There were loud knocks on the door….. The knocks persisted when she refused to open the door of the large bathroom.
She looked around frantically, searching desperately for a way out, but there was a burglary proof on the small window that seemed like her only chance of escape.
Certain that there was no chance of escape from this “dungeon” she had locked herself in, she sat heavily on the closed lid of the toilet and stared at the ceiling, trying to block out the screams for her to open the door and the loud banging on the door.
She allowed her mind to drift to what had put her in this situation. She had woken up that morning and looked at her surroundings. It all seemed surreal and unbelievable for her. She was in a very big room, which was probably the master bedroom of a mansion that was very close to the beach. This was probably where she would spend the rest of her life, she had thought. Although she had prayed and fasted for this day, the day was upon her and she was totally freaking out.
Maybe it was the conversation she had had with her fiancé the previous night. Everything seemed scary to her now. She looked at Imabong, her maid of honor sleeping peacefully beside her. She knew she had to get ready since the make-up artiste was definitely going to be coming early. The room was big enough for every preparation to be made.
“Wow, Irene…. It’s finally your big day.” Imabong said. Irene wasn’t sure when her maid of honor had woken up, but she wished she hadn’t…. she was too scared to face reality and speaking with Imabong would make this very real.
“Finally, you’re getting married.”Imabong said. Irene blinked, feeling her heart beat faster than normal. “You are marrying the man of your dreams and from today, you are going to be somebody’s wife. No longer ‘Miss’…. now ‘Mrs.’ Irene.”
“IB….. I’m not sure I’m ready for this” Irene said after a few minutes of silence.
“What?….. What do you mean” Imabong questioned
“Truthfully, this is not the type of wedding I want…. I am supposed to be married in a church and not close to a beach because of a lame tradition that requires that we honor a goddess of the sea.” She replied pensively.
“Hmm…. I understand how you feel Irene, but just think of it as a dream wedding every girl desires…. Forget the tradition thing, you are going to have a spectacular wedding on the beach.” Imabong said with a dreamy smile on her face. “Then think about the man you want to marry.” She continued. “He is your exact spec. He is tall, dark and handsome. He is smart and very wealthy. Who cares about what he believes in? You are going to have a perfect wedding and you are marrying into wealth. You won’t have a problem.” Imabong said convincingly.
Irene nodded. “My husband-to-be is very ‘perfect, but I’m scared that he will make me serve what his people worship and I feel bad for blowing off Segun and going for Richard, all because of his physical qualities.” She explained, finally letting her best friend in on her fears.
“Which Segun? Abeg abeg abeg…. That spiro-koko guy with no money and no future.” Imabong said hissing.
“Well, he wants to become a pastor and that’s why he didn’t join the corporate work force.” Irene defended.
“So you want to become a broke pastor’s wife abi?” Imabong asked hissing again. “What is even wrong with Richard? He goes to church too.”
“I know he goes to church, but the last time I went to his house, I saw a lot of charm-like things and he suggested this very traditional wedding. I feel like I’m entering into something I can’t come out of.” Irene said looking very confused.
“Why will you be planning to come out of your marriage? Isn’t it supposed to last forever?” Imabong responded smartly.
“I know it is… but it’s not just about the marriage…” Irene said, taking a moment to consider if she could tell imabong about the conversation she had the previous night. “Alright IB, this is all about the scary conversation I had with Richard last night.” She said.
“What conversation?” Imabong asked. Before Irene could respond, there was a knock on the door. It was the make-up artist. She had been sent in by Richard’s mother, who recommended her as the best makeup artist in the world.
The cane that broke the camel’s back was the fact that the makeup artist had insisted on calling her ‘Queen’”
That was the same name Richard had called her the previous night, when he told her that she was coming into a family of the deep blue sea to be a queen. He didn’t explain his statement, but she had just felt that it was all a figure of speech that probably meant that she was marrying into a wealthy family and Richard, being the sole heir, would mean that she would be the “queen.”
It was however the way he had said it that really disturbed her and made her a bit uncomfortable.
Now that the Make-up artist had called her the same thing and gave her a sort of reverence she didn’t understand, she couldn’t think of one way to justify it. It all seemed creepy. When she thought deeply on everything, she began to fear that the wedding was an initiation into something occult.
After moments of pondering on it within herself, she began to blame herself for even choosing to date Richard in the first place. She knew that it was greed and lust of the eyes that had brought her to this moment. Segun had been very good looking and gentlemanly. She just hadn’t considered him because he didn’t dress as classy as Richard and he wasn’t as Rich.
Richard had come as a cool, rich man of her dreams that had swept her of her feet with his looks, gifts and English accent. She knew right there and then that the deceitful cares of the world had swept her off God’s will and she was in the wrong place, getting married to the wrong person. She almost cried as the Makeup artist worked on her face. It was now too late for her.
Then a second thought came to her.
It wasn’t too late yet. She wasn’t married to Richard yet.
“Please I need to use the restroom.” she told the middle aged woman as a half-baked plan formed in her head.
The woman nodded and bowed. “Alright my queen” She said.
Irene went into the luxurious bathroom and locked herself in. she began to weep. Not caring that she was ruining her make up. She began to wish that she could go back in time and make the right decisions…..
The loud knocking sounds on the bathroom door stopped, bringing Irene out from her train of thoughts. She had been so lost in her thoughts that she had blocked out the sound of the people knocking on her door. Twenty minutes after she went into the bathroom, the makeup artist had come to call for her. When she hadn’t responded, the lady raise alarm. It had been over an hour since she locked herself in and different people had been knocking on the door. Now that the knocking stopped she became tensed.
“Irene.” A masculine voice called to her. It was Richard. “Enough of this childish play, you have to come out now.” He said in a stern way, causing her heart to beat faster.
“I am not coming out.” She screamed in a squeaky voice that made her fear very obvious. “I know that this is not an ordinary marriage ceremony.” She said, half hoping for Richard to tell her that she was being delusional. However, after a few minutes of silence he spoke up.
“This just makes it easier. At least I don’t have to explain too much to you.” Richard said. Irene felt chills all over her body as Richard confirmed her fears. “The engagement ring on your finger was the first step. There is no turning back at this point.” He said with a chuckle that made goosebumps rise on Irene’s arm.
She stared at the ring on her finger and tried to take it off. It didn’t budge. She pulled and pulled at it but it just stayed on her finger like it was glued to it.
“Open the door Irene” Richard said loudly, with evident anger in his voice.
“Irene! Irene!!” He shouted.
“Oh Lord, Help me!… God!! I need your help” Irene cried out hopelessly, tears flowing freely from her eyes.
“Open this door now Irene. If you don’t, I will break it down. Irene…. Irene….”
She shut her eyes in silent cries to God as Richard kept calling her name and hitting the door.
“Irene…. Irene” She heard a different familiar voice call to her. It was Imabong.
She opened her eyes and her surroundings were completely different, but still familiar. She sat up and saw Imabong staring at her with concern. She quickly looked at her finger and heaved a sigh of relief as she noticed it was empty. She looked around and saw that she was in her dormitory. She wiped the sweat off her face and hugged her friend and roommate. “Thank God it was all a dream.” She exclaimed.
“What dream were you having that made you soak your pillow with sweat like this.” Imabong said rolling her eyes.
“It was a terrible nightmare….” Irene was interrupted by the knock on the door. “Are you expecting anyone?” she asked and Imabong nodded.
She opened the door and a very Tall and handsome man walked in. “Irene, this is the guy I’ve been wanting to introduce you to. His name is Richard” Irene felt chills go down her spine.
“Hi Irene.” Richard said in a very deep familiar voice that made Irene scream and jump up.
She looked around and noticed she was alone in her room. This time she had to pinch herself to ensure she wasn’t dreaming. There was a knock on her door and she held her breath, expecting to see Richard or Imabong. To her utmost relief, it was her mom.
“Irene. What is the matter? Were you having a bad dream again?” her mom asked.
“I have told you that you need to pray more eh. Oya go downstairs and prepare for morning devotion. We can discuss your dream afterwards.” Her mom said.
Irene looked around as visions of the dream faded away. She looked up and down as reality hit her….
She had totally forgotten the dream. Not even a trace of the dream came to mind. She sighed and got off the bed, praying to God to guard her mind.