The reluctance with which morning came that day mirrored Bisola’s mood. She lingered in bed till her mother came knocking “You don’t want more bad luck than there already is. You should be heading to the bathroom right now!” She said from behind the door. She turned over to her side, facing the window and closed her eyes. What am I doing? She mused. The sounds from the birds reached her ears and she attempted a smile. There were knots in her stomach. “You don’t have to resort to this” her girlfriends had said. “How sure are you he doesn’t feel trapped?” his mother and sisters had questioned. Too much had happened. Preparations had been fast and tiring. She had an inkling his family didn’t like her too much. Except Caro she remembered her kindness and smiled genuinely. Hearing her mother’s footsteps approach, she sat up and got off the bed. Barefoot, she walked to the bathroom and closed the door behind her.
Waiting for her bucket to fill, she stood staring at her naked body in the mirror. Had she thrown herself at him like she had done with the other men that had come before him? No, this was different, Is different. A lump formed in her throat and she swallowed hard. She didn’t want to start day off with sour tears. The water overflowed and she turned the tap off. She was ready to step into a new world.
When she went out went out to the sitting room, everything was laid out. Her lace blouse and wrapper, her gele, her beads, her slippers, the make-up kit, her sisters running around; everything was set. Guests had arrived; her groom too. They pulled off her bathrobe and slipped the blouse over her head. Then the first wrapper was tied, and the second, leaving room for her tummy to breathe comfortably. She was pressed down onto a stool and her chin held up. The compact powder was dusted on first, then her eyes were done with a pale pink n ash, then the mascara, light pink blushes on each cheek and then a soft red for her lips. All through it, the back of her hands were being painted in dark floral patterns. She looked even more beautiful, looking at herself in the mirror as the three ladies – her mother and sisters fitted her gele. She was ready to step out. When she stood her knees wobbled a bit and she willed them to stay still. She was doing it. The door opened and the drums started beating. Her friends led her out. He caught a glimpse of him when she stepped out. His build was hard to miss. He was a handsome young man, he had caught her eye from day one. Maybe she had placed herself strategically in his arms that night she had danced her feet to shreds hoping he’d notice, and he had. It was not for his money, or the name he had. It was because something had caught in her heart the moment she set eyes on him and she had wanted to find out what it was. It was love. It had got to be love. Forget about her reputation as a ‘bad girl,’ Bonney was different.
She had the glass of palm wine in her hand. It trembled slightly as she found her way to him. She stole glances as she approached. The white and brown fit him perfectly. Something shone on his wrist and her heart fluttered. It was the gold watch she had given him for his birthday. It pleased her to see him wear it on their day. She reached him and looked down in his face. It was there. The question they both had. Were they sure? She crouched and handed the glass over to him. His fingers brushed her hand and she gasped. The electricity was unmistakable. Her eyes shot up and she looked straight into his eyes. Right there, she knew. She could tell he was holding back, afraid to open up completely. She did not blame him. Theirs had been more of a weird friendship for most part of the two years they had known each other. His friends had made sure he did not get too serious with her or ‘her kind’ and that drunken sex they had was not meant to happen. But there they were. They had been playing hide and seek for too long; both unsure.
Soon the traditional rites were over and it was time for their first dance. She started moving the moment the song started, it was her favourite song and soon she had forgotten her fears. She bent over and moved her hips this way, then that, to the beats of the song. She let the song enter her and she danced like that first time when she danced for him. This time too, she was dancing, just for him. No one else mattered. Not his friends, not his family and not hers either. It was just the two of them. She eyed him from the corners of her eyes and the last of her doubts fell off. It was too good to be true. It all felt too natural to be wrong. He was hers; her very own man.
“Nobody can love you like I do”
She circled him, smiling, eyeing him. Her beauty and joy glowing all round her. The song blared from the speakers, telling the way she felt
She felt his hand on her hips and she melted completely. It was happening.
“I like what I see….I like what I see”
She wriggled some more, laughter and intense happiness bubbling in her.
“Baby you be goddess!”
She straightened, her heart beating faster, and turned to face him. Yes! Her answer was there
“You belong to me!”
He pulled her into him and she felt his abdomen press against the baby bump that was rapidly increasing in size. It was a whisper but clear enough for her to hear. “I love you” he had said “both of you”. It was with all the strength and love she had in her that she squeezed him harder into her embrace and burst out in tearful laughter.
His relief was evident in his steady heartbeat.