I listened half-heartedly as her friends gave helpful and downright vulgar marital advice as I remembered how, a few hours earlier, a chance stop at the supermarket at Silverbird Galleria to buy additional pastries led to me almost bumping into a couple holding each other close in the middle of the provisions aisle. Something about the guy seemed familiar, and I frowned
‘Did you hear what I said?’ I asked.
Asandia ignored me as she continued to reapply her lipstick, staring intently at her reflection in the mirror. Her sleek ponytail emphasized her slanted eyes, and her halter-neck floaty dress suited her dark complexion.
‘Asandia’ I started to speak again but she shushed me.
‘I know’. She said this as she returned her Mac lipstick into her impractically tiny gold bag. Asandia turned and started to walk out of the ladies room, but I blocked her path. I did not want to have this conversation, especially not in the ladies room with its strong lingering unnatural floral scent.
‘You know that your Fiancé is dating someone else?’ I asked, baffled by her response (or rather, her lack of response).
Asandia gave me a pitying look.
‘Oh, Tonia. Honey. Of course I know he’s still dating her. Just like he knows that I’m still seeing Ikenna’.
Asandia had a knack for speaking to people like they were peasants. If I didn’t know that her parents were Civil Servants and that she had grown up in a small house at Transit Village, I would have mistaken her for a member of the British Royal Family.
I ignored her patronizing tone and tried to understand what she had just said to me but she rolled her eyes, obviously annoyed by my questions.
‘Babes, they will be wondering where I am’, said Asandia. She reached around me to open the door. I inhaled the scent of whatever expensive perfume she was wearing as she brushed past me.
I watched as she sashayed back to the reserved events room which was filled with her friends who were getting drunker and louder by the second.
I sighed heavily and walked back to Asandia’s bridal shower which I had organized.
The only reason that Asandia had asked me to be her Chief Bride’s Maid was because I was the only one in her close circle of friends who had ‘still not gotten married’.
She gave me this helpful information one Friday afternoon last June when she dropped by at my office unannounced during her lunch break. It took me a moment to realize that I had been subtly insulted to my face, but before I could come up with an appropriate retort, Asandia had swiftly begun to talk about her wedding colours and wedding plans, raising her perfectly arched eyebrows as she spoke.
Would I mind organizing a bridal shower for her, she asked me. I smiled tightly and said sure, why not?
She left me with the promise (or threat) to send me a mountain of information later that evening, and I watched as she marched out my office in her cream body-con dress and matching heels, her weave billowing behind her, and her stride as determined as a warrior gearing up for battle.
That night, I tossed and turned in my sleep, wondering what I had gotten myself in to, but just before dawn, I had a dream that I shaved off Asandia’s eyebrows with my shaving stick; I woke up smiling.
Asandia and I were, to me, friendly acquaintances with a common history: we had been classmates at Holy Cross Primary School at Victoria Island in Lagos. Even back then, she had been the popular one with a lot of friends, while I had been more reserved, always looking forward to the end of the school day.
A chance meeting at an eatery in Abuja over twenty years later reunited us. Asandia was standing at the counter of Sweet Fried Chicken when I walked in, complaining loudly that the staff were too slow with getting her order ready. She looked amazing, with precisely applied makeup and she wore a stylish artfully ripped white t-shirt with matching ripped jeans. Her pouting expression made me almost certain that it was her, but I had to be sure.
I tapped her on the shoulder.
‘Excuse me, please are you Asandia Edet?’ I asked.
She turned and looked at me with such an intense glare that I almost wished that I had not spoken to her.
However, after a moment, her face broke into the most beautiful smile that transformed her features.
‘Oh. My. God. Anthonia Sanusi, is that really you?’ Before I could confirm that I was indeed the one, Asandia had pulled me into a bear hug and did not stop talking for the next ten minutes (by which time a scared-looking server finally had her order ready). This would be how our ‘friendship’ usually played out; Asandia’s mouth running nonstop and me trying to get a word into our conversations.
I found her very funny and I loved her family, but most of the time I was not sure why we were friends in the first place.
‘Does anyone have some advice for the Bride-to-be?’ I asked, playing my part as the dutiful host of the bridal shower.
Asandia was seated on a throne-like pink chair in the middle of the room, surrounded by her giggling friends and being exactly where she wanted to be: the centre of attention.
I listened half-heartedly as her friends gave helpful and downright vulgar marital advice as I remembered how, a few hours earlier, a chance stop at the supermarket at Silverbird Galleria to buy additional pastries led to me almost bumping into a couple holding each other close in the middle of the provisions aisle. Something about the guy seemed familiar, and I frowned. As I watched him rub his female companion’s back, I stared at his precise haircut…his lean physique…the ring on his finger…wait…that couldn’t be Tamuno, Fiance to Asandia, whose bridal shower was happening at that moment?
I lurked behind Tamuno and his lady friend like a poorly-trained amateur detective until we left the supermarket. I was doubtful that it was really Tamuno, until I watched them get into the grey Mercedes Benz that I knew he drove.
When I returned to the venue of the shower (decorated with more pink than should have been legally allowed), I dumped the pastries I had bought on a nearby table, pulled Asandia away from the friends she had been giggling with and marched her to the ladies room to tell her what I had just seen.
Which had obviously been a waste of my time, I mused. As I was contemplating how I would ease myself (I was wearing a trendy but impractical black jumpsuit), my phone rang in my pocket. I brought it out warily, scared that it was another of Asandia’s friends calling to ask for street-by-street directions to the venue.
I smiled when I saw that the call was from ‘Mr. Edet’.
‘How’s the bridal shower going? Is my daughter happy?’ he asked without preamble.
I looked across the room to see Asandia laughing as she opened a gift: red lingerie with very little fabric.
‘Yes, your daughter is very happy’, I replied.
There was a slight pause.
‘Are we still seeing later?’
I gave Asandia a ‘thumbs up’ as I said ‘of course, baby! I’ll call you when I get home’.
I ended the call and sipped from my glass of champagne.
It was really a beautiful bridal shower.
Ivie M. Eke 2018.