I looked at my watch for the one millionth time, this was not good, not good at all. I had been waiting for about one hour and nothing was happening. The policemen had stopped and released over fifty cars while I was parked by the side of the road. They said they were taking me to their station but were yet to make a move in that direction.
I looked at my watch again, no, I couldn’t take this anymore.
I walked to Officer Tijani still sitting in the squad car.
“Officer, what is going on?” I asked.
“You are still here?” He feigned ignorance, I was not buying it.
“The other guy said he was taking me to the station.”
“Oh, eya. You have to wait for him then.”
“I have been waiting for the past one hour.”
“I’m sorry my brother. He will be done soon and he will take you to the station.”
“Really?” My lips were vibrating, I had to control myself or I would lash out at this idiot.
I turned and walked away from him. I entered my car, turned the ignition and slid the gear into drive. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew I was not waiting for another minute. If I was going to be arrested then I should be. I pushed my turn signal and moved into the road. I held my breath expecting something – a shout, running boots, a gunshot but nothing came. I looked in the rearview mirror, the policemen saw me go but didn’t make any attempt to stop me.
I sighed and shook my head, the bastards.
I was one hour behind already, but according to my estimated time of arrival, I was still good. I couldn’t afford another delay though.
My phone beeped and I picked it up; it was Ben. I answered.
“Ben, what’s up?”
“Are you on your way?” He asked.
“Yes, I left like one hour ago.”
“Okay, nice. You should be closing on Ibadan already then.”
“Well, not really. I had some police problems.”
“Problems? Hey dude, you remember you have to be here on time, right?”
I scoffed. “Oh really? I thought you wanted me to arrive tomorrow.”
“Of course I remember, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“Alright man, see you when you arrive.”
I looked up the road and… “Oh crap.” I said.
“What is it?” Ben asked.
I ended the call, and slowed the car to a stop and rolled down my window.
“Hello Officer.” I said to the policeman standing in front of my car.
“Were you making a call while driving?” The policeman asked.
“I wasn’t…” Nah, I couldn’t lie, he probably saw me already anyway. “I’m sorry, I was.”
“Please park.” He said.
I parked the car and stepped out of it. I could not be proud this time, I was at fault.
“Can I see your license please?” The officer said.
“Sir, I know what I did was wrong but I’m on an important journey and if I arrive late I will ruin a wedding.”
The officer smiled and said. “I’m really sorry about that but I’m just doing my job.”
“You had one job Mayowa, all you had to do was keep the rings. One freaking job.” Dotun said.
“Hey, you watch how you talk to me, okay? I’m not your mate.” Mayowa said.
“You are not my mate? Because you are friends with my elder brother? I don’t know why he picked you as his best man anyway.”
Mayowa chuckled. “That hurts you, doesn’t it? The fact that he didn’t pick you as his best man. Well, now you know how much your brother values you.”
“Shut up.” I shouted and they both stopped talking.
I walked out of the room and slammed the door behind me. My wedding day wasn’t supposed to start like this. Missing rings, a stupid groomsman and I didn’t know what was going on with Olumide and the car. I walked down the corridor to the elevator and pushed a button, I needed to be away from my feuding friend and brother.
The elevator opened, it wasn’t empty.
“Hello.” I said as I entered.
“Hi.” The girl in the elevator said with a sweet smile.
I returned the smile and stared in front of me as the elevator descended. I couldn’t look at her but I could feel her eyes on me. I waited a few seconds till I could barely stand from the tension and I turned to her. And sure, she was looking at me.
“Hi.” I said. It was the only thing that came to my mouth.
She smiled and looked away. It was my turn to look. She was pretty, that was obvious. There were other things but I couldn’t look too much, I’d learnt not to do that.
“You know the elevator will soon reach the lobby, right?” She said.
“Yeah, sure.” I didn’t understand what she meant by that.
“Okay, so are you going to talk to me or what?”
I laughed and almost choked on it. Why was I so nervous?
“Why are you all dressed up?” She asked.
I had totally forgotten about what I was wearing.
“I am getting married today.” I said.
She looked at me and smiled. “Really?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes.” I arched my eyebrow. “Why… why would you ask if I was sure?”
“How did you talk to her? Or was the marriage arranged for you?”
“What? No, it wasn’t arranged.”
“Did she propose?”
“Okay, what is going on here? Are you saying I couldn’t have proposed?”
The elevator beeped and the door opened.
She smiled and stepped out of the elevator. I waited for a second and walked out. I smiled and watched her walk in front of me for a while then I stepped to her side.
“We were in that elevator for less than a minute and you think you know me?”
She turned to me. “Well, was I right?”
“About the proposal, no. Of course I proposed to her.”
“Okay, my bad.” She said.
I made the ‘sign of the cross’ in the air and said. “You are forgiven.”
“Why are you downstairs anyway? Shouldn’t you be preparing for your wedding?”
I nodded. “I should but my brother and my groomsman are fighting so I had to leave the room.” She did not respond so I continued. “My friend misplaced the rings.”
“That is not good.”
“No, it’s not. I had to leave the room, I needed to calm my nerves.”
“Are they calm now?”
I was calm and poised, this was one thing I did without having to think too much. I parked the car next to the girl and like most of girls, she moved on like she did not know I parked for her.
“Hello beautiful.” I called.
She stopped and looked at me and I saw her face in full. I wasn’t really impressed but I had seen something when I was behind her, it would do.
“Hello, please can you point me in the direction of First Baptist Church?”
She looked disappointed, she was expecting something else. Be patient lady. She pointed and started to describe but I wasn’t interested in that.
“Thanks a lot.” I said. “Can you come in, let me give you a lift to where you are going?”
She smiled and entered. “Thank you.”
“You are welcome.” I said. “You live around here?”
“Yes, just down the road.”
“Did you just move here? I’m sure I would have noticed a beautiful girl like you around.”
She smiled. “I’m usually in school.”
“Oh really? I’m usually in Lagos myself, I’m just around for a wedding.”
“So you are going back soon?” She asked.
“Yes, I am. Maybe we can still see before I leave.”
“Let me give you my number, I will come and see you at home.” She said.
She took my phone and typed her number into it. I spent the next three minutes flirting with her while she smiled and responded to everything I said or did. I didn’t even have to bring my ‘A’ game for this one.
Finally she said. “I will stop here.”
I pulled the car over to the side of the road.
“Is this your house?” I asked.
“No, it is my boyfriend…” She stopped but it was too late.
“It is your boyfriend’s house?” She looked away without responding. “That is not a problem, I will be looking forward to seeing you later.”
“Okay.” She said and exit my car.
I shook my head as I pulled back into the road. I didn’t mind that she had a boyfriend, in fact, it was great. I might call her, depending on how lucky I got at the wedding. It was too darn easy these days.
My phone rang, I looked at the phone and looked away; it was my father. I wasn’t in the mood to talk to him. I wondered why he kept calling. He had nothing to offer me. I didn’t need his money, I definitely didn’t need fatherly advice from him. He was the last person I wanted to be like. Cheating bastard.
Too late, you are already like him.
I shook the thought off my mind. I wasn’t like him in anyway. I wasn’t married, I’d never even been in any long-term relationship so nobody could accuse me of cheating.
But I couldn’t help but think, maybe this was how he started.
Sharon almost Dara
“That is how it starts, one day you are minding your business, next day you are still minding your business only your business is now a boy.”
Everybody in the room laughed but I didn’t, I was getting increasingly tensed and my sister’s jokes were not helping at all. What was I doing? Why was I getting married? Why Ben? Oh God, I was in trouble, wasn’t I?
“Are you okay?” Kike asked.
“Hmhmm, I am.” I said.
“If this is how okay looks, I don’t want to be okay.” She said. “You have tears in your eyes for God’s sake.”
I picked a tissue off the dresser and dabbed at my eyes.
“Come, let’s take a walk.” Kike said.
I stood and picked up the edge of my gown.
“What are you doing?” Bola, my sister asked.
“We are taking a walk.” Kike said.
“A walk to where? She’ll get her gown dirty.”
“I’ll be fine.” I said.
We left the room and walked to a patio overlooking the hotel’s swimming pool.
“Okay sit and tell me what is on your mind.” Kike said.
I didn’t know what to say, I couldn’t tell her what was bothering me. I stared into the calm pool and she stared at the not-so-cool me.
“Why aren’t you married Kike?”
“I know you’ve been in a relationship longer than I and Ben, so why haven’t you gotten married?”
“Well, I don’t know, it’s not time I guess.” She said and looked away.
I knew my friend and I knew I had touched a sore nerve. I was concerned for her but I was not in the mood to be a friend, I was the one in need of help.
“How do you know when it is the right time?” I asked.
“Sharon, this is the right time for you.”
“How do you know that?”
“I’ve seen you and Ben, I know it is time.”
She pulled me close to her and hugged me.
“This is just pre-wedding jitters. It happens to most brides.” She said and added with a smile. “Some grooms too.”
“This isn’t pre-wedding jitters.” I said.
She held me at arms-length and looked into my eyes.
“Is there something you should tell me Sharon?”
Tears began to pour down my face.
“Okay, you are scaring me. What is going on?”
“Remember when I told you Ben had not even kissed me?”
“Yes.” She said then her eyes widened. “He did? He slept with you?”
I shook my head. “No, he didn’t. He said he wanted us to keep our virginities till our wedding night.”
“Yeah, you told me that before.” Kike said. “So what is the problem?”
I wiped the tears in my eyes and looked at Kike, my body trembling badly. “I am not a virgin.”