“Why must you be so stubborn!” She said and the annoyance in her voice wasn’t entirely feigned.
“So you’d try to make me see things your way… By making me feel things.” I said moving closer to nudge her neck. She put up a half-hearted resistance. I smiled. God, she’s lovely when she does that!
“Gbenga your ploy would not work today.” She said forcing herself to pull away. “We have to talk about this.”
“I’m hungry,” I said.
“That was the same thing you said the last time I brought this up. How can your dad not be at our wedding? It’s not right.”
“You know what is not right?” I said plastering a smirk on my face. “Trying to convince a man who’s hungry. Didn’t Mommy Tora tell you the easiest way to a man’s heart is his belly?”
“I thought your heart already belongs to me.” She said smiling. Making sure I noticed her deep dimples.
Most arguments would have ended then and there with us making our way to the bedroom. But this isn’t just another argument. This is the argument we’ve neither been able to find a compromise nor ignore. Why must she act so stubborn about this? I just don’t understand. I don’t see any reason that man must attend my wedding but everyone is just bearing down on my neck. Mum has been talking about it nonstop, making not so subtle allusions. Brother Tunde too has been playing the role of some overbearing brother, telling me two wrongs don’t make a right. Like I care. When Bro Tunde invited that man to his wedding, I was civil, I even managed a smile for the family picture. It was my brother’s wedding day, after all, I couldn’t ruin it. But this is my wedding, and it’d be ruined if I see that man there.
“Gbenga I’m serious. Your dad must be present.”
“My dad would be,” I replied. “There is just a step to it.”
“Both of them. Your biological dad and your stepdad.”
“See? That’s the point. Who wants to remember biology on their wedding day?”
“Stop it. It’s not a joke. If I’m going to be your wife it must be done with full respect for tradition.”
“Would you be dressed in leaves too? Should I buy a white mattress so I can show everyone ‘I met you at home’ after our wedding night? Oh wait, you’re not a virgin, are you? That is hardly traditional.”
I could see anger is her cloudy eyes. And I knew there’d be hell to pay for the things I just said. How could I say those mean words to her? ‘Cos I wanted her to stop talking about that man of course. Won’t the night be much more pleasurable if his damned ghost wasn’t hovering over us two? But I could see the hurt in Tora’s eyes and I wanted to apologize, but I couldn’t. I know what she’d say. She’d want me to invite that man to prove I was truly sorry. I was not that sorry.
“I’m still waiting for your apology for that very childish outburst.”
I kept quiet. I really didn’t like where this was heading. But there was no stopping it. If I tried to apologise, she’d only rope me into inviting him and once she has my word, there’d be no going back. Unless…
“I’m sorry Hun. I really am. It’s just that whenever that man comes up… I lose it. I get mad. Can we please not talk about him or anything related to him again? At least for tonight?”
“He is not ‘that man.’ He’s your Dad. And what you just said is the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard. Aren’t you the one always saying one should take responsibility for one’s action?”
“I know I know. That should show you just how much talking about him unsettles me.” I said. Before she could say whatever was cooking in her mind, I quickly added “Toro I’m starving. Let’s go cook dinner. Together?”
I smiled. She was trying to remain angry, I knew. I don’t know what it is about cooking dinner together that always put her in a good mood, but who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?
“Okay. But if you really love me you’d this for me.” She said, hoping to chirp in the last word. Typical.
“And if you really care about me, you’d stop bringing it up,” I said looking away.
That was the closest we ever got to a compromise before this seemingly trivial issue eventually broke our engagement. We never got married…
Perhaps our love wasn’t real enough.
I hope that is the case.
Cos that man can never come to my wedding party.
By Dosunmu Agboola Mubarak
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