My knees are weak and I honestly think I would fall, so I grab the closest chair and sit.
The wedding rehearsal has been disrupted, thanks to Dipo’s mistake and half of the people who came are with him and Angie outside the church.
I bow my head as I cover my face with my hands. This is going to be disastrous. Angie is going to hate me…forever.
A good Christian forgives her ex and maybe attends his wedding but a good Christian doesn’t ruin the wedding.
Some of the bridesmaids that didn’t rush out are whispering and I know it has a lot to do with me. I raise my head and look around the empty church. There has to be somewhere I can hide my face for a short while? Because I’m sure this whole group will think there’s an affair between the groom and me and that’s why my name popped up instead of his bride’s.
There’s got to be a toilet in a church as large as this, right? I stand and walk past the few bridesmaids gathered and scan the church for the toilet. I can’t afford to go outside now – too risky.
As I near the exit, I hear the bride’s mom ask “who is this Dolapo?”
Hmm …another reason to avoid that place for now. Suddenly, I sight the toilet sign from where I am and like a mad woman is pursuing me, I dash in and bolt the door behind me.
Leaning against the wall with my eyes tightly shut, I begin to relive the events of the past few minutes in my head. I’m going to have to leave.
Coming here in the first place was utterly foolish and ridiculous. The right thing to do now would be to leave.
I dial Dammy’s number and narrate the recent development to him.
“You know I told you this…”
“Dammy” I don’t let him finish. “Just don’t rebuke me for once. Just…just be my best friend now.” I say to him and I hear him sigh.
“How are you feeling now?” He asks me in a softer tone and I know he really does care.
“Horrible Dammy…horrible. I feel like I ruined the real wedding itself.” I reply, dreading the minute I’d walk out of the toilet and face the people outside.
“They’ll be fine. The question is are you going to be fine?” He asks and I realise that I honestly don’t know.
I stay in the toilet for extra thirty minutes and then stroll out of there. Everyone has vacated the church and I sigh in relief. I have decided to go pack my things and head back to Lagos.
When I step out of the church, I realise the whole compound has been deserted by everyone. Everyone, save for one person, Dipo.
“Why are you here?” I ask as I sight him sitting on the steps, his gaze on nothing in particular. I look around and there is no Angie in sight. My heart breaks and for the thousandth time I feel very bad.
He doesn’t respond and I try again, “where’s Angie? Is she okay?”
Again, he gives me no answer.
I sit by him and stare at the cars that speed by on the road. We both stay that way for some minutes before he finally speaks
“I wanted it to be you. I have never felt that way about any other woman. Never. I loved you with my entire being, it was either you or nobody else…”
I look at him and I realise that he has a distant look in his eyes. I don’t know where is mind is exactly but it is sure not here with him.
“I let myself believe the feelings ended with us…” He continued and suddenly stopped. Again, moments pass and neither of us says a word.
“Why are you here Dolapo?” He breaks the silence by facing me with the question.
I don’t know what to say, especially since his expression is so unreadable.
“You need to leave.” He adds and gets up.
I nod. It is something I have decided to do with Dammy’s full support anyway.
He pulls me up and without letting go of my hands stares at me intently, “Dolapo…the first time I met Angie, I told myself I’d make it work with her. She fell in love with me and even though I had to catch up with that, when I fell in love with her I promised myself that I’d make it work with her the way I could never do with you”
I swallow hard and nod as I listen to him say all these things from the bottom of his heart “I was sure I had made the right decision until last night. That argument changed everything, I started thinking about everything again. Everything Dolapo. Everything I should have let go off. I’m still in love with you and you shouldn’t be here. I’m sorry and I love the fact that you’re being selfless but let me see this through”
I blink back the tears but I can’t stop it. It flows down freely.
I can’t say that I didn’t expect Angie to come to me, one thing I didn’t expect is for her to walk into the room I’m in and stare at me for a long time without uttering a word.
I’m packing some of my things that I left out and getting ready to leave as early as possible tomorrow. At least that was what I was busying myself with before Angie strolled in. I know she wants to kill me at the moment and I honestly don’t blame her.
She laughs and I turn to look at her. For the first time I realise that her eyes are swollen and reddish from what I assume are too much tears.
I honestly need to leave because seeing her this way makes me feel guilty.
“You know, when my mom was asking me earlier why I didn’t just see what Dipo did as a harmless mistake, I thought…this woman knows nothing about what’s going on” she begins as soon as her laughter ends. “I hated you from the moment you strolled into this house wanting to be a part of the preparations, acting like you’ve got a big heart and like you’re here to wish us a happy married life.”
She stares at me, hatred clearly written in there.
“I have lived in your fucking shadow for months! Dipo was so much in love with you when I came along and I had hoped it would pass. It never did and when he fell for me, I still knew that it never did. When you came here for the wedding, I tried to make you a friend. Bring your enemies closer they say and that was what I tried to do. It was what I tried to fucking do, Dolapo! That’s why I stayed an extra day here. What bride stays at her groom’s days to the wedding? You make me so fucking insecure!”
My heart breaks for the thousandth time as I watch fresh tears flow down her face. I hate myself so much at the moment. I feel so awful.
“He’s still in love with you…that’s my worst fear…he still loves you…” She says to me almost in a whisper. “The way he stared at you in the study earlier? That’s him in deep love. And you know it” she cleans her face with the back of her palms. “What’s more? You love him too”
She stares at me as if daring me to disagree. And I know I dare not. I’m still insanely in love with Dipo the way I was a year ago.
“You know, I cheated on Dipo once. He never knew. I was with this guy while I was with him simply because I was so scared one day he’d run off to you. Your memories kept haunting me…just get the fuck out Dolapo…please” now her eyes are pleading.
Jeez, she must be going through a whole lot of emotions at once!
“Please let me make him happy…please”.
She crosses the room and is by my side in seconds “please, just get the hell out of here and give us the chance to imagine you don’t exist”
I nod and manage a smile.
“I would want to spend my life with you if I was a man as well…I understand why he’s this way…” She grabs my hands and again says, “please”
“Its okay Angie. I’ll leave in the morning. And I’m sorry you feel this way about everything. I never meant to cause any harm” I say to her.
She nods. And she hugs me. And I know that I just passed on forever the only man I’d ever truly love.
Strippers, bouncers, wild parties and loud music aren’t things I exactly associate with Abeokuta, but here we are (me and Angie) in this very loud club where we can hardly hear our own voices.
She asked me to come out with her to celebrate, after I agreed to return to Lagos and here we are in this stupid noisy place while she gets drunk.
I stare on at ugly looking middle aged women who parade themselves as strippers and smile once in a while at Angie, just assuring her that I’m certainly leaving on the morrow.
When she begins to get drunk, I know she’d be my responsibility and so I try to stop her. She laughs and drags me to the dance floor where she begins to dance wildly.
I notice a few guys try to take advantage of her and I decide it is time to go home.
I drag her along with me; grab her car keys and head out of the door.
It is raining heavily outside and we are drenched in seconds. Damn it, how in God’s name am I supposed to drive under this condition?
I brace myself up and get a very drunk Angie into the car, and then I join her in the car by getting into the driver’s seat and locking it up.
I turn on the ignition and drive slowly towards home. Thoughts of Dipo run through my mind and it’s very hard to ignore the hurt, the pain and heartbreak that I feel.
But Angie is a good woman; he’d be safe with her. My baby would be safe in another man’s hands.
Dammy’s words echo in my head I know they’ll be fine. What about you?
The car brings me back to reality as it suddenly stops.
I try to start the engine and it won’t come on.
“What’s happening?” I mutter. I turn to look at Angie hoping she’d help somehow but she’s fast asleep.
Nice. I mutter in frustration and dial the only help I can get, Dipo.
By the time Dipo arrives at the scene, I have tried to check the battery and whatever in the car bonnet and I am seriously drenched and very cold.
I realise it is something with the security that I’d have known to check if Angie hadn’t been so drunk.
“You look so exhausted” Dipo says to me softly and then hugs me. “Let me take you both home”
When we arrive home, he caters to his wife to be and joins me after.
“I should make you coffee” he says and I follow him in my change of clothes.
“You look like a child that needs her mummy though…so scattered, confused and disorganised. See how you were staring under the rain” he adds and laughs.
“I was scared joo get out” I respond playfully. Who wouldn’t have been? Stuck on the road in that heavy rain that late at night.
We both laugh. And then there’s silence.
“I’m sorry Dipo… I…”
“Shhh…”He places his finger on my lips. “Let’s just laugh okay? We’ve had so much wahala all day. Let’s just laugh.”
I nod and he smiles. And he moves closer, making me breathless and making my heart race.
“I’d miss you when you leave” he says hoarsely
I nod. I’d miss him too. But we shouldn’t be discussing…
His mouth engages mine in a kiss before I can think further. And no I don’t slap him or step aside or do what I should be doing as a sane person, I throw my hands around his neck, put my legs around his waist as I let him kiss me passionately.