I saw a different version of myself when I looked into the mirror. My friends, Adenike and Funmilayo, had transformed me into a beautiful bride.
My cheeks hurt from smiling as I touched the glamorous beads adorned around my neck and spotted the colourful gele1 that Adenike was fixing on my head. It was finally my wedding day- the day I would become Segun’s wife.
The muffled beats of music thumped through my open windows and made me imagine what the next hour holds. I would be sitting side by side with my husband and we would be stealing affectionate glances at each other as our family and friends celebrated our union.
As Funmilayo applied shea butter on my skin, I remembered how Segun had sought my hands in marriage and the happiness that engulfed my parents’ faces after learning about his intentions.
“Omolara will soon become a wife,” Mama said in excitement as she started to narrate how I had grown from the girl dancing around the village in pants to a grown-up woman set for her husband’s house.
“Omolara, you’re the most beautiful bride I’ve ever set eyes on,” Adenike grinned as I stared at myself in the mirror.
‘Segun’s face will break into a smile when he sees his beautiful bride,’ I thought as I imagined kneeling in front of my husband as he pulls the veil away from my face.
“It’s time, Omolara.” Adenike said as she stood up and held my veil.
Beads of sweat appeared on my forehead and my legs shivered in anxiety. Several thoughts clogged my mind as I imagined walking to the venue and noting a thousand pairs of cheerful eyes gazing at me.
Am I prepared for this? What if Segun isn’t the one for me? What if we won’t be happy? I thought, recalling several incidences I had witnessed from couples and wishing that I never encounter such.
“Give me a minute,” I muttered as I hurried out of the house to take deep breaths of fresh air. I let out a deep sigh as I remembered how I had met Segun.
Segun and I met on a bright afternoon when the sun, high in the sky, sent streaks of sweat down people’s faces. I had gone to the market to buy fish for Mama when I met the man that would later become my husband.
As I walked through the swarms of people that filled the market, I recalled that it was a Tuesday, and, on such day, the market was usually filled to the brim with villagers and merchants from several neighbouring towns visiting to buy goods at a much cheaper rate.
After several minutes of pushing through the crowd, I finally arrived at Iya Bolu’s shop. Iya Bolu, the most renowned fish seller in Kiti village, was a tall and willowy woman with beady eyes and a bright face.
As I arrived at her shop, I was surprised to see someone else. The young man, who had a striking resemblance with Iya Bolu, was selling to the throng of customers that filled the shop. Cleaning the streaks of sweat that filled my forehead with the sleeve of my blouse, I watched as he sold to the customers with a bright smile. His face did not flinch in anger and irritation even when some buyers try to haggle the price down. He responded in a happy tone and made them promise to return to the shop when next they visit the market.
“I’m looking for Iya Bolu,” I said when I finally stood face-to-face with the young man.
“I’m Iya Bolu’s son.” The young man grinned at me.
His face was engaged in a smile that created wrinkles around his eyes and grooves in his cheeks.
As I purchased the goods from him, the young man whom I would later refer to as Segun, explained that he had visited the village because it was his semester holiday. He also decided to assist his mother in the shop.
After several trips to the market to purchase fish, I would discover that he was studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lagos. Segun encouraged me to further my studies at the university and discover what I was passionate about.
After several months of convincing my parents to further my studies, I wrote JAMB and was admitted to the university to study law. Segun offered me the best bits of advice and took me around the city to visit several historic and remarkable places.
Years later, I graduated with an exceptional result and my parents celebrated this new feat by inviting the villagers to a grand party. Their daughter was finally a graduate and she would become a lawyer!
It was at that party that Segun proposed to me. “Will you be my wife, Omolara?”
I replied in the affirmative and by the next day, the wedding plans had already commenced. I imagined our future together- a lovely home, beautiful children, and romantic trips.
What else would I have wished for? Segun was definitely the one for me. I cleaned the tears that trickled down my face as I realised that this was what I had always wished for. I smiled in satisfaction as I returned to the room to meet my friends.
“Are you ready for this?” Adenike asked anxiously.
I beamed in excitement. “I am,” I affirmed as we walked towards the wedding venue.
Cover image by Javel / Pexels. The copyright of ‘The Wedding’ belongs to Maryam Abdul Wahab.