Written by: Victor Chinoo
“Modupe, what do you think of my idea?” Biola asked their wedding planner. “Which idea?” Modupe asked him back, lifting her face from her desk. A stream of sunshine poured through the window behind her. Vehicles and motorbikes honked aggressively in the street below them. Biola was clad in a pair of well ironed black trousers, a pair of immaculate black shoes and a white and blue check long-sleeved shirt. “My main idea about the wedding, Modupe. Everything else is Bimbo’s idea,” Biola replied. “I am still not sure which one you are talking about, Biola.”
“A small, simple, quiet wedding on Lekki beach. I am not into big luxurious weddings. I want something quiet, simple…you know, something that allows our best friends and family to celebrate and share the moment with us. I don’t want a…a…a big crowd!!! I probably won’t get to know who is there or not, with a big wedding. I want a more connected wedding, where the guests will get the opportunity to have fun and talk to one another. Besides, I am not a big fan of lavish, extravagant events…weddings! After one day, it is all over and then, the couple is left by themselves. Why spend that much for one day?”
“You’d have to agree on that with Bimbo. She is adamant about a large wedding, you know.” “What do you think? You are the wedding planner.” He moved closer and sat on the chair in front of her. Their eyes met as they peered into each other’s eyes for a moment. Modupe quickly looked away, scanning the sheaf of paper in her hand. “It does not matter what I think, Biola. My job is to plan your wedding based on the specifications you and Bimbo present to me.” “But you can offer your input. You are the expert.” “My expertise is planning what my clients want, Biola, not telling them the kind of wedding they should have.”
“Are you seeing someone?” Biola asked, staring at her fingers which were devoid of a wedding ring. “Yes…yes,” Modupe replied. “Great. I hope it leads to marriage. Hypothetically speaking, if you two were getting married, between a large, lavish wedding and a small, simple wedding, which would you prefer?” “I’d have to agree with my husband in that case.” “I am sure you have your own opinion, or don’t you?” “I am sure I will have one when the time comes, but in the end, he and I will have to agree on something.” “You are being diplomatic.” “I am being honest and professional.” “Anyway, you look to me like a mature girl. I have the feeling you’d gravitate to a simple wedding if you were getting married. Even Agbani Darego would probably not ask some of the things Bimbo is asking for.”
Modupe smiled without offering a response. The door to Modupe’s office flung open and Bimbo stormed in. She was larger than life, walking like royalty. “So, what do you have for me, Modupe?” She asked boisterously. Behind her were Fumilayo and Jane, her best friends. “Hello honey, you are already here,” said Bimbo on seeing Biola. “You look fabulous sweetheart,” Biola said exuberantly. “Thanks darling, you too.” “You are welcome.” Bimbo took a seat beside Biola while Fumilayo and Jane sat on the couch to the left of the office. “Here is what I have for you,” Modupe announced, handing Bimbo as stack of pictures. “Yea! Let’s sift through the list,” Fumilayo and Jane replied, walking closer to Bimbo.
The first wedding gown was fairly unconventional – a white knee-length skirt, a white top and a white suit. There was a pair of white shoes to go with it. “I don’t like it!” Said Fumilayo. “Me neither,” replied Bimbo. “This one is certainly not for me,” said Jane. They pored over the stack of pictures, unable to make up their minds. Biola sat back watching the choice-making with keen interest.
“What do you think of this, honey?” Bimbo asked Biola. “It looks fabulous, but I see the price is two hundred and fifty thousand naira. Do we really need to spend that much on a wedding gown you are going to wear once?” Biola’s friends, Segun and Donald walked in. “So, have we settled for a suit and a gown?” They asked as they walked in. “What do you mean?” asked Bimbo raising her voice. “It is our wedding…our wedding; our special day. I want the best for our wedding. I can imagine myself looking gorgeous in this outfit for you, darling,” she explained pointing at the two hundred and fifty naira wedding gown in the catalogue that Modupe had provided. “It is quite pricy, Bimbo,” Segun chipped in. “No, it is not,” Jane retorted. “This is normal price…she needs to look the best for you on your wedding day. She will look at the pictures for the rest of your lives with a smile on her face,” Fumilayo explained.
“Yes…the pictures, the memories, the entire experience will linger in our hearts for life. Imagine me in this wedding gown with at least twenty five bridesmaids, or shall I say thirty marching elegantly behind me. Every single one of them will be in that outfit,” she explained, pointing exuberantly. “Twenty five? Thirty? Is that necessary?” asked Donald with a bemused look on his face. “I am sorry, Bimbo, we need to discuss this a bit more in detail. Guys, we have to call off this meeting. We will call you guys back for your opinion once Bimbo and I have reached some sort of compromise. “I am leaving. I can’t take this. I always imagined that my wedding would be…would be splendid…one of a kind!!! I am not settling for anything less. I want you to know that!” She stormed out with Jane and Fumilayo.
“Boy, you have big wahala (problem) on your hands,” said Segun. “Big wahala no be small (a real big problem). I no sabi sey Bimbo na Agbani Darego (I had no idea that Bimbo was Agbani Darego),” Donald added. Outside, Bimbo entered her Honda Civic, turned on the engine and slammed her feet on the accelerator. Then, she stopped abruptly, took out her phone from her purse and dialed Biola’s father. “Daddy! You can’t believe how Biola treated me today,” she said crying. “What is it my daughter?” he asked. “In front of my friends and his friends, he embarrassed me over a common wedding gown. He does not want to pay common two hundred and fifty thousand naira for a wedding gown I have picked out. It…it is supposed to be a perfect wedding, daddy, or isn’t it?” “It will be perfect my child. Not to worry, I will have a word with him.” “Thank you daddy. And…and…I want to have all my friends from back in university and those from work to be on my bridal train. I really want a beautiful wedding, daddy.” “You will have one, my child. Stop crying. Please don’t let this perturb you. I will ring him right away.”
“I am afraid, I have to run now,” Segun said. “You need to put your foot down else, that fiancée of yours is going to run you into the red,” he added as he walked towards the door jugging his car key in his hand. “I am afraid, this wedding is going to bleed you white, my friend,” Donald added as he too headed for the door. “She is beautiful, but she no be Agbani Darego, or Genevieve Nnaji or Omotola Jalade Ekeinde. Biola sat on the couch behind him looking deflated. “I don’t like this. This is not me…lavish wedding and an aggressive desire to please and impress people! That is not who I am,” he said staring at Modupe. “I am sorry things went the way they did,” she said quietly. Biola’s phone rang, and he picked it up.
“Biola what is going on? What is wrong with you?” his father asked. His voice had anger engraved all over it. “I guess Bimbo already spoke with you, as usual.” “Yes, of course. Biola, I have worked hard in life to get to where I am today. You are doing extremely well; besides, I am willing to write you a cheque for five million naira for your wedding. Since your mother passed away when you were a little boy, I have waited for you to grow up…to become a man…to get married. I have done my best to give you a good life. Money is certainly not a problem for us, and you know that, so what is your problem? Bimbo is my best friend’s daughter. I am thrilled you two are getting married; so, please get your head in the game, my son!”
“Do I have a say in this dad? It is my wedding and I am not going to be told how things are going to go down. I am not going to have anyone tell me what to do!!! It is not about money, but about values, and I am keen to stand by my values. In fact, I don’t even think Bimbo and I have the same values in life. I am not even sure I want to go ahead with this!!!” “What? Don’t you say that Biola. You have known Bimbo most of your life and we have given our word to her family. You cannot let me down.” “You gave your word, dad, not me. Please, I need some room to breathe. I can’t take this any longer. I have the right to make decisions over my wedding. Please dad, let go of this now. I am not in the best frame of mind. We can talk later.” “Okay son, take some time to think it through, but please, you are not going to put me to shame over this matter,” his father explained, lowering his voice. The thought of Biola not marrying Bimbo had him scared.
“Do you want to have lunch with me?” Biola asked Modupe after he had hung up. “No thanks!” “Come on, just at the restaurant opposite your building. I need to talk to someone.” Modupe stared at him. Their eyes met again. She averted his eyes, peering into the ground. “Okay, just for a short while.” She gave in to his request. “Yes…yes, just for a short while.” They crossed the street into the restaurant opposite Modupe’s office. “I really love the idea of a simple lifestyle…something meaningful; you know, modest and not showy. Yes, I am from a rich background, but I am not ostentatious. I am not even sure I am in love with Bimbo. She believes and wants the things that I hate, I guess. She probably thinks she is Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade or Agbani Darego.” “Are you sure then, that you want to marry someone you don’t think you are in love with?” Modupe asked. “I don’t know? My father is on my neck on this, and a part of me does not want to hurt him. Yet, I…I don’t think I love Bimbo! Not anymore.” A cool, gentle breeze squeezed in, laboriously sweeping the curtain aside. Quiet ensued as their eyes met again.