The program was yet to commence. I was early. I sat at the back near the entrance of the Church.
At the far end of my pew sat a good-looking young couple, dressed in matching navy blue Ankara outfits. The lady looked at me with a narrowed gaze, and rested her limp arm around her partner’s shoulder. She might as well have urinated around him; I had never seen a human being mark their territory so blatantly.
Watching them fawn over each other bemused me, and also made me feel embarrassed about my most recent relationship. I saw passion between them where mine had been full of space. I observed their gentle teasing where mine had been full of cruel words, and then comments about me not being able to take a joke.
I had wanted out. But I felt stuck. I stayed because he had bursts of kindness that felt like finding a cup of cold water in the desert. And I was thirsty, my throat was dry from the strain of loving him.
He was a nice guy on paper, but in person…whew…he had so many issues. His room had a stench. His dirty socks could probably walk out of the room on their own. Why would a grown man leave his work clothes and boxer shorts in the middle of his bedroom floor, and keep walking over and around them as though they had been nailed down?
Most of the time he acted like I wasn’t there. If we were going to have a conversation about dinner plans or the state of our relationship, I had to initiate it. It was as if the effort of wooing me had been enough for him; after I agreed to date him, he lost interest, it seemed. And I spent the duration of our relationship trying to get his attention. The only time he was pleasant to me was when any form of intimacy was imminent. If I wasnt in the mood, I was pummeled into submission. Looking back, it was so blatant that I cringe at the memory.
I found out he was getting married as I lay in the hospital after the last beating; my sister helpfully showed me the pre-wedding photo shoot on Instagram. I recognized his Fiancee; he had told me that she was an old friend when we bumped into her at a party months before.
I blinked and realized that everyone in the Church was standing, and I joined them. The Wedding Mass was over, and organist played a sweet processional hymn.
The couple walked slowly down the aisle towards the entrance, holding hands and waving like celebrities. The bride looked delicate, as though if not for the weight of her white beaded ballgown, she would have floated away, hopefully hitting her head on the Church’s ceiling.
I waited patiently as they walked towards my row and I saw the Groom up close.
Our eyes locked. He flinched, and I relished the next expression on his face: fear. I imagined beating him to a pulp with my walking stick, his head bursting and the blood splattering on his bride’s pristine white gown.
His Bride and Best man crowded him, asking if he was okay. He was shaking now, someone losened his bow-tie and another person brought him a bottle of water. Behind them, the Priest stood at the alter, looking right at me, with a steady, unflinching gaze.
I was actually impressed by the number of people who could see me, considering the fact that I had been dead for a month.
Ivie M. Eke 2021