Good music, colourful grounds, people talking a bit loudly and people already seated after the church service waiting for the couple to arrive for the wedding party. I had arrived minutes after the service so I had strive to get a better table just after the already reserved tables. Few hours after, the expected couple appeared and just as expected they danced in and the procession started in earnest.
Halfway during the reception, I noticed a woman with a child at the left hand side of my table and they were trying their best to hide a big bag they were with under the table. I could almost guess what the bag was for but I told myself that a well dressed woman like that would never do such a thing but I was soon proved wrong. At the middle of the wedding when people were busy with the party and nobody taking any notice of them, not even me, they sneaked out. Moments later, we heard people arguing and exchanging words. Although the music was loud, it still got our attention. Soon the whole guests and the couple were attracted to the ensuing noise too. We all got up to see for ourselves what the problem was and to my greatest surprise, I saw the woman with the child holding two bags in hand. One was full of souvenirs and the other bag had food filled up to the brim.
I had sipped the wine placed in front of me but I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to swallow before I got up to take a look at what it was that was happening and that was my silliest mistake because at my attempt to scoff at the unfolding drama, I threw up the wine all over my cloth. I watched on as the couple stared with an expression mixed with anger and amusement. When the woman was asked to return the things she had stolen, she refused saying she wouldn’t since that was her main aim of coming to the wedding. Then the woman who had caught her tried to snatch the bags from her but she immediately moved back and continued moving back. People not wanting to get in the way of the drama moved out the way for them, when it was clear she wasn’t going to return the bags, the hall became like a riot. The woman was chased around and not even the couple or anyone in the hall recognized the lady nor her child.
When the woman was finally caught and the bags taken from her, she began to plead that her children depended on that food from the wedding for their dinner and that she had to steal and sell the souvenirs to help her family and that had been her business for some months. We were both shocked and surprised but the couple later allowed them go away with the things they would’ve stolen. I can’t forget that wedding in a hurry.
By Chinyere Okoro
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