by Jennifer Maame Prempeh
Efua was sandwiched between her two aunties. She could just about hear what the Pastor was saying, as you can imagine, a Ghanaian wedding of the year. The women had gone to all sorts of great lengths to acquire the best Aso-Oke and Kente clothes. The church was filled with an atmosphere of rainbow. The shoulder pads on the women’s garments were large enough to save anyone from drowning at Labardi beach. Their ears where erect and panting for gossips. Well who wouldn’t want to hear about the wedding of the year.
The bride’s mother had gone to great lengths to make sure that the whole of Ghana and England were there to witness the wedding of her beautiful daughter and her scholarly husband Kobi. One might wonder what subject did the bride to be majored in, well for your ears only, while her mother had a postgraduate degree in show business, as in doing everything over the top. Her daughter on the other hand had a first degree in snobbery, for what one cannot convey. Though she was pretty, slender and faired complexion, beauty was not in her character.
Whereas her mother had the reputation for saying everything that she was not supposed to say, the daughter suffered from the opposite. She said nothing at all. She was known for sitting just pretty.
As for the elite young woman, who sat cramped between her aunties whose eyes were focused like a paparazzi’ lens, her palms were sweating with envy. Though the white linen suit that she wore was light, Efua felt hot not because of the temperature, but because of what she was craving for. However, one could not tell by looking at her, as she sat composed, looking very small and beautiful in and out. She is what our fellow Ghanaian men would describe as obaa you only had to look at her well-proportioned body and her shapely legs.
Efua looked around her, she was convinced that people could hear the thumping of her jealous heartbeat. She felt no shame for admitting what she felt to herself, any woman in her position would be filled with rage and contempt. But Efua was not filled with rage, she understood that she was a victim of circumstance and that she was just unlucky.
She would not pretend that marriage was not important to her, it was, like it was to any other woman. But she refused to fight for your man like most women that she knew did. As far as she was concerned, if something is meant to be yours no one could take it from you. Besides she was not in the rat race like most Ghanaian girls that she had grown up with were. Some of her peers felt almost compelled to find the so-called-right-man-before-your-biological-clock-starts-ticking race. Why should she be judged as obaa paa simply because she got into some rat race to find a man? Why should her values as a woman be impinged upon her abilities to capture a good man? Well if the so-called good men were paved on the streets she would not be in this predicament in the first place.
And so the bride’s mother got what she wished for, she’s got the gentleman that she so much sort after for her daughter. The church had come to a unanimous decision and agreed that young Kobi is better suited for Abena Serwaa’s daughter. After all she was a so-called devoted Christian girl, from a well know and respected family. Respected for what one could not have an answer. Efua felt bewildered why a couple’s suitability in marriage would be judged solely upon one simple factor that they shared in common.
Efua was not a doubting Thomas, she herself was, a-trying-to-be-devoted-Christian, but by heavens she would not commit herself into a marriage simply because she shared the same church with a man. And not to mention the fact that there were no eligible men worth competing for in her church, that if you included the men who wore patent shoes and shirts with gold meddles, though they had not won anything in this lifetime.
Unable to cope with the pantomime Efua escaped. She went home feeling like she went to a wake keeping and not a wedding. Her wake. She went to the bathroom and washed her feet, like the way her mother used to do every time she came home from a wake. She’d wash the bad spirit of her feet before she sat down and had a little cry about who had died this time and how many children they left behind with no one to care for. Her mother was funny, she thought, everyone’s problem was hers. She refused to cry tonight not even for her mum so she climbed into her bed and picked up a book to absorb her sorrow.
Settled into her life, she went on as normal, no she hadn’t seen nor heard from him since the wedding. Until one Friday night. The weather was miserable, it had been raining the whole day. She was grateful for the head cloth that she had wrapped her hair with. Tucked into her bed with a book and a tub of ice cream, her Friday night was sorted. She heard a knock on her door. Who could this be? At this time, she knew she wasn’t expecting anyone. This is the reason why she lived so far away from her family, she moved away to have some privacy, a word that did not run in her families’ vocabulary. Irritated she went downstairs and nearly stepped on her cat Percy who sat outside her bedroom door like watchman in Ghana. Served her right she thought, how many Ghanaian women did she know who preferred to live with a cat instead of a man?
She opened the door, without the person turning to face to her she knew who it was. Her heart skipped a familiar beat. Words were not exchanged as she invited the gentleman into her home. Drenched in the rain, his mouth was filled with water or something other than rainwater. Little did it matter. All the same he had come home, to her where he belonged. Questions were not asked, as answers were not needed.
He needed not to explain, she knew as much as she knew her longing desire for him. In her bed, still no words exchanged, she rocked her Kobi to sleep while he sobbed.