Author’s note: You can catch up on the first part of this story right here!
Sedinam’s eyes were fixed on the fishermen who were mending their nets. ‘I wish it was that easy to fix this mess’, she thought to herself wistfully. She had been sitting at the seashore all day, watching the waves battle with one another, thinking and crying- mostly crying. Every time she thought about the look on Nii Nortey’s face that day, she felt queasy. The wind blew again, forcing her to readjust her shawl around her shoulders. She took off her sunglasses and looked at her watch. It was time to leave and she still had no idea what she was going to do.
Nii Nortey woke up with a start and looked at the alarm clock. The neon hands indicated that it was half past five in the afternoon. It was the same dream- he had been having this dream ever since he walked in on Seddy and Abeiku’s tête à tête. It always started like this: Seddy walking down the aisle in a beautiful dress, with Abeiku waiting at the end. When it got to the ‘if there is any just impediment why these two should not be together’ part, everyone turned to look at Nii Nortey. The only different thing this time was he actually spoke up, ‘He can’t have her. I am in love with her.’
Abeiku had been dreading this meeting all day. Sedinam had sent a text message to him that said ‘We need to talk-all three of us. Saturday 7pm, Abeiku’s office.’ He wasn’t ready to face them, not all at once. And even though he knew that she had picked his office so they could have privacy, he didn’t want to meet Nii Nortey in the same place where the mess began. He didn’t know what to expect from either of them. They hadn’t spoken since the wedding was called off, or to use Nii Nortey’s words, ‘postponed’. Frankly, he didn’t know if he was ready to be in the same room with either of them. It was 6:30pm now, it was too late to chicken out. He could already hear tires screeching in the driveway.
Nii Nortey’s cologne hit Abeiku’s nose even before he actually saw him. Abeiku’s hands started to sweat immediately. How was he going to survive the next few minutes before Seddy’s arrival? He heaved a sigh of relief when Sedinam walked in barely seconds after Nii Nortey had sat down. She sat down facing both men and the pit in her tummy deepened. These were the two men she loved- but yes she loved them differently and something told her that at the end of this conversation, she might end up losing both of them.
‘Erm, can we pray? I am really not sure how else to start this’, she blurted out. Unconsciously, she reached across the table for both their hands and bowed down her head. She didn’t wait to see if they were holding hands, she was too afraid to dare suggest it. As she prayed, she felt lighter and more optimistic. When she opened her eyes slightly, she teared up because the boys were holding hands and their heads were bowed. Her optimism soared to the roof like the Ghanaian inflation rate.
‘I feel like I need to speak first. I am the one who got us into this fix by opening my big mouth. I didn’t intend to break you up. To be honest, I don’t know what I expected to happen. I just felt like I couldn’t be your best man with this on my chest’, Abeiku offered. ‘Well, that is utter rubbish to me. What did you expect? That she would keep it a secret between you two? Or that she would break off the wedding and elope with you? How else was this going to play out without betraying my trust? What kind of selfish move is this? You sat in this country with her for 4 good years- 4 freaking years!! You said nothing, nothing! One month to her wedding to your best friend, if I may add that, your tongue suddenly loosened up. Massa, massa, kpa roff*!’, Nii Nortey literally spat out in rebuttal.
‘I am your best friend, for crying out loud. I grew up with you- both of you. You were like my brother, forget that, you WERE my brother! Brothers don’t do this, Abeiku. You broke every rule in the book! You couldn’t even tell me when I proposed to her that you had feelings for her. Honestly, I have always suspected that you do, but when I came back and you still hadn’t said anything, I figured you probably weren’t interested. Then just when I take my leap of faith, you decide to pull the ground from beneath my feet. If that isn’t selfish, I don’t know what else is!’
‘Nii, I am sorry-‘
‘Haha, yes because sorry can make it alright, can’t it? Sorry can erase everything that has happened in the last two weeks, can’t it? If I were you, I would just shut up. Besides, I only came here for one reason- to listen to what Sedinam has to say, not to you.’
Two pairs of eyes turned expectantly at her. After fidgeting with her car keys for a bit, she chose her next words carefully, ‘Maybe this is really all my fault. I should never have agreed to marry you, Nii, if I was hoping that Kuku would love me back someday. We are in this mess because I didn’t have the courage to say the right thing at the right time. Maybe it is time for me to say the right thing- Nii, I can’t marry you, knowing what I know now. You don’t deserve a wife whose heart is somewhere else.’
Now she was crying softly. She struggled to regain her composure and continued, ‘Having said that, I don’t know if I can marry you either, Abeiku. Our lives are so intertwined that I don’t know how this can end without being awkward. The people we invited for the wedding are the same people we would invite to our wedding. Isn’t that a little twisted for you?’ Abeiku’s heart dropped from the heights it soared to when she said she won’t marry Nii. There was utter silence for the next ten minutes. Everyone was thinking about what to do next.
Finally Nii Nortey spoke, ‘It doesn’t make sense for all of us to be unhappy. You two love each other, and frankly it would just be a matter of months before things are back to normal between Abeiku and I. Yes, it will be a little awkward, but who cares? I had a job offer in Norway. I turned it down, maybe it is time to call them back. It will give all of us time to heal and reflect. Invite me to the wedding’. Without waiting for a reply, he got up and left before this burst of courage vanished.
Nii Nortey adjusted his bowtie in the mirror and smiled a satisfied smile at his reflection. The day had finally arrived. Four years had passed after their conversation ended. He had left for Norway like he said he would. He was in contact with Abeiku, but Sedinam was resolute in keeping her distance from both of them- until two years ago. Just like he had predicted, Abeiku and Sedinam had ended up together. Today was their wedding day and yes, he was the best man. He looked at his friend and said ‘It is time to go and meet your bride’. On another floor of the same hotel, Sedinam looked up at her in-law Araba, exasperated, as the makeup artist applied something else to her face. It was finally time to go. She was giddy with excitement, especially because her Pistis wedding dress still fit her perfectly. It had been a long road.
Abeiku’s breath caught up in his throat when he saw her at the entrance. He turned to Nii Nortey and mouthed ‘Thank you’. Nii Nortey nodded and smiled. It was just like his dream. There was a pregnant silence after the ‘just impediment’ question, but this time it wasn’t awkward. The joy in Sedinam’s face was definitely worth every bit of it. He was still in love with her, but he was going to carry that secret with him to the grave. To the world, he had moved on, but only his heart knew the truth. The pastor pronounced them man and wife and an ecstatic Abeiku leaned in to kiss his bride.
*Kpa roff! – Stop messing around!
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©Maukeni Padiki Kodjo, 2014