They told us Lilian’s groom-to-be was one of those wealthy Mobil workers. “My best friend’s wedding would be the talk of town”, Lilian’s chief bridesmaid bragged.
All the big girls in school heard that and ran to queue for her expensive asoebi. Rumours also had it the groomsmen were representatives of different oil companies. The best caterers in town had been hired for the wedding. I hurriedly used my hard earned money to buy 3 yards of her asoebi when I heard that.
Back then, I was a 400level student and working on my project took a toll on me. The wedding date escaped my memory because I was too busy to catch up with my girls for random gist. It didn’t occur to me that Lilian’s wedding was in 4 days time until my friend stormed my hostel with her already sewn asoebi. Between requesting an express service from a tailor or making my hair, I settled for the later. When I saw the girls in my hostel looking good in their asoebi that Saturday morning, I had to cut a piece from my 3 yards to stylishly strut around the shoulder of my yellow dress so I wouldn’t feel odd amongst them.
Let me make something clear at this point. Whenever I attend a wedding, either one or all of these four things take me there.
- The people attending. e.g Lilian’s chevron, shell and mobil groomsmen.
- The excitement of the photos I will take. This depends on how beautiful my hair or dress is.
- My relationship with the couple. If you are family, I might grudgingly attend the church ceremony. Reason being, I unconsciously memorise marriage vows and that is one hell of an information that is completely worthless to me. If you are my distant friend, I’ll attend your reception for no4 only.
- THE WEDDING FOOD.
It’s easy to tell no1 and no4 were taking me to Lilian’s. The problem was the venue for the matrimonial service and reception were one and the same place. It was difficult to reckon when the oil workers groomsmen would be outside briefly for photos before the reception starts and when refreshments would begin.
Good thing I bullied my two friends into affirming the wedding food was our utmost priority so we all waited till 1pm before leaving the hostel. Surprisingly, the couple were yet to recite their marriage vows when we arrived at 2pm. Fine! One more annoying marriage vow to memorize. I cursed silently.
It was almost 4pm and the matrimonial ceremony was still going on. There was nothing spectacular at the wedding as those in Lilian circle made us believe. Even some of the so-called oil workers looked more like fillings stations attendants. The pastor had diverted from the usual Adam and Eve story to preach on fornication. I cringed in my seat as I glanced at my wristwatch and the programme booklet for the umpteenth time. My friend whispered that its because Lilian was four months pregnant outside wedlock.
My impatience state had me lamenting,”But pastor do our stomachs really have to pay for the sins of the couple?”
My sigh was audible when the reception finally began. We couldn’t leave the hall to take photos with the couple for fear that we might lose our seats. Due to the poor timing, they had to rush most of the items listed in the programme.
We were told to form a queue beside each canopy for the buffet. It seemed like we were not the only ones waiting for food as the whole place was thrown into a pandemonium. Nigerians sure don’t know how to queue up for a buffet. They jump in line, push whoever is in the way and makes sure those serving attend to them before anyone else. I felt like stabbing the restless guy in front of me with the heel of my shoe or strangling him with the piece of aso ebi on my shoulder.
My friends and I were among the first 20 in our queue but my joy was cut short when the MC instructed we all head back to our seats. The ushers were going to serve us there.
The new directive messed everything up. Some people had already gotten food at the buffet, some got food twice while some didn’t and it was difficult to tell where they sat. The ushers were not helping matters by serving in a scalar manner.
One of my friends got first. Fifteen minutes after, the second one got hers. Thirty minutes after, nothing for me yet. Both of them were now giving each other that ‘eeyah… I pity Naijasinglegirl sha’ look. Occasionally they would glance at me and give me that ‘sister, relax, you will eat in Jesus name’ look.
“Should I remain my food for you?” One of my friend asked.
“NO!” I voiced out in anger.
Didn’t know who to pour my frustration on. From the back row I sat, I tried to eye the bride with disgust but she wouldn’t even look at me. I thought of taking off the small piece of asoebi from my neck to wave at her. After paying for your asoebi, no food abi? 419 wedding!
One of my ‘bellyfull’ friends had the guts to suggest we head outside to wait for the mobil groomsmen. How can I listen to any man on an empty stomach? I abused her with all the curses and swear words I learnt since 1914.
As the immigration officer of our 3- female clique, both of them had absolutely no right to go out without me. At that point only the wedding jollof rice mattered. LoL
Reality set in when people started leaving. Typically of Nigerian ceremonies, once they eat, they dump your ass there and then! Even the couple finished their ‘feeding of the couple stuff’ and they no longer gave a hoot about their guests…including me.
You’ve got to be strong girl, you’ve seen worse. Don’t dare cry. I consoled myself.
I was too preoccupied with hunger to notice my friend had gone over to the catering section to complain on my behalf. Whatever she told them worked as one of them was seen heading towards my direction with a tray.
“Errrmmm…sorry oh. You should have struggled for food na. There’s rice here but the chicken and meat we have left has been packed away by the bride’s relatives. Would you mind the rice only?”
Emi? Eat leftover rice? I may be a beggar but I am a beggar with class and a damn good choice.
“Let’s leave please.” I motioned to my friends tearfully. I could sense a violent ulcer attack ready to strike me.
My friends began consoling me. “Don’t worry, we would try to seat at the front when next we attend a wedding.”
“There won’t be any next time!” I retorted angrily.
Maybe they’ve been, but that was the last time I wasted money on asoebi that couldn’t guarantee me trival benefits like the wedding jollof rice.