“I hope your mascara is tear-proof. I don’t trust the bride to hold back her customary tears during the vows o.”
That was Ezinwanne, one of my bridesmaids, talking to the makeup artist who was working on my face. The most talkative of my friends, Ezinwanne had announced my engagement on her BBM profile despite my pleas. Being prompted, she continued, “I swear, Erimma is a queer person. The things that make her cry amuse me. What is it about exchange of vows that should make a thick-skinned like her cry? I just don’t get it. There was no wedding we both attended that she didn’t have wet eyes once the vows were read.”
I kept smiling all the while. I was feeling overwhelmed to utter a word, especially to Ezinwanne. Seconds later, there was a knock on the door and the hotel manager stood outside with a card for me. It read, “I’m set for the final stage. I’m ready to begin forever as your husband and your best friend.”
I did not think today would ever happen. I had this belief that certain friendships got ruined once romance was introduced. That explains why I struggled when Emeka and I tried to go on that transition road. I erroneously thought a lover was not supposed to see through my weakness and vulnerabilities. I wanted to always appear perfect to my knight, without the strings of humanity and its frailty. For a friend, seeing my flaws was not a problem but to have a lover see these things troubled me and prevented me from being myself.
True, Emeka gave up on us too soon. He forgot that love was a commitment, one that took time and effort to build. He didn’t realise that two people rarely start out on this kind of journey on the same level. It usually takes the patience and encouragement of one to draw the other up and have them give intensely and gladly receive as well.
I thought of the thank-you notes that were to be dispatched to Onyeka, the best man and my elder sister tomorrow. It was Onyeka who stalked my sister to her workplace so they could have a conversation about the breakup and how to salvage things. He would take it upon himself to give Emeka sleepless nights and get him to see the rashness of his actions. My sister was blunt with me and pointed out how I got things wrongs and helped me re-evaluate the things I considered important in a relationship.
The distance between us helped, not to get over the breakup but to communicate better. Because we were determined this time to make this work, we found practical ways to handle issues. Emeka learnt to apologise and I learnt to be lenient. We made a list of the attributes we loved about each other, laminated them and kept by our bed sides. Each day, we recited our mantra, “Love. Forgive. Give all. Receive with ease and gratitude.”
Timi Dakolo’s ‘The Vow’ played in the background as we read our vows. Yes, I had wet eyes. I knew I was promising a journey that would be ended by death but I was glad I was doing it with Emeka. I am aware that the learning continues but we were going into this equipped and armed with the determination to give it our best every single day. When the priest asked my husband to kiss me, I whispered, “Very quick one o. We have enough time for a longer session later.”