Adaeze danced her best, shaking her waist as best as she could. It was her wedding day.
She would finally be able to flash her ring, she would finally be able to comfortably join the women ministry in church without feeling out of place, she would finally be able to use the phrase ‘my husband’ when she wanted to refer to Edmund.
She was now a married woman.
She had watched her mates get married one after the other, wondering when her day would be. She had wondered if she was cursed as her mother kept asking her questions, and people kept looking at her with hidden messages.
Smiling, she sat down, not hearing what the MC was saying, as she allowed her mind drift back to the day she met Edmund
It had been just the next day after she told God she was tired of waiting for His own time, and was going to say yes to the next man who showed interest in her, no matter how bad he might seem.
Adaeze had always wanted her home to be one where peace could be felt, and where she would be undeniably happy, and so, she had not given a second glance to men she knew didn’t intend to be serious with her or God. She wanted a godly man and waited for what she wanted.
The next morning after she had prayed that ultimatum prayer, she went to work. Still angry with God, she didn’t say her prayers. She was not happy with how He had kept silent all these while, while she prayed, cried, sowed seeds and even fasted for Him to bring her husband her way.
She got into the Ketu bus and was absentmindedly looking out the window as she thought about the job she had for the day.
Yesterday, she had stopped her job halfway when Edith called her and asked if she could be her Chief Bridesmaid, spoiling her day in the process.
She was not close to Edith, but because she was the only remaining single friend in their age-grade, she was the only option.
The women in the church prayed specifically for her and Edith to get married before menopause hit, and now she dreaded being the only ‘prayer request’ left.
“I will have to change churches,” she murmured under her breath.
She looked away from the window to see a man seated by her side and gazing at her with a questioning glance.
“I asked why you wanted to change churches.”
She didn’t reply, just bit back a hiss, and gave him a gaze asking him how it was his business, before turning back to looking out the window. She was not in the mood for these unserious men.
In as much as she was angry with God for His silence, she was angrier with men for their annoying stupidity. It was either they kept sending mixed signals, or they got bored after piquing her interest. They were obviously not serious, and she didn’t have the time or energy for games this morning.
“Well I just think if you keep changing churches, you may get confused at some point, considering the different doctrines believed and practiced in each church,” the man continued, as if they were in a discussion.
Adaeze acted like she didn’t hear him, barely stopping herself from telling him she meant changing to another branch and not another church all together. She didn’t want to encourage him.
“That would just add to the problems of the world. I mean, imagine how your husband will feel when you decide that you will no longer worship with him, before you know it you will be speaking in a different tongue, one different from the one he is used to,” he added.
Adaeze bit her tongue and made a fist, holding herself from responding. She felt the gazes of the other passengers, and knew they were trying to understand what was happening. She was not about to satisfy their curiosity. It was too early in the morning to get worked up.
Taking in a deep breath, she forced a smile and kept looking at other moving vehicles. She hoped the bus will move faster and get to her bus stop.
“Also, your children will become confused as they will have to –“
“That’s it!” Adaeze cut in, furious and not caring about the widened gazes of the man and other passengers. “What is wrong with you, don’t you think it’s too early to get on someone’s nerves? I have ignored you, hoping that you would understand that I wanted you to mind your business. Please Mister, mind your business, and let me mind mine.”
Satisfied with his shocked silence, she was turning her gaze back to the road when the conductor spoke, with his arm stretched towards her.
“Madam abeg your money.”
She dipped her hand in her bag and paid. She couldn’t wait to alight. She wondered what every passenger was thinking.
Adaeze knew that she overreacted, she always did. She learned that her voice had a way of getting unnecessarily loud when she was emotional, making it look like she was angry, even when she wasn’t. So if she speaks when angry, she would sound angrier than she actually was, and that was what just happened.
Breathing in deeply again, Adaeze knew what she had to do, maybe the man just wanted to talk, and besides he said the truth, except she wasn’t married, and that exact situation was the cause of her bad mood, so hearing him assume wrongly didn’t sit well with her.
Turning her head to look at him, she gave a tentative smile. “I’m sorry I shouted at you,” she began. “But you should have stopped when I was not responding. You riled me on! I hope you forgive me, Mr…” she trailed, with her arm stretched out for a handshake, as much as was possible in the tightly packed bus.
“Mr. Edmund,” he replied, taking her palm in a handshake and holding it. “I am Edmund and there is nothing to forgive. I riled you knowingly, wanting to see how long before your outburst. You were sad, and so I wanted to get you out of the sad state. Sometimes anger is better than sadness.”
“Well it was nice meeting you, Mr. Edmund,” she smiled as she pulled her hand away from his grasp. Calling for the driver to pause at her bus stop, she waited patiently for the bus to stop and gestured for Edmund to make way for her, which he did, and she gently alighted.
Turning back to give her temporary friend a goodbye smile, she was surprised to see that he was also getting off the bus, as some passengers chuckled and the conductor called him an idiot in love in Yoruba.
“Wha – what, where are you going?” she asked as she gazed longingly at the bus speeding away. It was supposed to be carting away this man before her.
“There was no way I could leave without knowing your name. Besides the next bus stop is my stop. I can easily walk the distance.”
Taking a third deep breath for the morning, Adaeze spoke with a forced cheerfulness. “I am Adaeze. It was nice meeting you, Edmund. I have to hurry to work before I am late, as I am sure you also have somewhere to be.”
“Can I please get your complimentary card? I really don’t want you changing churches, except to mine of course.” Edmund said with a smile of his own.
Adaeze wondered why he was so calm and why he was not taking note of her words. “I don’t think…”
“It’s either that, or I follow you to your office, so I know where to find you,” he said with a bright smile, interrupting her denial.
The thought of him dropping into her office whenever he deemed fit was scary enough for her to search for and give him her card.
“Thank you ma’am,” he said with flourish, and then giving her a wink, walked casually towards the next bus stop.
Despite herself, Adaeze smiled and shook her head, and began her walk to her office.
The day didn’t look so gloomy anymore.
The story continues…
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