A pregnant bride??!! Was my question plus exclamation as I thought out loud when I noticed this dark-skinned lady, dressed in an oversized wedding gown; which I supposed without any doubt was designed by a tailor in her village that just learned the trade. The wedding gown was just an absolute evidence that he was a failed student in the tailoring school. I don’t know fashion, but I know better than to see a bride wear flat covered shoes to her wedding.... I mean, who does that? Some heels would have just disguised the obvious fact that she was brief, sometimes I prefer to refer to them politely as having their center of gravity close to the ground. And what she lacked in height, she couldn’t even complement in beauty….the make-up artist must have done her best, yet I was looking at the remnant of an incomplete transformation from a masquerade to a human.
My God! She was pregnant! My eyes bulged as I watched her gallivant to and fro. It’s her wedding day for Christ sakes, she couldn’t even cheat her nature and at least, remain calm. SMH! My strong opinion would have been that her image be hanging in a museum with a large print on her reading 1920. Anyways, I quickly brought out my phone to take pictures.
“This must be your first time in Orin” the voice was so clear behind me and all I thought to say was “here I am, Lord, send me.” But it wasn’t my name that was called. So I resisted the urge against my will and slowly, tilted my head 1800 to my right.
It wasn’t like I needed to be in a conversation, but I could gladly use one now and satisfy my burning curiosity, especially after a much frazzled trip from Akure to Orin. Countless police check points dotted the road. At each point, I filled myself with humour from these underfed, poorly dressed policemen taking out their frustrations on motorists. On one occasion, a policeman waved us to a stop. I kept quiet and watched him grinning through some unapologetic tobacco-stained teeth, saluting majestically and saying “Oga, na weekend we dey o.” Of course, I knew what he meant, but I asked him anyway. “You think I don’t know?” I watched the abrupt change on his face from grin to frown. And when I said nothing further, his words came angrily “carry go!”
At the time I arrived Orin, my head was aching enough to get my attention. It was a simple reaction to the unspeakable bad roads. Another stone to throw at the Buhari’s administration, but that is not my concern at the moment. So…., the rush from Akure to Orin was just to attend a wedding reception… Hmm…! That not being my concern either, I turned to walk back to the car and right in front of me was the bride. My jaw dropped – a total submission to the overwhelming bewilderment that gripped me. A pregnant bride? I quickly took pictures, besides, isn’t that what we do these days? Therefore, my phone went ‘click’ ‘click’ unawares that I was being observed. Luckily, it was just the two eyes of one man watching me. If they were more, I wonder what I would have done: maybe pray the ground to swallow me.
Breaking into my silence he asked again. “So is this your first time?”
I muttered a “yes” and confirmed further with a nod.
“That explains why you are surprised to see a pregnant bride”
I bulged my eyes, again, without evidence. “Huh! So it’s common.”
“Well, to the people of Orin, a proposed wife must be confirmed fruitful before marriage.”
I laughed. “You’re joking right? And which church will agree to join them?”
“Churches here want to please the people by respecting their beliefs and customs”
“That’s no longer a church of God” I snapped “it’s a church of the people.”
“But the church is meant for the people, even though I want to agree with you” He said. Shoulders raised as if winning the argument. He smiled, took a sip of his water and rested his right elbow on a car.
“Yet you call it “the House of God.”” I responded angrily. My expression was readable, I didn’t care. At this point I didn’t think I needed any further conviction so I started looking round much to his surprise.
“You sought after something?” He inquired.
“Yes. I want to believe that I must have unknowingly gotten into a time machine that brought me to 1920. It may interest you that in the future where I come from, it’s already September in the year 2016.”
His face lit up with laughter. I frowned……. and silently…… wished it was true.