You know how little girls play dress-up? How they pretend to get married to the little cool boy in the estate? How they call it – in the most adorable way – cha mama na cha baba? You know how these little girls grow into pre-teens that cannot stand the sight, smell or sound of boys, then seemingly overnight become inexplicably attracted to the same boys they hated? Do you?
Now, do you remember your first love? That guy or girl who you were convinced held the spark that made your heart beat in his hand? Remember how you felt when you first held hands? When you first put your hand against this person’s chest and felt their heart beat, and you were sure that it beat in the exact same rhythm as yours. When you were convinced they were your soul-mate. Kindred spirits, brought together by the benevolence of a God who you until then, thought only existed to your mom’s chama or women’s guild. Remember that?
I do. What I don’t remember though, is ever wanting to get married. I remember one guy I dated saying he couldn’t wait to marry me and have kids with me. We were in a jav heading to a party in Runda. We were 19. He smiled. I balked. I couldn’t imagine being someone’s wife. Or mother. I was proper horrified. And I got jacked as we walked back home at dawn so I could get into the house before my folks woke up. It was an omen. That guy took me apart later. And I kind of vowed not to let a man close to me. I couldn’t risk getting hurt again.
Then it happened. Much later. Mr. Nice Guy came into my life and turned me from the original cold bitch into some soppy soft chick whose eyes sting when watching romantic movies. He changed my mind about many things. I could suddenly wrap my head around the idea of being a wife, and perhaps a mother even. I didn’t want it very soon though, and the time was only right three years after dating.
And now we’re getting married. And I should be excited about it. I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic about being with Mr. Nice Guy for as long a time as God grants us; not so much about the wedding. I can’t remember ever being excited about wearing a white dress (what innocence?) and sharing a modest kiss in front of hundreds of people. I don’t like dresses that require another pair of hands so you can pee. I don’t like posing for pictures. I don’t like being the centre of attention. I don’t like flowers close to my person – I have allergies. I don’t want to walk up the aisle to some love song while everyone watches me. I don’t want people looking at my dress and debating what kind of underwear I’m wearing because there’s no visible panty line and my ass looks sleeker than theirs will ever be. I don’t like having to care about what dozens of people who I don’t consider central to my life might want to eat on the day. Will the food be enough? If it’s enough, should I have it made less spicy to cater for weaklings? But I like spicy food. I want the food to be just the way I’d serve it up if I made it. Don’t these people know that I’m a beast in the kitchen?
And I certainly don’t like pressure. I hate the way the most mundane of things suddenly become a deal breaker if they’re not just right, or the way every married woman suddenly feels she should give you advice – based on her own life of course, which I never admired. I hate the way everyone has an idea of what your wedding should be like, or how they look at my locs and wonder what the hell I’m going to do to tame the wildness that is my hair so I can look pretty on my “big day”. I hate the way you’re forced to let go of things so the folks can be happy – I’m a real control freak – or the way everyone suddenly thinks it’s ok to blow a stupid amount of cash on a one-day thing, never mind that you might start your married life in poverty – at least you fed people and they smiled at the cameras right?