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Cynthia is a graduate of Accounting and she loves reading and writing
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The general fuss about marriage in our society today
Do you Sylvia Udo take Maxwell Bassey to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer till death do you part’? said the officiating priest at Sylvia and Maxwell’s wedding. ‘I do’ responded Sylvia with a large grin which accentuated her gap tooth and the whiteness of her teeth. She looked so beautiful Ebube thought to herself or rather imagined she was the one in that beautiful wedding dress with everyone’s attention focused on her getting married to Chinedu the love of her life. Ebube, Rachel, Tega and Sylvia have been friends since high school. Rachel and Tega have all gotten married and now Sylvia. Ebube decided within herself to make the day all about Sylvia by putting her emotions in check and stop all the wild thoughts running through her head, after all it was Sylvia’s big day. Ebube!!! Rachel shouted from the array of guests later at Sylvia’s reception held at the International Conference Center Abuja. She was carrying her 2 year old son Christopher who was fondly called Cboy because he was just the cutest little boy and everyone felt the name Christopher was too long. Ebube gestured Rachel towards where she was seated and she hurriedly came panting like she just ran a marathon. Rachel was fat or to put it more subtly chubby. Back in school, Rachel was the model amongst the four friends. All the guys in school always wanted her number, so Ebube and the other girls used it as an opportunity to earn themselves some nice shopping bags, or plates of fried rice or ice cream or whatever tickled their fancy at that point in time and most times most of the guys never ended up with Rachel’s number. ‘Ebube your attention is needed at the drinks section’ Rachel said, she then went on to explain how the guys in charge of drinks which comprised mainly of Maxwell’s brothers have held back drinks from guests because they were waiting for some Elders to arrive from Akwa Ibom which was Maxwell’s hometown. Ebube didn’t waste any time, she immediately removed her heels as they were already killing her, changed into a flat slipper and marched towards the drinks section of the hall with Rachel following closely behind and panting as usual. When she got there, Tega was already there exchanging words with one of Maxwell’s brothers. Now, Tega was the hot headed one among the friends having grown up in warri, born and bred, she was rather impulsive and always quick to use her fists little wonder they nicknamed her ‘Tega weré’. Ebube realized if she doesn’t intervene Tega might end up exchanging blows and creating a scene. So she had to calm everyone down and ask who was in charge. One of the guys called Clint indicated he was in charge. Ebube took him aside to talk and was able to settle things amicably without any altercation. Tega on the other hand, was still shouting and threatening, Ebube had all but to drag her out of there, ‘e dey very lucky say u come oo I for show am say I be real warri girl and we no dey carry last’ she was saying as Ebube shoved her towards her husband. The reception ended some 4 or 5hrs later, Sylvia asked Ebube if she can stay for the after party, she immediately declined as the next day was Sunday and there was no way she was missing church her mum wouldn’t hear of it. She said her goodbyes to Maxwell and Sylvia and as she drove home all she could think of was how her dear friend Sylvia has gotten married to her man and how her life will change from now on. That night before she went to bed she chatted Chinedu up as usual on bbm. Chinedu and Ebube were in a long distance relationship, he was in Lagos while she was Abuja, they met while in school and have been going strong since then. Chinedu and Ebube have discussed about settling down a number of times, but Chinedu felt he wasn’t ready and needed a better Job. Ebube on the other hand, felt she was ready sometimes, just like today at Sylvia’s wedding (weddings always made her feel that way) and at other times she wondered if she was really ready. But tonight, there will be no marriage talk not that they talked about it often, but it was pretty much in their sub conscious. They chatted until midnight; Ebube had to say her goodnights as she will have to wake early for church. Sunday is a special day set aside for worshipping and praising God. Everyone dresses up in their best attire happily going to church, therefore, it is not supposed to be a sad day or your worst day and it is also a weekend so it is meant to be enjoyed. For Ebube, Sundays can be described as one of her worst days; because everything that happens on Sundays in the Okonkwo household has to follow a routine which cannot be changed, if not the wrath of Mrs Nneka Okonkwo will be incurred. Ebube hated it so badly, left to her she will prefer to sleep into the morning and later go to church in the evening. But that won’t be possible, if not, all she will be hearing all day from her mum is how this is not her husband’s house and she cannot just do whatever she wants and if she so wishes to do what she wants she should get married and move to her husband’s house. Ebube didn’t have the luxury of doing whatever she wanted neither was she ready to listen to her mum’s sermon all day so she had to hurry up with her makeup. The mass starts by 8.00am, it was already 7:40am by exactly 7:45am her mother will start shouting that they will leave her if she doesn’t come down. Sometimes, Ebube wondered if her mum had forgotten that she had a car and also two functioning legs and can drive herself to church. But her mum preferred they all enter one car to church every Sunday maybe it was her own way of uniting the family at least once every week. Ebube never understood it and hated it as well. She sometimes wished she had her own place but thanks to the present day society, a young lady whose parents are still alive but decides to live on her own would be seen as a wayward child. With that final thought, she hurriedly went downstairs her parents were already in the car so she quickly joined them ‘you tried today oo, we didn’t have to shout and horn for you, seems you didn’t wear makeup today’ her father was saying as she entered the car. She just smiled at him as she wasn’t in the mood to talk. At church, Ebube felt intimidated, it was like all the young men and women which were practically her age mates decided to get married at the same time and she was seated in their midst. During the mass, she tried not to notice the various young couples sitting around her some even with kids. She didn’t want to hate coming to church, after all she wasn’t coming for them she was coming for God. The mass ended some 2hrs later which Ebube was secretly grateful for and just as her dad was about to start the car, someone knocked on the back window of the car… it was Mrs Amadi. Ebube swallowed a hiss. She wondered why the woman will not buy herself a car or take a taxi home or look for someone else to hitch a ride with or better still change her church to one close to her house. Last Sunday and the Sunday before that the woman joined them to the junction and couldn’t stop talking about a wedding she attended and how it was the talk of the town. It is either she talks about a wedding or someone who just put to bed or basically anything that has to do with marriage. It made Ebube feel she was doing it intentionally just to mock her but on the other hand the woman just liked to gossip. Ebube wondered what she was going to talk about today as she forced a smile and exchanged pleasantries. ‘Ah ah Ebu..bu how are you now, how is everything’, Mrs Amadi said. Ebube smiled and answered ‘very fine ma’. Mrs Amadi immediately shifted her attention to Ebube’s mum ‘ehen Nneka, Linda has delivered oo bouncing baby boy’. Ebube’s mum started singing and congratulating her while her dad was busy saying how Linda’s husband was a sharp shooter and was able to score a goal. Linda was Mrs Amadi’s last daughter; she got married the previous year and moved to Port-Harcourt with her husband. Mrs Amadi shifted her gaze back to Ebube and started to say ‘Ebu..bu don’t worry the Lord will do it for you eh’ as she said that the car pulled to a stop at the junction where she was meant to drop. Ebube smiled a smile that didn’t reach her eyes and said ‘Amen ma’ just as Mrs Amadi alighted. After they dropped Mrs Amadi off at the junction they quickly drove to the mini market close to their house to buy a few things for the Sunday breakfast and lunch. Ebube went to her aboki customer to buy some fruits, he seemed happy to see her; anyways he always seemed happy to see everyone. Salisu was a very cheerful person, that’s why Ebube made him her customer. ‘Ah madam welcome, wetin u wan buy’ he said when Ebube got to his stall. She responded and told him what she wanted. After he had wrapped them and given Ebube her change the next thing he said shocked her ‘thank you madam, how ur pikin? Greet am for me oo’. Ebube didn’t know what or how to respond as the shock flew any reasonable reply out of her head. So she just simply said ‘fine oo, bye bye’. As she walked towards where her parents parked, she wondered what made Salisu ask her that, because she had been patronizing him all these months and he never asked about family so she just assumed that he knew she was single after all she doesn’t wear any ring. Ebube finally concluded or rather let herself believe that maybe it was a case of mistaken identity, and he just mistook her for someone else. The rest of the day dragged on, Ebube had to help her mum in the kitchen with both breakfast and lunch. When lunch was ready, she was finally free for the day and could have the rest of the day to herself. She went to her room and chatted Chinedu up. She told him about Mrs Amadi and Salisu, he had a good laugh and told her what it meant was that she was getting old and should go and marry. She told him he should come and marry her and that he is getting old as well. They talked and chatted for awhile till Ebube fell asleep with the phone in her hand which usually happened often. Some few weeks later, Ebube sat down heavily at her desk she was tired and hungry she looked at the wall clock in her office, it was already 1:30pm she had been working all morning, from one meeting to the next. It was one of the most stressful Mondays she has had, but it cannot be compared to the stress her mum and aunt have been giving her over the last couple of weeks. She got home one evening after work and found her aunt (her mum’s younger sister) and her mum in the living room, the look they gave her as she walked in and greeted them was the look of being the topic of discussion. Her mum had this worried look on her face as if she just received a bad news. ‘Ebube welcome, come and sit down, I want to talk to you’ her aunt said Ebube knew where this was going and at this point she wished she wasn’t an only child and everyone was not focused on her business. Her aunt began by narrating how she got married at an old age which Ebube had heard countless times and how she doesn’t want that to happen to her. She asked about Chinedu and how serious he was about her and advised her that if he was not serious she should find another person as time was not on her side. Ebube sat there listening patiently till she heard the final word from her mum ‘a word is enough for the wise’ that was her cue to leave. Ebube was jolted from her thoughts at the sound of her phone ringing. It was Chinedu calling, he sounded so excited on the phone and could hardly get any coherent word out for like 5mins. ‘Ebube!! He was screaming on the phone God has done it for us’ he went on to explain how he just got a call from an international organisation where he went for an interview the week before to come and pick up his employment letter. All the fatigue and hunger Ebube was feeling at that time suddenly vanished it was like God was finally hearing her prayers. This news was the door to open all other doors. She was still basking in the euphoria when she got home that evening. Her mum kept asking her what was exciting her and making her smile randomly she just said ‘mummy don’t worry, all in due time’. That night, Ebube went on bellanaijaweddings instagram page, looking at picture after picture of wedding inspiration. Chinedu’s new job was the much needed light at the end of the tunnel. Over the next couple of months, it was back to normal routine, Chinedu had resumed at his new job, her mum seemed to have calmed down on the whole marriage thing, it was like she knew something was up. Her friend Sylvia called to say she was expecting, Ebube wondered why the hurry, as for her, there will be time to have babies she will rather enjoy the first few years of her marriage alone with her hubby with no extra responsibility of raising a child. Anyways as the saying goes, different strokes for different folks. It was late September on one beautiful Saturday morning, Ebube received a call from Sylvia inviting her for a girl’s day out with the other girls at their favourite restaurant. Ebube was not in the mood for any social gathering but she could not turn down an offer of a day out with her girls and Sylvia was quiet insistent. So, she said she would be there. When she arrived, her three best friends were already seated, she quickly joined them at the table. Tega called the waiter to take their drink orders, they all ordered chapman except Sylvia who ordered for a coke. Sylvia was glowing. Ebube wondered if that was what marriage did to you or maybe it was her pregnancy, either way she could not wait to experience them both. They talked, ate and drank. Ebube loved hanging out with her friends, they did not get to see often because of their tight schedules but whenever they do, they always made the most of it. Sylvia excused herself to go to the bathroom, few minutes later she returned with an unusual smile on her face that wasn’t there before. Tega and Rachel were also exchanging strange glances. Ebube sat there watching them and wondering what was up with these ladies. What happened next left Ebube in excited shock. Chinedu walked right into the restaurant, and straight to their table. Before Ebube could react, he went down on one knee and brought out from his pocket a little purple box which held the most beautiful ring she had ever seen. It was then she finally knew what was really happening. ‘Ebube, will you marry me’ Chinedu was saying; Ebube was already in tears that fell freely from her face, then she heard Tega’s voice which seemed to come from a distance ‘Ebube answer now, he’s waiting’. ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ she started screaming. Chinedu slid the ring into her finger and it fitted perfectly. They then shared a kiss and a tight hug. Chinedu whispered in her ears sweet nothings and they could have held each other longer if not that they were in a public place. When they finally let each other go, Chinedu went on to explain how everything was planned with her friends. He also told her, how he had been seriously working on a transfer from the organisation’s Lagos branch to the Abuja branch which was recently approved and he resumes immediately. Ebube;s heart was overflowing with happiness, she didn’t know how her fortunes just changed in the blink of an eye. She looked from her friends to her man and couldn’t ask for better. Over the course of the next couple of months, it was wedding preparations galore. Her mum had finally gotten off her back, she was even more excited than the bride and groom. Her dad on the other hand told anyone that cared to listen that his daughter was getting married. On the eve of her wedding, Ebube sat at the balcony of her room and pondered on the events of the last few months. Tomorrow she will finally be getting married to Chinedu, but tomorrow is just the wedding; the marriage was the real deal. She wondered what her life would be like after tomorrow, but she was consoled by the fact that she won’t be alone on this new journey, she will be with the love of her life Chinedu and every step they take on this journey will surely be worth it.