“You did what? Dolapo!”
I don’t say anything. Nothing at all, I just hold the phone to my ear and stare at my reflection in the mirror.
I should have kept the piece of information to myself but again, I had to share. I had to tell the closest person to me at the moment, Dammy. And he’s crucifying me for it just as I expected.
He doesn’t let me speak, “Dolapo I won’t lie to you but you just did the most stupid thing anybody can do in this situation!”
That irks me and because I can’t help it, I respond “so what now? I’m always stupid? I don’t need your lecture right now” and then I hang up.
Face it; you’re really being stupid.
I can hang up on Dammy but I can’t stop my mind from hurling the same words at me. Be a maid of honour at my own ex’s wedding? A year ago I wanted it to be me and him standing in front of the priest, I wanted to be the woman standing next to him, not the woman standing behind the woman standing next to him.
I’m being silly.
I pick the dress Angie handed over to me earlier and get rid of my clothes. After a few seconds, I stare at my reflection in the mirror. I’m wearing the maid of honour’s dress. It is a peach coloured knee length gown, with short sleeves and a plunging neckline. The dress fits perfectly like it was made for me. I try to smile. But even that doesn’t make me feel better about being a maid of honour at Dipo’s wedding.
Someone knocks and I say “come in” without turning to look at who it is.
“Dolapo. What are you doing?” He asks as soon as he steps into the room.
I turn to stare at him. He is looking at me with uncertainty in his eyes. “Wearing a dress…”I reply.
“Don’t be silly Dee. What are you doing giving Angie’s proposal a thought?” He asks, stepping closer and making my heart race. Wait, why am I feeling this attracted to someone else’s husband to be?
“Dipo it isn’t such a bad idea…”
“It seems like it is to me. Maybe you should seriously think about it before giving her an answer” He says, now staring into my eyes and standing really close to me.
I try to speak but nothing comes out. Am I crossing the line between being a good Christian and being utterly foolish?
Talking about foolish, why am I hoping Dipo would hug and kiss me or something? And like he can read my mind, he does the former but limits the latter to my forehead.
“I care so much about you Adedolapo. I don’t want you to do something silly…I don’t want you to hurt”
“Oh. You didn’t seem to think of that when you walked away a year ago.” I snap angrily and then immediately wonder why that came out. I step out of his embrace and move away from him.
“Dolapo, you left me no choice…” He replies
“I left you no choice? Listen to yourself…you were supposed to be head over heels in love with me, yet you walked because we had a disagreement!” I yell
“It wasn’t just a disagreement and you know it.” He says and I turn to face him.
“Yes Dolapo. You were disrespectful to me and all we stood for, you took my love for you for granted and didn’t give back as much as I did! That relationship lasted that long because of me!”
There’s silence in the room as we both stare at each other with so much anger. Wait, where did that even come from?
“I can’t believe you. Now you’re taking credit for holding the relationship together?” I break the silence after a few seconds.
“I hate to say Yes but it was all me Dolapo. All me…I was insanely in love with you but all you did was lock up your heart, be cold and you cheated on…” He stops midway as he realises his mistake.
My heart beats faster and my pulse begins to race, he on the other hand tries to move closer
“Get out” I say quietly.
“Dolapo, I’m sorry…”
“Get out” I repeat and deep down inside of me, I know I’m leaving tomorrow morning.
I don’t sleep through the night, that’s impossible when all the time I have to sleep is spent on crying about Dipo and I. I can’t say the reason why I’m crying exactly but I think it’s got something to do with the fact that Dipo hurt my feelings and because I can’t understand why I allowed him get to me that much.
I did cheat on Dipo at the beginning of our relationship and I was genuinely sorry when he found out. We weren’t all that serious when it happened and I knew it hurt him but I tried my best to make it up to him. After winning his affection back, I thought we were past it. He did act like we were past it. Why in God’s name did it now come up again last night? Did it mean he never forgave me?
I check my wristwatch, it is 6am. A very good time to start getting ready to leave. I ditch my clothes for my towel and I’m almost in the bathroom when I hear a knock. Its 6am, why is anyone knocking the door at this time?
“Please come in” I respond and Dipo’s mom walks in.
“I’m sorry to disturb you dear, but there’s something I need from this room. Hope you slept well?”
I nod and manage a smile. “Ekaaro ma” I add and then I try to proceed into the bathroom.
“Why are you up so early by the way? Nobody ever gets up early in this house…”
“I’m leaving ma” I say and I realise immediately that I shouldn’t have told her the real reason I’m up early. She will try to find out why and talking about last night is the last thing I want to do.
“Did you and Dipo fight?”
The result of revealing my reason for waking early to Dipo’s mom, is sitting opposite Dipo in his father’s private study and trying to “settle things” with him like his mom thinks.
We haven’t said a word to each other yet. All we are doing at the moment is looking everywhere but at each other.
He is staring at his fingers and I am counting the number of books on the shelves and then looking at the fan and the calendar and….
“You did hurt me,” he says and I drag my gaze to him, but he’s still not looking at me.
“Wait you aren’t going to apologise…”
“Let me finish” he cuts in and this time he actually looks at me. “After you cheated, I forgave you…it was hard but I let it go. I was in love with you and being with you made more sense than letting you go, but our incessant fights after and your coldness I couldn’t take…”
I am speechless and spellbound not by his speech but by his expression. He looks hurt!
My heart breaks knowing I’m responsible for his pain. I feel bad.
“Dolapo, yesterday night shouldn’t have happened. I shouldn’t have mentioned it and I’m sorry.”
I nod. He reaches for my hands and adds “please let it go”
“I’m sorry too” I say to him and I truly mean it.
“Oh…what are you guys doing in here…alone?”
We both turn to face our company and I swallow hard as I watch her eye me with contempt.
“I decided to stay again when she saw me in the study alone with her fiancé, with nothing on but a tank and towel…I’m trying to make her feel at ease. If I’d left, it would have looked like I was running away from something or that Dipo and I are hiding something. I don’t want her to walk down the aisle with doubts in her mind…”
“You mean like Dipo will?” Dammy asks and I don’t understand him.
“I don’t get…” I inquire. After madam Angie caught me with her husband to be some hours ago in the study with nothing on but a towel tied across my chest and a tank to cover it, she’s been acting cold. I felt guilty instantly and changed my mind about leaving town and now I’m in a car with Dipo’s driver on the way to church for the wedding rehearsal.
I called Dammy who I have been ignoring his missed calls because of his response last night and after I accept his apology, I fill him in on the details he’s missed out on. He can be an ass sometimes, but he’s still my bff.
“You said you don’t want her to have doubts…” He continues
I nod like he can see me “yes. You know, seeing her fiancé and his ex in the study alone can spring up numerous silly thoughts.”
“All I’m saying is I’m sure Dipo will be walking down the aisle two days from now with doubts on his mind”
“Why would you even think that. He’s in love with her, I’ve seen the way he looks at her”
“Are you trying to convince yourself Dolapo? Because I’m not convinced and all you’ve told me about both of you in the last twelve hours looks to me like you both still have strong feelings for each other. I mean, what’s the explanation for all that emotion you both had all over the place last night?”
I don’t say anything. I literally can’t speak.
Dammy continues, “if you must stay there, steer clear of the groom. He’s clearly still in love with you”
“How would you even know that?” I ask. He can’t be serious… it can’t be true.
“Because I am a man. And some things we only do when we feel so strongly about someone.”
And my heart once again, begins to race.
I sit six rows away from Angie and Dipo when we arrive at the church. Just as I had decided not to ride with them on purpose from home, I have decided to let them have all the space they need, away from me.
There still seems to be chemistry between Dipo and I, which I can’t even lie to myself about. But I am not here to take him away from the woman he wants to marry. I mean, he refused to work things out with us and proposed to her instead. It means he doesn’t want us and he’s ready to live without me.
And that I totally understand and I’m willing to let him have his happily ever after. I’m not even going to believe a word of what Dammy says about him because I’m sure Dipo is over me… Over us.
I fiddle with my blackberry and try not to look in their direction. Truth be told, I’m not all that comfortable with watching them. But again, nobody forced me to come here for this wedding.
The bridesmaids begin to walk in one after the other and I’m grateful we have company in the almost empty church.
I watch them all as they greet me politely and go on to chat with the bride. She seems to be arguing with Dipo over something and I pray silently that its got nothing to do with me.
Angie smiles at her friends as they all giggle and talk about her cake and their dresses and shoes and whatever. Suddenly, I realise those are her real friends. I’m not a friend. I shouldn’t be her maid of honour; I shouldn’t be acting like I am. This is another chance to walk away from this insanity, I decide. And I am on my feet, about to walk over to her when the pastor walks into the church.
Ok. I hope to get another chance.
We all move to the front row and once again, I distance myself from the couple and I’m glad the bridesmaids are too excited and I’m almost not seen.
I’m still thinking of how tush their church is, organising a wedding rehearsal when the pastor tells us all to come take our place.
My church won’t even do this. Dem get time?
I see the groom’s mom and whom I think might be the bride’s mom walk in. No father in sight. Making more money for the wedding maybe? Or maybe they can’t just be bothered with wedding rehearsal when the real wedding is the koko.
The pastor assumes his position and we all get ready.
Before I made this trip, I told myself a million and one times over that I am ready for it. But now, as I walk in behind the bride and watch Dipo smile as she inches closer, I can’t take it.
The reality hits me in the face and suddenly I feel this sudden surge of pain and disappointment, knowing that I am going to lose Dipo forever. I want to leave this place but I decide to stay until it’s over.
Quit fooling yourself and ditch this maid of honour joke.
I agree with the thought in my head. I can’t do this.
We arrive at the altar and the pastor explains the part where Dipo says his vows. I don’t pay much attention to them so all he’s saying is lost on me.
“Oya Dipo…. you go first” I hear the pastor say.
“I Oladipupo Fowosere, take you Adedolapo…”
I freeze. Like a robot I turn to face the couple.
Angie is shocked, so is Dipo and so is his mom and every other person in the church.
“I’m sorry…”He mutters. “I don’t even know where that came from…”
But Angie would have none of it as we all watch her run out of the church in tears.
“Oh my God Dipo what were you thinking?” I ask in genuine shock. Wondering why in God’s name my name came out instead of his bride’s.
“You!” He responds and then runs after his bride.