I love weddings, not only because next to church conventions or revival services, wedding receptions are the next best place to pick up, or be picked up. And because it means there is still hope for humanity.
Last Saturday, I was at a wedding. Unlike other weddings I had attended recently, I was not on the train of this wedding. I was driver designate to my friend who was on the train. She had been drafted, with nine others, to be on the bridal train. I wondered what the bride needed so many people on her train for. After all, wetin bridal train dem dey do sef?
We arrived at the hotel where the bride and her train were lodged somewhere in Yaba – my friend preferred to go from home – only to find that with less than three hours to go to the wedding they were running all over the place with nothing done. This afforded me the opportunity to see them and size them up without make-up – nothing going there. Maybe better luck at the reception.
I returned to the car and prepared myself for a long wait, and I was not disappointed.
At twenty minutes before the wedding was billed to start, a regally dressed woman glided down the stairs and walked gracefully towards the gaily decorated SUV parked next to me. After looking around for about three minutes, she tapped on my window. “Please, do you know where the driver of this car went?” “No idea Ma’am” I answered. I saw the look on her face go from calculated calmness to bewilderment to near panic.
In that instant, I realized what must have happened: Driver was AWOL and the Mother of the bride was stranded!
“Can I be of assistance in any way Ma’am?” I asked her. “Please can you give me a ride to the church? It’s just around the corner from here.” I was happy to oblige. What she didn’t tell me was that I had to do a circumnavigation back as the streets were one way streets. Fortunately, it was a Saturday so breaking a few traffic rules did not faze me.
I had just parked back at the hotel and was reclining my seat when a ball of whiteness rushed toward me. The door was yanked open and a trembling voice screamed “Drive! Drive!” at me. I was too shocked to react. “Just drive!” I have been known to make ladies do a double take when I stepped into a room, but I knew I could not be so hot to make the Bride want to elope with me.
“Where is your Maid of Honour?” I asked her. “Upstairs somewhere. I woke up early to get my hair done. I begged her to take her bath and be ready on time. Here I am fully dressed and ready, and she is just getting her make up done! My wedding starts in five minutes and I am not in church yet. I told them this bridal train thingy was too much wahala, but would they listen to me?”
Looking in the rear view mirror, I saw her lips quiver and felt a wail coming so I put the car in reverse and quietly drove.
I had a vision of her crying and bawling, and all that make-up ruined. I daresay I am some sort of an artist, but I only work with poster colour on paper! I watched her rally and hold it all in.
Two minutes from the church I shifted in my seat and asked her, “What day is today?” “Saturday”, she answered. “What day is today?” I asked again. “My wedding day.” “Do you love him?” And for the first time since she got into the car she smiled. She seemed to glow from within, her smile so bright I was thankful for the sunglasses I had on. “With all my heart.” She answered. “Do you think you can concentrate on that young man waiting for you in church, your love for him, and the life you will make together?” She was still nodding her head in affirmation when I pulled into the church driveway and let her out.
“Happy married life.” I said, and not waiting for her reply I pulled out of the driveway and returned to pick up my friend.