Chike and Bukky sat at the high table, amidst friends and family. It was their introduction ceremony. His parents and siblings stayed back in Lagos after his convocation, so that they could prepare for the D-day. His younger brother stayed with him in his self-contain apartment, while his parents, his elder brother and his wife stayed in a hotel in the area. A few of his relatives had been able to come all the way from Owerri to Lagos to celebrate with them. They were all happy for him.
A few of his course mates at school were a bit concerned because they thought he was rushing things, but, he found nothing wrong in tying the knot at his age. He was already twenty-seven. By the time he was done with his service year, he would be twenty-eight. Time wait for no man.
While music blasted from the big black speakers, food and drinks were being served. He glanced at his bride-to-be and smiled. He liked the way the make-up on her face glowed. She looked very beautiful in the tradition attire. She had on a green lace blouse and wrapper, supported by a yard of green and silver coloured Aso-oke tied around her waist. Her head-tie was also of the same material. Her silver metallic high heeled sandals and purse glittered like stars in the sky. The way she looked so good at that moment, he wondered how it would be on their traditional wedding day.
“My African Queen.”
She turned to look at her fiancé. The way he was staring at her made her to blush.
“You look like a fairy princess,” he said softly.
She chuckled and smiled.
“I am so happy that things are going according to plan.”
“Me too,” she sighed with relief. She had dreamt about how the day would go. The ceremony was better than she imagined.
“I wish we don’t have to wait till after my service year before completing the marriage rites.”
She giggled and brushed a hand over his face. She wouldn’t mind being married to him earlier than planned.
“I can’t wait to ravish you,” he blew her a kiss and winked.
Her hand flew to her mouth, “Chike Nwosu,” she whispered.
“What? Don’t look so innocent,” he eyed her, “I know that you are thinking exactly the same thing.”
She burst out in laughter. He was right. It wasn’t easy abstaining from sex in their relationship. The physical attraction between them was electrifying and at times, it consumed them. But, they had both promised each other and God that they would wait till their wedding night.
Bukky’s parents could hear their daughter’s laughter from where they were seated. They exchanged glances and smiled. It was obvious to all that the couple were head over heels in love with each other. They thanked God for bringing their daughter a good man to marry.
The Nwosu’ watched the couple from a distance. They were happy that their second son had found a good woman to marry. If it was left to them, they would have made the couple to complete the marriage rites immediately, but, the girl’s parents felt that it was best that their son completes his service year first. That way, the couple could start their lives together without distractions.
Gbemiga sat outside his room, in the off-campus hostel, washing his clothes. The huge pile of clothes beside the large basin made him to groin inwardly. He had been procrastinating about his laundry for weeks, now that he had nothing to wear except the tee-shirt and khaki shorts on him, he had to do it. He didn’t even go to church that morning. he had the option of wearing what he wore last Sunday but, wasn’t a fan of repeating clothes back to back. Assuming he was home, his younger sisters would have helped him. He basically did nothing at home, except to eat, sleep and watch the television. He missed home.
“Hey… guy, you are washing,” one of his friends approached his door.
“Felix how now?” he raised his head. The brown skin young man was clad in a white long sleeve shirt and a pair of blue trousers. He held a bible in his hand and a bottle of coke.
“How was the service?”
“Okay. The Pastor asked after you. You were on the roaster this morning.”
Felix sat on the bench beside his friend, “Weren’t you supposed to take the opening prayer this morning?”
Gbemiga returned his attention to his clothes.
“How come you have so much clothes to wash?” Felix eyed the pile of clothes, “Why don’t you call one of those girls or boys that do our laundry?”
His friend shrugged, “I am not ready to part with my hard earned money today.”
Felix started to laugh, “Na so. Which money sef? The one your parents gave you or the I.T allowance that most of us have blown before school resumed?”
Gbemiga decided not to respond. He had used all the money he saved during his Industrial Training to fix their new apartment. Since his aunt and uncles had decided to sponsor his education, they had been sending him monthly stipends. He won’t have to disturb his parents again for anything he needed at school.
“You won’t believe who I saw yesterday.”
He glanced at his friend.
“You know I went to Ikorodu to see my aunt since Friday, after lectures.”
“My cousin and I crashed a party. It was the introduction ceremony of a young cute couple.”
“I see,” he picked more clothes and soaked them in the soapy water in the basin.
“I don’t know the guy, but, the bride-to-be, I can swear on my grandfather’s grave that she was the same girl you brought to my birthday party.”
Gbemiga dropped the clothes and met his friend’s excited gaze.
“The girl you paraded at my party as your girlfriend.”
“The dark not too slim chick.”
“Yes, that pretty dark babe.”
“The one everyone wanted to know her name and get her number?”
“Yes, the same one.”
Gbemiga steadied his rasp breath. The only girl he took to his closest friend’s birthday party was Bukky.
“She looked happy. I heard the guy she would be marrying is an Igbo boy.”
He blinked and swallowed hard.
“What happened between you two? I thought you really liked that girl.”
He pressed his lips together and remained quiet. It was hard for him to process the information. If his ex and her new boyfriend just did their introduction, that means that they would be getting married soon enough. He couldn’t believe that he was going to lose her indefinitely.
“The way I saw you two together, I thought you had found the one.”
He cleared his throat twice and continued to wash his clothes.
“We broke up.”
He coughed and cleared his throat again. How was he going to explain to his friend that the only reason why he broke up with his ex was so that he could finish his tertiary education without hassle and take his master program all-expense paid.
“Felix, I don’t know what to tell you.”
“Talk to me man. What are friends for?”
He caught a glimpse of his friend’s concerned look. “I don’t care who Bukky is with right now, all I know is that, our paths will cross again in the nearest future and she will be Mrs. Gbemiga Phillips.”
Felix busted into laughter, “You are on a long thing. She just had her introduction.”
“So, has the guy paid her bride price?”
His friend shook his head.
“The deed is not done yet,” he pushed more clothes into the basin until it was full.
“If you liked her that much, you shouldn’t have let her go in the first place.”
Gbemiga shrugged. He believed that somewhere in Bukky’s heart, she still felt something for him. When the time was right, they would be together again.