May 1st, 2013
I wasn’t in the mood to field any questions or sympathy calls from the office, so I switched off my phone for all of Monday and Tuesday, using Patrick’s phone for the important calls I had to make…like checking up on Ebika in London, and Diana of course…and also checking on my brother, Phillip, who’d returned on Monday morning, and was finding it hard adjusting to being separated from Diana.
Anyway, May 1st finally rolled along…my dear friend Nwando’s wedding day! I hadn’t seen her since Saturday’s rather dramatic bridal shower, and I was looking forward to being able to support her on her big day.
When Patrick tried to say something about if it was wise for me to put myself through the stress of attending a wedding, I gave him the dirtiest look ever, daring him to complete his statement. A wedding that I have been looking forward to since the day I heard about it! A wedding that I splurged on the cutest outfit ever for! No way oh! Absolutely nothing could have kept me away from it.
So, we headed to Obinna’s parents’ church, a Catholic church in Lawanson, Surulere, and got there just as the ceremony was about to start. But the church was already packed to the rafters! I remember Nwando having mentioned that her in-laws were very active members of their church, so I guess that could explain the heavy turnout.
When Nwando and her dad walked down the aisle, I had tears of joy in my eyes. Not only did she look beautiful in a bedazzled, mermaid-style gown, the joy on her face was only matched by the joy on her groom’s face. Both of them looked so happy and in love, I got the same glow I did at Phillip and Diana’s wedding, and squeezed my husband’s hand, so happy to have him with me for this one.
It was a beautiful ceremony, despite the fact that there were 2 other couples being wed at the same time. This shocked me, I won’t lie, but as nobody looked bothered, I figured it must be a norm in this Church. By the time we got to the thanksgiving part of the ceremony, the praise and worship was off the hook. The choir chimed uplifting and rhythmic Igbo praise songs, and with the loud drums and trumpets, it just made you want to dance! And dance I did, as I joined the crowd headed towards the 3 couples, to congratulate the couple I knew. When I finally got to them at the alter, Nwando squealed when she saw me, and we embraced tightly…but briefly, as I was soon ushered along, to make way for the long queue.
When the ceremony was over, Patrick tried to rush me to leave and quickly get to the reception venue, a few streets away, so that we could get some decent seats, but I wasn’t hearing any of it! I insisted on staying through the entire picture-taking session. The picture with the friends of the bride was a bit awkward, as it had both the ‘mean girls/frenemies’ from the bridal shower, and, well, the other nicer ones. Those of us that made up the latter group, happily embraced each other, while the mean girls had their faces so tight, the heavy foundation on their faces was threatening to crack. But we managed to get some decent shots, and the bride was so happy that she was oblivious of any tension that there might have been. Or maybe she just chose to ignore it…which was an even wiser decision.
Alas, we paid the price for not getting to the reception venue on time, as the place was jam-packed!!! In fact, jam-packed is even an understatement. The hall was filled to capacity, and the frantic ushers were navigating latecomers like us to seats outside. I was devastated! Imagine coming for my beloved friend’s wedding, only to sit outside!!!
I was even more devastated to realize that the ‘mean girls’ had been wise enough to send their husbands ahead to secure their seats, so as the rest of us stood at the door, looking like lost sheep, they had just waltzed right past us, with smug looks on their faces. Darn it!
But just as I was losing hope, one of Nwando’s colleagues (the one who shaded Nkeiru about earning 5 times her housekeeping allowance), and who hadn’t made it to Church, had reserved an entire table for us…and right up in front too! Even though it was a table originally for 10, we got the Ushers to bring more chairs, and it ended up comfortably seating 20 of us…friends and spouses. I almost felt like sticking my tongue out at the ‘mean girls’ on their table, which was even behind ours…but I chose to take the high road. We all did! So, we’d ignored them.
And when it was time for the couple to dance in, we all put away our differences, and boogied down with the couple, to Duncan Mighty’s Obianuju and Flavour Nabania’s Shake. I don’t think I ever imagined Nwando could dance the way she did. She and Obinna didn’t want to agree at all! They danced like their lives depended on it, and the crowd went wild!
The ceremony itself was a bit louder and busier than my own taste, with a little too many references to different ‘important personalities’ both families wanted to recognize…but the joy and happiness compensated for the rowdiness.
The high point for me wasn’t even the couple’s dance (to Luther Vandross’ So Amazing), but when Nwando’s mother was joined on the dance floor by her own sisters and friends. The woman had tears of joy in her eyes, as she danced to their native songs, waving her hands in the air in thanksgiving to God. Everyone could understand her joy…that one of her daughters had finally gotten married…and it was so emotional.
Unlike the normal me that would have bailed from the wedding right after Item 7, I actually stayed until the very end! I had to enjoy every minute of it. And boy, was I happy I did!
I’m going to miss my friend, but I am so overjoyed for her!
So…now, that’s out of the way. Tomorrow… three weeks after my outburst, it’s time to face the music at work!