By Treena Kwenta

Hi Readers!  After the pep talk   from the gals on Robert and Heather’s desire to get married, my spirit did pick up and I began to count my blessings, as advised.  Yes, Treena does have a lot to be thankful for in the match.  First and foremost, my daughter is getting married to a man from the same middle class, refined background as we are.

Then, he is non-Nigerian; which means the absence of interfering and money-sapping relatives who jump into a union with both feet, ready to muddy it up for the young couple.  Phew!  That’s great relief, knowing what I went through in that score.

Also, parents on both sides of Robert and Heather, are civilized parents who know the need to leave a couple to run their union by themselves.  Seb and I in Nigeria and Robert’s parents in St. Lucia in the West Indies.

Then, Robert is a focused, hardworking person, same as my daughter, and he knows the importance of family ties.  He’s not likely to become a husband who would keep the wife away from her parents.  He wouldn’t dare.  Seb would tear him apart and he’‘d never be the same person again.  I think Robert has already had a taste of how Seb can become an area boy, if he chooses to.

Above all, the couple love each other with a passion and are so loyal and dedicated to each other.  Just because my marriage crashed doesn’t mean my daughter’s marriage has to follow the same route.  After all, my parents have been married for more than half a century and their love and union are still going strong.

There were temptations for dad alright, especially when he was a director in the civil service; thanks to female secretaries like the odious Belinda who had a passion for ruining homes, but thank God, mum persevered and their union became even more rock solid.

Pity I couldn’t persevere like my mum, and Seb himself couldn’t call it quits with philandering, so, the union sadly, had to end.  Robert is in his thirties.  Surely he must have sown his wild oats now and is ready to settle down.  He seems more eager to marry now than my daughter, so, he should be anxious  to ensure a happy home.  Hold on, wasn’t that exactly what it was between Seb and me?  He couldn’t wait to make me his wife!  But see what happened later when we returned to Nigeria.

‘But Heather and Robert are not coming to live in Nigeria,’ an inner voice was saying to me. ‘Robert won’t have friends and relations who would be eager to tell him that a man must be a man, and he shouldn’t tie himself to his wife’s wrapper.  It’s the Nigerian factor that tore up your marriage, Treena dear.’

Well, that inner voice may be right, so, I was becoming convinced that my daughter’s marriage will never be like mine.  She’ll be happy like I was in my marriage, but hers doesn’t have to end up in smoke.

“So, your role now, is to be in constant prayer.  Uncle Seb has already been counselled by Joe and some other brethren on what his approach should be in the matter.”

“Sorry, say that again,” I said, astonished. ”Did you say that my brother counselled Seb?  When?”

“”Oh, I thought it was a mutual decision that you both took to come to our Assembly for counselling.  You,  to me, while uncle Seb went to Joe.  It was on the eve of his departure for Britain.   He had earlier, some weeks ago,  come to discuss the issue with Joe, but he was counselled  to hang on until the young man contacted him.  When this happened, and he told uncle he wanted to propose to Heather, uncle came to Joe for counselling.

He was told to cooperate.  Hm!  If uncle had his way, he would keep his daughter locked up from all men.  He was scared about his little girl getting married and being exposed to ill-treatment.  He said he wouldn’t be able to bear it if any man maltreats his daughter, and that’s why he had been withholding his consent.  He was told that if he refuses to allow Heather marry her young man, who knows who might come next, and who she might marry,  out of panic that she might become an old maid.  The man may turn out to be totally unsuitable?“

“‘That’s true, even though I’ve never thought of a time when Robert would cease to be a part of Heather’s life.  I had no idea that Seb was harbouring some misgivings about Heather marrying Robert.”“

“”I don’t think it has something to do with the young man in question.  Rather, it has to do with any man she might want to marry.  I’m afraid uncle Seb doesn’t think any man is worthy of his daughter, and is capable of loving her well and taking good care of her.  He says he has nothing against the young man who wants to marry her.”“

“”Well, Seb’s fears are the normal fears of most parents when someone wants to marry their daughter.  My parents hadn’t wanted me to marry him initially, and he had to work hard to prove that he was good enough for me!  Only, I never thought that Seb would succumb to such feelings, concerning his daughter.“

“”He would.  Isn’t that the reason he hasn’t re-married?  I have this feeling he doesn’t think he can find the same marital bliss he had with you, with another woman.  Just my thought.“

I was thrown by the sudden change in the direction of our discussion during that counselling session.  “But he’s getting married, or maybe he’s got married by now to Belinda, his fiancee of many years.  My friends told me that they had an invitation for us from him, that he was finally going to marry Belinda.  How come you say he’s in slow pace about getting married?

I learnt she took him to the head of her family in Mushin the other day, with the usual things for ‘knocking on the door” when a man wants to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage.  I was told they were both excited and were behaving like young lovebirds.  They must be properly married now.  They’re both in Britain.  I haven’t congratulated him because he hasn’t told me personally that he was going to get married.  The invitation was for all the gals.”“

“”Really?  We didn’t receive any such invitation.  Are you sure your friends weren’t pulling your leg?  Uncle Seb may not be a member of our church, but he’s close to Joe and a few other brethren here.  He won’t get married without making any mention of it to them.  Will it worry you if he re-marries?”“

“”It won’t at all.  I wonder why everyone is worried about my reaction to Seb getting married again.  My friends were concerned about that, but I assured them that it wouldn’t worry me if he married Belinda or some other dame.  I’m pretty cool about the whole thing.”“

“That’s good, then.  Like I said, prayer is the key to marital bliss for one’s child.  “There’s no point having fears that the union will fail.  Leave the union to God.”

I came away reassured that Heather will be okay with Robert, but then a new fear arose.  At the wedding, will Belinda have to sit with Seb and me?  Three of us playing the role of parents of the bride, which God has made for only two people, will certainly create friction; at least at my end.

I recalled the intrigues at Nkechi, Liz’s step-daughter’s weddings, and all the manipulations of Clarissa the bride’s mother.  I can never condescend to such lowdown tactics to oust a woman out of my ex-husband’s life, so, I certainly won’t ask that Belinda be banned from the events, but I wouldn’t want any attempt by her to dethrone me on my great day as the bride’s mother.

Liz shared my fears and said the best approach was to go warn her to behave herself with decorum at the events, otherwise, the gals would show her the red of our eyes.

Surprisingly, Tayo who’s normally a firebrand, offered a softer approach.  It has to do with Seb, her dear friend, of course.  She was out to protect his interests.

“Hold it, gals,”she said.  “Let’s go softly.  A confrontation or pre-events warning would be in bad taste.  Very bad taste.  It would hurt Seb if we were to show that we anticipate trouble from his woman, even before she takes a step.”

“His woman?  Aren’t they married now?  You said you got an IV from him for their wedding.”

There was a titter round the room.  “Dear Treena is behind the times,” said Boma with a giggle.

“Behind the times?  Are the couple married now or not?”
“Sorry, Treena dear,” said Tayo, contritely.  “We should have briefed you.  Desperate that Belinda shouldn’t leave him, Seb agreed that they should take their relationship a step further by his taking drinks again to the head of her family to signify his interest in marrying her.  They got the things together, but just as they were setting out that morning for Mushin, word came that the old man had passed on in the night.

He was buried that same day.  Seb then hurried Belinda out to England a few days later so that she could cope with the loss.  The invitation had been only for a small celebration drinks party for a few friends and relations after the presentation of the gifts.  Instead of it being a day of merriment, it became a day of mourning, as they attended the old man’s burial.  Pity.”

Pity?  Wasn’t that God’s intervention?  No! No!  Not bad belly.  Just plain reasoning.

Tara.

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