The wedding was in full swing when I arrived. The DJ was pounding the speakers into pulp, not letting anyone think, much less speak. The couple were dancing on the floor, crowd of well wishers dancing along with them while others sprayed money in the air.
I quickly spotted an empty seat in the middle of the reception hall and grabbed it. There were three empty seats with bags placed atop. I knew the owners had gone to get busy on the dance floor. An elderly woman with a gele that reached the highest heavens occupied the fifth seat while a middle aged man was in the seat across mine.
The ushers were distributing trays of garri, pounded yam, egusi and vegetable soup. Most of the ladies were eating coconut rice with their dainty and well polished hands. I couldn’t eat. I had no apetite. my eyes were scanning the crowd, searching. I had a mission.
It took me ten minutes to locate him. He was on the dance floor, dancing his heart away. I eagerly craned my neck to look at his partner. She was a tall light skinned girl. Her red gown was striking, her red lips were pouting and inviting, the six inch heels strapped to her legs were like an elevator. She was hauntingly beautiful. My heart sank. Even her dance was beautiful. I deflated right there on my seat.
The middle aged Yoruba man tried to make conversation with me. I smiled apologetically and kept mute. He frowned and went back to his smart phone which he was obviously having trouble using. Smiling, I wondered why he had bought a phone he could not use.
The music came to an end. I watched as he lovingly held ‘her’ hands and they started coming towards my table. Too late I realised they were headed to my table. I couldn’t turn coward and run so I raised my head and sat straight. He stood still as he saw me in his table. He frowned. I could see him grinding his teeth in anger. I smiled brightly, the anger burning through me. My only humiliation was that I was alone. Oh I wished I had brought Stanley. That would have shown him. He sat in the seat next to mine and his shoulder brushed me as he sat. My body immediately tingled. Damn it. He was still so cute. And I still loved him. How could he do this to me? I put on a brave face and willed the tears to go back down. No way would I cry in front of him.
He turned to me slightly. “What are you doing here?”
I smiled. “Why are you asking me that? Sandra was my friend too.”
He looked around the table like he was searching for someone. “Where’s Stanley, your boyfriend?”
I knew he wanted to gloat. I didn’t answer him. If only I loved Stanley instead of this oaf here. I wouldn’t be having this much problem. I just had to love the one who didn’t love me as much, the one who in just two weeks, already had someone new. I had spent the last two weeks crying my eyes out and he obviously had been frolicking with this…this….
I couldn’t call her names. She was just too beautiful. All my old fears bounced back. Kehinde was very handsome. I had always been insecure every time a prettier girl came around him. And they always came. In droves. Always. It didn’t end.
He started tapping his hands on his trousers. His fingers were slim and long, and oh so beautiful. I remembered how he used to brush my cheek with those same fingers, when we would laugh all day long. But now those fingers were dead to me. They had touched someone else.
He turned to her and they began a quiet conversation. It didn’t matter how I strained my neck. I couldn’t hear them. I wanted to look busy so I brought out my phone and started clicking away. A picture of the two of us was still my wallpaper. I stared at it, the tears came back up, wetting my eyes. I didn’t care anymore. He had to give me an explanation. I sent him a short text. He frowned as he read it and looked at me sideways. Then he nodded slightly. I stood up and walked outside. He waited ten minutes then followed. I could see the female eyes following him. I wished they would all go blind.
I stood by the wall. He stood next to me. Very close. My heart started beating rapidly again. I had to calm down and ask the question that had been troubling me.
“Why did you break up with me?” my voice was breaking but I didn’t care anymore. I allowed the tears to fall.
He frowned as he saw them. His hands reached out and wiped them away tenderly. I looked up. He was standing so close, I could see he was upset about something.
“Please tell me what happened. Why did you send me that text?” I asked again.
He took a deep breath and removed his hands from my face before he answered. “You allowed him to sleep in your room. That idiot spent one night with you didn’t he?” he was angry now, looking at me as he expected an answer.
“Who? What are you talking about? Nobody spent any night in my room.” I replied. He looked away. I held his arms. “Please tell me. What are you talking about? Did somebody tell you someone spent a night in my room?”. I was anxious now.
He removed my hands. “Don’t act like you don’t know. I saw you MYSELF” he shouted that last part.
Eyes turned towards us. I waited a while before I continued.
“Saturday morning.” he ground out impatiently. “See Cynthia, there’s nothing you can say to me now. I know everything. I always complained about how Stanley was always around you. You said it was nothing. Am out.”
He went back inside the hall. I was thinking, trying to remember exactly what happened last Saturday morning. Then it came like a flash. I quickly ran inside and sat down. I was smiling now that I understood the misunderstanding. He frowned at my smile and shifted closer to his partner. I sent him another text. Stanley, my neighbour who had previously asked me out, had come to collect his textbook I had borrowed that early morning, wearing only his boxers. Kehinde had seen him as he had been leaving and had assumed the worst. I didn’t wait for him to finish reading the text. I held his left hand, interlacing my fingers with his. I just wanted to touch him.
He looked at our fingers, then at me. “I’m sorry” he whispered in my ears. More tears rose to my eyes. “I’m sorry too.” I whispered back.
We stayed like that, looking at each other. Somebody cleared their throat to get our attention. It was the girl he had been dancing with. She was smiling. I was confused. Then he leaned in and whispered again, “She’s my cousin.”
I smiled and put my head on his shoulders.