People think I am lucky because I have Tade. He is a tall, rich, and influential man; a devout christian too. Always well dressed, speaks well, and very generous with gifts. Truth, he is almost all I wish for in a man and he loves me so, but I don’t and can’t love him back. I have tried, beat myself day and night, cast my heart forth and back, but my mind is made up, it won’t love any other safe for Oluwadamilare. I can’t say…
“…Sister Blessing. Sist_”
“I do!” the words are out of my mouth before I realise it’s the wrongest thing to say at the moment, as laughter amidst thunderous applauds fill the air. I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder again, and it is only then I get back into character. I open my eyes now, remembering that minutes ago, I had closed them as I knelt before pastor Femi with Tade by my side- in front of the congregation that Sunday morning- duly after Tade had announced that we would be getting married later in the year.
“Yes Pastor.” I answer eventually, slightly embarrassed as I realise the whole congregation has taken a seat now, and Tade is standing upright beside me while I remain on the floor, with my kneels to the ground.
“You may stand up now. I hope there is no problem? You seem eager to get this marriage thing over and done with.”
Flushed, I rise to my feet, and shake my skirt to rid it off dust as I fumble for an explanation in my head. “No pastor, I was connecting with the Holy Spirit. Pastor, the Lord is indeed wonderful, and marvellous. He is happy with the choice I have made.” I state, almost matter- of- factly, staring into Tade’s wide black face that seems to host a ghost of a smile. My heart rises with guilt, as I tear my gaze away from him.
Pastor Femi smiles too, offering us both a re-assuring nod as he ushers us back to our seats where the congregation welcomes us with even more applause. My stomach turns, I think I just might be sick.
The Sunday service is soon over, after a thorough lecture on the Do’s and Don’ts of marriage, specially dedicated to us as delivered by Pastor Femi. Unexcitedly, I exit the church hall with Tade, after having shook hands with the lot of the other members congratulating us on our engagement, most of whom seemed green with envy as if I had just claimed their most coveted prize. Finally, we make it into the car and I release the breath I wasn’t aware I had been keeping until now. I stare out the car, trying to avoid his gaze, and hoping he would just drive and not try to act heroic or something by asking me if I am okay. But no…
“Gbemisola Blessing, what’s the problem?”
Incensed I am, but I manage a smile, as I turn to him for a brief second. “Nothing, just cramps. Thanks.”
His face is awash with concern, and I just want to cry. Why can’t I love this man the way he loves me?! He straightens my hair with his palms and places a gentle kiss on my cheek before starting the car. Finally!!!
In an hour, we are at the Lekki apartment I share with Kemi. I let myself into the house with my set of keys, Tade tagging along despite my fervent prayer that he’ll just leave me be. I hear muffles and quiet laughter from the door, and soon, I notice it’s from the sitting room where Kemi and Dare are entangled in an X- rated movie position on the couch, my favourite couch, watching a football game. That just about does it for me! Or almost…
“Hey guys! Wassap! Una don pray finish kiakia. Mr and…” Now, that’s it! I don’t wait to hear the remaining of what Dare is saying, I just rush into my room and slam the door shut; not forgetting to turn the key and plug my earpiece in, because I know Tade will soon find his way to my room. Now, I play the scene over and over again in my head for the umpteenth time, of how I met Dare and how he might have ended up being mine rather than Kemi’s.
To be continued.