The journey to the courtyard soothed my soul perfectly; it brought with it a motherly pride, the type that forces fresh blood down one’s veins to the point that one is forced to giggle in excitement, without even knowing. I had every inch of perfection carved round my auto–gele, of course, I needed no introduction. The make- up artist did a good job at restoring my youthful glow using her baked powder and a bunch of other unfamiliar powdery substances. A careless glance at me was enough to assure and convince one that I was the bride’s mother. I positioned my neck in a way that gave me the grace to sway my stiff waist in conformation to the rhythm of the drums as I made my way to the seat meant for us, the parents.
The ambience, elevated decorations, and aroma of ancestral delicacies took me down memory lane. It reminded me of the day of my Igbankwu or wine-carrying. I was young, full of life, and flexible. My 18years old self had a type of confidence that was buried ten feet below shamefacedness. I was prepared for the day and the excitement of marrying the love of my life tarried with me for weeks. I had the privilege of buying my handmade beads in company of my bosom friends who had envy lurking behind their eyelids. I still savor those moments with nostalgic grace and pride.
I had pleaded with my daughter to invite her friends to accompany her to the Nsukka market to pick her outfits- just to enjoy the pride that comes with being the enviable item alive, but no, she swore on ignoring my suggestions. She insisted on shopping online for every item, claiming it would reduce or maybe, take off the stress loads off her shoulders. I tried but failed to comprehend why a bride to be would not want to bask in that glorious euphoria. Well, I guess we are worlds apart, and 26years is enough time to influence some major changes in the planning of the same event.
The thought of my first- appearance-dance still brings smiles to my face; I was cladded in the finest piece of cloth in the market. My beads were graciously laid around my neck, it was easy to mistake me for a queen that day. The beads around my waist shook effortlessly as I swayed my waist to the rhythm of the drums. The cheering guests made Obi, my husband, chuckle as he grew impatiently excited about his wife to be. My emotions hung around my shoulders for all to see my level of excitement. I shot side glances at him to ensure his attention was wrapped around my moving waist or my dramatic legs. I effortlessly threw my arms into the graciousness of the wind. Oh, I was in my full element that day and hunger was far from my intestines.
When papa handed the horn full of wine to me, I knew the moment I had waited for all my life had come. It reflected in my dance steps. I twisted my waist to reveal the type of flexibility never seen before. It was so vigorous that my other hand which I used as a lid failed at preventing the wine from spilling. The pity looks on the faces of former suitors and envy- infested- mothers of the land didn’t deter me from locating my obim. You needed to see him that day, he was beaming and smiling from molar to molar like a piece of white yam about to be introduced into red oil. As soon as he took hold of the wine, he rushed it like someone who hadn’t tasted water all his life. I was excited he rushed it. It showed that he really wanted me. The few naira notes he inserted into the horn got tongues wagging for weeks. He was thought to be a man with hidden wealth.
His kinsmen also made the event colorful for us that day. The chants, they made, spoke volumes of their extroverted and outgoing nature. They cheered and laughed hard; the echoes left lingering memory of that glorious day with us.
Watching my daughter dance round in company of her friends with a glass of wine, earlier today, assured me of how much things have changed. The elevation in taste, the exotic decoration with epic themes, the nicely laid tables, and the neat make- up on the faces of our too comfortable female guests made me also wonder if really things have changed that much or people just found a way of throwing away and burying their taste for villageness in modern civilization.
Interestingly, the joy remained the same, the laughter that accompanied a tasty plate of jollof rice was intact.
I feel blessed to have witnessed this life changing event twice in my lifetime and in the same city, first as the bride and then as the mother of the bride.
Indeed, I have had double portion of excitement.
Peace Habila, a resident of Jos, Plateau state is passionate about creative writing. She wrote in via email@example.com