It had been five months and two weeks since Enitan announced her engagement. Torera was thrilled for her cousin. Yes, maybe a little jealous but thrilled. Life was funny. Torera was the one who was gunning to get married before the big three zero came knocking. Even the big twenty and nine. Twenty and Eight had come and there was nothing she could do about it considering all the ugly kind of men she had somehow stuffed into her archives.
The sun was extremely generous that morning with the full beams of very hot golden bursts. It was the morning of Enitan and Bami’s three in one big splash. Literally that was their nuptial theme. Gone with the wind was the era of #EniBami2016. Well, it was not exactly gone with the wind but Enitan said she wanted something more creative and catchy. So she had called theirs #Enitan&Bami3inonebigsplash. The day would encompass their introduction ceremony, the engagement ceremony and the wedding. Enitan always wanted a destination wedding. She liked the ajeboism and tushness of it. For as long as Torera could remember, Enitan always said she would have her fairy tale wedding with the ruffled train of her breathtaking white dress cascading down the royal stairs where she would be swarmed by twenty five bridesmaids…fifteen of whom had to be mixed race girls. The dress would literally be breathtaking because she would not really want to be able to breathe in it. The cut had to be seductively low to splurge out the natural assets she had and she did not care how tight the bust seams had to be to prove her value.
They had hung out at a lounge in Victoria Island the night before. Actually it was the bridal shower. Again, Enitan had always said she wanted male strippers to grace her shower. But differently, Enitan had sent a text to her friends three weeks before her wedding.
Hey you all who are so fortunate in this life to be Enitan’s friends, please be informed that for my bridal shower (I expect that you should be throwing me one), I just want to have a chit-chat with you all, have fun and also have the honour of listening to good marriage advice from someone. Thanks. Peace out. Love, Eny.
Torera had to admit that she noticed the change in her cousin. Enitan was still her crazy self. There was nothing anyone could do about that. But she had extremely calmed down. Torera had specifically given kudos to Bami as the only man ever liveth able to help Enitan behave reasonably. With a couple of Enitan’s friends, family friends, distant cousins and a few mutual friends, Torera organized a subtle but still classy bridal shower. She had engaged an events planner who had delivered the best fitness themed party ever. All the guests were to turn up in vests that read #Enitan’s Emancipation and matching pink track pants and running shoes. The lounge was decorated with dummy treadmills, dumbbells, stress balls and a couple of other dummy gym equipment. Enitan’s picture was also monogramed on the banner that hung in the centre under the chandelier lights. The lounge was owned by Bami’s cousin so the food and drinks were free.
Torera had planned with Bami that he would take her to the venue and tell her he wanted to use the restroom while she waited at a table. Then Bami’s cousin would start to chat her up and lead her to the foyer where the shower was set up.
“Where are we going?” Enitan had asked Bami when he showed up at her house that evening. “Are you not supposed to be getting your haircut and doing your last minute checks? Your bachelor’s eve is also by nine and your friends…” Enitan started to panic.
Bami smiled and held her hands, trying to convince this stubborn woman he was taking for a wife.
Her father joined them in the ante room followed by her mother and her mother’s sister. Bami prostrated immediately he saw his in-laws.
“I hope you guys are not arguing the night before your wedding.” Enitan’s dad said. He was holding a plate with three different fruits in it. The man was a health fanatic. Well, he was a professor of medicine and also a health coach.
“Not at all sir. I just want to take her out and she is proving difficult. I just want to spend some time with her before we officially get married.” He said.
Enitan’s mother’s sister sneered, laughing at the couple.
“You already officially married jere. Tomorrow is just formality.” She said.
The others joined in and laughed.
Enitan knew she did not have a choice. She sighed and went to change into something nice then joined him in the car.
“So where are we going?” She asked.
“Duro’s lounge.” Bami responded. She looked at him. She had learned to master his every move and twitch. Her husband-to-be was twitching a lot and that obviously meant he had something to hide. She laughed. She had not received any calls or messages from Torera or her other friends. She nodded. Of course she knew what was going on. She knew he was driving her to her bridal shower. He was almost sweating despite the air conditioning in the Land rover.
“Would you like some music? You seem jittery.” She smiled.
“Huh? Me? Why? No.” Bami said in a mouthful.
The night he had proposed, she knew there was something coming too but she hadn’t expected it to be a proposal. He said he wanted to take her out. She suspected he would propose but she discarded the thought. They had only been together for about four months. She arrived at the venue and then they were ushered to their deuce and he said he just wanted to tell her how much he loved her. Their dinner came and the chef opened the big metal plate cover. She held her breath literally, thinking she would find the all too familiar diamond ring in it. But it was only her baked potatoes and gravy. After their date, he drove her back home and said a decent good night. The next morning, she drove down to her gym and the second she opened the door, everyone screamed surprise and threw confetti all around. She was a little confused, even though she was beaming and grinning from ear to ear, trying to fathom what was happening. Suddenly one of her best songs Jason Derulo’s Marry me started to infiltrate the room. Bami suddenly came out of nowhere and went on his knees, holding out a jeweled box from Tiffany & Co. She had been blown away. Torera had gotten a little upset with Bami for not involving her in the planning but he had apologized, stating that he feared she would have leaked it one way or the other to Enitan.
They arrived at the lounge and Bami led her upstairs. His cousin Duro greeted them and Bami excused himself to go use the rest room. He sure did need some rest from all the tension he had surrounded himself with for trying to work out this surprise.
“Where are they?” Enitan said to Duro the minute Bami left them.
“Who? What?” Duro replied.
“Where are Torera and all of them?” Enitan repeated.
“I don’t understand.”
Enitan held Duro’s shoulders.
“Come on, it’s the night before my wedding. I know this is for my bridal shower. Bami already told me in the car. He couldn’t hide it anymore. ” She said.
Duro raised his brows.
“Really?” he shook his head. “Dude can’t even keep his own secret.”
“Let’s go. It’s at the foyer.” Duro said.
Enitan followed him and they approached the foyer then all the girls saw her and started to scream surprise. She laughed. And yes she was still surprised. They had gone ALL OUT with the props and theme! She couldn’t help the tears that creased her face as she saw the fitness equipment and funny photos of her that she never even knew existed. Torera ran over to her and hugged her.
“Look at your vest. Oh my God!” Enitan laughed.
The event had gone well. Beyond well. And they sure did bring a marriage coach to dish out some advice for the bride to be. One of the guests asked her why she had a three in one hashtag for her wedding.
“It’s not just the intro, engagement and wedding.” Enitan said. “It marks the beginning of something special for me. It’s not just about me and Bami. We have an addition.” She smiled.
Torera raised her brows! She knew it was good news that they were having a baby but she had to admit that she had expected more from Bami. She wasn’t even aware that they were gbenshing! Gbenshing and preaching??? Even for her that was low.
“And no I am not pregnant.” Enitan laughed. “God is the addition to us. I’m walking into this marriage with God as the head. I know I have my excesses and I know I am still trying to find my feet but one thing I have come to understand is that I can’t lay a foundation without God. Love is not enough to sustain us.”
Love was not enough to sustain.
The wedding was everything amazing. Enitan looked breath taking quite alright! But in a different kind of way. She was flawless. Her white dress was embellished on the shoulders and on the neck line so she did not need to wear a necklace. As her father walked her down the aisle at the St. Paul’s Cathedral in Ikoyi, sweet subtle music filled the church and everything just seemed so serene and angelic. Bami stood at the altar, gushing with love and almost bursting with pride. He had never seen Enitan look that beautiful. The priest blessed them and then Bami said he wanted to say his own vows, different from what was in the books.
“I met you and I wondered why I was falling so deep in love with you. You are everything I am not, yet you are everything I long for. You teach me how to be fearless. You teach me how to enjoy life. You teach me to seize the day and you help me to be a fully rounded person. Enitan Oluwafeyikemi Adrienne Babatope today I ask you not to make me a happy man. Lots of things make me happy. I want to be joyous. You give me joy. Please be my Enitan Michaels and make me a joyful man. I could go on and on but in one last sentence, I ask this of you. Be my bride and my pride. You will never regret this. I will honour you with my heart, body, and my soul. I will cherish you and place you above every woman on earth. I make this vow to you in the presence of God. If I ever err, He is a witness. And I know it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of God.”
The entire church was quiet. Enitan held her breath. She was beyond captivated. She was ruining her makeup already with the tears that flooded her eyes. Did she deserve him? She had a big past. She was really an Enitan. But he did not judge her like others did. He accepted her and was promising to love her unconditionally. Torera hurried to her cousin’s side and dabbed her face with a little handkerchief. She searched for the makeup artist in the crowd making sure she was visible enough to touch up the face beat the minute Enitan walked out of the church.
“I…I did not even think of a speech.” Enitan said to the hearing of every one.
Mrs. Babatope shook her head, laughing. She knew her daughter too well. Behind her were Otunba Tafa and Nike Tafa, his new wife, also laughing.
Enitan looked at Bami. He was still staring at her. She didn’t know what to say.
“I just love you so much Bamidele Michaels. I promise to love you relentlessly. I’m so grateful for you.” She said, blinking repeatedly. The lashes were splitting her tears. “And God is a witness. If you ever err, I will report you to Him.”
The priest laughed, joined by everyone else.
Torera smiled. She looked in the congregation at where her date was sitting. Rotimi looked handsome in his white agbada and orange fila. He had bought the aso-ebi. She smiled. He was gradually becoming a part of the family. She was really hopeful that one day, and pretty sooner than she expected, it would be the both of them standing at the altar with him also saying the sweetest vows. Her videographer would have to be on-point to capture each word that Rotimi would say. He caught her gaze and winked at her. Her heart melted. She felt this was right. He was the prince. Her prince. After kissing serial frogs.
Ofcourse there was a reception and Torera was not the one that caught the bouquet even though she had fought tooth and nail. Even Rotimi had laughed at her and teased her for trying so hard. Little did he know she had to get married! All her family members could not just be marrying right in her face! Lol.
Three Months After
Enitan’s phone rang continuously. It was a Saturday evening and she had just returned from the gym. Bami wasn’t home yet. She was still in the love rush stage of the marriage and she was still relishing the moments of cooking chef-made-look-alike meals, those meals she diligently watched on Channel 174 and 175 and on YouTube. That evening, they would be having Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy.
“Torera what is it now?” Enitan answered the call with one hand, the other holding an unpeeled potato.
“We cannot call you again because you are married? Nawa o.” Torera snickered.
“Why are we calling animals?” Torera laughed.
Enitan laughed too.
“So, I am a bit nervous. I think Rotimi is going to propose tomorrow.” She said.
Enitan dropped the potato and increased the speaker volume of the phone.
“Wow! Oh my God! Are you serious?” She beamed, reeking with excitement.
“I mean…I don’t want to jump the gun. I don’t know. But he’s out of town. He went for work in Benin and he’s back tomorrow afternoon. He called today and said he wants us to talk. And he has been acting very jumpy of late. You know.”
“Sweetie…that could mean two things…”
“Eh ehn wait. It’s not something negative. He said he loves me and he misses me and can’t wait to see me.”
Enitan sighed again.
“I really think he is going to propose to me. Besides two of my rings are missing and I left them in his house when I was cooking.” Torera said.
“When you were cooking?” Enitan repeated.
“Yeah. I cook for him. He likes a good home-made meal. And I have gotten to sharpen my culinary skills. I’m at his apartment now. Making efo riro with serious prawns and crayfish. And then he will need stew for the week. Girl, tomatoes are so expensive!” Torera said.
“Is it your money you are using to buy the tomatoes ni? What’s your own?” Enitan said. But Torera did not laugh back. It was actually her money. It was always her money. She never complained. She did it out of love. Rotimi needed to save and she wanted to be prudent with his finances especially if she was going to be marrying him.
Bami walked in and dropped his leather bag on the Kitchen Island then kissed his wife on the cheek. He walked towards the fridge and grabbed a bottle of cold water then gulped it down. He was parched.
“Um…Torera I have to go now. Bami just got in and he doesn’t look so good. Let me call you back, okay. If you’re positive, girl please go get your nails done. That bling must look nice in the photos. No rat chopped nails.” Enitan said.
Bami waved his hand and whispered for her to say hello to Torera.
“Bami says what’s up.” Enitan said.
“Send my kisses to him. I hope he’s okay.” Torera said.
“I gotta find out now. Call you later. Love you.”
“Love you too.” Torera said and ended the call.
Enitan dropped the phone on the island and walked towards her husband.
“Are you okay? You look down…” She said, searching his face for answers.
Bami shook his head.
“It’s Fola. He called me earlier and I had to rush down to the hospital with him.”
Fola was Bami’s long-time friend. They had practically grown up together. He was married to the most amazing woman Enitan had ever come across. Onome was a very simple woman. And effortlessly beautiful too. She never got angry. Fola always said he did not know what he did to deserve her. They had a two year old son who Enitan was always glad to babysit. Babysitting the boy was enough exercise because he always ran around the whole house. Onome was pregnant again and this time she was expecting twins. She had gone into labour at St. Nicholas hospital but somehow, babies were not coming. The nurses had induced her but still nothing. She insisted she did not want to have a c-section. She wanted to have her babies like she had the first one. She wanted to give birth like the Hebrew woman. But she was not Hebrew! She was a Nigerian woman who was hanging between life and death just because she was refusing to have a c-section.
“Can’t Fola convince her? The babies' lives are at stake here!” Enitan frowned.
“He is confused too. He says he has spoken with her but his pastor is insisting that they must exercise faith.”
“That’s the problem I have! To each his faith! I am not saying they should not have faith but come on, C-s is as much a procedure as undergoing an appendicitis operation. It is not a sin. It is a medical procedure, please.”
Bami sighed. He ran his hands over his head.
“Let’s keep praying.” He said.
Enitan rolled her eyes.
“Praying when the wisdom is here already? If that woman dies, Bami I bet you Fola will never forgive himself.”
“I just came home to have a shower and eat something. I am going back to the hospital.”
“Uh---maybe you should shower first. Dinner is not yet ready. But I can fix you something quick to eat.” She said.
The drive home was one of mixed feelings. Rotimi heaved a sigh. He had told Torera that he was travelling for work but he had not gone for work. In fact he had not gone to Benin. He had gone for his family introduction at Ekiti. That was where Timi’s parents lived.
He had reconnected with her about two months ago. Everything started when their mutual best friends, Damola and Ite who were married had invited him for their wedding anniversary party. They told him that Timi was back in town and had been pleading with them to intervene in helping her reconcile with Rotimi. He knew she could be extreme. And she had proved it. Timi threatened to kill herself if Rotimi did not marry her. He loved Torera but he was very confused. No doubt, Timilehin was the love of his life. He loved her so much and when they had broken up, he had been the one who was more hurt. He met Torera and tried to find a Timi in her. Torera was a good woman. She was excellent. She held her own. Even his elder sisters liked her a lot. He had introduced her to them and she had even cooked for them anytime they visited. And honestly, he thought he had moved on. He was really considering getting married to Torera. He could not spend his entire life waiting for Timi to love him the way he loved her. After much thought, he agreed to meet privately with Timi. They talked for over five hours and she cried and pleaded and told him how sorry she was. She was now a mature woman and was ready to get married to him. In fact she gave him back his engagement ring and begged him to propose to her again.
And he did.
That Saturday afternoon was their introduction ceremony and their wedding would hold in the next seven months.
The only thing that confused him was how to break the news to the woman who was in his apartment waiting for him with a delicacy of efo riro and amala nicely done with well-manicured expectant nails.
At the other side of town, another woman was pacing back and forth her bedroom, crammed with all forms of confusion. Her mascara had run down her cheeks along side the streams of tears that flowed. Her heart was palpitating very fast. She had developed a headache. She sat at the edge of the bed again and took in some air. She started to feel the perspiration in her underarms.
She looked at the pregnancy stick in her left hand. She sighed again. She did not expect to deal with this kind of drama at her age. This was something she should have left for the young’uns. In her other hand was her phone. She was caught between the two. The reality of her present that she was an expectant mother, and the confusion as to whether to inform the father of her unborn child that he was also an expectant father.
But the father of her child was still a child himself.
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