I was there the day the fire began in her heart. My friend Simi and I had followed a link to an article on BellaNaija. It was about a really cute couple who had met in a police station and had gotten married in the police station courtyard. Abroad, of course. The wedding vows were awesome and Simi and I found ourselves saying ‘Awww’ as we watched the video.
Then in the section where the bride and groom adviced prospective couples, the girl said, ‘You absolutely have to plan your own wedding. I mean, I was a part of every nitty gritty detail of my wedding – down to the cords my brother bought for the projector. It was stressful, yes. But in hindsight, I could not have done it any other way. My husband (omg, it feels weird to call him my husband), was a huge part of the planning too. He was supportive all the way. And he made it more fun. He gave me a massage whenever I had a bad day with a vendor and handled the tough people. His police man skills definitely went a long way!’
It was that day my friend Simi looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to plan my wedding myself too. You heard her, in hindsight, you’ll feel guilty if you just sit somewhere and let other people plan your special day’.
I did not have an opinion about weddings and such, so I just nodded. But a year later when Simi actually screamed over the phone and told me Simeon had proposed I was worried.
I was worried for two reasons:
1. Simi was pregnant already – 3 months. And she still wanted to plan her special day.
2. Simeon is/was an ass.
I tried to get her to reason with me but she wouldn’t. She even went to great extents of telling people that I was jealous of her and I wished I was the one getting married. Err… Nope!
So I indulged her and watched as the plan unfolded; popcorn in hand.
Oh, it was a mess. She would call crying on the phone, telling me how the dress she really liked got bought because Simeon did not drop money fast fast; how Simeon subtly mocked her for wanting to wear a white dress. ‘Your bump is screaming off-white or cream, babe’ he said. Or how the vendors and contractors were giving her headache; how her hormones were definitely not balanced; how the whatsapp group she created for all the different groups were so ineffective; how the big day was drawing nearer and all Simeon knew how to do was go out with the boys and not call her till the next morning. ‘Is this the man I want to marry?’
I helped her with as much as she’d let me, but it was not much. A quick glance at Simi would have revealed to you that she was under a lot of tension. Everything rested on her shoulders (which was now her shoulder and that of the other human in her stomach). It was sad to watch.
If one could go behind a bride and plan her wedding, I would have done that. But sadly, it’s almost a taboo to.
On the wedding day, she was already 6 months; showing like a movie in the cinema. As she walked down the aisle, I could see that she took every step with uncertainty.
And why not? In those three months, she knew more about her drinks vendor than she knew of the man who was waiting at the altar for her. The hall manager had seen her cry more times than her to-be husband had. The wedding dress shop attendant had complimented her more than her fiancé had. The guys who supplied the chairs had given her more fun nicknames than her husband will. Her venue decorator knew more about her taste in colours and design more than the man in gray suit did. And her DeeJay knew her best songs and had taught her some dance moves – something her fiancé had not even thought of doing. She was thinking about how she had planned a wedding for someone as though she was merely his wedding planner; and not his wife. She was thinking abou how more apt it would be if the pastor pronounced her Mrs. Wedding Planner and not Mrs. Simeon Onah.
And then the baby kicked… and she came back to reality. She took her last step towards a future she wasn’t looking forward to.