April 20th, 2013
The one person I thought would be hopping mad about the impromptu wedding arrangement, turned out to be the one who was most excited. My Mom broke into songs of praise when I told her, and jubilated for so long that I had to remind her it was an international call. Contrary to my fears, she wasn’t even so upset about not being at her first son’s wedding. She apparently feels stronger about the fact that he and Diana will be a formal couple by the time the baby gets here. Of course, I had to remind her that this is more of a blessing, as they will still have to formalize their union in court later on. But to her, this was a mere detail. She said she would rather focus her energy preparing for a grand traditional wedding in Nigeria, than for them to ‘keep on living in sin’.
“If I had a penny for every time Mom has said that to me, in the last week!” Phillip laughed, as we walked through the Westfield Mall, in search of the H Samuel jewelry shop. “Everytime I spoke with her, even before leaving Naija, it was all about living in sin! I had to remind her that this my supposed sinful lover will be on a hospital bed the entire time of this ‘living’ oh!”
“Your Mother is way too dramatic.” I laughed in agreement.
“It’s no wonder where you got it from!” Phillip teased, giving me the side eye.
I rolled my eyes in response, but was so pleased to finally be back on good terms with my brother.
After selecting the most beautiful wedding bands, we decided to have lunch in the food court.
“I didn’t know you and Idara went all the way back to when Eme died.” I just had to say, because it was eating me up inside.
He shrugged. “I was at my lowest point. You know how badly I took her death.”
Yep, I remember too well. Eme had been the baby of the family, and had died on the eve of her 16th birthday, no thanks to a hit and run driver a few streets away from our home. We had all been devastated by her loss, and our father had never fully recovered from it. He had died of a heart attack three years later.
“Everyone was mourning. Dad was a nervous wreck, and I had to be strong for everyone.” Phillip continued. “Idara allowed me cry…she allowed me to be vulnerable, and she remained strong for me.”
“She was there for you through a whole lot.” I remarked.
He nodded sadly. “She was…”
“So why didn’t you ever make it official with her? Why did you stay in a toxic relationship if you had something so beautiful with someone else?” I asked, confused.
“I don’t know…” he answered honestly. “I asked myself that question so many times. So many times, I wondered why I wasn’t giving her more…but I was never able to answer that question.”
“Maybe you didn’t love her enough…” I suggested.
Phillip was quiet for a while. “I loved her deeply…but now I see that it wasn’t the forever kind of love. I loved her…I still love her…but as a dear friend…as a sister almost.”
A sister whom you were sleeping with, was what I was tempted to say, but in the interest of peace, I kept my mouth shut.
“I’m going to miss her…but I’m glad you did what you did.” Phillip said, to my surprise. “It was the wake up call I needed. That relationship would have been toxic for my marriage.”
“Babe, eat up. We need to go look for a suit for me to wear!” he said, rising to his feet.
“Suit?! For a hospital room wedding?” I exclaimed in shock.
He raised an eyebrow. “Hospital room or not, this is my wedding, Madam! No half measures here,” then with a sly smile, he added. “Besides, Vou was able to arrange for one of the hospital common rooms, and when I left the hospital, she was bustling all over the place, with a decorator. She’s planning a shindig, so if I were you, I would dress for the part!”
See me that was planning to just show up there anyhow my mood dictates on Sunday!
After a full day of shopping, during which time I was able to guilt my brother into buying me an outfit for the wedding, we finally made our way back to the hospital. And there I saw that Phillip wasn’t joking at all!
Diana was having a consultation with the lady who would be doing her hair and makeup, and Vou was making last minute arrangements with their caterer. What I thought would be a 5 people (tops) wedding, was now looking like a 20 to 30 people affair.
But in all the hustle and bustle, I couldn’t miss how happy and excited Diana was. She was going to be a bride after all, and she was clearly over the moon about it. And Phillip also seemed just as excited, and often leaned in to kiss or hug his wife-to-be.
The love was overwhelming, and it made me miss my Patrick.
It also gave me the courage to do something I had been thinking of doing all day long. So, I quietly walked out of the room, and found a suitable spot in the general waiting room. I pulled out a phone number I had stolen earlier in the morning, and dialed the number.
“Hello,” came the silky smooth baritone voice.
“Hi, Demola?” I said, with a slight tremble in my voice. “This is Faith, Ebika’s friend. I…I have something to tell you…”