“This is for you Herfcert much love I’m very grateful, Merci beaucoup j’aime toi ma cherie 😍😍😍😘 ma Savior”
THE TRIP TO MAIDUGURI WAS EXCITING, I HAVE BEEN THERE ONCE SINCE WE CAME BACK FROM GHANA, and now I’m going there as a bride, Ahmad’s mom and sisters came to see me before we left, it was kind of embarrassing, I heaved a sigh as Nhyira my cousin complained continuously about the events that were going to be held. “I prefer that to the parties you know” I wanted to yell to her but that will have her nagging like a woman in her late menopausal stage so I kept quiet as she ranted on, I was really jet lagged from the trip and needed sleep, “Fatiah don’t you have any say in this, it’s suppose to be your wedding you know” she complains using the nickname they teased me with, I huffed and closed my eyes saying a silent prayer for patience, I was a second away from unleashing it on her.
“I prefer this to the parties you know now would you please let me sleep get some sleep after being in a car for over seven hours” I complained my voice rising a few decibels higher than necessary.
My parents and granny along with a few of my family members, had taken a flight later in the day, but they arrived, that’s what I get for wanting to exploit when the ceremony will start in two days.
I was amazed at the number of people here, I never knew my wedding will attract such a huge crowd the events have not yet started, yet I had even some of mom’s friends from Ghana, I spent the day with them, some have not seen me in months and my wedding was their only ticket to Naija, I had a smile on my face as I drifted from the world to my peaceful haven.
I folded my prayer mat and began reciting the Quran from memory, Nhyira felt insulted when I snapped at her yesternight and joined my other cousins, I looked at the screen of my phone and it was already morning I recited some duas, the door was knocked, just as I finished. I smiled at the woman at the door and greeted her squatting a bit, I never squat to greet, my grandmom has insulted me countless times, yet I still greeted either standing or bend a bit but I never squat, I didn’t know where this sudden shyness was peeking from. She smiled back and raised me up “My rival is just as beautiful as I imagined, Hajiya” she muttered looking behind her, I opened the door further and she came in with my grandmom “Hajia you never told me this rival of ours was this pretty, how can I compete with her” she complained jokingly “Hajia Zainab please don’t say this and make her more arrogant than she already is, I’m far prettier than her” I chuckled lightly and bowed my head toying with my fingers, “No Hajia she’s far prettier than you” I raised my head and poked my tongue at my grandmom, “Have you seen what she just did Hajia” my granny askedtrying to hit me, Hajia Zainab shielded me from her, “Don’t hit my rival, I hate that my husband finally got himself a young bride but let’s leave them for sometime he’ll come running back to us even with our wrinkles”. “How are you feeling, I heard you were sick” she asked in a slightly serious tone, “I feel much better now” “We thank Allah, I’m your husband’s grandmom” she said, I smiled and looked down again “let’s leave her to rest for a while Fati, the henna lady will be coming over soon” I lied down after they had gone but my rest was short-lived when my cousins barged in without even knocking, we were later on joined by another group some of whom I recognized from the socialisation I did yesterday but couldn’t remember their names. I had to force myself to make up conversations until the hair stylist arrived, I was happy when she arrived, I’ve never had liking for braids I just admired it from afar, having it on my head was a different problem all together I hated how they turn your head in every possible angle, and plaiting it was just too painful, but it was better than faking smiles and laughing at lame jokes which were not so funny.
She blow dried my hair as she made conversation with my cousins, “How did you meet Ahmad?” Nhyira asked making everyone turn giving me curious glances, “Yes we want to know cos I know Ahmad quite well and he’s never been one to take a girlfriend”, one of the girls added I couldn’t make out whether she was one of my extended family members or from Ahmad’s side of the family cos some of them came here today, it seemed our grandmothers were friends or had known each other for long.
“Well we work at the same place, things hit off and we’re now getting married”. “Oh I really wanted to know how you fell love” a young girl who looked 10 asked me. I smiled searching for the right answer to give her “Well Uhm, we first met at work then, he drove me home” Aww some of the girls swooned “he never does that, he just frowns whenever he visits and only laughs with grandma and his siblings but with us it’s the complete opposite” Miss Blabbermouth the name I decided to tag on her, chirped in making me pause I cringed a little because the hold the hair stylist had on my hair was a bit tight “Please, plait it a bit lose” the girl shook her head “I knew Uncle Ahmad will only marry a city snob” Miss blabbermouth exclaimed in a whisper shout it was either she had a crush on him, or just plain hated me “What happened after that?” the girl asked again.
“What’s your name sweetie?” I asked her in a gentle voice “My name is Ameera” she replied shyly “Well Ameera your name suits you cos you look just like a princess” she smiled shyly. “Then he took me out and we fell for each other, and now we’re getting married to live happily ever after” I replied tensing a little when I remembered the message I received a few days ago.
My hair was done after hours of twisting and turning, the stylist gave me an album to select the designs I wanted from, “Ameera will you help me choose?” I asked her quirking an eyebrow up “Yes” she said excitedly, “Don’t you need my help” Nhyira asked I rolled my eyes, and continued skimming through the pictures “Do you want this?” she asked hesitantly pointing to a beautiful design, I nodded and showed it to the designer “My friend over here seems to have eyes for beautiful things” I said hugging her with my left arm, “Yes Jasmine” I knitted my brow in confusion “You are Princess Jasmine, you look like her and Uncle Ahmad is Aladdin”, we roared in laughter, “Thanks sweetie” I uttered between laughs. Miss Blabbermouth along with some of the girls left , maybe annoyed I was more interested in the opinion of a ten year old than them.
My aunties and some of my cousins applied the henna on my hands and feet then smeared some on my body later on, It was washed off after two hours, I did my Asr prayer, then the designer started drawing the beautiful design on my hand and feet,the designs were so beautiful. I opened up more to the girls at night.
The next day was my holiday I met lots of mine and Ahmad’s relatives, I let my all my guard down today, I blocked my mind of all threats and demons, making myself enjoy the wedding, I found the traditional wedding more exciting than the modern one cos the parties wouldn’t have made me bond with my family well. Even Miss Blabbermouth was friendlier today, I later on found out she was Ameera’s older sister.
I pushed the spicy grilled chicken away, I was full but granny was having none of it she wanted me to eat a full chicken, I have eaten quarter of it, I gave her my best puppy eyes but she looked away, “I don’t want to eat it” I said pouting my lips “No young lady, I’m not compromising” I batted my lashes, still looking into her eyes. “OK you win but you’ll be finishing it later on” I nodded and pushed the plate away.
* ** *
Today is the Nakia day and I can’t hold my excitement, I’ve only witnessed one traditional wedding and went gaga when I ate the sweet made from flour and rice, I savored the sweet slowly and rolled it around my tongue, I hurriedly opened my eyes when I remembered the last words he said before ending the call, “I want you to reserve that soronious voice and pretty face of yours till the day you’ll be brought to your marital home as my wife” God the guy was working his way into my heart, he might already have it. Two girls joined Ameera and I today, it seems we bonded in the afternoon, we took pictures and conversed late into the night, I dozed off as they talked”.
Today is Friday less than 24 hours for to be the wife of the “Great Ahmad Abubakar Casanova” I pray his whoring days were over.
My cousins and my aunties danced to the traditional wedding songs, I didn’t understand a word being sang, Nhyira seemed to be enjoying herself, she looked weird trying to imitate their moves.
I was seated on a mat with my legs wide apart and my palms facing the sky, I gently placed the biscuit into the akushi (a thicker and bigger calabash bowl with lid) . They took it away and applied the karkashi (a slimy green, mixture) on my hand then a coins was place on my hand.
I sighed as I untied the wrapper on my chest, tomorrow marks the beginning of the next phase of my life.
I swallowed hard, my breath hitched and my heartbeat quickened, I am officially his wife, tears unknowingly rolled down my cheek, I was overwhelmed by how fast things moved one minute we were in Ghana the next minute I’m getting married. The wedding fatiha was done at the regional mosque after Zuhr prayer, mom couldn’t stop her tears as we prepared to go back to Abuja, buses were sent by Ahmad’s family to convey us to the airport, Aunty Khadija piggybacked me to the car, it was interesting how my mom’s family adapted to the Kanuri culture, it was hard bidding them goodbye I was not that friendly when we met but I was surely going to miss these guys especially Hajia Zainab, Andrea and Miss Blabbermouth who was Ahmad’s cousin their dads were siblings.
I blinked back the tears that had gathered in my eyes , remembering all the counseling I received from my family members, it was almost the same words but what was this new life of mine going to be like, I warned Ahmad about my issues yet he still married me.
Dedicated to Fatima Kaka