2

Aisle-land Blues

It was two weeks before her wedding and she was depressed as hell.
It was so hard putting up a smile, so hard concentrating on the last minute arrangements, so hard keeping it together.
It had all started the day she went to pick up her gown. They’d had to make some minor adjustments and fix a tear in the veil, so she went back to the shop to check if it was perfect and take it home with her.
She got into the changing room, put it on and stepped out, feeling every inch a bride to be. Staring at her reflection, she knew she’d made the right choice because the dress looked like it had been made for her, and crowning it all was the cathedral-style veil. Her smile cracked a little, and it was all she could do to keep the tears in until she was back in the changing room, safely hidden from the concerned shop girl’s eyes. It was difficult to cry quietly with a broken heart, but she had no choice because these tears couldn’t wait .
She cried, that kind of release where you’re conscious of nothing else, save how to get the writhing ball of hurt out your body, through your eyes.
She cried till her eyes were swollen shut.
She cried till her chest  ached.
She cried till she was wheezing like one in the throes of an asthma attack.
She cried till she couldn’t breathe and the panic pushed all the blood to her head till it roared in her ears.
She realized that she was on the floor some minutes later, and hoped to God that she hadn’t torn the veil again. She carefully stepped out of the dress and hung the veil over the door. She felt miserable.
She had everything. Her friends and family were super psyched that her big day was coming up, and the excitement in her mom’s house was palpable. The man she was going to promise forever to? Honestly, she could never have imagined a better man on this earth. She loved him so much that when he proposed, her girlfriends had to beg her to cancel the thanksgiving mass she had planned. He was everything. The kind of man she knew would help her be the best person she could possibly become. The kind of man who loved and accepted her as she was. The connection between them was such that he seemed to know when she wanted space and when she needed his arms around her. He was a flawed mortal in all the perfect ways.
And she didn’t want to tell him what was eating at her inside, for fear she’d see that look of hurt helplessness in his eyes. Because there was nothing he could do to change things. Because this time, he couldn’t give her what she craved.
She wanted her dad to walk her down the aisle.
She wanted him to walk in on her getting her makeup done the morning of her wedding, and hear what affectionate, teasing thing he’d say to express how beautiful she looked.
She wanted to look up at him through her veil, and see the love and pride and poorly concealed tears glazing in his eyes as he handed her over to the love of her life.
She wanted him to assure her, as she tried to control the tears, “You’ll always be my little girl.”
She wanted to dance with him.
But she couldn’t.
And she’d never hear him say all those things.
Because he was dead. And nothing could bring him back.
Ever.

P.S.
This year, we “celebrate” twenty years of life without the head of our family. You can read more here.

P.P.S.
May his soul continue to rest in peace.
May God continue to keep my family united in love, and may His favour help us hold on to laughter, even in the face of tears.
Amen.

13

I Know I Bashed Your Car, But Have You Eaten?

The question has logical origins, I suppose. We Nigerians have always had near-maniacal levels of hospitality etched in our culture. I mean, you have a guest coming from far away, guest gets to the house by say, 2am. The first thing you ask is, “Have you eaten?” then proceed to offer him a wide array of “light” food to “manage” with. Like pounded yam and afang soup, correct jollof with heavily peppered snail, or the complete package; fried rice, chicken and salad.
You know, stuff one can “manage” by 2am, for quick digestion.
At some point, the hospitality got a bit weird though. Now it’s used in all kinds of ways :s
You get a call, goes something like this;
“Hello? How you dey? Enh? You had an accident?!! You’ve been in the hospital since yesterday? Oh my God. But have you eaten?”
Because food cures everything. Jilted at the altar by your lover of seven years? Tragic story, but have you eaten? Make sure you eat, you’ll feel better. Should we get you pap and akara?
And of course, you know I have to go there, this random post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t… Nigerian men cannot apologise. Even when they’re obviously wrong, and have had an argument with you spanning three days. When it becomes glaringly clear that he was at fault the whole time, your average Nigerian man will clear his throat, pause awkwardly for a few seconds, then grudgingly ask, “Enh, have you eaten?”
Ladies, sorry to break it to you, but that was your apology. Yeah. Right there. Just take it, and keep praying for patience, not strength. Because if you had strength, you’d have strangled the guy by now.
Same thing with Nigerian parents. You know how you watch Hollywood flicks and you have touching scenes where the parents admit their fault and say sorry to their kids?
Pah!
It is easier for our friend the camel to pass through the eye of a needle, brethren. You can have a quarrel of epic proportions with your parents. Such a huge fight that you are not on speaking terms with them for weeks, and even your siblings pick sides and only talk to you when Mom and Dad aren’t home. Only for your mom to walk into your room one fine afternoon, pretend to read the blurb of the novel on your table, do the awkward cough, then ask “Have you eaten? There is rice in the kitchen.”
This means that all is well again, and she and her spouse have seen fit to leave your name in the will after all. That thing she said is actually equivalent to the turn up arranged for the prodigal son in ancient times.
And of course, the most annoying one. When a guy is struggling to claw his way out of the friend zone, this is all he will ask you. Breakfast time, lunchtime, dinnertime.
Have you eaten?
Have you eaten?
HAVE YOU EATEN??!!
Until a girl gets irritated and insults the guy and he’s all, “But I was only trying to be caring…”
*EYE ROLL*
I liked when it was used to shut down voltrons arguing passionately about something that didn’t concern them in the least on Twitter. After their endless numbered tweets, one calm soul would retweet with, “Yes, but have you eaten?” Meaning; please go quietly away and do things of direct benefit to your existence.
Of course, the “Have you eaten?” question is closely followed by “When will you marry?”
But that’s a post for another day.
In the meantime, it’s already afternoon, and

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Yours,
@MsMeddle