Magnus and Ijeoma were planning their renewal of vows. They were lounging in their sitting room. Kevin and Jonah were playing with some bricks on the floor. Magnus was sitting up while she had her head on his lap.
“How much is the chair rental charging?”she asked, chewing on her pen.
Magnus consulted the list he held. “I need to call them. When we booked, they gave me a discount, so I need to confirm that”
“How about the boys? They need new clothes for that day”
“Don’t they have anything they can wear?”, he asked.
“This is not the time for that your miserly behaviour! “, she snapped.
Magnus raised her head to look into her eyes. “Ij, I love you but, you will not speak to me in that way”, he said firmly.
“Hian! Sorry, O! I was only kidding””Not even in jest. Our tongues are powerful. Let us use our words to build up, not to tear down”, he advised.
She nodded humbly.
“I love your boldness and that was what attracted you to me. Feel free to always speak your mind. All I ask is that you be ruled by kindness”, he said, gazing into her eyes tenderly.
She melted. “Yes, hon. And do I get rewarded for being good”, her eyes twinkled with mischief.
“Send these boys to bed and you can collect on your reward”, he whispered.
She laughed as he kissed her ear. Kevin looked up and squeezed his face.
“What?” she asked her son.
“Jonah keeps knocking down my castle”
“Jonah, be nice”, she admonished.
“Sorry, mom”, he sang.
“Apologise to your brother”
“Thanks”, Kevin replied.
“You’re welcome”, Jonah sang.
Regina was flying into the country for Ekene’s wedding. She had stayed away for as long as she could because she did not want to face the inevitable. Life without Magnus, with her closest friends in relationships, and with her pastors seeing her in a new light, was no fun. Gone was the veneer she had used to keep any one from seeing her misery. Now, she was the girl who loved and lost. She had decided that it wasn’t worth it.
After Ekene’s wedding she would quit her job and relocate to Abuja. It was time for a fresh start. Living in a new city would affford her the opportunity to make new friends and build a new support system. It’s not like her old friends would miss her. Miriam was going steady with Adio and Ekene was on cloud 9. What did she have to lose?
In Lagos, she was waiting for her luggage, when her phone rang. It was Osas.
“Hello”, she greeted.
“Hi, Regina. I was told you would be back today. Please, check your email when you get to the office. I sent you some stuff”, he said.
“Alright, I will”
She kept staring at the phone when he ended the call. Osas had once pursued her intently. It was surprising how he switched to become so official with her.
“Why hadn’t she given him a chance? Even if just for a laugh, she could have let him try to win her heart”
She remembered how averse Miriam had been to Adio. Now, she was so excited about him. At 1st, Regina thought she was settling. That was till she heard the guy owned his own company and could afford better cars than the one he chose to drive. Well, Miriam could always help him spend his money, if he didn’t know what to do with it, she smiled.
Regina remembered the offer Sis. Emma, her counsellor had made, to hold her hand and walk her through the waters of singlehood. Perhaps, she should let her. That may be the deliverance she needed. She spied her bags and grabbed them. Loading them onto a trolley, she headed for the exit. She hoped to meet Ekene and Miriam at the bridal house. Today was the last fitting for the bridesmaids’ dresses and she had to try hers on.
It was Ijeoma and Magnus’ vow renewal ceremony day. The day was sunny and beautiful. She stepped into the well-decorated venue in her long gold dress. It was satin, V-necked, fitted, and sleeveless. She looked stunning. Jonah and Kevin walked ahead of her in their dapper white shirts and blue waist coats on blue pants. Their white corsages were similar to the flowers in her bouquet. She looked up at Magnus, standing at the end of the aisle in his blue suit, beaming.
When their eyes met, she smiled shyly. Pastor Shedrack was by him to receive her. Don stood behind him with his wife, Sarah. She spied Pastor Adio with Miriam, Ekene with Fred, Ndidi with Femi and many of her colleagues. Ndidi had forgiven Ekene, after Ijeoma spoke to her. The only persona non grata, was Regina. She held nothing against her but, there was no way she could be welcome at such a gathering. It had dawned on Ijeoma, that she and her husband were the ones who created space in their marriage for her to creep in. Had they handled their conflicts early enough, they could have averted all that went down.
These days, they thrashed every disagreement immediately. No more sulking, malice, or abusive language. They told each other, in plain but kind terms, how they felt and worked on problem issues together. She could not believe she was the same person who never saw what she had.
But Magnus had changed. He was the man in every sense of the word. Despite the challenge of losing his job, he rallied and began to source work independently. He also implemented a budget that enabled their savings stretch for as long as it would take his firm to become profitable. The ceremony was being largely sponsored by his friends Tuoyo, Don, and Justin. She had a better rapport with his family. Now that they were on an allowance, she could trust that he would provide for the household first. Gone were the days of frivolous expenditure.
They still enjoyed the mentorship of Mr and Mrs Ayuba, who had counselled them. It was awesome to have the wisdom of this godly couple on request. They asked a lot of questions and tried to adhere to their suggestions. Most importantly, at least to Magnus, was the restoration of their sex life. Ijeoma had learned not to withhold it as a punishment. He could not believe the new found passion in their marriage. The years of drought were certainly over!
“Beloved, we are here to celebrate the love of Ijeoma and Magnus”, Pastor Shedrack’s voice boomed as she arrived at the front.
“This day, they declare that they will remain committed to the vows they made on their wedding day. Most importantly, they are saying, “I love who you are today, as much as who you were the day we met”. Let us lift our voices in thanks to our God, for this indescribable gift. For, marriage is honourable”, he sermonised.
Heads were bowed as the choir began a melodious song of thanksgiving. Victory had come despite great odds but it had come at last.
THANKS FOR HANGING OUT WITH ME. THE CONCLUSION COMES UP NEXT WEEK. LET YOUR COMMENTS ROLL IN. CHEERS