DOWN THE AISLE, OUT OF LIFE
But as we stood outside waiting for the car, with one or two people rushing towards us to congratulate us, I saw Brenda walk towards me too

DOWN THE AISLE, OUT OF LIFE

By Kemboi Victor

As I watched her walk down the aisle of the decorated church holding flowers against her tummy I admired her like the first time I saw her. Angie, my-wife-to-be appeared so beautiful and smart inside the designedly mermaid flowing white gown showing off her curvy hips which for the first time reminded me of that lucky morning when I had met her.

I met her at a bus stop in our estate, both of us waiting to board a matatu to town. At first I feared to greet her but the delays in the arrival of the matatu eventually made us to strike a conversation. All along I was burning with sweet feelings and fortunately, a car stopped to pick us and we boarded sitting next to each other.

Angie was a sweet speaking and good looking.  She spoke kindly and humbly and for a moment I forgot about Brenda, whom I had dated for nearly four months. Angie had taken me unawares with her alluring beauty firing me up. All along the way to town we spoke and by the time we were alighting we had exchanged contacts.

After that we meet frequently and saw ourselves falling in love. I don’t know whether to call it an accident or not, but few months after our meeting, Angie was pregnant with a pair of identical twins.

When Meghan and Ensley were born my parents decided that we got married immediately to save them ‘shame’ since they were the most revered church leaders and so, here we were getting married today at All Saints Shauri Moyo church.

Stacy and Victoria, the flower girls, led Angie down the aisle to the pulpit where I was standing. On her sides were her parents Mr and Mrs Kombo. The trio walked as sweet music played in the air. Today I was officially ending my bachelorhood and Angie and I would be declared a married couple shortly by Reverend Cheruiyot, the new parish vicar.

And she walked in wonderful glory, slow and graceful. My heart skipped with joy as I watched. Unlike her parents whose faces were gloomy, perhaps because it was their last day with their last born, Angie was full of joy. And man; those well arranged white teeth added the grandeur.

No doubt, Angie was the happiest woman on earth that day. This was the day she had so long waited for. For so many times she had pressurized me into wedlock only that I had postponed the issue since I had not decided between her and Brenda, whom I had also continued dating silently, showering her with love and so many false promises of marriage.

Eventually she stopped next to me. Then the pastor spoke to me. I could only see Angie’s happy face through the veil.

“Please unveil her face and tell us whether she is the one. Perhaps Mr. and Mrs Kombo have brought you a different girl,” he said, amid laughter in the church.

I unveiled Angie’s chocolate brown face and she chuckled.

“She is the one,” I told the Padre and the congregation cheered and clapped so hard that I thought others would have to go to hospital to treat their broken hands after the service.

“We are here today to celebrate the union of Mr. Wambili Josphat and Ms. Angie Kombo,” the Padre continued. “The Bible says whoever finds a wife finds a good thing and so our God has seen it good for Mr. Wambili to live with Ms. Angie as husband and wife until death separates them…what God has put together no man can put asunder and so,” the padre paused and looked at the congregation for few seconds, “if there is anyone that feels like these two should not be married for reasons known to them, please keep quiet and don’t speak until Jesus comes.” The church burst into peals of laughter. This was unheard of. “Ama namna gani? You should have raised your question before, in our subsequent announcements that ran for three weeks that ended last Sunday. But for you kept quiet those days, you cannot stop us today from eating rice and meat.”

The congregation clapped and laughed more at that. It was the first time the padre was not giving chance to that person who felt there was a reason why the wedding should stop. This was the first wedding Reverend Cheruiyot was conducting after he was posted to our church two months ago and unlike the rest, he was different. I celebrated once in my wicked heart knowing that I had lied to Brenda for long until three weeks ago when I had just dumped her for Angie.

But now when I took my eyes off Angie to the congregants I spotted Brenda at the backseat, looking at me. That was a rude shock for me and I almost fainted. I never expected to see her having been sure that she had no clue of my wedding. Actually, since I met Angie I had been double dealing until the day I dumped Brenda despite her love and support in our relationship. From the time I went to Angie’s home for a show up and engagement, I never revealed to Brenda that I had a changed my mind on her.

Goodness, she never came to know anything about me and Angie. Our long distance had made it hard for her to learn the truth. Actually, her home was miles and miles away in Nakuru and I did all my dirty games secretly in Eldoret. I had decided to remain quiet and have a secret wedding which she was not to know about.

From the seat Brenda looked at me, her face showing disbelief, anger and distress. Maybe I had underrated her but she seemed capable of stopping the wedding. She stood there, staring at me like someone that had just lost a close relative or friend through death. Someone must have briefed her through phone and she had come to confirm for herself that I was indeed getting married after our sudden separation three weeks ago.

Actually I never hated Brenda. She was the girl that first loved me in my struggling days. I had only found myself in a position so hard to tell her the truth. The so many lies I had showered her got so hard to reverse too, yet on the other hand, Angie’s pregnancy had been a real setup for me. I had myself to blame for running two relationships.

Because of that Brenda never got the chance. And she never knew about the other side of me. I had been so keen and avoided the topic of us visiting our parents like plague whenever I was with her. And whenever that topic came, I would suddenly get preoccupied with office work, meetings and attending non-existent conferences.

And here I was. Inside me, my heart increased its beats and I feared Brenda might spoil the day with ugly drama. A feeling of guilt engulfed me and I suddenly felt I had hurt Brenda badly. Even the thought of what I had done few moments before I entered church pricked me to the core for I had alerted Murage my friend to keep any of my ex girlfriends at bay and by all means not to be present in church where I was to make my vows.

I wondered how Brenda had made her way in presence of Murage, amazingly sitting next to each other as if they had conspired to see my heart jumping out of my skin. My friend, those few minutes seemed like endless days.

In my confused mind I saw Brenda shooting up and disgracing me in front of everyone even after I had tied knots with Angie. I saw her narrating our love story in front of the church crying, as Angie looked at me like I were a monster.

The padre continued to lead us through our vows nonetheless. The first to take it was Brenda. I took her left hand in mine holding a ring in my right as she was led through. Slowly I started feeling my stomach aching and perhaps I thought diarrhea would hit me.

What if Brenda shot up in the middle and stopped the wedding raged in my mind. However, I held my breath, hoping that something came and stroke Brenda to death and resurrect her after the session had passed.

“Do you Brenda take Josphat to be your husband, to have and to hold from this day forward for better or worse, in wealth or in poverty, in sickness or in health, in sorrow and in happiness, to love and to cherish until death separates you two according to God’s holy law?” The vow came amid my confusion.

“Yes, I do,” Angie said and a tear tumbled down her cheeks. I could not tell whether it was happiness or sadness but women ululated as the other congregants clapped.

“And you Josphat, do you take Angie as your wife, to have and to hold from this day forward for better or for worse, in wealth or in poverty, in sickness or in health, in sorrow and happiness, to love and to cherish until death separates you two according to God’s holy law?”

For some few seconds I flashed back and looked again at Brenda who was looking at me like so sharply. I could tell she had already started sobbing in regrets. I murmured a prayer inside me avoiding her and turned to Angie, faked a smile and said, “Yes I do, and this is my solemn vow.”

There were ululations and cheers in the air for several seconds. And we took our rings next.

I was the first to put the ring on Angie’s finger. And shortly after Angie had put hers on mine, excitement and joy flared.

“Now you may kiss the bride.”

And I kissed Angie’s lips feeling the betrayal Brenda was seeing. Shortly after, we were signing our marriage certificate which Angie folded and kept it in my coat’s breast pocket.

***

I was uncomfortable throughout the short sermon. I thought Brenda would still create drama at her right time. Otherwise why had she come while I had not invited her? My mind was no longer in the sermon and so many times I was caught off guard when I could not answer the padre’s simple questions.

I had so far faked a thousand smiles to show that I was happy and alert. I would also turn to look at my wife Angie and noticed her charm, her demeanor and beauty that continued to sparkle. The tears she had shed awhile ago had diminished and she sat next to me pressing my hand tightly.

But now I continuously whirled Brenda’s thought. What was she thinking of me at the back? I wondered. Angie had just been declared my wife and there was nothing I could do with Brenda except leaving her to make me her prime enemy. I knew she was shedding tears at my betrayal but what could I do?

We danced our way out of the church as her eyes followed me full hate and resentment. I just wanted to get into the car which I was to use with Angie and vanish from her sight the moment we got out.

But as we stood outside waiting for the car, with one or two people rushing towards us to congratulate us, I saw Brenda walk towards me too. For several seconds she stood in front of us and I braced myself for the hardest times.

“I wish you the best Josphat, God bless you,” she said lastly and she left sadly. I definitely understood the mockery which seemed to baffle Angie too.

“Who’s this honey? She looks sad and emotionally beaten.”

“Ahmmm, this is Alfred’s wife,” I said without thinking.  The fictitious Alfred had just popped up my mind to save the situation. Then Murage too chipped in.

“Her eyes have disturbed her for the entire sermon, she has eye problems and her glasses broke yesterday,” he said.

“She will get well we hope. Poor woman,” I added hoping Brenda disappeared forever. I saw her walk to a taxi which later headed the direction to town, perhaps to her home.

We entered the car and left for our photo shooting. During this moment I signaled Murage to ensure Brenda would never appear again in my sight until the ceremony ended. I had walked down the aisle with Angie and finally made Brenda out of my life.

***

I managed to have Murage share a word with me later and he said Brenda had left to Nakuru. All along at the church he was careful to prevent her from causing mayhem. If she came back, he promised, he will keep everything under control.

“And why did you allow her come to church?” I asked now feeling a bit relieved.

“She promised to stay cool and I decided to allow her in. However, I kept on holding her in case she shot up. I would have choked her and hurried her out in the name of she had fainted in case she caused troubled.”

That was the stupidest idea my friend Murage had made that day but I knew I had wronged Brenda to her bone marrow which I was to live regretting having lied to her for so long.

***

I heard a week later from Natasha, Brenda’s friend who gave me a call that Brenda could not bear the break up and had attempted suicide, all because of my wicked actions! Fortunately, she didn’t die and she was recuperating in the Nakuru Level Five Hospital. Was I to visit her? I was so confused. I prayed that the good Lord found her the love of her heart too. And guys never play with a heart that loves you!

The End

© 16/3/2020

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