Saturday 12 December 2009

Opening the mouth of the father - Part 2

The first part of this series of Opening the mouth of the father – Part 1

Bells, phones and rings

Did I say maybe the pealing of bells? The colloquial for calling by phone is bell me as opposed to ring me, the bell rarely tolls, it rings and does it cost a bomb?

But what love can separate you from the sound of your beauty that you have seen in glorious pictures of native attire, each time I look at the pictures; my heart skips a beat or two; Oh! my beloved as I smooch kiss after kiss into the photographic paper.

Every waking moment, I am on the phone making arrangements far ahead of the realities that try to pull me back, my head is too logical for my heart that is drawn to the dawning of the bliss of the fairy tale that ends in happily ever after – does anyone really believe that stuff anymore?

Seeing is the clincher

Meanwhile, I had been introduced to mama, brother, sister and any other sibling or relation in sight, no doubt the presents on my first visit should account for these acquaintances who might become prospective in-laws.

Father is playing too big to be involved in flirtations even though now he has realised there is an affair on the line with daughter continually engaged in sometimes giggly or overly serious conversation – I find that I am setting the tempo of everything, nothing of initiative comes from her, my doubts trouble me deeply, but my friend says different.

In the West, sound is as good as sight in conversation and communication, but back home speaking is sight and sound, this makes for a good meeting and the assurance of trust.

Having come so far in conversation, one must see, feel, touch this jewel of the South before one invests or divests, this is a journey I must make into the unknown for the dream of life untold.

My beloved is mine indeed

All sorts of preparations were made as moneys were sent to meet all sorts of eventualities, exasperation at the lack initiative almost ruined all, but my friend asked that I keep the faith until we met.

My trip to Nigeria was to consolidate the prospect of a life companion, the end of a search for something good, unspoilt and naively verdant.

We first met in a big city, her family is from Harcourt’s Harbours, and did I think, could this be love or was it overtaken by urges beyond the control of the parties?

Plans were apace to meet the family as she returned home having once missed her flight because we succumbed to the lackadaisical attention to time-keeping that our countrymen love to revel in without an iota of concerned responsibility or sense of necessity. It was as inconvenient as it was annoying.

Off to Harcourt’s Haven

I feel ill or maybe love-sick but my body was weakened that the meetings were postponed for my body to gain strength, when it appeared I was well enough, new arrangements were made to meet the family, hope and trepidation, mixed-feelings and expectations – am I on the cusp of a dream?

The journey was so nerve-racking as one had not fully recovered from a bout of malaria, but duties need be performed if one were to be a reliable husband soon, well, no one expects a reliable husband in these parts, they expect a responsible husband, one ready to shoulder responsibilities till bilked – cynicism depart, optimism come forth and I shall be the best gentleman about to be bridegroom – I am excited – somebody cool me down.

The father presides

When we got to the typically unimpressive residence, I was crestfallen, I had seen a man earlier that day who I almost despised, and I restrained myself for once from comment, that man was eventually significant to all proceedings – it was the father.

We entered the residence or rather room in a tenement where a curtain of the proportions of Solomon’s temple separated the living room from the bed chamber, it was not worth thinking how a family could comfortably live in these quarters but live they did – I am here for the bride, let’s talk man-to-man with the father.

Gifts were offered and those were moved into the inner sanctum with such speed as if giving with my right hand could be so quickly rescinded with my left hand – a word of thanks and gratitude could have helped but reality was to dawn soon that this was the facade of a merciless marketplace bargain where the buyer would pay up and still end up cutting his losses without the goods.

The deal is in the list

This was a mission of fledgling love as one tried to explain but the mind of the patriarch was centred on the opportunity for filthy lucre, I was to be lassoed in by the bride and the desire for the bride.

After the meeting, my escort had been surreptitiously been given the list, a six part list of items that fulfilled part of what might end with happily ever after.

The wedding list was to prepare us for the wedding ceremony, I surveyed the list as I touched my bride, I argued with myself, it appeared I was to be sold a woman for a slave rather than being given a lady for a bride – love conquers all, my love for her must not wane but will we hear, “You can now kiss the bride” at the end of the nuptials?

To be continued...

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