperate glances, first toward her sister, and then to Phillip, and then around the table.
Phillip cleared his throat. “Yes. That. I….erm….we…”
“To be honest, I was very shocked when she told me she had agreed to reconcile with you.” Vou continued. “Especially when she told me the other lady is still pregnant…even as we speak!” she laughed humorlessly “I mean, how messy is that!”
At this point, nobody on the table was even drinking, talk less of eating. We just sat there, frozen.
“Vou, please…” Diana pleaded.
“No, she’s right to express her concerns.” Phillip responded calmly. I smiled when I realized that my brother had recovered his comportment.
“Yes, it is an unfortunate situation…one which I am not proud of at all.” he said to Vou. “But everything is under control now.”
“And how, may I ask?” Vou asked, not missing a beat. “From what I hear, the baby mama is not a happy bunny!”
“I didn’t tell you that!” Diana exclaimed.
“Oh don’t be naïve, Di! You think I wouldn’t do my own digging?!” Vou retorted.
Phillip smiled “Yes, my ex isn’t pleased about the situation. But we…my family and I…are making plans to visit her family, so that we can work out a way forward.”
“And by ‘way forward’, you mean what exactly?” Vou demanded.
Phillip raised a brow “Just what it means. A way forward.”
“A way forward to provide for the child financially? Or a way forward for you to be in the child’s life?”
Phillip looked momentarily confused “A bit of both, I guess…”
Vou smiled, and I noticed Diana suddenly seemed deflated.
“So, the child will be a part of your lives then.” Vou repeated dryly “And from the look on my sister’s face, I think this is news to her too.”
Phillip and Diana exchanged a glance, and Diana squeezed his hand. “You’re wrong, Vou. It’s not news to me. I didn’t expect any less. In fact, I would have been worried if it was otherwise.” she smiled at her fiancé “What kind of man would turn his back on his baby?”
Vou laughed sarcastically. “I hope you are making room for the mother, the same way you are making room for the baby! Because they are a package deal, you know!”
“What point exactly are you trying to make?!” Phillip asked, his voice raised in anger. “We have an unfortunate situation, but we are dealing with it.”
“The ‘point’ I am trying to make is that my sister is entering a marriage with a man with too much baggage than I want her to carry!” she exploded, her voice suddenly breaking with emotion. “My sister might never have children of her own…I’m sure you know that already! How soon before you grow tired of waiting, and slowly find your way back to your ready-made family?!”
Ohhhhh! Now, I could understand her worry!
Phillip walked over to Vou’s side of the table, and stooped beside her. Taking her hands in his, he said “I swear to you…I give you my word! For as long as I draw breath, I will never, ever, hurt your sister. Even if we never have any children, she is more than enough for me.”
By this point, everyone on the table was emotional, and even my Patrick was cleaning a tear from his eye.
Thankfully, the rest of the evening went well, as Vou put down her bow and arrow, and settled into a lovely evening of celebration and fine dining.
It was a wonderful evening. Eventful…but wonderful!