It was hard to believe Chidi was married. Watching him twirl across the dance floor with Veronica in his arms, I could not help shaking my head in disbelief. The sight of Chidi twirling was otherworldly in itself.
As a groomsman I’d barely had any moment of rest. My cousin had put us – his “guys” – in charge of the drinks. With the way his father’s kinsmen on table 8 were guzzling the Hennessy I had placed on their table earlier, we would need tighter reins on the drinks.
One of them had called me aside earlier and asked in a conspiratorial tone “Enyi, ehh, you people don’t have Chelsea?”
It was the way he pronounced the Chelsea like Tche-see that had me biting back a smile.
The deejay did a crazy scratch and introduced a mix of Leg Over by Mr Eazi which caused the wedding party to erupt in loud cheers. This seemed to mark the end of Chidi and Vero’s dance as an eager crowd proceeded to turn the wedding reception into a dancehall in typical Lagos fashion. Confetti fell over the entire dance floor in a glorious shower of silver, red and blue and I had to blink furiously to keep them from getting into my eyes.
I glanced around making eye contact briefly with some school mates whom I greeted with a quick nod.
Chidi and I had attended Abia State University together so we shared not only blood but school memories as well. As an only child, I’d been left no choice but to bond with my cousin from my mother’s side. He was my brother and seeing him married to Vero struck a chord within me.
Kachi’s eyes met mine across the dance floor and I thought I caught a glimpse of unshed tears pooling at the corners of her eyes.
This could have been us. Her in that eggshell white dress that hid Veronica’s baby bump perfectly. Me in the powder blue waist coat that was a tight fit for Chidi because the tailor had been sure he would lose some weight before the wedding.
Uncomfortable with the remorse I saw reflected in Kachi’s eyes, I turned my gaze to my cousin and his bride on the dance floor. I took in his balding head as his head fell back in a belly laugh that was characteristically Chidi. He looked happy and I wondered for a brief moment if his happiness was somehow tied to the baby-faced beauty he now called ‘wife’.
Meh! I was getting sentimental in my old age.
My parents had already grabbed the opportunity of the wedding to remind me that it was my turn next.
If they only knew.
Things had turned even more awkward when Kachi chose the exact moment I’d been talking to my parents to visit their table.
“Onyekachi, Mma ra mma. You’re glowing o” my mother had said eyeing Kachi appraisingly.
Kachi had a way about her that had quickly endeared her to my parents. I watched her simpering as they oohed and aahed over how lovely she looked in the aquamarine dress specially designed for the bridesmaids. I’d noticed earlier how it hugged her slender frame, showing off her curves and arse perfectly.
This wedding could not end fast enough.
I had excused myself from my parents then to check on Nanya whom I’d left in the custody of my roommates, Dozie and Kratos.
I remembered the talk Chidi had with me the night before at his bachelor’s eve.
“Thanks man, for doing this” he’d said. “I know it can’t be easy…”
“Nah bro. It’s nothing” I’d said even though I’d been fuming inwardly when Vero had crashed what was supposed to be the bachelor’s eve night with none other than her bridesmaids in tow.
The lessons of last night were fresh on my mind. One of them being that alcohol and celibacy did not make good companions. I shook off the memory of Kachi and me in the back seat of my car and her sliding off her underwear.
Instead I returned to table 16 where my roommates and Skippo, our happy camper had all but cornered Nanya. She looked resplendent but uncomfortable. Her nose was slightly crooked from a collision with a mango tree when she was seven. Looking at it now, I was struck again by how beautiful she was and not in that airbrushed way.
Chike to the rescue, I thought to myself, as I took brisk steps in her direction.
“Is he bothering you?” I asked as I approached the table.
Skippo had been whispering undoubtedly sweet nonsense into her ears. His eyes were glazed which hinted that he’d had a smoke before the wedding.
I took a deep breath to calm myself. I was not averse to smoking the occasional ‘medicinal’ marijuana. Skippo however irked me with his inability to stop and lack of judgment. If left to his own devices, he’d smoke weed before a job interview!
“Guy, this babe fine sha. No wonder you don dey hide am since” Skippo said by way of greeting.
“Ifunanya, what do you see in this dickhead sef?” Dozie chirped in. “Clearly I’m the better choice. Chike, did you know she’s my sister? Same village and everything”
“All the more reason why we can never be” Nanya said dryly.
“But baby, we don’t share blood.”Dozie continued. “But I’m willing to share other things”
“Unless it’s property I’m not interested. Save your body fluids for charity” She replied glibly, finishing her comment with a playful laugh.
“Ouch!” Dozie exclaimed pressing a hand over his heart.
Kratos watched us in amusement as he poured himself another glass of Chandon.
The perks of being friends with the family of the groom, I thought wryly to myself. So far I’d ensured that my friends got the best service at the wedding reception.
I laughed at Nanya’s witty remarks. I loved her wit. Her wit. Just her wit.
Kachi chose that moment to approach the table.
“Hi guys” she said in that annoying grating accent of hers that reminded me of Gifty of Big Brother Nigeria fame.
I tried not to roll my eyes. I sincerely hoped she didn’t think we were an item after last night.
The guys responded gruffly, each glancing at me as if they were unsure how to respond.
“Hi” Nanya said smiling up at Kachi. If she was threatened by the new arrival she didn’t show it.
Both were beautiful women. But while Kachi’s beauty was doll-like and largely make-up associated, Nanya’s was refined and more natural.
“Hi I’m Kachi” she said extending a slender hand. I noticed that she’s attached those god-awful claws to her nails again. In contrast, Nanya had French manicured nails.
For the first time since I broke up with Kachi I didn’t feel like I’d gotten the short end of the stick.
I could see the wheels in Kachi’s head turning. I breathed a sigh of relief when she finally walked away and ignored the question I saw in Nanya’s eyes.
The plan for the bachelor’s eve had been simple. Drinks at Hard Rock Cafe then Silver Foxx till dawn. Chidi would not let us forget that his wedding mass was at 10 am the next morning.
Kofo, one of Chidi’s guys had called ahead to reserve a table. Ebuka, a former classmate at ABSU who had left in the middle of third year in pursuit of greener pastures in Thailand had returned to Nigeria just for the wedding. He also had foreign currency to spend. Something we were not averse to considering the situation of the economy.
My company had been hit as well by the unrest in the Niger – Delta. A few of our onshore pipelines had suffered vandalism, creating huge losses that currently threatened our operations.
Maureen from HR had let it slip that a mass downsizing might be imminent. I currently had my fingers crossed. I was trying to port anyhow.
The guys were already slightly buzzed from our visit to Hard Rock and it looked like the night would only get better. Chibuzor, one of the guys in our posey was already ringing up some UNILAG babes he knew who were always up for a good time.
I had been doing well so far. My night had started with me sipping Tonic water. I knew what alcohol did to me so I had skillfully avoided the tempting cocktails being offered at Hard Rock. However sometime between 11 pm and midnight, someone had shoved a glass of Long Island into my hand, I’d taken a sip and the rest they say is history.
Deejay Neptune had been playing at HRC and his set list had me reconsidering the trip to Silver Foxx. Did I really want to be surrounded by semi-naked girls, doing creative things with poles? I asked myself. Hell Yes!
I hadn’t been to the strip club in months and despite the night being all about Chidi, I needed to let my imagination run amok a little bit. Silver Foxx was the perfect place for that.
We had just arrived SF when Chidi announced that we needed to wait briefly as Veronica and her friends were nearly there.
“What the fuck?” Chibuzor had exclaimed. “You can’t bring your future wife to a boy’s night na. Your last official boys’ night out as a bachelor if I might add”
“Guy, you told her we were here?” Kofo had muttered in disbelief. “Not cool mehn”
“What was I supposed to do? She’s been keeping tabs all night” Chibuzor had responded defensively.
“I knew I should have seized your phone” I muttered. “Last chance to change your mind dude…This one wey you never marry and dem don dey track you like this. If you marry, GPS go dey your dick o. E go be like “Chidimdu Anthony Madueke, you are inside Felicia right now aren’t you? It says here that you’ve been there for ten minutes now””.
The guys erupted into raucous laughter but fell silent suddenly with Chibuzor dissolving into a coughing fit.
I had turned slowly with an awkward smile on my face.
She looked pissed and I shamefaced. Luckily, Chidi was quick to intercept and led her inside before she could lambast me. The rest of us exchanged awkward pleasantries with her friends even though we knew them from the traditional wedding.
I had groaned when I saw Kachi in moss green sundress and red fuck-me heels. I could smell her favorite perfume Amouage Memoir even before she leaned in for a hug. I could feel the other guys staring at us or at her, I couldn’t tell for sure. Kachi had always been one to grab attention.
I took her by the elbow and led her in. She looked like sin and it seemed like sin had it out for me.
The bouncer at the entrance hailed me like an old friend and Kachi tsked beside me. I remained indifferent as her opinion of me had ceased to matter a long time ago.
Inside the strip club, our little posse had occupied every seat in the VIP section. I managed to find a stool for Kachi while I leaned against the wall watching Clarion aka ‘Monkey Girl’ climb all the way to the ceiling and then slide down with her legs spread eagle. My friends and I had nicknamed her ‘Monkey Girl’ for exactly that skill, her ability to climb the poles like a Monkey. Her agility was unparalleled by any dancer in the club. It also helped that her body was a work of art. No flab or any of the excesses usually carried by Lagos strippers.
I noticed Veronica’s nose crunch up in disgust and wondered to myself why she and the bridesmaids had crashed the bachelor’s eve if they were not comfortable with strip clubs. Even Kachi was frowning at the near nude girls with something akin to disgust. The hypocrisy behind her expression nearly had me laughing aloud. As if what she did with her rich, old ‘sugar daddies’ was any better.
And there it was. The reason we had broken up.
Author’s note: This was supposed to be pre-birthday but he stole my time. It’s really rough so please forgive me. Anyway , Happy birthday to me. Yay!