By Abimbola Akinmade
I stepped tentatively towards the hall opening, stumbling clumsily like a child taking her first steps. He stood beside me, strong and confident, holding my tense hands between his and making circular, soothing motions. Tunji had always been my knight in shining Armour, and on this occasion he truly looked the part; adorned in a tailored blue suit that sculpted and molded his body to perfection. With the slightest movement the material would heap and bulge over his sinewy arms and brawny legs, revealing the toned masculine frame hidden beneath. He was so effortlessly handsome, gorgeous even; with that broad chiseled jaw, full pink lips, and piercing brown eyes to die for. And to think, he was all mine. I had to bite my lip to the stifle the laugh threatening to escape. So many people had warned me; said he was too good looking to ever settle down, and that he was a notorious player with countless women and illegitimate children. There was a time in our relationship that I believed them, succumbed to the spiteful gossip of jealous onlookers because this man from my dreams was too good to be true. But he proved it, time and time again, that his love was real and never-ending. That his emphatic declarations of “I love you” were a manifestation of how his heart melts when we share a gentle kiss, or bleeds whenever we fight.
This gentle giant opened my eyes to the fullness of God’s love. He kissed away my tears, he prayed away my sorrows, and he showed me his rights when I showed him my wrongs. These serpents disguised in women’s guises were seated amongst the crowd, plastic smiles plastered thick with make-up, slim bodies adorned in the finest garments; wearing extravagant aso-ebi shipped from abroad and jewelry made from the purest gold. The brightness of their lipstick deceiving to the naked eye, as below lurked dark feelings of hatred, jealousy and deceit.
With all this known I stepped forth boldly, unveiling myself to prying eyes. I was instantly overwhelmed by a sense of suffocation, as if being swallowed by a sea of unfamiliar faces. My pin pricked all over, sensitive to the hot glare from the lights that bore fiercely down. I itched from the sticky sweat seeping through my pores and the heated gazes of people, lots of people staring at me hungrily, expectedly as if awaiting some special performance that I, the bride, was to perform. But then he spoke, his voice reverberating deep tones that spread to the furthest corners and stroked the highest ceiling. It was a like a cool breeze washing over me; soothing and revitalizing, renewing me of all strength.
I lifted my eyes and glared at the crowd, defiantly, proudly. His voice humming in my ear and empowering my heart, reminding me that this union was unbreakable and eternal. From that moment on all I saw was light; dazzling smiles and shining eyes whirled around the room as we danced to the rhythm of our hearty laughter. We pranced and whirled and swayed and twirled with guests of all shapes and sizes, our bodies blending into a colourful blur and losing track of all time on the endless dance floor.
I sat down, proudly stroking my thumb over the raw blisters that swelled on my feet. The fullness of my belly and the marks on my body were proof of the amazing time that we’d had. Priceless memories that we would have forever. Looking up, I felt his heated gaze on mine. His juicy lips contorted into an impish grin as he licked them slowly, seductively. He strode across the room, broad-shouldered and standing tall, like a warrior set on claiming his prize. Pulling me closer he whispered in a raw husky voice, scandalous tales of the night of passion that was yet to come.