Shola was standing by her bedroom window, enjoying the view outside. She was already dressed, but was not quite ready to leave her room. For someone who thrived on noise and chaos, she was enjoying this quiet moment which she had to herself.
A brief knock on her door interrupted her meditative state on mind. ‘Come in’ she said, and smiled as she saw who walked inside.
Her niece, Mirabelle, walked in, looking very fancy in her white dress, with flowers in her hair.
‘Aunty Shola, Grandpa said I should bring you!’ she said, her mischievous smile lighting up her three year-old face.
‘Okay darling, let’s go!’ and Shola stood up, smoothing down her dress and as she took Mirabelle’s hand. She didn’t want to keep everyone waiting, but she took her time leaving her room.
It was her wedding day, after all.
Joe and Shola’s first official date had gone well, after which he told her that he was going to marry her in a year’s time. She had rolled her eyes and told him to ‘calm down’. For all her bravado, she was terrified of being in a relationship again and insisted that they took things super-slow. Extremely-slow. Mega-slow. Joe had agreed, which only heightened her wariness of him.
After a while, the wariness gave way to trust. Shola finally knew what it meant to be relaxed in a relationship. Joe was very open and straightforward with her. Their only areas of discord were when it came to tidiness (Joe was a neat-freak, Shola was messy) and watching sports, which Joe lived for and Shola tolerated. When it came to actually doing sports, they both enjoyed jogging together most Saturday mornings.
This went on for about six months. When she had some time off work, he had whisked her away to London for a week, which she thought was very sweet of him. They walked around London like tourists, and enjoyed each other’s company.
‘What is it?’ she had asked him, when he knelt down in front of her at Trafalgar square. Even when Joe reached into his pocket and brought out a small velvet box, her mind was still blank. It was until he opened it and said ‘Shola, you lovely, troublesome woman, I love you. Will you marry me?’ that she realized what was going on.
‘Ermm…I mean…Joe…’ words kept tumbling out her mouth without making any sense.
‘Is that a yes?’ ‘Yes, it’s a yes!’
And Joe slipped the ring on her finger, and carried her in his arms, much to the delight of the small crowd of passers-by, who applauded and took pictures of them.
Joe finally put her down, and they kissed and embraced. ‘What do we do now?’ she asked him.
‘You need to call your parents-they’re expecting your call’ Joe smiled sheepishly. ‘Why?’ Shola was puzzled. ‘I asked them for your hand in marriage a week ago; Ade was with them. They interrogated me and my brothers for over two hours’ he laughed.
Shola was impressed that her family was able to keep a secret for that long.
She took out her phone and dialed her mother’s number while walking hand-in-hand with Joe.
‘Hello?’ Her mother’s voice sounded wary.
‘Mum? Joe asked me to marry him. I said yes’.
There was a loud shriek of joy from her mum, and Shola had to hold the phone away from her ear.
The next few months were a blur of activity, with Shola and Joe’s mum going into full wedding-planning mode. Shola didn’t mind; seeing her mum happy made her happy.
She just said ‘yes’ to everything her mother said, and shook her head as required when there was a complaint about a caterer or a decorator. She was in a Joe-love-bubble, and nothing could stress her.
Well…almost nothing. It was as if someone rang a bell while shouting ‘Shola is getting married!’ Ex-boyfriends started surfacing out of the land of relationships past. Shola kindly but firmly told them she wasn’t interested in dating them again, and that she was engaged.
She complained to Joe, but he just found it amusing. ‘My wife-to-be is a hot babe’ he joked. She glared at him and he put his hands up in mock surrender, and turned his attention back to the football match on TV.
She shook her head and smiled. ‘When you’re done with watching your match, let’s talk about how you will make space for my shoes and makeup and the rest of my stuff at your place’.
Shola stood in front of the Church, holding her Father’s hand. She turned to look at him, and he winked at her and squeezed her hand, which made her giggle a little bit.
Mimi walked up to her, looking radiant in her peach Maid-Of-Honour dress, and fussed with her veil. She gave Shola a big hug before handing her her bouquet of pink roses. Mimi then took Mirabelle’s hand and walked ahead of Shola and her father into the Church as the Choir began to sing the entrance hymn.
The congregation stood up as Shola walked slowly down the aisle with her Father. As they approached the alter, Shola barely noticed the flowers and the decorations, the faces of friends and family, her mother and her in-laws, or her brother Ade, looking handsome as the Best Man. She only had eyes for Joe, who looked gorgeous in his tailored suit and newly-cut hair. He had a big smile on his face.
Shola thought about all of her relationships, and about how they had all led her to this moment.
As she took Joe’s hand, she knew that her days as a heart-breaker were now over.
©Ivie M. Eke 2016.
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