I still recall it as though it were yesterday. The day I married my life partner. It was a full day’s business and by the end of it, evening to be precise, it was time to go home. By home, I do not mean the place I’ve called home since I was a child. The place where those who love me unconditionally and whom I love without shame or reservation reside. The place where I have had my merriest laughs and my saddest sobs. The place where I used to rest my weary bones after I had struggled with the daunting, intimidating wild waves of that sea called life. The place where I was totally and completely comfortable, where all my needs were promptly catered to.
Now home had a different meaning. Home was to be at the side of this man that I love but was not used to. A family I had never seen until a few months ago. In a place I had never lived, a totally different environment. I was sitting on the prettiest purple chair you ever saw. Purple and lilac were the colours of the day. I had always wanted a small but royal wedding. After all, in truth I am a princess. As I was saying, I was sitting in the prettiest chair beside my friend who is now my husband. The traditional ceremony was over and everyone was mingling. I was strangely tired. That was to be expected though. Planning a wedding is no joke no matter how small or big it is. I felt really tired and strangely nostalgic. Then it happened. A strange woman that I did not know from Adam said sharply,”Yinka! Je ka ma lo sile.”
I was thinking “what?!!!! What does she mean by that? Are they going to take me away so soon?” Then of course I know. They would take me away that day. But now? I had to leave my beautiful family at that instant? I was scared but then I told myself not to be ridiculous. I had been wanting to get married all my life. I had been dreaming of this day forever. I wanted to be with this man. But this strange woman was asking me to come home and I didn’t like that. Tears began to well up in my eyes and I had to admonish myself because I had already told myself that I wouldn’t cry on my wedding day. I squelched the desire to cry and I willed myself to get up and go.
Outside the gate, I saw my siblings in a cluster. Strange fellow that I am, those are my best friends in the world. I guess this is what the last day of boarding school must feel like. I approached them and I realized that my youngest sister was in tears. She was really crying. I didn’t know what to do because this meant I might join her too. I am weak like that. I went to her and told her to be strong because it wouldn’t do for me to join her in crying. I was so distressed because I was struggling with my mixed feelings. Wanting to be with the man I love and wanting to be with the family I love. I was able to refrain from joining her by controlling my tear ducts but I had become truly saddened. My groom shepherded me to a car and I climbed in sadly, taking one last look around before I shuttered up my feelings totally. My groom got in beside me and his uncle, whom I was also seeing for the first time started driving us away. I was thinking, “Is this what it means to become a woman?” and concluded that I didn’t like it.
During the journey my friend, who is now my husband was as attentive as always. He was asking if I was alright and generally making a fuss. I felt a little sorry for him because I thought that he would be hurt if he knew how difficult it had been for me to leave my home. I reassured him that I was completely fine. We arrived at his parents’ place for another lap of the ceremony and throughout I was totally ill at ease. I only became relieved when I got into my husband’s familiar car at the end of the ceremony, with him at the wheel on our way to our little apartment, with my portmanteau in the back seat. Everything became familiar and I got very excited. I felt like screaming “we did it baby! We got married!” But I didn’t. Instead I relaxed in my seat and smiled enjoying the air conditioning. I had just become Mrs Owolabi. I had finally gotten rid of my father’s surname.