The Wedding Fever Part 5 – The Introduction(a.k.a Mo Mi Mo E)

The mo mi mo e is the first stage of the 8-phase event known as the Nigerian wedding. It is the official ceremony to introduce the bride and groom’s families to each other.This event should be one of the smallest in a regular wedding ceremony but in my case its going to be just as big an event as anyother.

With the make up artist working on my face and the photographer taking the preparation photos, I am once again reeling inside of me that I am getting married to the man of my dreams, Dapo. My phone pings and its a text from Dayo. I open it and read, it goes

“We are outside – waiting under the sun as traditions demand we should.I have never been so happy to stand in the sun in my life. I cannot wait till the last of these ceremonies to have you as my wife, but if to get there I need to stand in fire I will. See you soon”

I reply saying I cannot wait to be his wife too and that I am trying to get ready and will see him soon. My face painting session is over and I head over to the closet to bring out my Iro and Buba and the aso oke. I look and reminisce over what a challenge it was to get our mothers to let Dapo and I wear the burnt orange and maroon fabric with gold gele as opposed to the purple and white or purple and gold they had picked for the bride and groom’s families. After the meeting, in which we all had with the wedding planner when they decided on the families colors, I had gone behind their back to pick my outfit with the wedding planner. They were furious at first but they got over it.

I am all set to go except that the veil has not been put over my gele. I take a second look at myself in the mirror and I am happy with what I see. My friends Tola, Sade and Bolanle are also dressed in their matching brides maids outfit  and we sit on the bed for the photographer to take a group picture. Just as we are about to take the picture, my mum comes into the room and she tells me its time for me to dance out. We file out of the room and head downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs,  my mum send her longest-serving maid to inform the master of ceremony and the musician of my intended arrival. Not long after, the MC announces our arrival and the musician starts to sing. Sade sets my veil down to cover my face and dance into the sitting room with my mum leading us in a single file.

I have reached the front and the moderator has asked Dapo to point at his bride from the file  of us. He walks out and reaches for me and I take his hand. The moderator then asks if I want to marry him and I answer as expected. We both kneel for our parents to pray for us and after that we take our seats as members of both families take turns introducing each other. They start with my family and then my father chiefs and then move over to Dapo’s family. Sitting in this room called the big sitting room rather than the throne room as it should be called, I think to myself ‘ I did not know it had this much room and could take this many people’. My father built this room to entertain his large number of guests compensating for not living in the actual palace.

The introduction is concluded and everyone heads to the banquet hall for the meals to be served as the musician plays loud, live fuji music with his band. As the meals are served I head to the smaller sitting room for some staged pictures with Dapo. Although I am not a huge fan of pictures because I never know what exactly to do in them, Dapo leads the way and gives me such ease. We took our photos candidly affectionate positions and all can say is I love them. With our mothers busy trying to make sure everyone is well fed and my friends helping them, I am able to sneak Dapo upstairs with me to go and change into a more comfortable outfit.

Dapo waits in the room whilst I get changed in my custom-made traditional lace dress. I try to do it as carefully as possible so as not to ruin my gele. I call Dapo to come in with me to help with my zipper which he does. For some strange reason we both look up at each other and smile in the mirror as he zips me up. I ask what he will like eat and make arrangement with my mum’s maid for it to be brought upstairs. Dapo and I are deep in out gist when my mum comes to announce that its time for us to come and greet the guests. So hand in hand we stroll downstairs and greet all the guests by going from one table to another. Once again I am glad I had taken off the beautiful Manolo’s I wore earlier(gifted to me by my husband to be two days after I showed him the material for our outfit) and traded them in for a pair of flat shoes.

Exhaustion is all my brain screams at me right now. I am glad that against our mothers demand that we make it a Sunday evening event. At least I have the whole day on Sunday to recuperate before work on Monday. I turn to look at Tunji who has kindly offered to drop me home because Dapo had to go off with his parents. “have you guys picked a date for the wedding” Tunji’s voice interrupts my reverie.

“No we have not set a date yet but we are thinking sometime early in September. At least we still have 6 months to plan the wedding”I reply

“ok oo, just let me know when you have settled on a date and after you pick the aso ebi”he said and from there we started discussing work until he dropped me off at home.

 

 Glossary

Mo mi mo e – the introduction ceremony

Iro and Buba – a Nigerian tradtional outfit consisting of a top and a wrapper

Aso Oke – a type of Nigerian fabric made with woven thread

gele – Head gear

Tola (Adetola) – a Nigerian name that means wealth is equal to the crown

Sade (Afolasade) – a Nigerian name that means we use wealth as our crown

Bolanle (Abolanle) – a Nigerian name that means I meat wealth in my home

Fuji – A genre of Nigerian music meaning High life music

Aso ebi – A uniform outfit worn at Nigerian ceremonies.

Oladapo (Dapo) – A Nigerian Name that means- a mix of wealth

Tunji (Babatunji) – A Nigerian name that means – Father has returned

The Wedding Fever Part4 – The day I told him

Two months into our relationship, I decide to tell him. I suspect he thinks my refusal to sleep with him is because of something he did or another guy. We went to mutual friend’s birthday party and on our drive back home I started to suspect he wanted to give it another try tonight. He said he was too tired to drive back home from mine so he would have to sleep over. Also through out the party he maintained more body contact with me than normal. He kissed me more than usual(initially i thought he just wanted to flaunt our new relationship) and he drank more than usual.

As I was trying to open the door for us to go into the house, he  grabbed my waist and said”I will finally get a taste of this tonight”. I knew he was drunk so I told him to sit down in the sitting room, I told him to wait for me. I went into the kitchen to get him a glass of water. I give it to him and tell him to drink, although confused he drank it anyway. Whilst he drank I said to him “I need to talk to you about something”. Immediately he drops the glass and looks at me.”have I done something wrong?” he said.

“No its not something you did” As I say this I am already about to start crying.

“what is it then?”

“I cannot give you the sexual satisfaction you are seeking from me”

“Why, are you ok?”

“I am ok. I need you to stop being my boyfriend, I need to tell this to my friend and you have to promise me that you will not under any circumstance tell anyone”

“Ok, you have your friend and I promise not to tell. What is it you are scaring me”

“You know I am a princess and the only girl. The tradition in my vilage is that because I am the only female child of the king, I cannot have sexual relations with anyone except my husband. That is why I avoided dating for so long” I am sobbing heavily at this point and he looks so upset. He looks at me, gets up and walks out of the house. I try to follow him to appologise for not telling him but he looks at me and tells me not to come near him. He drives off and I keep calling him to appologise but he refuses to pick up the phone.

The next afternoon, I call his best friend Tobena to please check that he is alright. Tobena calls right back to tell me he is fine and has gone away on business. I had to tell someone, good thing Tunji already knew about my situation before now, so I go to his office and explain what had happened. Despite how much I tried to explain that Dayo was upset because I did not tell him earlier, Tunji was very angry at him. Two weeks of not speaking to Dayo felt like two years had passed. Tobena called me on Thursday on the second week to tell me that he was back. I went to Tunji to ask for advice on whether I should go to his office or not. Tunji told me to stay in his office until he gets back. I found out from Dayo that he had gone fight with Dayo at his office. Perhaps this was what rained some sense on Dayo. That evening he came over to mine full of appologies and a promise to go on this celibacy journey.

 

 

The Wedding Fever Part 6(a) – Baby+Mama+Drama

“Dapo, DONT TOUCH ME. STAY AWAY FROM ME!” I say and then I storm out of his office, sobbing uncontrollably. I head straight to my car and with tears in my eyes, I begin to ponder upon the events of today. So I woke up this morning feeling that it was going to be a good day. Last Wednesday, Dapo and I’s relationship was officially one year and six months but for reasons beyond his control(business) we were unable to celebrate this milestone like we did the last two(6 months and 1 year anniversary). Dapo only got back from his business trip on Monday and so I decided to surprise him by taking him out to lunch today(Tuesday), my treat.

I head straight to his secretary’s desk to tell her thank you for clearing his schedule for lunch with me today. I am about to give her a conspiratorial wink when I hear someone yell from Dapo’s office. Someone with a female voice yelled “you think you can deny this baby. you must be joking it is yours whether you like it ……” and I hear dapo’s voice cut her off before she can finish her sentence “keep your voice down” he says. Just then the door to Dapo’s office swings open and a  lady with a little baby in her arms storms out.

Dumbfounded, I slowly make my way past the lady and into Dapo’s office. I slam the door behind me and Dapo raises his head to look at me. Suspecting that I was privy to the drama earlier, Dapo immediately switched from an angry look to an apologetic one. He was about to speak when I hold my hand up in a gesture that implied that I need him to keep quiet. “Dapo, if that is your child and the mother of your child, what does that make me?”. “That is not my …..” he starts trying to explain but I cut him off before he can explain himself.”Dapo, DONT TOUCH ME. STAY AWAY FROM ME!” I say and then I storm out of his office, sobbing uncontrollably.

I start to drive my car but I can barely see through my tears and I know I am in no condition to drive. I park the car and begin to cry so hard not believing what had just happened. Looking down, I notice my white skirt is stained with a mix of make up consisting of foundation, eyeliner, mascara and probably some powder. Great! so physically and emotionally, I am in no condition to return to work. I decide I have to go back home and so when my tears subside, I climb down from my car. After locking the doors, I walk forward, as I put the keys in my bag, to hail a cab. A couple of minutes later, I start to feel light-headed and I suspect that it must be standing in the sun. All of a sudden, it all just goes black.

‘I fainted on the streets of Lagos’ I think to myself as my mum recounts the experience to me. Turns out one of the security guards sitting outside  the building I was standing in front of saw me, and called for an ambulance. it’s been only a couple of minutes since I woke up, although from what my mum says, I have been out for about 3 hours. ‘What were you doing in front of that building under the hot sun?” my mum asks. I start to think about what really I was doing there and I remember what transpired in Dapo’s office earlier but I cannot tell her the truth so I tell her I was going for a meeting nearby.

Work! I remember I was supposed to have a meeting with a prospective member of staff (we are a small start-up and so for now, I head HR as well as being a co-managing partner). “Mummy, can I have my phone, I need to call Tunji, I was supposed to have a meeting” I say. “Over my dead body. Work work work, that’s all you know. I already called him not long ago and I called  Dapo as well. Tunji told me he would be around in about an hour and Dapo said he was on his way”she said. “Haba, Mummy who told you to call Dapo. I don’t like it oo”I said. “Ahn ahn, So you are saying I should not have called Dapo. Isn’t he your boyfriend anymore”noticing my facial expression when she called Dapo my boyfriend, she asked if something was wrong between Dapo and I. Just then the Doctor comes in and he saves me from having to tell my mother that her close friend’s son who happens to be my boyfriend got another girl pregnant.

The doctor tells me that I have been under too much stress lately and so I would need to take some days off work but I will get discharged this evening.’At least nothing is wrong with me’ I think to myself while my mum is busy somewhere in the hospital trying to relay the good news to my dad and older brother over the phone. Just as my mum leaves, Dapo comes in. I don’t feel strong enough to get into an argument with him, so I turn my head to face away from him. “please leave Dapo. I am not ready to see you or to talk to you about what happened” I say to him in a hushed tone. I feel myself about to burst into tears but I want to hold on until I know he is gone. “I am sorry but I am not sure that the baby is even mine. I want you to know you are the most important person to me and I never meant to hurt. Since you want me to leave, I will do just that”he says and then it all becomes  quiet except for his footsteps hitting the floor and on cue, I begin to cry.

Not long after I hear someone say “Hello” and I know it is Tunji and so I begin to try to clean my face to get rid of the tear streaks but I fail. Tunji knows as soon as he gets by my bed. He sits on the bed, reaches over and turns me to face him and then says”what is wrong? This had better not have anything to do with Dapo”. I cannot help myself, so I tell him all that happened that day. When I am done, I say “Tunji I beg you not to intervene. This is between Dapo and I. I love him so let me handle this how I want to”. “If that is what you want, then I will not do anything but you need to think long and hard about whether he deserves you or not. You are young and beautiful, I mean many of my friends still want to date you despite the fact they know you are taken, so don’t settle for less” he says.

It’s around 9 pm when I finally get home. My mum agreed to go back home ,only after Tunji promised her that he would sleep over, with a promise to be here bright and early the following morning. Tunji literally carries me in his arms out of the car and into my bedroom. He is sitting on my bed whilst I get changed into my nightie in the bathroom. I cannot help thinking that his wife would be a very lucky woman – judging by how much attention his current wife(his job) gets, I wonder if that woman will ever come. I climb into bed and Dapo goes downstairs to get our things from the car downstairs. He comes back into the room changed into  his pyjamas with a bag of out take out from grills in and out on a tray. He sets the tray on the bed, turns on the cable TV and climbs into bed with me. Not long after eating we fall asleep.