I tried with no success to sleep through the night so at 2 a.m., Bola and I decided to watch YouTube videos and we cut cucumbers in semi circles to put under our eyes to prevent eye bags.
‘’Bola, do you think we are rushing this?’’ I asked.
‘’No, why do you ask that? I see the way you look at each other, it is the real deal.’’
‘’I have known Sam for just 18 months almost 6 days’’
‘’Pam, let us watch another one of those cool wedding videos, it would lift your spirit’’
‘’Bola you are not listening, I have written just the first five lines of my vows and they suck I tell you. How can I be marrying someone and I can’t write something romantic about him?’’
‘’You are looking for a wrinkle where there is none, I am sure Sam doesn’t care about vows.’’
‘’So when the preacher says, Pam you may now say your vows…’’
‘’You wing it, speak from the heart. Can we get back to the videos and don’t chicken out of this, my dress is too beautiful to go to waste’’
I laughed and went back to watching the videos; I lacketheseht words to communicate how I felt to Bola.
About an hour later Bola dozed off, cucumber slices lopsided on her face, I took a photo to embarrass her with later. Pen in hand I fished my journal out of my bag and was determined to work on my vows.
Five minutes later the blank page was still staring back at me, I decided to flip to the first entry of Sam in my journal. It was the night in Abuja when he showed up unannounced to one of my shows, the napkin I wrote ‘’sincere eyes’’ was tapped to the top of the page and below the napkin I wrote this;
‘’I know I should be scared about the fact that Sam showed up unannounced, but I am not. It feels like I have known him all my life and before you say it, I know it is cheesy. I want to have this endless conversation with him and keep sharing my thoughts with him and waiting to hear his sarcastic response to almost everything.
I think I should stop here, because I am getting ahead of myself, he probably wouldn’t want me around once he gets a load of my weirdness, but I will treasure this experience and maybe finish this song ‘’Sincere Eyes’’ and give muse credit to square frame glasses Sam.’’
I wasn’t afraid after reading this, I knew from the start Sam was special, an important part of my life. I must have lost sight of that with all the wedding preparation, dealing with my mum’s extravagant plans for the wedding and my sister constantly making me second guess all the decisions I made about the wedding.
I loved the reminder my journal gave me.
Maybe Bola was right, I didn’t need an elaborate and perfect vow. I would wing it, speak from my heart.
The alarm on my phone rang it was 5 a.m., I picked up my phone and called Sam.
I waited for the few seconds before the alarm clock would ring. I was awake already so there was no point waiting, it wasn’t like I had slept any throughout the night. It wasn’t smart to have stayed awake for most of the night, a dozing groom wasn’t a good sight anywhere.
The alarm rang and I shut it off. I stood from the bed and put on the light. It was 5 am, the beginning of the most important day in my life.
I was supposed to feel great but I didn’t. I looked around my clean and empty hotel room, nothing here gave me any sort of excitement. Of course, the only thing that made me excited these days was in another hotel across town. I smiled, I should be excited, I was about to get united to the one person who could breach my one man band.
My phone rang on my bedside table. I considered ignoring it, everyone should know not to call the groom at this time. I shrugged and picked the phone.
It was Pam. I smiled, why was she calling this early?
“Hello my dear.” She said.
“Isn’t it bad luck to talk to the groom the morning of the wedding before seeing him in church?” I asked.
“What? Where did you hear that?”
“I don’t know. The internet, I think.”
She chuckled. “It is the bride in her dress you are not supposed to see. According to my own internet.”
I paused and let a few seconds of silence pass. I was about to get married, I was committing to spending the rest of my life with another person. Worse still, she would be spending the rest of her life with me. I wasn’t the sort of guy anyone should spend a whole month with, talk more of a lifetime.
“What are you thinking about?”
“Me? Nothing. I was just thinking about the wedding and how beautiful you’ll look.”
“Sam, I’m getting married to you, you think I don’t know when you are lying?”
“Lying? I’m not lying.” I said. “Why did you call by the way? I’m sure you wanted to tell me something.”
“I called to tell you I love you and marrying you is best decision I ever made.”
I swallowed. “You are sure about that?”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
“How do you know this is even a good decision?”
She waited a couple of seconds then said. “Why are you asking me this Sam?”
“You know how much of a loner I was before I met you. What if I can’t cope spending so much time with someone else?”
“You spend a lot of time with your grandmother.”
“Sure but that woman is the definition of long suffering.”
“I can’t believe this.” She said.
She laughed. “Sam is getting cold feet.”
“Isn’t it the girl who is allowed to have cold feet?”
“Cold feet? I’m raising legitimate concerns here.”
“Okay, Mr Sam. Thank you for raising your very legitimate concerns, I will put them under advisement. In the meantime, I just want to tell you, I love you, so much. And when I say ‘I do’, it will be the best two words I have ever spoken. Take care dear, see you in church.”
She ended the call and for a few seconds I stared at the phone and replayed our conversation in my mind. Cold feet? Was that what this was, cold feet?
A knock sounded on my door and I looked up. Why was anyone at my door this early? It wasn’t even 5:30 AM yet. It couldn’t the Phemie, the guy would not be up till I woke him.
I walked to the door, unlocked and opened it.
It was my grandmother.
“What are you doing here so early?” I asked.
“Will you allow me in or interrogate me first?”
I stepped aside and she walked into the room. I closed the door and followed her in.
“Seriously grandma, it’s not even 6 yet.”
“Do you realize this is the last time I will be able to enter your room this early? From tomorrow morning, your room belongs to you and your wife, off-limits to grandmothers.”
I smiled and put an arm around her shoulders.
“You will always be welcomed in my room.”
“We both know that’s not true so let me get to the point so I can be out of here.”
She sat on the edge of the bed and I sat beside her.
“I have something for you.” She said.
She pulled out an ivory box from somewhere in her long dress and handed it to me.
“Didn’t you already give me this?” I asked.
“Just open it.” She said. “You ask too many questions.”
I opened the box and inside it was a shield- shaped golden brooch.
“That belonged to your grandfather. I was going to have it buried with me, silly I know, but that was my plan.”
“It’s not silly. If this belonged to him, burying it with you many, many years from now, is what we will do.” I said.
I handed the brooch back to her but she pushed it back to me.
“I gave him this brooch on our wedding day and it was for a reason. As I pinned the brooch to his suit that morning, I said some words to him and I’m saying the same to you now.”
I sat up and looked at her old but beautiful face. Whatever she was about to tell me meant the world to her.
“Pam is leaving life as she knows it to become your wife. She will carry your troubles, she will carry your babies, she will carry you. She is going to be a lot of things to you and you will be a lot of things to her. More than anything, please be her shield; her protector. I know you’ll do a great job of this.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know about that Grandma.”
“You give yourself so little credit.” She said. “For years now, you have been my shield. Protecting me from anything that could hurt me, even myself sometimes. If you could do it for a frail old woman, I’m sure you can do it for your young beautiful wife.”
I smiled and looked at my grandmother. How on earth did I shield or protect this woman?
“I couldn’t have asked for better grandson than you Samuel. And Pam couldn’t have asked for a better husband.”
She stood and walked to the door and opened.
“Grandma.” I called out to her. “I couldn’t have asked for a better mother than you.”
She smiled and closed the door behind her.
I picked my phone and typed out a text for Pam.
My feet are as hot as hell babe, let’s do this.
I stood in my Tuxedo in front of the church feeling weird. Nobody seemed to care about me though, that was the great thing. The hymn had started and Pam would be walking down the aisle in a minute. I didn’t know if I was supposed to but I turned and faced the door she would come through, I couldn’t wait to see her.
A figure blocked the sunrays coming through the door and there she stood. She had a veil over her face but I could see her smile. I could feel it. If my feet were hot before, they were on fire now. I could not imagine not doing this. I felt a sudden urge to run up the aisle to hurry her to the altar but I resisted, I could wait a few more minutes.
She took forever, like I expected but finally she stood by my side. Her face was uncovered and she was beaming. She kept her eyes on the minister, avoiding mine but I couldn’t help but stare.
“Stop it.” She whispered.
“Stop what?” I whispered back.
“Stop drooling.” She said.
I wanted to, I attempted to but I couldn’t. The service was all a blur to me until they came to the part I was eagerly waiting for; the vows.
The piece of paper with my vows was safely tucked in the pocket of my suit since the night before.
I looked at Pam, she would love this. I dipped my hand in my breast pocket, where the piece of paper was hidden; there was nothing there. What? No. This was the proposal all over again? I was sure I put the paper in that pocket.
The Minister was starting to look at me weird, Pam was confused too and the congregation were beginning to stir. How on earth did I lose that paper?
“Pamilerin Ademola,” I started. “I, Samuel Aderemi take you as my…” I stopped.
The stir in the church got louder. The minister leaned close to me and whispered something, I didn’t hear it. Why couldn’t I remember what I wrote? Lord help me. Maybe I should wing this. Words weren’t my specialty but maybe I could wing this.
“Pamilerin Ademola,” I said and the church went silent. Lord help me. “Every time I sit with my computer to start on a new programming project, I ask myself an important question. Why am I doing this? More often than not, I come up with great answers. But once in a while when I don’t find any great answers, I just tell myself; ‘because of the money fool’. “The congregation laughed and Pam smiled. That was great, I could maybe pull this off. “I stand before you and this great congregation of witnesses today about to launch the most important project of my life. And I ask myself; why am I doing this? I can give you a thousand and one reasons but I’ll just stick to three. One; I love you. Two; I’d be like the moon without the sun – just another thing swimming around the universe without any usefulness to the earth.” Was that geographically correct? Who cares, I was on a roll. “Three; we are so perfect together, we owe the world to make this happen. And of course, because of the money fool.”
The church laughed again. The minister looked at me, was I done? Was I? I couldn’t end with a joke.
“Pam, I thought my life was great alone but you’ve shown me there was a reason God created Eve. And even though I don’t know when the surgery was performed, like Eve you are the bone of my bone and the flesh of my flesh. Seeing how beautiful you are, I know the flesh came from my heart and not my face.”
Pam chuckled and I winked at her.
“You are my Sun; the centre of my universe and I promise for the rest of our lives, I will stay in my orbit, my life forever revolving around you.”
I looked at Minister’s face, he didn’t quite approve of my jokes. I was sure when I watched this wedding again, I would be ashamed of myself too. For now, Pam was smiling and that made me happy.
The Minister turned to Pam. She didn’t have any paper with her. Did she memorize her vows or was she winging this too?
“My dear Sam…” She started.
‘’My dear Sam, thank you for showing up uninvited to Abuja. You started us on a journey that is leading us to forever and for that I would forever be grateful. Thank you for loving me with my bad mouth, tantrums and ever changing moods. Thank you for being patient, never getting tired of explaining to me how technology makes the world better place and though I’m yet to agree with you on that, you have forever to prove your case.
I felt intimidated at first with your relationship with your Grandma, how close you are to her, but you have shown me time and time again that I have a place with you. I can’t replace Grandma, but in your own words I have a special place with you. I have reached parts of you that no one has access to, so you will never let me go.
I am excited for our future, our adventures and the children that would come. I love you Sam. I promise to take care of you through thick and thin, be your number one cheerleader and constant support system.
Sam thank you.’’
The Minister looked at us, smiled and closed his booklet. Yeah, he was winging it too.
“As long as these children have spoken these wonderful and somewhat peculiar words from their hearts and made these promises before God and these many witnesses, by the power vested on me I now pronounce Samuel and Pamilerin, husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Pam stepped closer to me and I put my left arm around her.
“Nice to meet you, Mrs Sam.” I said.
“Would you kiss me already?”
I leaned closer to her and she closed her eyes. I paused and studied her face, she was everything I prayed for. If my parents were looking down at me, they would be proud.
I pressed my lips against hers.
In that one beautiful moment, I heard the applause of angels. Oh, maybe it was just the congregation.