The day Tobi bought your wedding gown, you could not wait, you just had to try it on even though the heavy rain had caught up with you. It was a year after your NYSC and he had proposed. Perhaps it would break his heart if he saw you with another man. That was a moment you never saw coming.
“Fisayo, please bear my last name”
“It’s about time Tobs”
You starred at the engagement ring and you could not explain the euphoria that came there after. Your mother was not happy, it was joy, pure joy and happiness. It was too plain a word to describe the way she felt.
That day, your friends crowded your room. Some were happy for you, some wished they were you, and some, oh well, they stayed to have something to talk about. It was Maybelle, your best friend that was askance from the onset, but everyone knew Maybelle, she was proudly a pessimist. She never dated anyone and she clearly didn’t want you to do so either, but you brushed aside the thought. Afterall you recall she also had a secret crush on Tobi, only hers faded after a while.
Back then everyone wanted to be close to Tobi. He was a barrister and was excellent in land law matters; Adeleye Solicitors never lost a case. It was what they were known for.
Tobi had an aura around him that made him lovable. He was wealthy, yet quiet. He never talked about himself save when asked. He made himself noisy by being extremely quiet. His, was a totally different world. That was the same Tobi that kept stalking you, the one who paid your mother’s medical bills when she had her fibroid operation, the one who paid for your groceries, and you wondered why the cashier refused to accept your money, the one who paid your school fees and paid your late registration fees, the one who covered your father’s debt after his gambling took another turn, the one who became the father of the house after your father walked away leaving no tangible reason and the one who did all these and choose to remain anonymous until after several months. It was he who now wanted to be your boyfriend.
It felt surreal and it gradually registered. You were the envy of most girls. You could begin with the thought of being called Fisayo Adeleye, or the family prestige, or the gifts he lavished on you, but you choose instead to think of the wedding day, although a two day affair, but it would be attended by those who you don’t even know. It was Tobi’s wedding after all.
The wedding came so fast, your mother made sure you didn’t lift a finger, she made sure everything was in place. All you had to do was bask in the euphoria of the moment. Your brother Seun walked you down the aisle, it brought tears to your eyes because it made you recall your absentee father.
The decoration at St.Micheal’s catholic church was everything and more. You could barely recognize your own church premises. You held Micheal’s hand with your sweaty fingers but this was different, it was the confusion that brought the sweat. The groom was supposed to be at the altar, waiting for the bride and not the other way round.
The priest assured you to wait a while, you were informed that Tobi’s number was switched off. Your heart was full, it suddenly became clear, did you move too fast? it was then it dawned on you that Tobi never talked about his personal life, the fully air conditioned church became unbearably hot, as you tried to imagine where he could be. You looked for something to hold, but found nothing, you didn’t want anyone to hold you because you didn’t want to believe you had been abandoned at the altar. But still, you held on to nothing. You ran out of the church, your mother ran after you. Your brother was concerned about what this act would do to your mental state.
He could have at least told you his plans from the beginning, so you won’t bother going the church in the first place instead of allowing you face this embarrassment all alone. This act of his, was the unintended consequence of the relationship. It was two weeks later, when you finally switched on your phone that you saw his message, and at that moment, it felt like you lost your ability to reason, you starred at the phone screen over and over again before deleting his message that read: “Fisayo, I could not make it to the wedding because my wife didn’t let me leave the house.”
Quiet and subtle Tobi was married with kids. There was no need looking for what to hold this time around, you were meant to hold what was inside you. Your heart that broke into a thousand pieces.
This story was written by Precious Igbinogun.