The clock struck eleven o’clock.
A child dropped a spoon, the sound reverberating throughout the cathedral.
Seun stared wide-eyed at the man walking down the aisle towards the altar. She was feeling hot and dizzy and it was a miracle she was still standing. This was every bride’s nightmare.
Tade looked flummoxed. He had imagined this scene in his head and even teased friends with it but the reality was unnerving, scarier than any image he might have concocted. His hands were shaking and drops of sweat were streaming down his armpit in quick succession. He was thirsty all of a sudden.
Bosun walked in small measured steps and seemed to be in no hurry to get to his destination. He had chosen the seat by the far right corner on the last pew on purpose. He intended to stretch the agony of the couple standing wide-eyed and looking like they would faint any moment. ‘Not yet’ he thought inwardly, ‘not until I am through dealing with you’. A small smile escaped his lips at the thought.
The Reverend cringed inwardly. Never in his ten years in ministry had he witnessed this. He had only heard of one instance where this happened. He almost regretted following the liturgy to the letter. ‘God, why me’ he thought with despair. His eyes caught that of the bride’s mother and they were imploring, asking him to salvage the situation. He pitied her, she was one of the prominent members, dedicated to the church. It was a pity this was happening to her and he wished there was something he could do. His hands were tied.
Finally, Bosun got to the altar and smiled at Tade, a malevolent smile that sent chills down Tade’s spine.
“You think you can have your happily-ever-after after destroying my own marriage abi?” Bosun said into the microphone. There was a collective gasp from the congregation.
“This man has been sleeping with my wife, pretending to be a friend and stabbing me in the back” Bosun’s voice had become icy and his eyes trained on Tade were hardened. Looking at Seun, he added “I bet you thought he was Prince Charming huh?”
“Are you sure of this son?” it was the Reverend’s voice, thin and uncharacteristically low toned.
“I have proof” Bosun answered. “I have a taped confession of the affair by my wife” and he brought out his phone scrolling to the file and playing it while holding the microphone to the speaker end of the phone.
A female voice filled the church speakers. It was trembling and the words were punctuated by sobs.
“I have sinned against you and against God and against the vows we took before the altar of God and I am sorry” the words tumbled out and the church speakers screeched from the static.
“What did you do?” it was Bosun’s voice, gruff and coaxing
“I slept with someone else. Twice” more sobs filled the cathedral with lots of static
“With Tade right” it was said as a statement, and not as a question.
“Yes” the woman answered, her voice muffled by fresh sobs.
Bosun stopped the recording and put the phone back in his pocket. His eyes were red rimmed and his face was that of intense hurt. When he spoke, it was in a low tone “what is worse is that she told me she was in love with him. Although we were willing to work things out, things were not just the same anymore and I always felt like I was competing with this guy here and eventually we decided to call it quits. She is a good woman and I loved her, still do.
“You were her friend and she trusted you and you took advantage of her innocence and seduced her. You made her fall in love with you and then you left her broken, damaged and unable to live with another man. What kind of person does that?” he was openly weeping now.
Tade stood with his head to the ground. He could feel the glares and accusing eyes, the condemnation and cries for his head. And they would be right to do that, he thought as shame washed over him. He deserved to be lynched. What he did was inexcusable and he had known that the deed would stick to him like a shadow for the rest of his life. He wished he could just die. Bosun could not have chosen a better revenge than this, to expose him in front of his friends, family, would be in laws and well-wishers and then cancel his wedding too. It was the perfect revenge, and he deserved every drop of that dish.
Tade’s mother was shocked and her mouth hung open. She couldn’t believe her son could do such a thing. ‘I don’t know who my son is anymore’ she lamented inwardly. She had raised him on good Christian principles and he had been well behaved all through his teen years and up till the time he finished from the university. He had been the only child of hers that she could vouch for, but apparently her confidence had been misplaced. “What have you done Tade?” she repeated over and over shaking her head and crying silently.
Seun moved towards Bosun, tears streaming down her face and marring her well made up face, and hugged him. His pain was palpable and she wished she could take it away. She could understand his hurt and his need to hurt Tade the way he had hurt him. Initially, he stood stiff in her hands but after a few moments, he held her tight and wept on her shoulder. He sensed in her similar suffering and hurt from the betrayal of their most trusted partners.
“He was in love with her too” she said to Bosun after they had come apart. “They knew that it would be wrong to continue and decided to confess to their partners. She chose you”
It was Bosun’s turn to be shocked and to stare. “He told me” she answered his unspoken question. Turning towards Tade now she added “He hurt me badly but I forgave him, forgive him, and it will be an honour to be his wife”. She smiled at Tade who smiled back weakly.
Seun turned to Bosun and said “Go get your wife back and fight for her”. Bosun nodded and walked away from the altar. He paused after a few steps and turned back heading towards Tade.
Tade watched with bated breath as Bosun walked towards him, mentally preparing himself for the blow but making no move to defend himself.
A thunderous applause rent the cathedral as Bosun caught Tade in a tight embrace and whispered into his ears. As he walked away to a standing ovation, Tade couldn’t agree more with him
“You are one lucky man” Bosun had whispered.