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Short Stories: My Covid wedding- turning a Saturday to a Sunday
A Saturday on a Sunday?
On the evening of march 26th, my nephew burst into the shop to tell me that they want to close port Harcourt tomorrow. I was going to ignore him, but the fire in his eyes confirmed he felt proud for discovering that information.
“What’s he talking about?” I asked my sister as I helped her unpack new Hollandaise and Hi-Target prints.
“Calm down. We have not yet confirmed if…’’
“Mummy, but they said it in the radio that nobody will enter or leave port Harcourt again. Jesus! Aunty, how will you travel for your wedding?”
I frowned, why does this boy find my situation exciting? Were they both playing a prank on me? My wedding was slated for April 17th and 18th, COVID -19 appeared to have just arrived, and wasn’t planning on leaving soon.
“Can I catch the night bus? It’s just 3pm. I can make it to Abuja and then, Minna,”
“Which Abuja? Abuja that is following Lagos in the COVID competition? Calm down se. shey you want to make your hair? Goan make it, first things first. Have you packed? No. Even mummy’s crayfish sef, I have not bought.” She opened a can of juice and gulped; my sister rarely gave anything the chance to worry her.
I was close to tears. I went online to see what other people were saying, and found nothing consoling there:
This is fast becoming a pandemic
Abuja just discovered 5 cases
Lagos has been locked down…
Ah, God! The terror of the possibility that the world was shutting down did not register on me, at least not yet. The only thing that mattered was my wedding. I called my brother-in-the-Lord who should confirm or debunk the news, because he followed the news trend more than I cared to, he was an historian and three, I just needed someone to tell me it was a joke.
“Hello? Israel and his mum just told me they will be closing Port Harcourt soon.”
Silence. “Ilorin has been placed on curfew too. Movement is limited and hshbhjsbjcbdzjbcjbs jbsihckucn b sjhcbj.” Nothing he said went into my head anymore.
“Ayanfe? Are you with me? I said, relax and let’s trust God. Don’t worry about anything, okay? Can you travel tomorrow?”
“Abuja is on complete lockdown.”
“Morning bus. Port to Ilorin, and then Ilorin to Minna.” I thought about it for a second: Port to Ilorin will give me an opportunity to see him, since the last time we saw was December. And if travelling from Ilorin to Minna would not work, I would sha be with him, and we could do a Zoom wedding with both our parents.
I arrived Ilorin few minutes to 8. He was already waiting for me at the park. I insisted on social distancing, even though he felt like carrying me. We talked about possibilities and weddings that have already been shifted, and those with ten people in attendance.
“See, it’s the blessing that matters. You know I have never been a crowd person.” I say to him, already imagining not having to dance, not having to plan for the whole church, and having ten people at my wedding. The idea didn’t feel so bad. In fact, I felt relieved. I frowned when I remembered my mum was in Minna, my dad and his parents were in Oyo state, and Ibadan was next after Abuja in the COVID competition. Oh dear!
I left for Minna the following day, and he arrived a week later, a day before Ilorin was locked down too. I was already tired of the locking and opening; I wish I had the cure for COVID-19.
Minna came with drama, as the opening days were Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. How were we going to get married on a Saturday?
We started praying, started having meetings via phone calls. Should we change the wedding date? Till when? Corona isn’t going anywhere now. Or should we trust in the God that gave us a date? Perhaps, his will is for us to have a small wedding.
On 17th April, we had the traditional marriage in the morning as planned, with more neighbours in attendance than friends, family and church members. We observed social distance, and believe me when I say my traditional marriage was the funniest I had ever seen. My father and my father in law were in high moods, making me laugh. We took pictures and ate.
The big question was now how the wedding ceremony would take place despite the lockdown. After we had concluded and started making arrangements for the following Monday, where I would go to church in casual clothes, and then change in the mission house into my gown, a slight shift in plans happened. At first, it seemed unbelievable, like, people don’t do this. Why is this a good thing? So, as God would have it, Niger state government decided to make Sunday an open day too, which meant we went to church on Sunday, had usual service, and then switched to the wedding service proper, with guests, bridal train, music, dance, food and all.
For me, it looked like a Saturday happened on Sunday, since it was hard to tell if it was a Sunday service or not. My silent prayer for a small wedding was not answered, after all, as I was forced to dance and act like a proper bride should.
PS: I kid you not when I tell you everything you just read happened for real. I am saving it here for posterity 😎