Fiction, Lifestyle, Short stories

Before I do (Short Story)

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First official fiction post for the year!!! Decided to kick it off with this flash fiction and since Saturdays are for owambes (parties but most especially Nigerian weddings), why not? Enjoy loves!!!

With palettes, brushes, and lashes flying from one makeup artist’s hand to another, nobody needed to pinch me that this was truly happening. I was already sent human wrist watches, alarm clocks and wall clocks to remind me and my makeup artist of the time I needed to be ready to leave the hotel room. Just after the hassle of finally completing my bridal makeup, mama whispers in my ear with her shaky emotional voice that I looked beautiful and tells me that it is time to leave but for the first, it all gets to me. This wasn’t about the makeup that took over an hour to complete nor the flowers that needed to sit pretty on the guest table. This wasn’t about the reception venue that needed to be well lit, like Bimpe, our wedding planner had described to us. This wasn’t about the photographers and videographers that needed to capture all of the amazing moments we all anticipated. It also wasn’t about the mc hosting my wedding nor was it about the guests that we were even expecting. It was about the life I was going to start with Victor, the new life that we were going to have as one. It was about my status changing from “Miss” to “Mrs” and all the new responsibilities and roles that were going to come with it. I paused for a moment, took in a deep breath and stood in front of the mirror. I watched my reflection from head to toe, marveled at the woman that I had become. I didn’t think this day was going to come any sooner than it did.

My thoughts left me for a bit and for a moment I felt alone in the room. At first, I smiled at my imagination and congratulated myself for a well-played film trick but there was no reaction, none from the mirror that stood with my reflection, none from the veil that covered my face and none from my thoughts. It was all still, no movement and no sound. Suddenly my chest felt tighter, my throat grew weary and my stomach mumbled but no, this wasn’t from hunger. It was from the feelings that left me worried and fearful for the unknown future. The thoughts, yes the thoughts, the ones where I begin to question if I had made the right choice, if Victor was the one for me, if this marriage would work and if it was the right time, came crawling by with no warning signals. No, it wasn’t like a flash, it moved very slow and kept me still. Instantly, I started to choke, gasping for breath and panicking in fear but it was all within me. I wanted to scream for help but I couldn’t. Not even a whimper could make its way out. I shut my eyes close and finally let out a scream, one I felt was silent and could only be heard by me. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder and opened my eyes to see whom or what it was. I turned around to see mama smiling at me. She goes ahead to reassure me that all would be fine. “You are in good hands Nneoma my baby,” she said, holding on to my hand. I realized that I had been in nothing but a film, whose main character gave a flawless physical presentation of me and whose casts and props were made of fear, anxiety and doubts. I was entangled in my imagination of what it could and couldn’t be that I discarded the residency of the present.

When I stepped into the church as my gown swung slowly to the hymns in the air, I looked up and saw Victor some distance from where I stood, his shoulders wriggling boldly like a lion but his eyes whispering the softness of his heart. My hands wrapped around my dad’s who now leads me down the aisle. I watch from left to right, smiling at the faces smiling at me, bewildered by the apparels worn by my witnesses. To my right was aunty Anne in her firmly tied gele blowing kisses in the congregation, uncle Jide with his big cream colored agbada giving me a thumbs up, Isabella standing in her little pink dress as she gazed at every detail on my wedding dress, and poor Michael crying to his mom while focused on the two components that stood on her chest. To my left were my childhood friends and classmates from secondary school and uni days, glowing in their asoebi while sharing the element that stood behind their lips. I watched as they shone their teeth, giving low praises and making soundless claps. When flashes from their smartphone’s camera pierced through my eyes, I slowly turned and focused my gaze back on who stood ahead, Victor, my husband to be. My stomach again begins to dance to the beat of my heart, bringing back the feelings of fear that I had experienced in the hotel room while dressing up.

I finally got to the altar but I almost didn’t want to let go when my dad withdrew his hand. Guilt reached my throat as I tried to swallow hard. I looked at Victor and thought he was more excited to be called my husband or maybe, just maybe he thought of running away and leaving me on the altar, maybe he too felt the fear that I did. I watched as his hands moved from behind him to his front where he gestured for my hands. I thought hard about releasing my hands to him while engrappled in my thoughts but it must have lasted for two seconds because before I knew it, my hands were almost entwined in Victor’s. I thought I would be nauseated and stain Victor’s neatly pressed tux by spilling the plantain and egg eaten the night before but I felt peace, peace that pat my back and kept me at ease. Looking up from our locked hands to his lips, he chanted a very common but reassuring phrase, “I love you, Nneoma” and a tear came tickling the inner corners of my eyes. Now making my way to his eyes, he looks up to the ceiling as if getting an approval from the chandeliers that hung right above us and back down but I knew what he meant. He wanted me to know that God was and would be with us every step of the way. My tensed shoulders relaxed and I smiled back at him whispering the words, “I love you too”.

“This couple has decided to join themselves even before I begin the ceremony,” the pastor officiating jokingly said to the now laughing congregation. I looked over at Victor’s parents and their smile reassured me once more. I held onto Victor’s hands even tighter than before until I finally let go to allow the ceremony begin. The pastor goes on with the ceremony and I think to myself, “I can’t believe this is happening”.  One moment we read our vows and another, the pastor officiating gives his final advice but at that instant, my mind freezes for a moment and the next thing I heard was the final announcement. Relieved to know that this was it, I smiled with excitement in my lungs as Victor and I were pronounced husband and wife. I was officially his and he was officially mine. There was nothing stopping us and I thought to myself, I love this man so much and everything that comes with him and I knew he felt the same way as well. There was no doubt that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. In the end, the congregation went wild with praises and excitement as we danced our way out of the hall to begin the journey of our new lives as a married couple.

THE END

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The idea of this flash fiction came to my mind one day when I imagined what it would be like for the brides and even grooms on their wedding day just before the big I do. This writeup may or may not be exaggerated depending on who reads this but I thought it would be interesting to share and find out what you guys think. If you are married, how did it feel on the big day? Excited? Nervous? Scared? How does it feel like, now being married? If unmarried, do you ever think that you may be similar to Nneoma on your big day? Or do you think you would be the complete opposite?

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Benita Okafor

Benita Okafor is a Content Creator whose brand is based on Storytelling, Food & Lifestyle Blogging.

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Andy
Guest
Andy

This fiction feels more than just a fiction. I could easily connect with this art. Even as a reader, I could feel the emotions popping out of the words. Great imagination and amazing delivery 👏👏👏👏

Bosede Luyomi
Guest

What a lovely story and it is so concise. I’m not married yet and single but I could relate to the suffocating feeling of “losing” yourself to a life changing decision. Courtship is already scaring some of us, I don’t want to imagine what getting married would do. But there is time for everything so I trust that God will prepare me for.it.