It was past ten, Olaronke arrived at Afotamodi Hall with her dad and stepmother. Aina had went ahead to ensure everything was in order. The musical band set her fiancee had paid to perform called to inform her he was cancelling. She was so annoyed, she almost cursed him. How could he do this to them? They had planned to dance with her bridesmaids and his groomsmen. Two weeks spent with a dance instructor just to make her day memorable and that unprofessional idiot cancelled with no good excuse. Wait till her honeymoon was over, she will finish him on twitter.
Stupid fool! She hissed
“What happened?” her stepmother asked nudging her
“Nothing” she muttered.
Her phone beeped, she checked it. It was Oluwaniyi. Her smiled broadened. She read his message. The smile wiped from her face within second. He and his family were delayed, he apologized promising to be there by one. What would she do with their guests? That was almost like three hours.
Her eyes burned with tears she would never allow to flow. Her make up was lit and she wouldn’t ruin it. Why was this happening today?
She silently prayed for her husband to be and his family. Today has to be the best. She had waited all her life.
She peeped into the hall she poured her heart and soul, working with the decorator, ensuring her dreams were achieved. It was the celebration of their love and commitment to each other. She was satisfied with the decoration; it was the same color as her dress. Cream and pink color.
The caterers had done a good job, wearing a matching outfit of cream and black. The food were on a standby. Aina had taken charge after she forwarded Oluwaniyi’s text message to her. She had instructed the comedian to start the program while the impromptu DJ they got was playing Beautiful Nubia’s song.
When the idiot got to “Ikoko Akufo (Lamentation of a broken pot) track, he didn’t skip it. A tribute song on her wedding, was he sick?. She was about to match into the hall when her friends ushered her into the room they rented, the bride was always the last person to make appearance at the wedding. She told them the atrocity the DJ committed, one of them went out to handle it.
The guests or better still her guest arrived in their pink aso ebi, with some of the mint color gele almost touching the ceiling. None of her fiancee’s family had arrived. Their seats were empty.
At first the guests were contented with staring at the decorations and the large hall that could house 500 guests. The caterers displayed the foods, and most of the guests were happy. Who wouldn’t be? A party that promises all the delicious delicacies in this recession. Some of them were mentally ordering salad and chicken, ofada rice with roasted catfish, jollof rice and fried meats, pounded yam and egusi, ebripo with vegetables e.t.c.
If only they knew!
The comedian had been cracking jokes for almost two hours. His throat was sore and his saliva had almost dried up. He looked at the DJ giving him a signal to blast the music while he went to search for water.
The DJ increased the volume and it turned out to be another tribute, this time for late Dagrin.
The guests were shocked beyond words. Just like they wear hungry and regretting attending the party.
People started gossiping about the groom and his family. Were they involved in accident? What was the reason for the delay. Some well-meaning friends suggested to the bride’s father to call the groom parents. They did. It rang and rang. No one picked.
Some of the hungry guests were cursing and went out to get some snacks. Unfortunately for them, it was a town where bikes hardly work. They had to trekked for an hour before they could reach the nearest shop.
The curses were just too many!
They would have left for their various homes but with their personal effects still at the hall, they had to trek back again. They even tried to get a cab but it turned out to be impossible. The townsfolk warned them they could only get a tricycle and it mostly work in the evening. With a heart breaking sigh, they started an hour journey.
It was quite sad!
Back in the hall, the Alaga iduro representing the bride’s family suggested they prayed. She was in the middle of the prayer for over thirty minutes when the woman standing in as the Alaga iduro for the groom’s family( she was the only one who attended) forcefully snatched the microphone from her calling her unprofessional. With two resounding slap from her, a fight broke, the few guests present watched in horror.
Olaronke knew the devil was at her party. She forcefully removed her head tie. Someone was using her picture for evil magic. It was obvious. Her husband to be was absent. All the guests were almost gone. All the tears she was holding fell in quick succession. Aina and her other friends were consoling her. While her father kept screaming at her for explanation. She took her phone to check the news. Maybe his plane crashed.
She switched on her data, WhatsApp messages, Facebook and Instagram Notifications bombarded her phone. She saw her fiancé’s picture messages on WhatsApp She downloaded, her breathe ceasing with each picture she viewed. Before she knew it, she passed out cold on the floor.
“Where am I?” Olaronke said, the fog of sleep she was wrapped in evaporated quickly as she opened her eyes to the luxury surrounding her.
She looked around her, from the dark blue velvet curtain to the rug floor that adorned and complimented the room spoke of calm wealth. She felt light headed as she drew the soft sheet away from her. The room look unfamiliar yet she could relate to the bits and pieces that made up the room. For example, the cream colored wall was the exact color of her room back in school. Although, the one she was staring at looked richer. The soft large blue sofa stationed closed to the plasma TV, was just like hers. She could remember herself reading novel and watching movie at the same time. Those are the two things she love doing. She named it a brilliant move.
She looked into the mirror and could almost not recognised herself. Where was her Brazilian hair? She remembered it was only last week she fixed it for a course mate’s birthday party. Now, her very short hair was in sight with a pale face to match.
What’s wrong with me?. She whispered
Was I sick?
Where is Aina?
The questions kept flooding her head with no meaningful answer.
Something was definitely wrong. With her hair gone and dressed in someone else gown.
She needed to find an explanation.
She rushed to the door and knocked. She smiled at her silliness. The key has been left inserted into the keyhole. She opened the door wide, peering at the passage way. There was no one in sight, so she stepped out shutting the door quietly behind her. The passage way was elegantly decorated. And too silent.
Where was everyone?
She laughed again at her foolishness. The question should have been “who was she looking for?”
She kept walking till she found the stairway she was certain would lead to the voices she heard minutes ago. As she climbed down, the voices grew louder. She paused in mid stairs. as she listened to the voices discussing about her.
“Its sort of a mental problem”
How could she say that?
Well, amnesia might be a topic taught in psychiatric schools, but she refused to believe it was insanity. Her doctor had told her her amnesia was a way of protecting her. A psychological defense mechanism.
Whatever that means!
It started when her mother died. She lived for years believing the accident never happened. Believing the woman she watched lifeless on the floor actually rose up to live.
She had watched her died, crying and begging the passersby to do something. They only shook their head. She was there when the ambulance took her body away while she was taken to a police station. She gave the policemen her home address. Her father was contacted and the following day they went home. Her mother’s name was never mentioned again.
“Hi” she said softly to the backs turned at her.
She was at the room she heard voices coming from. She recognized Aina’s back but could not tell who the other figure was. As if on clue, they turned facing her. Aina embraced her almost knocking her to the floor. She looked at the tall light skinned man before her. He was attractive with his lean check and very dark full eyebrows that made a contrast to his almost white skin. His lips was full. And pink. She caught his dark eyes and arrogant smile that told her he was pleased with the way she was ogling him. She hissed in her mind. Only if he knew she preferred dark skinned men. Not someone that would be dragging her toning cream with her.
“How are you feeling?” Aina asked fussing over her.
“I’m not mad neither do I have a mental problem” she retorted.
“I didn’t mean it like that. He is a lawyer, I was only explaining the term ” amnesia” Aina said with pleading eyes
“I am not annoyed” she said going for another hug
“How about me. I need some hug” he said grinning
Olaronke smiled at him. He looked quite nice and she could forgive him for his arrogant smile.
“Not until you tell me why I am here” she said
He nodded his head in understanding. He was relieved to see her alive and talking to him. The past thirty six hours was crazy. Having someone collapsed on him unconscious and him screaming for help when he felt no pulse. His mind raced on many possibilities. Could it be a set up? It could be. Since he was wicked himself and great at creating diversion for his opponents. Someone might have used his brilliant tactics on him. Especially now he was in a middle of a stormy case.
Whoever did this to him was in trouble. Except he did not find out, which was almost impossible. With the help of few students, they took her to the school clinic. He was assured she was alive but unconscious. He called his best friend Doctor Oludare, explaining the situation to him. The latter referred him to another brilliant doctor in ago iwoye and promised to check on him when he was less busy.
“You passed out on me at OOU. I don’t know what you were doing there but you had tears in your eyes. I brought you here, the house belongs to one of my friends. The doctor told me you decided to ” sleep” and you will wake up on your own”
Olaronke nodded her head all through the memories coming quicker.
“Thank you” she said to him.
Aina turned her around to face her “Do you remember you text me on WhatsApp. You said you want to visit your brother in school. What happened there?” she asked
“He didn’t want to see me” she replied. The memory of what he said was painful.
“Is he the Bolarinwa that kept calling? I thought he was your boyfriend- who hurt you. So I told him never to call again?” he said with a stubborn look.
“He is my brother. How did you get Aina?” she asked him now in a position she could turn to either of them.
“I read your chats on WhatsApp. My name is Lawyer Oluwaniyi and I am not a slowpoke I know what amnesia means” He said smiling a megawatt smile at her.
“Oluwaniyi” she said testing the name on her lips.
It was his name that woke her up.
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Two days later,
He expelled a long push of air from his lungs and flexed the tension from his fingers. He would not allow one frustrated sixty seven year old man to provoke him. All anger do to him these days was to leave him with a pounding head without resolving a thing. Right now, he was behind his wheel ready to leave his hometown before the gateman let in the unwanted guest.
Mr Olaonipekun stood unmoved before the vehicle despite the boy’s threat to knock him down. He was a loving father who would do anything for his children. Right now Olaronke needed his help to right her life and that was why he was here.
“Get down from that car you stupid boy” he said with his fist connecting with the bonnet.
Wande contemplated whether it was wise to leave the car or run the man down like he threatened. He should have left for Lagos earlier. As early as 5am. It was seven in the morning and this old man threatened last night he would be in his house first thing in the morning with his daughter. Where is she?
He watched his late father’s friend called someone on his phone. Before he could guess who, the gate opened wider allowing in two cars. He watched in amazement as Bolarinwa unload boxes from the car’s boot. This was no longer funny. They have brought him a forsaken woman with her properties. If her fiancée could left her on her wedding day, so would he. He got out of his car in anger. He no longer cared to control his emotion and its consequence. He was about to face his friend Bolarinwa when he saw two of his uncles.
“Good morning sir” Wande prostrated to them
“Greet yourself. Alabosi (hypocrite). Was it not last night you ended the call on me and refused to pick my calls” one of his uncle said.
“I’m sorry sir” he apologized
“Come inside sir, let’s talk” he said again
“Now you are behaving like a well mannered child. My in-law don’t be annoyed. Let’s go inside and resolved this” Uncle Ladipo pleaded with Mr Olaonipekun while he watched with his jaw almost hitting the ground. My in-law? He was doomed.
The three elderly men found their way inside the house they were familiar with. Their heart heavy with grief for their late friend and brother who was now residing at the other side of the world for the past nine years.
“Bola, what is all this nonsense?” he asked his friend.
They had spent most of their childhood life together he could almost call him his brother. But what should he made of his betrayal? Bola had never told him his sister was engaged not to talk of getting married.
Bolarinwa stopped what he was doing and stared at his friend who was the same height as him. Their haircut was classy and professional with their beards shining. As they grew older and free from their fathers clutches, they had reviewed their sense of fashion. Gone was the young secondary school boy barbing last skin because his father instructed him to.
“What do you want to hear from me Wande? That I betrayed you? Just like you I didn’t know she was engaged. We were never close. And it was all my fault. if I hadn’t driven her away with my stupidity she would never have met that nitwit. I am only here out of family loyalty and because it is the best. You have to marry her”
“What is all this insanity? I will not marry her” he said screaming.
Bola merely shrugged and continued with his task. It had took him the whole of yesterday packing her things which were mostly designers. How was she able to afford them? Their family was an average Nigerian. And she was only a secondary school teacher. It must have been her fiancée. Why would he leave her after spending a large sum on her? Olaronke was unable to answer the many questions thrown at her by her family.She was mute from the moment she opened her eyes. He felt sorry for her and wished he could lay his hand on that buffoon who shattered her heart. He heard a small cry from the car. It was his sister.
“Ronke” he said as he slid into the car
Her eyes was red with tears, she looked lost and pale. He held her onto his chest begging her not to cry.
“I won’t get over him” she whispered. If the car had not been dead silent he wouldn’t have heard her.
“Adunni, you have to. You must get over this. You must not send yourself to the edge of insanity because of this trial” he said
” I am sorry. I wish I could redo my mistakes. I was surprised when you called me in school that day, and I replied foolishly ” he apologized to her.
She looked up at him with her teary eyes. After that day she met Oluwaniyi, she swore off all relationships with her family. She never called her father unless he called her. Her brother had phoned, texted her but she never returned the gestures. Now she was here all alone with her family. Oluwaniyi who was her everything left her cold.
“Why did you stop playing with me?” she could remember him those days their mother was still living. They ate together. He took her everywhere.
“When mother died, you were very silent just like you have been these two days. I tried talking to you but you ignored me. It got worse when you threw a knife at me because I said mother died. See here” he showed her a very small scar beside his left ear.
“I did this?” she was shocked
“Yes. After that I went to a boarding school and we grew apart” he explained.
“I am sorry” she apologized to him
It’s fine. So tell me, you like pink?”
“Very much. And you?” she asked
“Grey” he laughed when she wrinkled her nose.
“You don’t like it?” he asked her.
“Too dull” she answered
“And the nude painting?” he was beyond shocked when he saw it.
With her permission, he had removed it from the wall and kept it where no one would thought to look.
“It seminude” she corrected shyly
…to be continued