I let go of his hand. At that point, it dawned on me that it was not just his hand I let go of. I had let go of part of me, his protection and cover, his name, my hometown, part of my tie to him…….I was leaving my father’s house to be in my husband’s! I stood rooted to the spot for about a minute till I heard my momma clear her throat. I smiled and thought, “I trust my momma to help put things in perspective”.
I turned to climb the stairs to where my husband-to-be was patiently waiting. My husband-to-be?! Not really. It was more like my baby papa who I am going to spend the rest of my life with. With that thought, I scanned the crowd and saw Max. The minister had started to speak but I was not really paying attention.
I have never seen Max this sorrowful in my whole life. My heart reached out to him and I felt a sharp stab of pain in my chest. I had betrayed the one person who should be standing before me here today in the place of Ranti. I should be changing my name today to Mrs Tonya Max Smith instead of Mrs Tonya Ranti Eleru that it will become. Yuck!
I glanced over at Max again and I felt a wave of heat. My BFF, Desirae and his sister Michelle were at his sides, holding on tight to his hand, silently reassuring him that they were there to support him alone. The minister decided he would give a long speech first so we had to go sit.
Oh what a stupid mistake! I cast my mind back to that night…
Max had been abroad for over a year. I was sick of missing him and tired of spending Friday nights alone, watching dumb movies. No matter how much I tried, I just could not have fun. My world was cold and empty without Max. My parents where away for a two-week vacation to celebrate their anniversary and Desirae was spending the weekend at her fiancé’s as he had just arrived from a one-month business trip.
Ranti was my crush from work but it was no big deal. Well, it was not until he showed up at my door step that lonely Friday. I knew better but I invited him in anyway. I was having some of dad’s vintage red wine and some fine small chops I had ordered out on my way from work. I had just dimmed the parlour lights and was about to watch a romantic movie. I mean, I was bored so the least I could do was give as much cinema effect as possible. I asked him to join me. We chatted a little and moved on to watch the movie I had rented.
When the small chops finished, I got out some chocolates from the fridge. Now, who does that? Take alcohol and aphrodisiac in a deserted place with dimmed lights while watching a romantic movie with your crush?! (Do not try this at home oh!)* All I know is that I was already getting crushed by the end of the movie and the end result…
The memories feel out of my mind as we walked back to the altar. As Ranti started saying his vows, I glanced over at Max again. He looked like he was facing death itself. I could still hear him pleading with my dada to let him marry me regardless but my dada refused, saying he did not want matters to be any more complicated than they already were.
I had presented my hand for Ranti to slip the ring on and just as he was about to, a terrible and very real sharp pain surged through me and lingered at my abdomen. I screamed and crouched low, holding on to my tummy. The ring fell as I heard my momma scream for an ambulance.
There seemed to be a lot of screaming and confusion. Ranti was trying to help me to a chair while the minister crossed himself severally. I was growing weak very fast. My hand felt surprisingly moist so I struggled to peek at it through dizzy eyes. I saw blood. I understood and then, I saw black!