Two days later, Jessica took me to her village to see her family. I was warmly received and I couldn’t help but notice how relived and happy they were after I stated my mission. We had a long talk and I ended up promising to return in two days for the traditional marriage list.
Two days later, just like I promised, I showed up at Jessica’s hometown once again, this time with my parents to collect the marriage list.
‘’you can pay the sum of two hundred thousand naira for the two lists if you can’t afford going to the market to buy every single item in the list. The items in the women’s list could be settled with a hundred and twenty thousand naira while the men’s list can be settled with eighty thousand naira’’ A member of Jessica’s family advised me.
Everyone just seemed in a hurry for us to get married and it really was with a strong mind that I left with my parents, promising to return in a later date to settle all the demanded rites.
‘’you know I thought you would have simply given them the money yesterday evening instead of trying to prolong this stuff by promising to return in a later date’’ Jessica complained the next day when she showed up at my house.
‘’in my place, everything is done in stages. Collection of marriage list and payment is never done on the same day. We have to wait till our wedding date is close before going back to your village to settle your people.’’ I replied while she frowned, obviously unmoved by my explanation..
‘’what’s the need in waiting and prolonging things. We are in love with each other. Nothing will stop us from getting married and you have the money. So why not settle my family and get over with it’’ she pushed on breathlessly. I said nothing to her, of course I had nothing else to explain.
‘’concerning our church wedding, do you have any particular church in mind?’’ she finally asked, when it was clear that I wasn’t going to change my stand concerning her bride-price.
‘’hmmmmm not really but I will figure something out ‘’ I replied uneasily.
‘’don’t worry about that, we will get married in my church and I will handle every part of that’’ she promised with a smile.
Finally on the 19th of December, I settled Jessica’s family, by providing all they demanded, which made her my wife traditionally. We however planned having our traditional marriage ceremony on the first of January while our church wedding was fixed on December 22nd. Yes things were happening pretty fast and yes Jessica just couldn’t wait for the whole ceremony to be over. She was really acting as if she was sacred that something could pop up and stop us from getting married. However after 19th of December when I settled her family, she traditionally became my wife but knowing the society we live in, our marriage was yet to be fully recognized until the church wedding was done.
On the 20th of December, just two days to my church wedding, I saw Cynthia in my dream chasing me with a blood stained kitchen knife and the weird part of it was that she was putting on a wedding gown. The dream looked so real and it unsettled me so much that I was scared to sleep for the remaining two days leading to my church wedding.
Can dreams actually turn out to be real?? I wondered over and over.
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Jude’s side of the story continues
On the 17th of December, I travelled to Lagos to join Uncle Tony in readiness for my trip back to America. Yes leaving Tracy behind was such a painful parting. The poor girl just cried as if we had never been away from each other before. She cried as if I was leaving the planet and never coming back.
‘’I will be back by January Trey. You know the last thing I would do is to abandon you here in Nigeria. I will come back for you my dear. Nigeria is my home and I will be back to avenge my dad’s death, finish school and get married to you. Our love story will have a happy ending. The story of us is something our kids will grow up listening to’’ I promised her with all my soul and energy as she bid me Farwell at Enugu airport.
‘’I will be here waiting for you. Don’t ever let me down. Don’t ever do something that will make me feel like taking my life’’ she begged of me while my conscience instantly hurt as I remembered Pamela who was anxiously waiting for me in the states. Yes I told Pamela I was coming over to the states for a little business and her reaction and comments really gave me a hint of what to expect. Moreover she was equally carrying my baby and I knew we had a lot to settle.
Tears slowly dropped out of my eyes as i thought about how to deal with her while Tracy felt her words were making me cry without knowing that it was my conscience that brought the tears.
‘’it’s okay my love. A man isn’t supposed to cry before a woman. I know you will come back for me and I will be here waiting with my life’’ she breathed, hugging me strongly.
Only if she knew the secrets I had deep inside.
Only if she knew.
To be continued