Shishir 2018, Short Stories -Anne Acho



By Anne Acho


In my beautiful gown, I walk down the aisle beaming and in a few seconds I finally stand beside him. I tilt my head a little to catch a glimpse of him. Coincidentally he does the same too. Our eyes meet and we both smile. Turning to the pastor he says “Can I please hold her hands?”. The pastor smiles but replies, “We haven’t gotten to that part yet”. He addresses the congregation for about five minutes and then whispers to us, “It is time to say your vows”.


We stand face to face and he hurriedly takes my hand as he smiles shyly, my cheeks turn red by default. He begins, “Mama, You and I know that I am not a perfect man; and you have already seen a lot of my imperfections which means I may not always deliver on the promises I make to you today, but I assure you that I will continually strive to keep these vows I make to you today. When I look in the mirror, I see a reflection of myself and also, I see a weakness; I see imperfection - a lonely man, and the perfection of that man I see is you, Anne. I promise to love you patiently, cherish and adore you, give you all that I am and have, commit myself to bringing out the best in you, and never take you for granted.


I swear that even when I’m a hundred and twenty and you are a hundred and fourteen, you’ll still be the most beautiful girl in the world to me. You’ll always remain the sunshine in my life, the star that illuminates my heart. I have a simple calculation on how long we will be together, I counted the stars in the heavens and sand on the seashore. I multiplied the answer by our heartbeats from birth till present and I arrived at an answer which equals forever. My love, I will love you till I no more exist”. As he says his wedding vows, teardrops run freely down my face. I’m struggling to stop these streams that seemed to have been unlocked by telling myself that I will spoil my beautifully made-up face but it isn’t working.


He puts his hand in his pocket, brings out his handkerchief and dabs my face to which I respond “Be careful about my makeup!” These words are already out, before I realise that the microphone has picked them up causing the congregation to snigger. He giggles, puts his handkerchief back into his pocket, and puts the ring on my finger. Staring into my eyes, he whispers “I love you” - words I have heard a million times but which still make my heart skip a beat and my lips smile the one million and oneth time! I smile slightly and nod.


As I say my wedding vows, I stare into his eyes, saying every word with intent, knowing his love language is ‘words of affirmation’.”My love, the one in whose arms I draw strength, the one in whose eyes I’m beautiful, the one by whose side I’m fulfilled, I am honoured to be a recipient of your beautiful emotions. I never knew I’d find love, at least not this way. I spent so many years of my life building a wall around my heart to keep me safe. I never knew that you’d someday break down this wall and keep me safe. And you have kept me in the safest place; your beautiful heart! Today, I set you, Patrick, as a seal upon my heart, and a seal upon my arm; for love is as strong as death. Your love is better to me than the choicest wine, stronger than the most intoxicating drug.


I am a proud addict of your love. My love, in whom I am well pleased, I promise to be the one who your heart safely trusts in, the one who will do you good all the days of your life, the one you’ll always be proud to call your own. I promise to honour you, prefer you above every man in world, esteem you, adore you, love you and admire you exceedingly. I promise to love you more than actions can show, more than these vows can portray, more and more each and every day. Doubt if tomorrow will ever come, but never ever doubt my love for you. I love you Pat, with all my heart”.


After saying this, I take his ring and with a bit of struggle I put the ring on his finger and then the pastor says “With the authority vested on me, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride". There is a voluptuous eruption of applause from the congregation but all I remember is the gentle way he takes my face in his hands and kisses me for about twenty seconds. I feel the kiss will probably last for three to five seconds because of the presence of the congregation but he proves me wrong. When he finally pulls back, I can’t stop my cheeks from blushing.

We are then instructed to head over to a small room at the corner of the hall to sign the marriage register. Hand-in-hand, we walk over to sign the marriage register as the choir enlivens the atmosphere with music. I am tempted to start dishing out all my moves but hesitate as I remember that I have to save my energy for the part of the reception where my husband and I will take our first steps as newlyweds and I truly need to save all the energy I can because of the six-inch heels on my feet. “My husband, hmmh!”, I think to myself, " That’s what he is now. Sounds nice! No restrictions to what we could do now as a couple." “It’s not time for that, Anne” I tell myself to bring myself back to the current reality.


After signing the register, while dancing back to our seats, I raise my left hand up, my palm facing me and wiggle my fingers to the congregation implying “I’m no longer in the singles cadre”. Some simply smile, others laugh out loud. I catch a glimpse of my mum laughing, clapping her hands and jokingly saying “That’s right, baby!”, her usual way of showing support.

As our car enters the reception venue, the valet takes the car and parks it in a parking space reserved for us. Realising that I hadn’t given him so much as a peck throughout our journey, I hold his hands, plant a kiss on it and smile at him lovingly. A slow smile warms his face and glitters through his eyes. I hear a knock on the window and turn to meet the admiring gaze of a few of my female friends. They are all waving and smiling while giving commendations simultaneously. “Anne, you look mwwaah!”, “beautiful bride!”, “wow!” “I love your wedding gown”, “you nailed it!. At this point it dawns on me that just like how I had been keen in the past on seeing brides on their wedding days, today I am the ‘beautiful bride’ everyone wants to catch a glimpse of. I blush to high heavens!


A few minutes later, with our bridal entourage, we make our way into the reception hall with an award-deserving coordinated set of dance steps. It turns out more beautiful than we initially planned. The entire hall is agog; there is scarcely a person without a smile on the face.

As I sit in the hall, I take out time to take in the wonderful scenery. The Gazebo, under which we are seated, is beautifully adorned with icicle lights that twinkle like refined diamonds. The side stool in front of us is covered by Damask-rose material, having on it a flower vase with my favourite flower; Daisy. I look at Patrick and smile, knowing that this is no mere coincidence. I remember how we both agreed that our first daughter would be named after this breathtaking flower.


The hall is draped with Turquoise and orange Voile, ornately patterned across the four corners of the hall. Just then, I notice the walk-way rug actually had our names printed on it and had beautiful petals dispersed all over it, with beautifully lit Chinese lanterns as walkway stands which jolts my memory to the taste of the Chinese tea ‘lap sang sou chong'. The chairs are all covered by Spandex fabric embellished by lapis lazuli, and the tables, damask with each table bubbling with assorted drinks as well as finger dishes. Oh mine! I must have been too engrossed in those ‘award-deserving dance steps’ not to have taken cognizance of all the rigorous details that gives the hall its present shimmer!

My wandering thought is brought back by a tug on my right arm. I look and I see Patrick extending a wine glass filled with wine to me. I look around and notice everyone else is standing, holding a wine glass, so I immediately grasp that the toast had begun. Kalu, the best man, lifts his glass and says “to Pat and Anne, may this patanne of love continue”. The guests look excited as they hit their glasses with one another and chorus “cheers”. I wonder if their look of excitement is as a result of Kalu’s intended pun at the end of his speech or as a resullt of the other lines of his speech I had completely missed out on; maybe both! most likely both! “Well”, I say to myself, “when I watch the recorded video clip, I will know”.

Next on the programme is the cutting of the wedding cake. We stand and walk over to the cake stand. I place my hands on the knife inserted into the side of the cake facing us and Patrick places his hands over mine. The MC says “I’ll be calling several numbers, when I get to the number of children, you both want to have, cut the cake”. Patrick immediately whispers, ”Mama, of course you know we have already decided to have only two children.


However, since both our parents have been talking about how they are expecting a bunch of grandchildren from us and my parents have five and yours, four. If we make our intentions known here, one or both of them, especially our mothers, could faint right here in the hall” I chuckle. “so let’s pull a fast one on them, let’s cut the cake at number four, so they’d both be happy”. “I nod in agreement”. The MC begins “a hundred...” ”A hun what? He’s gotta be kidding me!” Twenty, Ten, Seven, Six, Five, Four...” We cut our cake. Some guests are surprised at our choice. My mum jumps to her feet and yells “that’s right baby!” Patrick whispers to me, “it worked!” My chuckle erupts into a high-pitched laughter.


Hand-in-hand, We glide to the dance floor and soon stand face to face. He slips his hands on my waist and I place my hands on him as our favourite song begins to play...

Love is not a place, to come and go as we please. It’s a house we enter in and then commit to never leave. So lock the doors behind you, throw away the keys. Let’s work it out together, let it bring us to our knees. Love is a shelter, in a raging storm. Love is peace, in the middle of a war.


But if we try to leave, may God send Angels to guard the doors. No, Love, is not a fight, but it’s something worth fighting for...


I hang on to his body and his hands slide behind me as we move our bodies rhythmically to the melody. I soak in all the wordings of the song as I solemnly meditate on it. This song has a way of evoking my emotions and churning my thoughts. At this moment, I feel a surge of emotions; pure joy at the thought that we had crossed every hurdle to finally become husband and wife, tension at the passing thought of what lies ahead of us, weakness as his hands glide up and down behind me and he tilts his cheeks to rest on my face, and sadness that this moment is but a temporal phenomenon.


Immediately this song ends, the DJ changes the track to a song with a faster tempo. Almost immediately, we are joined by friends and family on the dance floor. We dance for more than thirty minutes. We have every intention to stay longer but the MC chases us off the dance floor like little children caught playing in the rain.

It’s time for me to pass on the ‘Mrs’ baton to the next ‘lucky’ single lady. As tradition dictates, I climb unto the elevated platform with my back facing the audience, as the single ladies all take their positions below the platform, eagerly anticipating the throwing of the bouquet. The DJ begins playing the song ‘single ladies’ by Beyonce. I decide to taunt the ladies a little by dancing a little longer than they expect and throwing the bouquet when they least expect it. The flower swirls through the air as Esther, my chief bridesmaid simultaneously jumps and intercepts it. She is ecstatic and jumps up and down while waving the flower. I giggle and think to myself “it’s about time, David puts a ring on this ‘ecstatic’ finger!


The celebration closes with a vote of thanks by Patrick. We seat as we await our cue from the head of security to make our way to the car park and out of the compound.


Throughout the journey to the hotel, I do every thing within my power not to think about the events about to unfold. I tell myself over and over again, “stop being anxious, nature will take its course”. I am anxious because this will be our first night together, that is if we actually ‘get down to business’ this night, because, I’m as tired as a horse! I try suppressing my anxiety because Kalu and Esther are seeing us off to the hotel to get us settled in before they leave.


I also don’t want my anxiety to come off to Patrick as my not wanting to be intimate with him, because to tell the truth, my body has yearned for him for such a long time. Our car enters the hotel compound. I take in a deep breath and say to myself, “this is it!” We step out into the nine feet wide and eighteen feet long parking lot and Esy and I follow behind Patrick and Kalu. They go to the reception to sort out our booking details while Esther and I sit for a while. I take a quick glance at the reception arena; it is an enormous area having a Spiral staircase and exquisite chandelier. I am feeling a bit uneasy because I’m still in my wedding gown. I feel a multitude of eyes piercing through me and even though we meet only two people at the reception, the uneasiness I feel increases the intensity of their gaze to that of about a hundred pair of eyes.


We finally check into our hotel room, and I give Esy a warm hug for all her help; boy, do I owe her big time! Patrick and Kalu shake each other while doing their manly, shoulder to shoulder side hug. Immediately, they both leave, Patrick starts unpacking, and I announce that I am going to take a shower. I am glad when he doesn’t propose stepping into the shower with me as I really need to bath alone in order to relieve tension and also get myself prepared for him when he goes in to take his bath. Being a ‘novice’ doesn’t mean I didn’t adequately prepare for my honey moon. On the contrary, I planned to knock him dead with a see-through, pink coloured lingerie with a strategically located opening below. Pink, being his favourite colour, the lingerie is a sure kill!


As I step out of the bathroom with a towel hanging loosely around my chest, I see him at the door in only his underwear, patiently waiting for me to come. I’m so grateful for the level of patience this man has shown to me. He pecks me on the forehead, smiles and makes his way into the bathroom. I, naughtily, spank him on his bottom and giggle, He giggles too. He pokes his head out of the bathroom door and says “I’ll be right out honey.”


I painstakingly put on the lingerie, wear a vanilla-flavoured body spray, use my hands to pat uncooperative strands of my hair to proper order, admire myself for the last time in the mirror and lie on the bed. He comes out of the bathroom within ten minutes stark naked. My eyes widen and my jaws literarily drop open. He says to me, “I just feel that my being naked, will help you be more comfortable with your being naked also. When I told you our honey moon concept is patterned after ‘Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden’, I wasn’t kidding!” “I see!” I replied jokingly and we both giggle.


He finally notices the lingerie and exclaims, “wow, you look breathtaking” He climbs into bed, holds me and says “And you smell like my favourite Ice-cream flavour” to which I reply “I’m yours for the eating”. This statement tickles him beyond my expectation because I have never heard him laugh the way he does. I say to him “Mine, I love you from that part of my heart where no one has been to before, and I don’t even know where that is! ”Mine?”, is that my new pet name?” I nod. He takes my face in his hands and kisses me deeply, my lips respond as my hands frisks him. Our bodies explode in voluptuous passion!


Anne Okpi is from Nigeria. She writes short stories, articles and inspirational pieces. She describes her writing style as Info-comedic; a powerful combination of information and soul-refreshing jokes to ensure her pieces are forever etched in your heart.


Our Contributors !!

Some of our writers!

  • We occassionally invite writers to send their musings. Do send in your work, and we will host it here.
  • Do visit the Submit page to submit your work.