Last week was hectic, but rewarding. At the end, I came back from Eket- restless and exhausted.
It was not the drinks, though the occasional stares from fellow passengers in the cab I boarded back to Uyo told me my sweats were oozing alcohol. Alcohol from two nights of inebriate drinking, but it wasn’t that.
A close pal had towed the nuptial knots from Uyo to Eket. We tugged the ropes with him, and thank God for the new practice of dual-marriages in a day; at the end, by midday- Saturday he had said “I do” in the western way. We had tugged harder and by six in the evening- same day, with much drums and fanfare, he had done same- but in the Ibibio traditional context.
About thirty years ago, my parents did theirs differently, with almost six months in-between. The traditional marriage which is regarded as the main marriage in Ibibio-land came first. The church wedding came months after mother allayed her fears to father about the growing bulge in her tommy and the frequent morning sickness. It is another generational change.
At the end, my friend and his newly betrothed had gone home, happy; while we headed back to our hotel rooms, inebriate. Yet we drank more.
For guys like us, who have refused to marry yet, it was a special kind of celebration. Another friend had vacated the turf for us. When hunter’s turn to perpetual home-warmers, we had to be happy- for the games became more abundant and handy.
Back at the hotel, the drinking continued unabated. Most had come back with pairs of breasts to match. This trend often makes me wonder about the mistakes unmarried ladies often make at marriages. They become easily overtaken by the smiles and hugs of marriage ceremonies. They wish it were them. The unmarried men, being aware of these ladies’ vulnerabilities move in for the kill. Phone numbers are freely exchanged. Every coquettish whisper is taken so seriously. The ladies let their guards down more. Hopes are raised. It usually ends in hotel rooms where ooohs and aaahs are freely given and taken. Then raised hopes are gradually dashed. A few ever progress past this point.
Others came back with colleagues in the binge-drinking business. I came back alone- again; and throughout the night, the ooohs and aaahs of drunk sexual discuss emanating from the adjacent rooms made sleep to evade my dreary eyes.More drinks and some light puffs became the panacea that drove my weary soul to snooze-land.
When I eventually woke, it was already past nine, Sunday morning and most of the guests had gone. The religious must have been the first to leave. They had church to attend. They had to speak in tongues too, even those that stood up from women’s bellies. There goes the grand hypocrisy of the Nigerian church.
Others, specifically the public servants had to leave early too. Laundry had to be done against Monday morning mad work-rush.
Needless remind you that I’m jobless, save for the occasional magazines and online literary blogs I write for. So, I didn’t feel the surge, or any need to rush.
Hotel accommodations in this side of the globe expires at noon, so, I had time to lie- back and reflect on the past days scenarios.
The message bubbling from the past few days kept re-echoing in my head as I lay there.
“Bros, do- go marry”!
“Your mates don marry finish”!!
That was my heart speaking. My mind was silent. It had to be my heart- for it is the heart that yearns for things it can’t have. The perpetual seeker of an Utopia-of-sorts. On the other hand, the mind is a calmer spring of life-water. It reasons deeper.
It had to, for it knew how easy such thoughts could beguile unprepared men and women.
The mind knew that it was not as much about finding who to marry like it was about finding the means to stay married. That “means” extended beyond the financial capability of executing such Herculean responsibility. It included having the grace- to cope with whomever one dragged into the marriage clause. The ability to “eat shit” from each other continually.
It was like drawing a contract with a fish. To ensure the fish kept it’s part of the agreement, one had to go- live in water. The fish too, not trusting the other party, had to try gulping for air on land. These, we would agree is a near impossibility for both parties- so they must find a common ground to thrive. A water-shed is what I call that.
As I lay on that big hotel bed that morning allowing my thoughts to wander even above the peaceful hum of the room’s air-conditioning system; I realized that inasmuch as I would want to go into a marital contract, I was not ready.
There were few female friends I had harbored thoughts of converting their last names to mine. They or I usually chickened-out whenever those thoughts began to add weight.
Moreover, I spoke of the means to stay wedded. I could cope with the financial aspect if I decided I would; but I didn’t possess the grace to eat anybody’s shit just yet. In my own words, I think there is no lady just yet that deserved to share a watershed with me. And there is no watershed either. Maybe there will be one when I decide a lady is truly worth it. It worries me though, for time is ticking fast.
It was almost noon when I packed up my suit and knapsack. I had to vacate the room before I was billed for time misused. Time is always ticking fast. Soon I’ll be on the upper side of thirty. I needed to find a lady that deserved to share a watershed with me. I needed to find a watershed too.
So, here I am- back from the long trip, oozing of alcohol (though it didn’t matter), restless and exhausted of both mind and body; knowing that there is a longer trip ahead.