... I don't know what I want, but I know it's not this!...
That's all I could think of as I laid beside my fiancé. I looked at him as he
slept, and what I felt was neither love nor hatred. It was resignation. We have
been engaged for as long as I can remember, and it definitely wasn't a
"match-made-in-heaven". Our parents have been the best of friends
even before we were born, and I have a suspicion they made up their mind we
would get married even before our births. It doesn't help that our fathers now
hold political offices in the country and it feels like a merge acquisition or
a business deal. My name is Dupe Olakiitan, soon to be Mrs Dupe Lawson. I was
only just informed of my wedding date, and my husband to be is more or less a
stranger to me. True, I've known him for 26years (Hell!, he was at my naming
ceremony) but I really don't know him. When I was younger, and we would go
visiting or vice versa, everyone called him my husband and called me his wife.
Who would take such seriously? Definitely not a 5year old girl that barely
spoke to the said boy. He is 4years older than I am, and I was more comfortable
being friends with his younger siblings who were closer to my age. At the age
of 16 when I got admission into the university, I realised it wasn't a joke at
all. Our parents did our introduction, and made us realise we would get married
as soon as I completed my education. Talk about being in denial! At the time,
Fola was in his 3rd year (in the same university I got admitted into). He was
asked to take care of me in school, and I was asked to try and get to know him.
Naturally, none of that happened.
Two years after my father was satisfied with my qualifications, and I had
started working, they decided it was time to get married. Wedding date was
picked, we were informed, and they started going out of their way to throw us
together. It was awkward at first, since we had nothing in common but after our
parents made it compulsory that we represent them at occasions as a couple, we endeavoured
to get along.
... The only real failure, is the failure to try. And the measure of success,
is how we cope with disappointments.
Fola and I have known and accepted our fate has it has been drawn for us, but
that doesn't mean we never tried. I can personally tell you about the times I
tried talking with my mother, and pleaded with my Dad. I even went rebellious
at a time and started a relationship with a guy I liked back in school.
Actually, I told myself I was in love with him. Thinking about it now, I might
have agreed to date him for selfish reasons.
My first month in school taught me that my fiancé is a pompous, and proud
spoilt brat! After that, I did everything to avoid him, although he didn't
bother seeking me out himself and I was fine with it! The times we 'mistakenly'
ran into each other, we simply acknowledged each other's presence with casual
greeting regardless of the fact that I wore the ring his parents bought me. He
had strings of girlfriends (not that I gave a rats ass), had a reputation in
school as "the ladies' man", and he definitely told none of his
friends about his "arranged fiancée". As soon as he graduated, the
first thing I did was remove the ring when in school, and the second was accept
to date a guy I had been friends with since my 1st year. I had explained to Ayo
that I was engaged, but he didn't mind. We dated for 2years, and we got serious
by the 3rd when we both went for service. Of course I stayed back to serve in
Lagos, while he was sent to Kano. Before my service was over, I was sent to UK
for my masters programme. When I told my mother about my relationship, all hell
broke loose. I was forbidden from seeing Ayo any longer and they made it clear
he was not to be welcomed in our home. Ayo understood the pressure I was going
through, coupled with the distance, and he started drifting away from me. To
say I was heartbroken is an understatement, but i coped well enough as I stayed
back for over a year in the UK after the completion of my MSc.
... Can we be blamed for being too scared of disappointments to start all over
again? We get up in the morning, and do our best: Nothing else matters.
We (Fola and I) got along nicely, although more in the terms of 'politely'. Not
the way a-soon-to-be married couple should act, but at least we were civil
towards each other. Sometimes when we were really bored at these occasions, we
actually talked about our lives and we seemed to understand each other's
plight. From our talks, I learnt that he still had a girlfriend he was seeing.
Apparently, he truly loved her and had no inkling how to inform her of his impending
marriage. His family totally rejected the girl, and embarrassed her when she went
visiting. At a point, Fola became miserable because his girlfriend broke up.
She had read about our engagement in the paper, and called him with insults and
curses on her tongue. When I noticed how sad he was, being that I knew exactly
what he was feeling, I tried to help him get her back but she virtually told me
to mind my business. I didn't take any offence though, nor did I hold any of
her words to heart; Infact, I felt for the poor girl because all her hopes of
marrying the man she loved had been crumbled.
(to be continued..)