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The Curious Life of a Wayward Pikin

Love at a Portharcourt Wedding

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Dear Diary,

August 25, 2016

THURSDAY

I couldn’t sleep all night, and as soon as it was 4:30am I went to shower and quickly proceeded to the bus stop. All my sleeping would be done in the bus. I went to God Is Good Motors and I was surprised at the massive crowd that was there. People dey travel o. To buy ticket sef na war, see pushing and shoving. Eventually I was able to buy a ticket to PH at a whopping sum! I was shocked at the cost. That one na Dana plane ticket before the change era na. A pair of succulent boobs kept poking me in the back and I turned around to see this tall and elegant beauty. I was tempted to say hi but she seemed mean and standoffish. Our bus loaded and we ended up sitting side by side. I slept for a few hours before waking up and listening to music for some time.

Port Harcourt is far from Lagos o.

After a while I started watching American Dad before I got tired of that too. Then she tapped me and asked politely that she wanted to watch the movies on my phone. I told her I had a low battery (phone was at 81%) and she said she was only going to skim through, not watch the whole thing. I asked her how, then sha gave her the phone and she went straight for my pictures and that was how I made a new friend.

We talked and talked and talked. She asked what I did and I told her. She schooled at Madonna University and I told her I once attended that school (though a different campus) and that I eventually dropped out. We talked about the school, about her exes, her current lover, her interest in the entertainment industry. In that span of that bus ride we practically covered her entire life history. At a point I got tired of the whole conversation, but I politely had to continue smiling while feigning interest. It was hard cos a movie was playing in the bus and I was trying to watch while talking to her at the same time.

Ladies can talk sha.

I must confess she was very beautiful, I went through her phone and my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. Diva for shizzy. She used to model, according to her. She had this full luscious lips, like those of Tonto Dikeh. The thought crossed my mind many times to lean in and kiss her, but there was a little space between both seats, and I thought it would be very inappropriate and presumptuous. The younger me would have tried it though. I told her I was heading to PH for a wedding and she asked if she could come. I invited her and she said I should send her the address and she would let me know if she would come.

The things she told me though, I’ve discovered that people find it very easy to talk to me. Picture meeting a stranger and telling that person every single detail of your life. I mean, everything. That’s what she did. I found myself nodding most of the conversation like an agama lizard. By the time the bus got to PH it was about 9:00PM and I was seriously exhausted. We exchanged numbers as we parted ways and she told me to send her the address of the wedding.

She also told me that I reminded her of her friends cousin and I was sort of cute even though I have a big head. She isn’t lying though, my head is big lol.

I waited patiently as my cousin rolled up in his car to pick me up, wondering what Port Harcourt had in store for me. It promised to be a very interesting weekend…

FRIDAY

My cousins are big, burly men. I’m quite physically fit myself, with broad shoulders and muscular arms, but compared to them I’m small. I stayed with my older cousin who had his traditional wedding in July to this fine young damsel. He really carry him eye enter market. The younger cousin and groom to be was also around so we spent all night catching up and teasing him on his impending initiation into the dreaded institution called marriage.

Friday morning big cousin went to work, and I couldn’t help but admire him decked in his business suit as he stepped out, along with his gorgeous wife who worked in a bank. I wondered when my turn would come, and I knew it couldn’t be so far off. Groom to be and I ran around trying to put a few things in order before the traditional wedding proper started. I asked him when the wedding was billed to start and he said 12PM. I told him that meant it would start around 1 or 2PM.

I was wrong.

The trad didn’t start till about 3PM, as we had to wait endlessly for his dad, my uncle, to show up, with all our aunties and uncles after which we would head on to the house of the bride which is where the real drama would start. It rained intermittently that day, I considered it showers of blessings, even though the showers of blessings were pretty annoying.

My uncles are cool, but my aunties from my paternal side (not women married into the family), they are loud to the point of being uncouth choi. They are something else lol. Always representing wherever they step in. It doesn’t matter though, you can’t choose your family. And I’m so proud of my heritage. My cousin was marrying an Ijaw lady, and it was funny because the firstborn of my uncle had married a Yoruba lady last year, the second (after serious warning not to marry outside) had married the gorgeous young wife I told you about, and now this one had elected to marry an Ijaw lady. The last born already had like three babies from three different women, I kid you not lol. So out of four boys, only one got married to an Igbo lady. I’m mentioning this because many people seem to be of the opinion that Igbo people, especially people from Anambra, do not marry outside their tribe. That is totally false. I was there to represent my father and his family, being the firstborn son.

I must confess that marrying from another tribe comes with its own hassles and challenges, and left to me, I would much rather marry someone from my own culture and tribe to avoid any wahala or confusion going forward. This is just my personal opinion.

Anyway, my in-laws bled my cousin dry it wasn’t even funny lol. Remember I told you I haven’t been to that many weddings in my adult life? This one was just a case study for me. They presented a 3page list of items to buy, and in the end my cousin coughed out about N300,000 for bride price, list and every other thing. He paid for canoes, then also had to pay for repair of the canoes because according to my in-laws the boats had capsized so they needed to be fixed looool. Then the box of clothes and other stuff, they claimed some were fake and the shoes were undersized – money had to drop. Haggling back and forth between both families and money kept dropping…

Omor marriage no easy oooo!

Just pray you have understanding in-laws, and if you don’t just tough it out and come with enough spare change in case of matters arising, and believe me, matters must arise. But a man has to do what a man has to do. At a point it seemed my cousin got overwhelmed with the whole thing because he just got up and disappeared. When the in-laws started asking where he went to I had to start going around looking for him. I was calling him but he didn’t pick. Only to find him in an empty room all by himself staring at the ceiling. The dude was probably wondering what on earth he had gotten himself into lol.

We went back and after everything had been settled our in-laws still requested for drinks, that how can we be discussing all these things without drinks to go with it. Drinks like Ponche, Moet, Hennessey, Baron, etc. That they would need like 30k to get all those stuffs. My cousin looked at me helplessly. Na so I run go boot go carry the big gallon of palmwine wey we buy before coming there. I dumped it in the centre of the living room where we all were and that was the end of that.

After that the trad started proper, they danced, people sprayed, I videoed, and the occasion was a success. Make no mistake though, as expensive as these Ijaws were, the average Igbo family is much more expensive so it’s not like I’m hating or anything. Just saying it’s not easy coughing out such huge sum in this Buhari economy. If I born 6 girls for house na him be say I don hammer o. Male children are overrated mehn… lol

After the occasion ended and most of the people had left, I sat with the other men in suit waiting for our groom to show so we could know how our night was going to be. He was the General, and we were his loyal soldiers.

A girl was passing by and I recognized her to be the younger sister of the bride, I called her and asked her name cos I kept mixing up the names of every female in that house, they all looked the same. She told me, and I politely asked for food on behalf of all the men with me and she returned with heaping plates of rice and chicken along with soft drinks. After I had finished I sat idly and soon started nairalanding out of boredom while the other guys chatted amongst themselves. Not long after, the girl returned, and stood there bantering with the guys. Something was a bit off about the whole thing but I was too engrossed with my phone to raise my head or join in the conversation. After a few awkward moments the girl walked away and I could hear the guys talking animatedly amongst theirselves but I didn’t know what they were talking about. One of them tapped me and I looked up, tearing myself away from my phone.

‘Guy you no hear wetin we dey talk since?’ one of them asked me.

‘No, wetin happen?’

‘That girl was here to talk to you. You just face your phone like say you no know wetin dey happen?’ another one said with a mischievous smile on his face.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes!!!’ they all chorused.

‘But she was talking to you guys na…’ I said.

‘She was just making conversation with us but her body language showed that it was you she really wanted to talk to but you didn’t give her any attention. Bad guy, I dey fear people like you!’

That’s how they started to tease me o, same way I’ve always been stereotyped for most of my life. I didn’t know if they were whining me or if that’s what really happened. But those guys were great, most of them were married, and they were hella fun!

Just then my phone rang and it was the girl I’d met earlier on the bus.

‘Hey you, how was the wedding?’

‘It was fine o, you missed.’

‘I can imagine.’

‘So how was your day?’

‘It was just there, I was indoors all through.’

‘A whole you? This is a sacrilege. The igwe must hear this. Anyway are you still coming tomorrow?’

‘I’m not sure yet cos I don’t really know that side of PH but I’ll let you know sha.’

‘Alright now, take care.’

I hung up, the groom came, and we went on to a posh hotel to spend the night in preparation of the big day. The white wedding.

Culturally though, the traditional wedding is far more significant that the white wedding. However, the white wedding is more glamorous. Needless to say, I was excited.

SATURDAY

Cousin woke me and the rest of the groomsmen as early as 6:00AM which was a bummer for me cos we slept really late the night before, enjoying the ambience of the hotel and just yabbing each other. We mobilized and went to the hall where the wedding would take place and the sight of it left me breathless. It was totally different from the way it was when I’d seen it the day before. Very beautifully decorated mehn, colours on point, everything looking like something out of a Cinderella movie. They weren’t finished though, cos the decorators were still there putting finishing touches to their work. A fine lady was the main event decorator while the others ran around as per her instructions. I later found out from my cousin that the event decorator was paid the sum of N300,000! When he told me that, I didn’t know when a small ‘blood of Jesus’ escaped my lips. If she made an average of N250,000 every weekend, how much did she make every month? Between 1 – 1.5 million naira?

Holy Mary!

Anyway I snapped out of it and focused as we planned how the formation was going to be, who would serve the drinks, who would attend to the guests with food, who would generally supervise the proceedings, etc. Things like that. After we decided on how it was gonna be we went back to the hotel, showered, dressed up, and went for the photoshoot – The groom and his groomsmen. I haven’t seen the pictures yet but I’m hopeful that they come out awesome.

From there we proceeded to the church where the exchange of vows took place and the words of the preacher really got to me. I realized how serious the institution of marriage really is and there and then I resolved that no matter what, once I get married I was never gonna get a divorce. I imagined all the formality and process my cousin went through, that people go through, plus the huge sums of money spent, and I wondered why anyone in their right minds would ever get divorced after going the whole 9 yards to get married. But what do I know? I understand that there are some spouses from hell, and also that people change, so I can only pray that I find the right woman that would complete me, who shares the same values as me, and cherishes our marriage just as much as I would. The preacher said one thing that stuck with me till now:

‘In marriage, you must always learn to forgive in advance.’

That is, before your partner even transgresses against you, you must have already resolved in your heart to forgive him/her. Back in the days I used to have a big ego the size of Olumo rock, I used to be a very prideful individual with an overinflated sense of self. However, life experiences have cut me down to size. I’m a better person now. I no longer have the energy to hate, to beef, to keep malice, or any similar negative attitude. I find that it’s much easier to forgive and talk things over with a view to resolving whatever issues we may have. I’m not too big to apologize if I know I have offended someone or even for the sake of peace. Maybe I just became mature and gave myself some sense, but I thank God, and I hope to meet a straightforward and honest person as well. There is nothing I hate more than mind games.

Anyway, after the service we proceeded to the reception hall for the wedding proper which is what I had been looking forward to all weekend. Did I forget to say that I looked really dapper in my suit? I received compliments left and right and basked in it. I can’t shout biko. The last time I wore a complete suit was at my one year old birthday, I still have the cassette of that day lol. So wearing a suit was a pretty big deal for me, and I think I will add more to my collection. I love the look. As Barney Stinson in HIMYM would say:

‘Always wear a suit!’

Anyway the wedding reception went on beautifully. I’m an economist diary, I studied Economics in school, and I was very curious about everything about the proceedings, so don’t roll your eyes at me if I’m mentioning figures upandan. Just wanna gist you noni. So the hall was booked for N700,000 according to my cousin.

N700,000!!

He said it was the cheapest on that Trans-Amadi road, that they priced one and they were calling N1.2 million for them. Diary, I just dey look am like Mr Ibu wey just come city for the first time.

There was no time to enjoy the wedding though, cos I was mostly busy, I and the rest of the groomsmen. I somehow found myself acting as the CBN of the wedding. Some of the groomsmen helped pick the money that was sprayed and brought it to me in the backroom where I was situated. I was stuck counting money or changing money for people who had larger notes but wanted to spray the couple. In the end I counted a little over N150, 000 in total that was sprayed on the couple. This is minus the amount that they received in fat envelopes o. The whole experience was indeed an eye opener for me. Also the emcee of the occasion somehow managed to scam the couple of some of the money that they were given before it got to me in CBN but the tori long, can’t get into that. But I laughed at them and told them to forget about it, that it was his luck, and that people have been developing special and super abilities in this Buhari economy, instead they should be thankful for a very successful wedding. The emcee wayo-ed them out of N15,000 in the full glare of both the couple and the audience lol. Then he came to collect his balance of 30k from me as the CBN before he promptly disappeared.

The major thing for which I’m proud of is the fact that my lips didn’t touch any alcohol throughout the whole thing, despite the fact that I was offered the poisonous liquor left, right and centre. The only thing I drank was Star Radler, if that counts as alcohol, I still try biko. No more smoking or drinking for me and I intend to stick to it as God is my witness.

After that, we went back to the hotel and had a really fun night. Early the next morning I boarded a G. Agofure bus back to Lagos. Didn’t get home till about 11:00PM. PH is so far from Lagos it’s not even funny.

The girl I met on the bus never called, and I never called her too, up till this moment. The girl that the groomsmen said seemed to like me, we spoke a lot at the wedding and I collected her number, but I don’t think I’m ever gonna call her. Don’t really know how to sustain a long distance friendship or anything for the matter. It’s the way I’ve always been wired.

Fast forward to the present, and not much has changed.

Oh well…

XOXO,

Wayward Pikin.


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