(Part 1 of a two-part series)
The atmosphere stands still. At the beckon of the piano, everyone rises and together turn their eyes to the aisle. Ewamade glows as she walks gracefully, dangling off her father’s arm like a dainty piece of china. She wears a coy smile, her eyes dart shyly between the tiled floor and her groom, Dayo at the end of the aisle. Soon, sniffles can be heard, mingling with the music in sweet harmony. The moment is perfect – a heralding of the union of two love-birds.
Ewa is my girl, and she – actually, we – met Dayo two years ago. It was at the birthday party of a Nigerian ex-governor in New York and a mutual friend had snuck us into the venue. I remember the tension in my body as I struggled between worrying about getting caught and walking on ridiculous 6-inch heels. Ewa, on the other hand, was born for the spotlight; her accent and gait changed as soon as we walked in. She swayed and swung to the rhythm of the stares and advances that poured in. Everyone was drawn to her – men, women, photographers … men. The stunts that girl pulled, nobody could have guessed we were strangers to fame and wealth.
It was no surprise when she caught the attention of Dayo, heir to the biggest business empire owned by an African in the United States. He was just the blend of wealth and looks that most women fantasized about. He and Ewa talked and danced into the night, soon they became the object of many people’s attention. The press went to town, capturing every smile and brush and sigh, and Ewa was like a firefly bathed in a floodlight, she thrilled them.
The night was finally over; the early hours of the morning saw us changing out of the party dresses in our small studio apartment in Brooklyn Heights. I couldn’t hold back the moan as I slipped my cramped feet out of those tortuous shoes. As I massaged them, I asked Ewa the question that had been on my mind the entire night.
“So … what happens?”
She looked clueless when she replied, “What happens? As in?”
“Don’t give me that look like you don’t know what I’m talking about,” I snapped. “You’ll be on every magazine and blog in a few hours. What’s your plan?”
“You think they’ll catch us?” When I nodded, she burst out laughing. “My dear, only that useless bouncer thinks we are some General Bode’s daughters. For my dear Dayo, I’ll just play the Cinderella-card.”
But I could have been muttering to myself because Ewa made her way to the bathroom. I was left sitting in the dregs of my confusion and her laughter. I sensed trouble then but I was unsure how serious.
Cinderella-card – whatever it meant – worked; in a few months, Ewa was officially the ‘main-chick’. The media couldn’t get enough of Dayo’s philandering: news of a new fling came up while he was still ‘making up’ to Ewa for the last one. Several people wondered why someone as beautiful and intelligent stayed in an unfaithful relationship. Her parents were the epitome of ‘real love’, the kind that shares a kiss at every meal after 30 years of marriage. Didn’t Ewa want same for herself? She ceaselessly granted interviews defending Dayo’s philandering as rumors, and feigned forgiveness when there was undeniable proof. With time, it seemed that in spite of his philandering, Dayo was well wrapped around Ewa’s finger. His proposal eighteen months after that first meeting, broke the media.
All through the months of dating, I severally pointed out to Ewa how heart-break was assured in a continued relationship with Dayo. While her ‘Yes yes yes I’ll marry you’ clips were still trending on Instagram, I raised it yet again. But Ewa was adamant in defending Dayo and their ‘true and pure love’. Soon, I – and every other woman around her – gave up; plans were afire for the wedding that would be the talk of the year.
Time flew so fast. Suddenly, it was the morning of the wedding day.
… to be continued next week.
Written by Winifred Adebayo
Words Are Work…And Fun Too…