‘You are cordially invited to the wedding ceremony of Effiong and Blessing…” that was what the card read. Chika had just received the invitation by post and to her dismay; her ex-boyfriend Effiong, was finally getting married. He had everything she wanted in a husband – good-looks, great job, intelligence, god-fearing etc but her mother had refused to let her marry him because he was neither Ibo nor catholic. They had dated for three years and those years were the best years of her life. She knew that if she have pushed harder and insisted on marrying him back then, they would have been married by now. But instead, she had watched her mum humiliate him and ask him to leave the family house. To make matters worse, when Effiong had tried to calm her mother down, she had joined in the shouting, saying that he was disrespecting her family. Sometimes when she looked back, she wondered what had possessed her on that day; his family had been very kind to her and she knew he was a good man who did not deserve such treatment but then, she had always been very close to her mother and did whatever she was told regardless of whether she knew it was wrong or right. So today, a year after their break-up, as she opened the envelope, her eyes welled up with tears. She picked up the phone and dialed his number.
“Hi, I got your invitation. I am very happy for you” she said with no iota of happiness in her voice.
“Thank you” he responded.
“I don’t know if I can come though” she continued.
“No problem, RSVP when you’re sure of your decision”
“Can we meet briefly, I would like to discuss something with you?” she asked him.
“That won’t be necessary. If there’s anything urgent, you can tell me now because I would not have the time to meet you before the wedding”
“Okay then, I just wanted you to think again before you go into this. You know you still love me” she said smugly.
“I have thought well enough and no, I don’t love you. I loved you before and now I love another. Get over it!” He said harshly. After amoment of silence, he told her that he had to go and hung up.
He was pissed off; she had the nerves to call him and tell him to re-think about his decision, after all that she had done to him over the years. He had loved her like no other and convinced his family to accept her even though they wanted him to marry someone from his tribe, but that had not dissipated his love for her. He had always known her to be selfish but that had not bothered him either and he gave her all that she wanted and even more just to make her happy. He had invested so much in her and had even bought her the type of expensive engagement ring that she wanted, which she had not bothered to return after they broke up. Three good years wasted being in a relationship with her and yet, her mother had walked him out of their house screaming “Stupid Calabar boy! You want to come and marry my daughter!” and Chika had joined in, clapping her hands like a village woman. What had puzzled him the most was that her mother had known all the while that he was dating her daughter and so his visit was not sprung on her out of the blue. He used to bring her gifts on his previous visits which she had accepted warmly. Therefore, he could not understand the unforeseen change of mind or the sudden realization that he was not from the Ibo tribe, especially as both mother and daughter had called him by his Efik name – Effiong. He had still loved Chika after that episode of drama and tried to reach out to her until the day she told him proudly to his face that no matter what she did to him, he could never leave her or ignore her. After she said those words, it was almost like a spell had been broken and finally he became aware of what he meant to her - a toy for playing with, a bank to give her money, and a shop to pick free items from. Only then did he understand what his whole family and friends had been telling him about her for a long time - that they thought that she did not truly love him. Oh well, his eyes had been opened and he decided to end things with her completely. He began to ignore her calls and text messages and one day she showed up at his place after some months, requesting for a huge sum of money. He transferred the money to her bank account but continued not to speak to her. He was that kind of man; generous to a fault that he let some people take advantage of him. Money was never a problem for him anyway as he came from a wealthy background.
Some weeks after his break-up with Chika, Effong met Blessing at the bank. She was nothing like Chika; she was selfless, homely, not vain and from Akwa ibom. Both his and her parents approved of their relationship and they got engaged pretty quickly. It was Blessing that had suggested sending a wedding card to Chika because she had met her once, the day she had come to ask Effiong for money. That was the kind of person that Blessing was; she hardly found fault with anybody and despite the spiteful gestures that Chika had made during her visit, Blessing had still urged Effiong to give Chika the money. That was why he had transferred the money into Chika’s account and warned her never to come to his house again nor request for anything else. So he was not shocked when Blessing, out of her good will, had asked him to invite Chika for the wedding. He reluctantly obliged after she persisted although he silently hoped that Chika would decline the invitation. After that call that Chika made asking to see him before the wedding, which he had turned down, she continued to try to reach him. He never responded to her calls or messages and up until the wedding day, it was unclear whether she was going to attend or not.
The day of his wedding came and all the guests were seated. Effiong stood close to the altar looking good and nervous just like almost every groom did on their wedding day. It was time for the bride to walk down the aisle and the orchestra began playing the Pachelbel version of the famous Canon in D major record. It was at that moment that Chika chose to show up in a white dress. She was not wearing a wedding dress exactly but it was a lovely dinner dress; one that a bride could wear on the evening of her wedding. She looked stunning in it, with her figure well accentuated in the dress and her hair and make-up perfectly done. She walked in slowly, drawing in attention like she was the bride. In fact, if one did not know who the bride was, one might have mistaken Chika for ‘her’. Effiong signaled to the orchestra to stop playing the music and stooped low to whisper to his little groom. He looked up at her and smiled. She smiled back smugly before taking a seat close to the front row; her plan had gone well and she had been noticed by him just as she had wanted. It was signaled again that the bride was ready and so the orchestra resumed playing. Blessing walked into the church with her father, looking resplendent and the wedding ceremony began shortly afterwards.
It was time to exchange the rings and vows and the pastor asked the usual question “Is there anybody who has a reason why these two should not be married? Stand up and speak now or forever, hold your peace.” Chika tried to stand up but sat down suddenly, as she realized that her wig had been quickly pulled off her hair. She tried to put it back on but the little groom picked it and ran out of the church with it. The children around laughed and pointed at her ridiculous wig-cap which she had worn underneath. Some people turned to look at what had happened and she bent her head in shame. The distraction was brief and since no one had spoken, the weddings vows were made successfully whilst Chika sat with her head bowed until everyone else left the church. Effiong saw her as she sneaked out of the church whilst the couple was taking pictures with their family and well-wishers. He smiled genuinely for the photograph with his heart filled with joy. His weakness may have been him falling for her previously but he knew that her weakness lay in her lack of hair and her love for wigs. He had learned well from his relationship with her and so the moment she had shown up seeking for attention; he decided that he would give her all the attention that she deserved. Thanks to his little mischievous nephew who served as his little groom; Effiong promised to get him a present as a reward.
As for Chika, she never showed up in his life again and just like a fairytale, he lived happily ever after with Blessing.
I hope you enjoyed reading and don't worry for the aproko people, when it is time for my wedding I will put it up here on my blog so watch out :P. Don't forget to follow me on twitter @vivio_gogoand instagram IG: ugochi ukah for more updates. Enjoy the rest of your week.