Etim and Edidiong exchanged surprised glances when their first son, Edet, stepped into their apartment with his fiancée, Edua Imasogie. The lady looked like one of the beauty queens they had seen on the television and they feared that their son wasn’t in her class at all. The more they watched the two, the more they realized how the couple were so fond of each other and they began to wonder how the two crossed paths in the first place.
“You are welcome my daughter,” Etim grinned from ear to ear, he couldn’t stop staring at the girl and was very proud of his son for finding a worthy wife.
“Thank you sir,” Edua smiled back at the man, her initial fear had melted away. Since she walked into the Udeme’s home, she had felt their warmth of welcome and with the way they kept gawking at her, she realized that her beauty must have swept them off their feet.
“I am making one of Edet’s favourite meal. You must eat before you leave,” Edidiong beamed at her. She was already dreaming of the way her grand-children would look like. Her first son was very good looking and he was getting married to a very beautiful woman. She could imagine how their children would turn out. They would surely look like Half-caste, she thought to herself.
“No problem ma,” she smiled back at her. Edua was greatly relieved that Edet’s parents accepted her and had welcomed her into their home. She had been a bit skeptic when Edet wanted her to meet them.
His two younger brothers were worse off. Uduak and Udoh had not been able to sit still since they arrived. The young men had been parading the sitting room, pacing and winking at their elder brother and smiling at her as if they had just won the American lottery. With the way they had been acting all day, she was beginning to feel suddenly shy and self-conscious.
“Edet, you have done very well,” Uduak winked at his elder brother.
“Yes, you have done very well,” Udoh agreed.
Edet shook his head and just smiled at his brothers. He was happy that his family had accepted the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. When they leave his parents’ home, they were heading to the island to see Edua’s mum. He hoped the woman would take the news of their intended union cordially. His fiancée wasn’t optimistic, but he was hopeful. He believed that God could touch anyone, after all, hearts of Kings were in his hands.
“It is a pity that your father is no more. I would have loved to meet him,” Etim observed his son’s fiancée.
“Hmm…” Edua nodded. She missed her father. She wished he was still alive to witness the happiest moments of her life.
“But, at least, her mother is still hale and hearty,” Edidiong added quickly. She didn’t want the girl to start thinking of her late father and feel sad.
“Yes, yes, that’s true,” Etim agreed and glanced at his wife.
“Let me set the dining. The food is almost ready,” Edidiong got up immediately.
Edua dropped her purse on Edet’s laps and got up too.
“I can help,” she offered.
They all stared at her in amazement.
“No, no… sit down. You are our visitor,” Edidiong began to shake her head. She didn’t want the girl to follow her into the kitchen and stain her dress.
“Haba Sister Edua, don’t disturb yourself, just sit down and relax,” Uduak encouraged her.
“Yes, please sit down, we won’t allow you to do anything in this house,” Udoh chimed in.
“I believe that I am no longer a visitor, I am going to help, mama, let’s go,” Edua took Edidiong by the hand and pulled her towards the kitchen.
The woman started to laugh and allowed the young girl to lead her on. She was happy and relieved that she was gaining a very good daughter-in-law. She had always wanted a girl-child, but, God had given her three wonderful boys. She was eternally grateful, but, she wouldn’t have minded an additional girl. There were times she envied her mates who had female children. Nevertheless, she had always prayed that her sons would bring good girls home as their wives. Girls who she could relate to like her very own daughters and it seemed that God had already started to answer her prayers.
The moment the women left, Uduak and Udoh sat beside their elder brother.
“Bros, where did you find her?” Uduak was curious. He hoped he would be able to find someone like his elder brother’s fiancée.
“Yes o, where did you catch that enchanting beauty?” Udoh winked at his elder brother. He was quite impressed with the physical beauty of his brother’s woman.
Edet began to laugh. He honestly didn’t know what to tell them.
“Just thank God for me. He has given me a very good woman.”
They all nodded their heads in agreement.
Adesua Ayenkegbe looked at her only daughter and her fiancé with one glance, from heads to toes. She didn’t like the way the girl was looking. Gone was her glowing skin and she was looking skinny. She had less make-up on and the clothes she was putting on was very cheap. She was angry that her Princess had been reduced to a mere commoner by her adamant decisions to do things her way. Her fiancé was worse off. He was good looking quite all right, but, he was also clad in a very cheap attire. She felt disgusted that her daughter was settling down for someone who wasn’t in their league at all.
“What did you say you do again?” she swept her shoulder length dark brown Brazilian hair away from her fair glowing face.
Edet cleared his throat, “I… I repair automobiles,” he could feel the woman’s eagle eyes on him. Since they walked into her home, her cold reception had clouded the atmosphere. His fiancée was right after all. No wonder she had been reluctant whenever he reminded her that they needed to see her mother. They had no choice. They needed to see the woman and intimate her of their plans and decisions.
“You repair automobiles…” Adesua repeated, then blinked in shock. “Are you a motor mechanic?!” her shrill voice hit the roof.
He nodded with confidence. “Yes, ma. I have a Mechanic shop in Anthony Village and I am very good at what I do.”
Adesua shot an angry look at her daughter, “You are getting married to a Motor Mechanic.”
She swallowed hard, mentally preparing for the verbal assault that was yet to come. “Yes mother. Repairing cars is a very lucrative profession.”
The woman gawked at the girl as if she had lost her marbles.
“Are you out of your mind?!”
“No, mother,” she returned her angry gaze. She was determined not to allow the woman’s assumptions and analyses to rattle her. Adesua glanced back at Edet, then at her daughter.
“You came into my home with a common road-side motor mechanic.”
She sighed heavily, “He is not a road-side mechanic.”
“What is the difference?! A motor mechanic is a motor mechanic! This is outrageous!” she glared at both of them.
Edet reached out for his fiancée’s hand and squeezed it lightly. His touch calmed her frayed nerves, but, she was still upset.
“You decided to pull out of our business, I allowed you. Why did I even do that? Take a good look at you,” her gaze swept over her like one inspecting an insect. “You look like a road-side pepper seller.”
Edua stared back at her mother and held her tongue. She had a million things to say, but, thought against it. She didn’t want to start arguing and fighting with her in the presence of the man she loved.
“Look at your skin, look at the way you are dressed, look at the way you have turned out. Poor, starving and you are okay with all this?”
Edua pressed her lips together. She was beginning to find it difficult to remain quiet.
“Now, you come here, with this,” she pointed an irritated finger at Edet. “This… this commoner, this excuse of a man…”
Edet coughed. He wasn’t getting uncomfortable with the way the woman was ranting. “Madam, I think you have said enough.”
She shot him a glare. “How dare you?! How dare you talk back at me?”
“Ma, we are here to inform you of our wedding plans. We will appreciate if you can find time from your busy schedule and show up, giving us every support we need, we ask for nothing more…”
“You must be smoking weed, if you think I will allow you to marry my daughter,” she scowled at him.
“I am not a child mother. You do not have a say when it comes to who I want to spend the rest of my life with,” Edua informed her mother. The determination in her eyes made her mother burn with rage.
Adesua jumped to her feet, shaking visibly with fury.
“I will not allow it! This union…” she pointed at both of them,
“This union will never take place.”
“It will and there is nothing you can do about it,” Edua countered, annoyed at her mother’s irritable disposition.
“You are both dreaming. You are both building castles in the air. You think this marriage will work,” she faced Edet. “Do you even know the woman you are getting married to? Can you even handle her?” she looked him up and down with disdain.
“I love your daughter madam…”
Adesua erupted with laughter. “I know everything I need to know about her, both past and present. She placed her hands on her curvy hips and eyed him. “She is the woman I am going to spend the rest of my life with and nothing, or anyone can change that.”
Edua got up, so did Edet.
“It’s good seeing you again mother,” she threw the invitation card on the center table.
“I am not coming,” Adesua said through gritted teeth.
Edua and Edet exchanged pale glances.
“I will not stand by and watch you ruin your life,” she screamed at her daughter.
Edua swallowed hard, feeling pained. “Fine, have it your way.”
“Madam, this is your only daughter…”
“Do not speak to me young man!” she yelled at him.
Edet sighed, feeling exasperated. He looked at the woman again and shook his head sadly.
“The likes of you work for me as my driver, my gardener, my laundry-man… you are beneath the caliber of people in my sphere of reckoning,” she lashed out at him.
Edua reached out for her fiancé’s hand and pulled him towards the door. He followed her without saying another word.
“You are going to regret this young woman!” she called out to the girl, hoping she would listen to her.
Edua and Edet walked out of the mansion and headed towards the main gate. Edua dragged in a frustrated breath, and closed her eyes, trying to seal off the storm of tears threatening to flood her face. She wished she had not come. She had always known that her mother would never be in agreement with her decisions. The agony in her heart enveloped her chest, tightening it, making it hard for her to breathe. She stopped walking.
Edet glanced at his fiancée. The anguish in her dull light brown eyes cut through him like a very sharp blade.
“My love…” he drew her into his comforting arms.
Edua collapsed in his arms, shaking visibly with sobs. The tears came, spilling all over her fair smooth face.
“Oh God…” she cried out and held unto him as if her life depended on it.
“Sssssssh…” he rubbed his hands against her spine, patting her on the back in consolation.
“Oh Edet…” she wept.
“It is going to be all right. Trust me. God’s got our backs,” he assured her.
She kept on crying.
“Even if your father and mother forsake you, God will never, ever leave you nor forsake you,” he encouraged her. Her sobs began to waned.
“He will go before you, he will go with you, do not be afraid or be dismayed…”
“Deuteronomy 31 verse 8,” she whispered.
“I trust God. Everything is going to be all right,” she said to herself.
“Yes, he’s got our backs.”
Edua sighed in relief. It might not look like it, but she was sure that everything was going to work out for them. He let her go, held her hand, and led her towards the gate.
“Who else can represent your mother at the wedding?”
“My pastor’s wife.”
“Yes,” she nodded, “Or, my maternal grand-mother.”
“Your mum’s mother,” he glanced at her.
“Yes,” she returned his gaze. “My maternal grand-father and grand-mother are excited for us. They are coming to the wedding with my mum’s younger sisters and their husbands and children.”
“Wow! That’s good news,” he felt greatly relieved.
“Yes, it is,” she started to smile.
“What about people from your father’s family?”
“My paternal grand-father’s younger brother will represent them. He is coming with his family.”
“What about your father’s father? And your father’s mother? And your father’s brothers?”
She sighed heavily.
“They all flew out of the country a few months’ after my father’s burial. My mum claimed that they took everything my father had worked for all his life, leaving us with nothing.”
“My goodness! That’s cold and cruel, if it’s actually true.”
She shrugged, “It’s all in the past now. I don’t like remembering or talking about it…”
He squeezed her by the hand, “I understand.”
The gateman opened the gate and let them out. The Taxify driver saw them coming. He started the engine of the vehicle, once they were seated at the back seat of the car, he nosed into the street and drove off.