“Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside equally desperate to get out” – Michel de Montaigne
“There are no desperate situations, there are only desperate people” – Heinz Guderian
My tailor finally picked my calls. After two freaking weeks of ceaselessly disturbing him with phone calls, he got sick and tired of me. In short, he stopped picking my calls. I knew his phone battery would literally wish death on me. But the tailor dey craze big time. For wetin, ogbeni calm down jor, okpolo eye no be open eye o. When he eventually picked my call, I told him how phucked up his attitude was and promised not to bring any more clothes for him to make for me again. “U no know say na big traditional wedding wey I dey attend so? U no know say the person wey dey marry the girl na from abroad him dey come so?” I shouted on the phone. He dismally apologized and quickly blamed it on the devil. Chai, the devil don suffer true true.
On the wedding day, I wore the cloth the tailor made for me and joined my colleagues in a chattered vehicle – a commercial bus – and proceeded to the bride’s hometown. The road leading to her home town was dusty and brown grasses adorned the entrance to the village. As we alighted from the bus, Maggie saw us and came towards our direction. ‘Congratulations’ filled the air and she told us how happy she was to finally be getting married to the man of her dreams. I knew her story well; she has had about 5 or 6 heartbreaks before this one finally clicked.
By 1pm, the ceremony started. The live band continually doled out some boring gospel songs while the MC told outdated and mind-numbing jokes that would make you feel sorry for whoever paid for his services. Drinks were served and sumptuous dishes were also presented to the guests. When it was time to break the kola, the in-laws chose the eldest man in the kindred clan to perform the traditional rites. He spoke at length about how it would be well for the bride, the groom and all the well wishers. He then broke the kola nut he was holding into two and dropped one half on the ground. This was meant for the ancestors! I saw a man collect two kola nuts and a garden-egg from the tray; and another, a woman, reject the kola. According to her, she would not accept any offering that was meant for demons. I wondered when the ancestors turned to demons.
All the while, I never realized I was sitting on a dusty seat. Holy Mary, I exclaimed. I turned around and asked my colleagues how bad the dusty stain was and they said it was pretty bad. My goodness! I walked away from the venue and went towards the bus to clean the dirt off with a piece of cloth. I tried my best but I couldn’t get all the stains off. Well, e no matter jor. In a worst case scenario, people go laff me and afterwards, would forget about the whole event. I decided to walk back to the venue.
By the time I reached my seat, the bride was already dancing. Boy, she looked ravishing and beautiful. Her stylist should be given an extra token for the good job she did. She had orange beads on her neck that complemented the orange wrapper she wore. Her voluptuous boobs were held firmly by a small piece of grey sequin material festooned with ornaments and rubies. For a second, I wished that tiny piece of cloth would fall off so I’d behold her big breasts. She danced gracefully to the tune of Flavour’s hit track ‘Ada Ada’.
But something was amiss! She was dancing alone. As she danced, she held the portrait of a smiling man. The man was dark and I quickly guessed he should be in his early forties. I hurriedly turned to one of our colleagues, Ebere and asked innocently:
“Eby, you people didn’t tell me we were attending a burial. Una no try o”.
“Baruu, which kind talk be that. Abeg, I no get time for your jokes”, she replied innocently also.
“But look at Maggie na, why is she dancing with the portrait of her dead brother”, I replied.
“Hahahahaha. Oh, that! This guy Baruu, you no well. The guy is not her brother o. That is the husband’s picture she is holding. The guy stays in Malaysia and couldn’t attend the wedding so they had to arrange it to be this way”, she answered.
A picture of the groom! Gracious Lord, what has this world turned to? I promptly realized this was an ‘Arrangee Marriage’. Na wa o, eee speak lee kwe! I decided not to say anything stupid or negative throughout the occasion. I even walked up to the dancing floor and sprayed a couple of naira notes on the bride and on the portrait of the groom. When it was time for the bride and the groom to kiss, Maggie brought out the portrait once more and proceeded to kiss the picture of the husband. Pamurogo!
Eventually, the ceremony came to an end. Maggie thanked us for coming and told the ladies she intended joining her husband in Malaysia within the month. Most of the girls pretended they were happy for her. Zeeny, the parrot-girl, told her she was already feeling jealous and they laughed over it. It was this same Zeeny that started all the snitching when we boarded the bus and started our journey back home. Evil Zeeny! She even went as far as stating that she heard the husband was locked up in a jail in Malaysia which was why he couldn’t attend the wedding. Chai, women and ratting!
Fast forward to a year later, and I was having lunch with Zeeny before we went back to the hospital. Omo, Zeeny na my person jor. I always enjoy her company. Anytime I want to have a dose of laughter while listening to well packaged gossips, she was the girl to be with. And on this occasion, I made sure I did enjoy the gossips. She talked about Maggie and the Malaysian husband. She talked about how the husband turned her to a punching bag and how Maggie was always spending nights at the hospitals as doctors attended to her bruises and lacerations. Her words:
“Baruu, I dey pity Maggie well well o. Seriously, I dey pity her. Me and her, we always chat on Facebook or Whatsapp. She is always bitter and crying”, she said.
“How do you know she cries? Does she cry through Facebook”, I asked sarcastically.
“Haba, Baruu. No na, she sent me pictures of her bruised and battered face. She is not happy at all o. She says her husband is a bush man with a stinking breath and eats like a pig”, she replied while requesting for another bottle of Orijin.
“Chai, Zeeny. She told you all this? Ok, so when last did the two of you talk”, I asked.
“Yesterday o! In fact, you won’t believe the one that happened yesterday. The husband was drunk and after he finished eating, says to Maggie: “Baby, ngwa, over to the bedroom…let us fuck”. And as they reached the bedroom, he just threw Maggie on the bed, turned her around and savagely entered her. He didn’t even last long and dumped his goods inside of her and thereafter, pushed her aside as he slept off”, she said while mimicking the act.
“Hahaha, she told you all that? Na wa o”, I replied.
Alright, I won’t post the remaining conversation. But throughout that day, I kept thinking how unhappy Maggie would be. And she is not alone; a lot of ladies marry guys they never knew out of desperation. In a bid to join the league of married ladies, they resort to accept any marriage proposal from any one. Any one at all, it doesn’t matter! And what do they get afterwards…a life of endless misery and gloom. Theirs is a melancholic abode.
Marrying someone you barely know is a big risk. I understand all those stories about the biological clock ticking and stuffs like that. But it won’t make sense to get into such an Arrangee Marriage and getting knocked at like Floyd Mayweather battering his opponents. It is important to combine patience and wisdom in choosing your life partner; someone you’d always wish you could marry over and over again.
And besides, not all ‘Arrangee Marriages’ turn out to be bad! Capisce!
PS: This work is a satirical one! No Love Lost, No Love Found! So don’t feel bad for any one! All names no be so e dey o! Eee speak lee kwe!