By Treena Kwenta
Hi Readers! This is Treena, at last! Are you breathing a sigh of relief that I’ve got my page back, or are you missing Tayo? Don’t make me jealous by feeling the former. I guard this page very jealously, you know, and I appreciate all those who read it; particularly those who have stayed loyal for over twenty years! Wao! It’s been running for more than 26 years now! Amazing!
It was very sporting of Tayo to take over this page for two weeks. I’m extremely grateful to her for that laudable gesture because I was so nervous and jittery before my daughter’s white wedding that I couldn’t coordinate my thoughts and write meaningfully. I actually tried to document happenings leading to the wedding, but I couldn’t go beyond one page.
I didn’t know that Tayo was aware of this, and she decided to come to my rescue. I was surprised when she handed me the first script, but it was so nice and to the point that I gave her the go-ahead to do another week. She asked to do another, but I politely refused. I mean, I didn’t want you getting so used to her that I become redundant. It was a relief, though, to be on that small vacation.
What she didn’t tell you was that apart from making her jeep available to Robert’s parents, she also paid all the hotel bills. It was a staggering amount; at least to me. And it was in dollars.
It was Coco who took Seb and me aside to tell us so that we can thank her, otherwise, Tayo wanted me to think that Seb paid, and Seb to think that I paid. What a friend Tayo is!
As for this page, all those things she reported were true, so, I don’t need to go over them here.
Like in Jos, God gave a glorious weather that Saturday, and my oh my! Did Heather look glamorous! The wedding gown was exquisite, but as a born-again Christian, she didn’t have her bust exposed. I almost melted with pride when Seb was leading her into the church. She looked glamorous in a decent way. He was in the suit the children had brought for him, and er, well, he looked attractive and proud.
You should see the way he led his daughter up the aisle. It was as if he was carrying a delicate and precious object. Well, our daughter is precious, of course.
I sighed contentedly when Robert stepped forward to take her from him. It was funny the way Robert took her as if he had won a trophy. Excellent.
Bridal train? There wasn’t any. There was only a Best man, Robert’s junior brother, Nate, and one of aunt Adeline’s granddaughters, Amelia, as Chief Bridesmaid. All other details were left out. Why? Well, my parents and Seb decided that it was best to make it an Accra family affair.
Many friends and relations came from Lagos, but only about twenty needed accommodation.
Aunt Adeline’s banker son was able to get rooms at very cheap rates in decent guest houses owned by some of his bank’s clients.
I was effusive in my gratitude.“You’re a darling, Tommy. Thanks a million times. You’ve saved us so much money.”
“Oh, this is our wedding, coz; we the Ghana arm of the family. When would we have another cousin coming from Nigeria to wed in Ghana, and bringing such a Prince Charming to join the family? I can’t see it happening.”
“You can’t say. Anything is possible.”
The gals ‘flowed into the church’ in dreamy long dresses and hats which knocked at least ten years off our ages. No kidding! Compliments from all angles as we stood out in the congregation. We bubbled with pride as we took our seats; the gals sitting behind Seb, me, aunt Adeline and my parents.
The service went without a hitch even though I missed not having ‘with her mother’s permission’ in the programme. I suppose I can’t have everything. At the reception, we didn’t miss not changing into those special outfits that Becky had left behind in Lagos. God must have laughed at our attempt to parade ourselves.
As it were, the Belinda we wanted to showcase ourselves for, and oppress with the costly clothes, couldn’t attend due to ill health.
Heather and Robert did have a change of outfits, though, after cutting the wedding cakes. They looked so gorgeous in the Yoruba attire. Well, that was enough for us. Seb and I were mobbed as guests came round to tell us what a lovely bride Heather was.
“Thank you. Thank you. The Lord did it,” Seb kept saying to them. “We’re so lucky to have her. She’s done us so proud.” Me? I merely bowed my head and smiled my appreciation.
The couple left before the end of the reception, for a hide-out they didn’t disclose to anyone. If Milwan knew, he wasn’t telling anyone. I was a bit anxious about this. So was Seb.
“They can’t take off like that,” said Seb anxiously. “This is not Britain where they live, and they know all the nooks and corners. This place is not familiar to them. Oh dear!”
“I just can’t understand why they decided to do that,” I said in a worried tone.
“Goodness me! Parents! Parents!” said Tayo. “Let them be! They are two intelligent adults, and anyway, you can’t make decisions for them now, and you can’t ask them to explain actions they take. They’re married. They make their own decisions. They can’t get lost here.”
“That reminds me, we must go change for the after -wedding party that Joe, Benny, Dicta and their spouses are hosting. It’s quite a distance from here.” I reminded Seb, Coco and the others. “I think Robert’s parents have gone to get themselves ready. They will fly out later tonight. We must go at once.”
Seb came to knock at the door of my hotel room when he was ready. I thought it was one of the gals so, I called out gaily, ‘Come on in! This babe is ready. How do I look?’
“Exquisite as usual,” came Seb’s voice.
“Oh, it’s you? You look great too.”
“Treena, thank you for giving me such lovely children,” he said, coming to hold me tenderly in his arms. “I’m so grateful that you’re the mother of my children. I can’t thank you enough for raising them so well. I may have been harsh in my criticisms in the past, but deep down, I knew that God chose the right woman to bear my children. Haven’t you wondered why I haven’t had children other than those you had for me? ”
“Now that you mention it Seb, why haven’t you?”
“I didn’t think I could get a mother like you for them. That decision stands. That’s part of the reason my relationship with Belinda is ideal.”
“Well, good for both of you, Seb.”
“I love you, Treena darling. Do you love me?” he suddenly asked out of the blue.
“What a question! Of course I love you, Seb. I love you with a Christian sisterly love. I will always love you that way. I’m sure it’s the same love you have for me.”
“It should be, Seb. Let’s keep it that way. We’re doing fine. You’re a great guy, always have been.”
“Thanks, Treena dear. Is that all?”
“Oh yes! That’s all. Shall we join the others at the lobby?”
The party went fine. Dad, mum and aunt Adeline could only stay an hour. I must say we all had a lovely time, dining, wining and dancing.
We were tired when we got back to the hotel and I fell asleep on the couch in my room in my clothes. I woke up early in the morning, to find a note from Seb reminding me that we had to leave for the family house at eight, to go see my parents and aunt Adeline, thank them, and then spend half the rest of the day, going round to thank to thank other relations, friends, and my parents’ neighbours for their help.
Dad and mum looked happy but a bit tired, so also was my aunt. Seb gave me a signal that we shouldn’t tire them further, so, we both knelt down to thank them for the great role they played at the wedding, and we took our leave.
Nanny was lurking around the vehicle when we got there. Seb and I seized the opportunity to thank her for all her help.
“Ah no, oga, and madam. I did only the bit I could. It was a lovely wedding. Well done, and thank you. Er, madam, the er, the bridegroom said I should come call him when you come.”
“Robert? Have you seen him? What about Heather?” I asked, my heart racing a bit. What did he want to see me for?.
“Shall I go call him now?”
“Are they here?” asked Seb.
“They spent the night in one of the chalets behind the house. I was surprised to see him this morning. No-one knew they were there, except papa, mama, and aunt, who suggested it to them in the first place.”
“Why that suggestion by papa and mama?” I asked Seb when nanny had left to go call Robert.
“Maybe it’s a custom in the family here that we don’t know about. Ideally, the bride should be taken to the groom’s house, not to a hotel, after the wedding. I think that’s why this place was suggested to them. It’s like he took his bride home.”
“That makes sense, Seb.”
Robert rushed to both of us and prostrated, thanking us for giving him such a beautiful and well-behaved wife.
“I’m happy and lucky, dad, mum, to become your son. I promise to cherish Heather and look after her well all the days of our lives. Thank you.”
Seb drew him up to his feet and embraced him, his eyes getting moist. Seb gets easily emotional these days. It must be age.
Robert came to throw his arms around me too, and then he took me aside.
“Mum, I must thank you specially for raising me a wife who preserved herself till she got married,” he told me. “I was her very first, and I just went to pieces with joy and wonder. Aunt Adeline had told me last year that it’s the custom in the area her father and papa’s father came from in Nigeria, for a groom to give the bride’s mother a special gift on such an occasion. So, I brought this wrist watch with me, because I believed Heather when she told me she was a virgin. Please accept this little gift. I’m still filled with awe by it all.”
I was speechless. It was a very expensive wrist-watch with a big name, but my joy was my daughter holding on to purity in these days. Yes, she was raised to keep her body, and Joe and his brethren regularly preached it to the young in their church, but I didn’t think that she would comply in the midst of pressure. What a disciplined young lady!