The Aisle

The radio blared ‘’Gooooooooood Morning Lagos, my name is Ceejay from your station near the Ocean’s bay, It’s another beautiful Saturday morning in the city of Lagos and another day of weddings and parties!! Yippee!!, please be sure not to just sit at home dulling, go out, have fun and have a beautiful day, its BAY 98.9fm. Stay tuned!”

A beautiful day it was indeed, the sun was bright and full, the skies blue to its peak like the angels just scrubbed it clean.  Saturday in the city of Lagos, a beautiful, colorful day, it always seemed like festival of colors, parties every day, woman of all classes, tribes, age, adorned their best attires and jewelries attending one event or the other, men with an optimistic grin and hope of getting drunk, the weekends in Lagos state, a beautiful time.

On this beautiful day, Sandra was getting ready to marry the love of her life, as written on the invitation card; life may just have other ideas for us. The house of the Okocha’s was in a frenzy, people jumping helter shelter preparing for the big feast that was to take place after the church wedding rituals. Sandra the very shiny apple of her father eye, was upstairs preparing for her church service, her dress made her look like Aphrodite, a goddess in her own rights, looking at the mirror she spun round like she was Cinderella, she was elated at what she saw, she felt beautiful, like she was the girl in the world, and her husband, a warrior who fought seven dragons to win her hand in marriage. The other ladies in the room stared in adoration and jealousy, as the they hoped that their own time would come so that they would feel as elegant and beautiful. Her sister, Uchehi sat in the room and looked jealousy at her sister “she gets the cool English name, the fancy wedding, the huge bribe price, she has everything, am here the ugly duckling” she thought within herself ‘what kind of life is this?’

‘WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE OH!’ Mrs Okocha screamed from the staircase, ‘The church service starts at 9 and its already 8:30, Uchechi! Please come downstairs and make yourself useful biko!’ Uchechi with her signature grunt ‘mama I am coming!’ she whispered as she left the room ‘this woman and her trouble’. Sandra, still drunk on her own beauty was deaf to her mother’s words as she admired herself like a gold statue, “my husband is going pee in his pants when he sees me’’ she thought as she laughed mildly. Tola, her chief bribes maid  signaled the whatever and hurry up sign to the bribe, in her attempt to bring Sandra out of her trance. At that moment Sandra was ready to get married to the image in her mirror, she really enjoyed everything she it projected in high definition, then she asked ‘mirror mirror on the wall, who is finest of them all?’ she answered herself and laughed like a mad woman ‘ME!!!’ Tola, sick and tired of the Broadway act ‘Sandra please let go nah! Your husband is in church already.’

Sandra came down the staircase like a Snowhite at the ball, she descended slowly so that everyone will bask in her royal aura, as she took each step down the stairs with the caution of a scientist and the pride of a peacock. All the hustle and bustle in the house stopped, as everyone took a compulsory break to look at the princess, the situation was so intense that not looking and admiring the princess would be treason. The car was newly bought just for this wedding, Chief Okocha had it imported from Germany, luxury at its best, Sandra boarded the car like princess would board a carriage and headed for the church with a convoy of ten other cars, as they glided through the street of Lagos, passersby would have imagined that it was a state visit from an international head of state, the Okochas knew how to make a statement, and a bold one they did.

It was 9:24am; the church was teeming with colors. Colors so bright the church looked like a garden, everywhere beautiful and vibrant.

‘Ladies and gentlemen lets be quiet the bribe is around, we will know commence the wedding ceremony straight, we are far behind schedule’ Mrs Okocha had already taken her seat at the front row of the church grinning from ear to ear like a bobcat, then the famous cliché musical notes of orthodox weddings oozed out the piano, sounded like the best piece of music Sandra had ever heard, it was like an angelic symphony welcoming her into the pearly gates of heaven. As she walked on the very long aisle to the altar of the cathedral, her groom stood at the foot of the altar waiting for his prize to come to him, everyone had turned around to look at the spectacle of the bribe, her smile beaming like full power of the headlights on a truck, she looked at her family and friends and rotated her head like a chicken entering a strange place, then she looked to the side and her head got stuck in that position like she suddenly caught meningitis, with shock and disbelief she saw Akin.

During a night out with the girls, three months prior to the wedding, she was sitting in a bar with her three friends, having a drink and chatting about her upcoming wedding, so much excitement in the air, so many bottles to drink “Errm Sandra, am tipsy men, don’t you think we are drinking a little too much?” Tola warned “Naah men, enjoy yourself jor, we got all night, you might even get some tonight, am sure you have cobwebs down there” Sandra joked…they laughed so hard. The eyes are the windows to the soul, eye contact connects souls, this was the situation in the bar, as very tall attractive guy was staring at Sandra so hard, she felt naked, she felt like he could see her soul, she wondered why a stranger’s stare made her feel this way, was it the alcohol  In her system? she looked at herself and looked at him again, her attention got divided then she looked away, as she turned her head to look back, the guy was walking out the door of the bar, something inside her told her to go after him and ask how he got his x-ray vision, she watched him walk out, like an anorexic runway model, gauging and sizing him up every step of the way “let your husband catch you Sandra! see the way your checking another man out” Sandra looked at Tola  “Please let me feed my eyes they are gonna be so hungry when I get married, so lemme look well, well’’ Tola laughed and shook her head “please let start going to the club, am in the mood to scatter the dance floor tonight” Tola said packing her bags and looking at the bill, Sandra with a face on that looked like she had a constipation “am feeling really tipsy, think we should head home” “head where?? Nooooo ohh! We gonna partyyy tonight!” Tola screamed.

Speakers banging, sweaty bodies dry humping each other, dimed lights, the smell of smoke and alcohol winning the wrestling match against oxygen, it was hot, sweaty, and  filled sexual energy. Sandra sat in the VIP section, tipsy from the drinks she had earlier in the bar, her eyes rolling in their sockets like a tire in motion, adrenaline pumping in her veins, her head light as a feather, everything excited her. Her friend Tola was dancing with a guy in the corner, they were stuck together and Sandra wondered this was still dancing, the sight of tola offering her body like a sacrifice to this strange man sparked some excitement in her, she was going to get married, she might as well have some random fun before her eternal incarceration “hey! My name is akin’ with swift look to the side, she saw the guy that almost took out her soul out with his eyes in the bar earlier, she was lost for words, excited, she tried her best to compose herself, but her blood was pumping to fast, she had to release the steam “shall we dance?” akin asked like a gentleman at a gala night. The dance moves exchanged between the pair was nothing but gentle, they dance like they were the only ones in the club and akin filled her glass every time it went down, Sandra never felt so wanted by any man, she could feel his body against hers, she tried to control the heat of the sensation but it over came her discretion, her body was on fire and his was the fuel, as they danced, she felt the turgidity in his loins, it drove her crazy…then he whispered “I have sexed you in my head already baby” Sandra laughed as she closed her eyes in ecstasy and imagined him inside her, the precipitation between her laps pushed her further to say “how about we re-enact this thing in your head at the backseat of my car?” akin smiled as she took his hand and lead him out of the club.

She almost tripped on her high heels, as the congregation gasped with shock and fear, her father held her and made sure she didn’t fall, memories of that night came back flooding, she couldn’t remember it all but, the backseat action was in clear in her mind in high definition, it was the best sex she ever had, she thought to herself as she continued to walk down the seemingly endless aisle, akin smiled as she walked passed him.

“Sahlim!! Not him too???” she soliloquized rhetorically; she met Sahlim while she on an official conference that took place somewhere in the northern region of Nigeria, two months to her wedding. Her friends often joked about how Hausa men had “big and long packages” and after her club escapade, a spirit of adventure was awoken in her, she wanted to taste different dishes before the main and final course, they had been flirting all along in the conference room, she was reaching for his pants under the table, making the man so uncomfortable, then she would laugh like some mischievous evil queen, as she the man felt so uneasy, he also  wondered why he got so lucky to have such a beautiful girl just choose him and flirt with “hmmmm, so it’s true what they say about you Hausa men eh? You are carrying a missle bro” she whispered to him as they walked down the lobby of the hotel towards the elevator, Salim laughed and spoke softly In his classy Hausa accent “yes, it’s even better when you see it live and direct” Sandra’s face glistened and she opened her mouth ajar on hearing what sounded like beautiful music to her ears, as soon as the elevator opened she pushed him and locked the elevator down for a few minutes of that Hausa magic.  “That was amazing! We should do this properly or on second thought, we shouldn’t, don’t wanna get addicted to that” he laughed “thanks! Glad to be of service’’ she walked away from him backwards, the elevator was about to close then she screamed “Sorry! What is your name???!!!” with calm and accomplished look on his name “sahlim, the H is silent.”

Sandra was confused, her very recent past was coming back to haunt her, “shit!” she thought, her fairy tale was going to be ruined by the villains she created, she was sweating profusely internally felt uneasy, she couldn’t imagine taking her vows in front of these people, she felt for her husband to be, all the lies she told him, all the times they were suppose to hook up and she was “working late” mean while was on akin’s bed, she started to question if she ever loved him or if she just wanted to have fun and live life on the edge, she was in a fix, her feet immediately turned cold  like she stepped on ice, her stomach started to turn. She told her fiancée she wasn’t a virgin, but she had sex only once, and it didn’t penetrate fully, she convinced him that he was the first real man she will ever have, she made him promise not to touch her till after the wedding. She felt bad and sober as she walked the aisle slowly putting on the mask of a fake smile and glamour.

It was like fate personally printed invitation cards, rented a car, drove down the boulevard of her past and handed invitations to her darkest secrets, there was Tony, a guy she met at Tola’s birthday party, he even waved at her, her face was in shock, last but not the least was kola, a good Samaritan that helped her when her car broke down on lonely cold night, what better way to repay such a good favor if not in ‘kind’.

Finally the journey was over, she reached the summit of the mountain, as the congregation clapped for the bride and groom, she embraced her husband as he grinned like a school boy, looking at the beautiful face of his wife, “she is so perfect” he said to himself, Sandra on the other hand was beginning to weigh her options, as she didn’t seem so interested anymore, the whole dream had turn to a nightmare, her face changed, as her fake make was wearing off “ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for this beautiful couple to exchange vows” the colorful congregation beamed with excitement as they about to witness yet another set of helpless romantics tie the knot In eternal holy matrimony.

It was vow exchange time, the church was silent as graveyard, the anticipation was intense, and the suspense was more gripping than the season ending episode of a soap opera, even the flies in the church stood still on the wall to hear the exchange of lifetime commitments. Sandra took one last glance at the aisle, and wondered how such a short distance could bring back, an avalanche of complications. Abruptly her thoughts were cut off, apparently she didn’t hear the vows of her husband to be, as she blanked out of her trance “Sandra Okocha, do you take this man, as your lawfully…” then a phone rang loudly, everyone turned back to see who that was, they looked the individual like he should be stoned to death for committing such a crime in the court of love, like a nagging wife disturbing her husband during an intense soccer game.

Sandra looked at the person who stood up to receive the phone call and screamed “KENNY!!!” heads turned back to Sandra in awe as she screamed out a the name of the one who they all hated at the moment. Kenny was the one who took Sandra’s virtue from her, he was her first and only one she had ever loved, prior to that phone ring she thought about him and what he was up too, about how happy she would have been if she was going to marry him instead, the sight of Kenny and her other flings awakened something in her, something she could not control on her feet or control In the consciousness of that time line.

Sandra fainted.

4 thoughts on “The Aisle” by Banji Danny (@BanjiDanny)

  1. namdi (@namdi)

    Nice story.

    * It seems while typing or editing, you changed some sentences, but forgot to remove a word or two that were no longer needed e.g “. . . then she would laugh like some mischievous evil queen, as she the man felt so uneasy . . . ”
    * This particular error ought to be easy to spot . . . akin, tola.
    * Personally–though a writer is entitled to his/her style–I felt some sentences were rather too long.

    I enjoyed the piece.

  2. aplusn (@aplusn)

    Nice story @banjidanny
    In addition to namdi’s comments:
    You also forgot to add Some words eg “…wondered if this was still dancing..”

    You used bribe instead of bride couple of times…also similar errors with other words.

    also you’re good with descriptions so be precise eg cliche music for weddings brings up 3 different songs in my head and distracts me from the story.

    I liked the story and the idea, never really imagined what people thought as they walked down the aisle. Cheers

  3. Aderonke Daramola (@Shovey)

    There is still room for improvement. nice story, I enjoyed it

  4. simisolaade (@simisolaade)

    Nice concept, but you can do better.

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