After Love – Chapter 11 — I Thee Wed
I yelled, “To you and Jessica.” as we raised our glasses.
We always joked that I’d be the first to marry and he would be the first to have a child but life had other plans.
I was now on my second child and Kyle was getting married in 3 weeks. It had been a month since he and his family surprised her family with the letter and the negotiations were concluded.
They were happy he tried to perform the cultural rights needed of him. Jessica’s father expected nothing but a white wedding, so he was most pleased that he would send his only daughter off the right way. Her uncles were glad she brought home a man with money and her aunts weren’t too happy she was the first to marry amongst her cousins but everyone played their part even Namisa.
Kyle and Namisa’s used to be the closest of friends. Their friendship was something lost as a consequence of our break up. It was never anything inappropriate, they spoke mostly when I was around and texted when Namisa was struggling to reach me or Kyle wanted to plan a surprise for me and he needed her help.
Despite his goofy demeanour, Kyle was very knowledgeable and that’s where their friendship stemmed from. Namisa loved the way Kyle’s mind worked and Kyle enjoyed Namisa’s ability to hold herself in a debate. I used to tell him that she just loves the sound of her own voice but with time I learnt to appreciate her ability to state her opinion without allowing bias affect her comprehension.
Namisa was always terrible at acknowledging another’s emotions or anything that went against something her emotions were invested in but she could state her case and absorb another’s perception without belittling them. She just wouldn’t care what they had to say, she was a “agree to disagree” person to the core of her being.
“Hurry up, we don’t want to be late for dinner.” , Kyle said as he finished his drink.
“It was your idea that we have pre-celebration drinks.” , I responded.
He shook his head, “You should have talked me out of it”.
“I was trying to be a good best man,” I said as we paid the bill and ran off to the car.
I thought he would ask one of his cousins to be his best man. I was a bit surprised when he told me he wanted me by his side when he marries Jessica. When I told my mother about my shock, she told me she wasn’t surprised. She said that Kyle didn’t see me as his friend but his brother and it only made sense that he’d ask me.
My brother was getting married and I couldn’t be happier for him.
He threw me the keys and quickly came on our playlist. Our ‘Celebrating Life’ playlist with songs we used to keep us motivate and appreciate the strides we’d made. The drive began on such a high, with the music turned up loud and rapping along to Meek Mill’s Amen.
However as we continued to drive to the golf estate, I could see he was lost in his thoughts; staring outside the window. He hardly said a word and occasionally sang along to the radio. Nothing but silence, which was something out of character for him.
“Are you okay Kyle?”
He turned and looked at me.
“Can you believe it? I’m getting married man.”, he said with a smile on his face.
“Yeah man. Are you excited?”.
“For the wedding? Not really, it’s just a huge party basically but to spend the rest of my life with her? Yes… Definitely… She makes everything better man”.
I’d never heard Kyle speak about anyone this way, then again he and Jessica had been through so much.
Their families weren’t in support of their relationship when they started dating but Jessica and Kyle endured and persevered. Some family members cited culture and other aspects as reasons for why they should separate. Some were minor but for the most part, race and family background played a huge part in it. No one brought it up but it was in the small comments. ‘His family doesn’t slaughter, so what will you do when there is a ceremony at home and your husband needs to do something?’, ‘Are you sure she isn’t with you because of the money?’.
Looking at him, I felt a sense of pride in my friend, knowing that he was getting his happy ending.
A part of me wished that I never said anything because he moved from total silence to non-stop chatter. Going on and on about the wedding preparations. How Jessica had already picked the dress, how he wasn’t getting the food he wanted and that her mother basically hijacked every part of the wedding except tonight. He occasionally threw in a thank you for Namisa and I letting him use the hotel as a venue for their wedding.
He carried on for a few minutes and then lashed to look at me. “So when are you and two getting married?”.
A question I had not really thought about but before I could answer, Namisa’s name popped up on the car dashboard. We both knew not to pick up the phone call. Nothing annoyed her like being late. We waited until the phone stopped ringing and the music came back on, turned to one another and burst out in laughter.
20 minutes later, the venue was in sight and we knew we had to prepare ourselves. We parked the car and saw his mother and Namisa standing outside waiting for us. From the look on their faces, I already knew we were in trouble.
“So how are we doing this?”, I asked.
“Divide and conquer. Divide and conquer my friend”, he responded in jest.
We laughed and walked out of the car. He walked over to his mother; and I to Namisa. “Mom, before you say anything”, he said, “I just wanted to tell you that even though I’m going to be someone’s husband soon, you will always be my favourite woman in the world”. She sneered at him and went in, he quickly followed her in and turned around at door to wink at me before entering.
“Honey, I’m sorry I’m late but I can explain”, I said jokingly.
“Let me guess… What had happened was… You had a flat tire”, she said mockingly.
I wanted to nod and say yes but the look on her face made it clear, funny wouldn’t work today.
“Are you really mad?”, I asked.
“No. Not at all. I kinda expected you to be late. You were never on time for any event when we were dating.”
“No fair. Half the time I was late because of you.” , I quipped.
She giggled, “We were too passionate for our own good.”, she said before taking a pause, “Do you think this could have been us?”.
“Us? What do you mean Namisa?”.
“I mean getting married. Would we have ever gotten here?”, she asked.
“Definitely, remember we went to home affairs twice. If it weren’t for the mix-ups, we would have been married”.
“Oh yes… The first time we were supposed to go, we overslept and the second time, one of your tests was moved to that date, so we had to miss it. Eventually, we found out we were pregnant with Oarabile and just accepted the situation.” I could tell she said the words with no ill intention but I could also see the sadness in her eyes.
“Your dad would have killed us if we did it.”, I laughed and said.
She then looked down and responded, “True. You know I think he would have liked her…”.
“Oratilwe? Definitely. She’s your daughter. He would have loved her dearly.”
“I’m not talking about Ora.”, she replied. “She’s our daughter and his grandchild. I’m talking about Lonwabo. He wouldn’t have been happy that we didn’t get back together but he would have been glad to see you move on with someone as amazing as her.”
“You think she is amazing?”, I asked.
“Yes. Don’t be stupid and let her get away like you did with me. Anyway, we should be going in now. Your girlfriend and everyone else is inside waiting, we don’t want to give them the wrong idea.”
Walking in, I was blown away. It all looked so perfect, from the chandelier to the table settings. Namisa had outdone herself in planning the event.
The program was kept to a minimum, with only immediate family making introductions and speeches. At times it felt a little too much for Kyle’s family, I could see them flinch whenever Namisa and Jessica’s family would ululate.
Kyle stood to make a toast and looked for his future bride but in the midst of everyone’s excitement, no one noticed that Jessica had slipped away.
I asked Lonwabo to look for her in the bathroom and Namisa offered to go outside to check if she was in her car.
“I just went to the bathroom. Jessica isn’t there”, Lonwabo said.
“She isn’t outside. Her car is gone”. Namisa said.
What was a pleasant and peaceful event quickly turned into chaos. Jessica had disappeared and no one knew where to find her.
Kyle tried calling her phone but it kept going to voicemail. Her mother assumed the worst and kept shouting that her daughter had been kidnapped.
Almost on cue, the families began arguing, blaming one another. Her family saying they knew it was too soon and his family saying she probably doesn’t deserve their son if this is how she behaves.
I asked Lonwabo to calm down the families while Kyle and I went to look for her.
This isn’t how I expected this night to end. It was supposed to be a great night for Kyle and Jessica and everything had to go smoothly. At least one person in my circle has to get a win. Was that too much to ask for?
Jade Novelist ©️ 2019