This story is based on a conversation I had with one of my beloved friends Naa Awula. She had such vivid descriptions that I forced her to make a story out of it. Plus, I haven’t told a random short story in a very long time-I miss those. Have fun! 😉 Also, this is the first time I have let someone guest feature directly from the blog. I feel so naked 😂 Oh, and show her some love. Make her feel welcome 😉
Shormeh glanced in her rear-view mirror. She was anything but pleased with the version of her that looked back at her. Her hair was a perfect illustration of the word ‘mess’, her face; evidence that soft tissue was not exactly the best way to deal with a sweaty face on a hot day. Every few minutes, she would roll up and turn on the air-conditioning in the hope that by some miracle it was working again. Each time, she was greeted by a rude blast of warm air that made her feel more like bread-dough in a preheated oven. She couldn’t wait to have the air conditioning fixed. Couldn’t wait, but would have to. The quote AC Link had given her for repairing it was reason enough for her to put it off till later. For now, she was playing referee to a match between wedding expenses and her monthly income. Her friend Kayla’s wedding was just a few months away and it turns out she was expected to bear the cost of her wardrobe as a bridesmaid, as a sign of support.
The cost would have been worth it if it was her wedding. But then again, she probably would spend next to nothing on her own wedding since she wasn’t necessarily a fan of all the fanfare that came with weddings these days. Bearing the cost of her bridesmaid’s dress hadn’t seemed like that big of a deal initially until Kayla shared a long list of all manner of items on their WhatsApp group page. Now here she was headed to Spintex with Kweiki to check out shoe shops because her ‘Yi-no-low-na-sh3-no-high’ corner in Makola didn’t have the particular shade of buff peep-toe heels the bride had asked everyone to wear. “Bridesmaid fioo ni gbormor baafee…so so pressu-” she stopped herself mid-sentence, remembering she wasn’t alone in her car.
She stole a glance at Kweiki who throughout the drive had been busy on her phone. Occasionally, she would pose, take a selfie and smile at her screen. “Good.” Shormeh thought to herself; she hadn’t been heard. The last thing she wanted was to have another lecture from Kweiki on weddings. This morning’s dose was enough.
“Oh Shormeh, don’t be boring. It’s the details that count. So what if she wants us to get shoes that are the same shade as plantain Fufu? We’ll be trending on all the popular wedding pages on Instagram, Facebook…. You name it. Don’t you want her wedding to become a hashtag? Be supportive.” Kweiki had said.
“Madam, I’m not even on Instagr-”
“Which your choice really.”
She glanced at Kweiki again. The latter was taking a video of herself dabbing at her face with a powder puff. She uploaded it on Snapchat, then typed across it: ‘Accra is too darn hot’. She looked at Shormeh, “You should be glad I’m here to help. This wedding would have been a total disaster if you were left alone to plan with Kayla.” Kweiki teased.
A mini-truck loaded with sachet water crossed her Aveo, without giving her any warning, leaving the two in a cloud of dark fumes. Shormeh rolled up and turned on the AC in a motion so coordinated, you’d think she’d been practising it all her life, waiting for an opportunity like this one to show it off. A blast of hot air greeted her again. Quickly, did she turn it off.
“Geez! Are you trying to bake us?” Kweiki exclaimed. “I’ve been enduring you turn that thing on and off, for the most part of the morning. If you need it that badly let’s just get it fixed.”
“Well, I would if I could, but with the wedding and everything, it’ll have to wait.” Shormeh had rolled down again.
“Ei Madam, any opportunity to complain about what we’re paying for as bridesmaids! Think of what Kayla has to pay for, it being her wedding and all.” Kweiki reminded Shormeh.
“Well I can’t help but wonder sometimes whether her aim is to get married or just update her social media accounts. It started out cool when she said she wanted us to be her bridesmaids. Then she starts posting all these items on the group page and I’m wondering what’s going on. I ask only to be told these are the things we’ll be using that we have to pay for.”
Kweiki burst into laughter.
“What’s so funny?”
“More like ‘who’s’ so funny?’ Why do you choose to behave like someone who’s time-travelled into this year, Shormeh? Weddings have taken a new turn. A wedding must have personality. It should be able to make other weddings jealous… Set a standard and watch them try to meet it. Get ready, ‘cause when it’s my turn…chai!”
Shormeh shook her head in amusement. She checked the time. 11:23am. Great. Now she would have to move things around in her day if she wanted to get some rest before Sunday. She preferred lazy Saturday mornings to mornings like this one. She would rather stay in bed all morning than be here in this traffic and heat combo. She tried to guess how much longer she would be on the road for based on the traffic situation. The mini-truck which had crossed her made it difficult for her to see far enough to make an accurate judgment. One thing was for certain though: she couldn’t wait to get off the road.
Kweiki had turned her attention back to her phone. she was now contorting her lips in a manner that suggested she may be quite intrigued by duck beaks.
“Kweiki, I’m not saying Kayla shouldn’t plan her wedding the way she wants to oh. It’s just that the way she’s going about it, you’d think she’s just trying to paint a great image of her wedding to society rather than simply get married.”
“I see. So if this were your wedding…”
If this were my wedding, I would not have fifteen bridesmaids.I’d rather pick just the two or three people I know will pray with me earnestly towards the wedding and keep me calm when my emotions rise on that day or at any point during the planning. I’ll probably even have no bridesmaids at all”
“We hear you oh.”
“Yeah. Come to think of it, what’s the role of bridesmaids anyway? We’re all just going to be dressed like the decor and be constant reminder of what the wedding colours are each time we walk by.”
“It’s called sisterhood.” Kweiki interjected.
“Oh is it?! How many people on the platform do you know?”
“Well, there’s you, and Kayla of course. There’s also…um…um…the other lady…the one from Kayla’s office.” Kweiki snapped her fingers, as though that would remind her
“The fact that you can’t even remember her name is evidence enough of what I’m saying. If I even decided to have bridesmaids, I’d pick people I know would get along well. Planning a wedding is enough stress on it’s own, you don’t need more stress from your friends. I can assure you Kayla picked most of her team based on their ability to afford their own stuff for the wedding so…”
“At least when it’s over, the lace, the dress, the hair extension, shoes, all yours.”
“Sure. All I’ve ever wanted is to spend almost a Thousand Ghana Cedis on items I’d never buy if I had an option.” Shormeh replied, without making an effort to conceal her sarcasm. She was still looking to change jobs but for now that GHc1,000 represented an entire month’s salary.
“Well, she said she’ll pay for our makeup and hairstyling.”
Shormeh had to press her lips tightly together to stop herself from dignifying that with a response. How did makeup cost even match all they had to pay?
Kweiki’s voice cut into her thoughts,”The dresses are in. Kayla just posted it.”
“On the group?”
“Nope, on Snap. Listen: “Bridesmaids dresses in. Yay!””
“Let me show you the pages that she’s getting ideas from. You’ll get the concept once you see these. Just a minute. The network is suddenly acting up.” Kweiki was fixed on her phone again.
“You’re just not a wedding person.”
“Oh I love weddings, trust me. I just am not sure yet how it makes sense to spend all my life savings in a day on an event that marks the beginning of a new life?”
“That’s why you draw up a budget.”
“Oh please. Most people only do that because that’s what the wedding websites said but they never actually follow it. They see one thing online, they want it. They see another, they want it too. Then they start throwing pre-wedding parties and try to raise funds for the wedding. I’m just thinking: Money that could be used to rent chairs, is being spent on a bubble machine and other decor items. So when we walk in and we don’t have seats, do we distract ourselves from our discomfort by chasing the bubbles around?”
The two burst into laughter.
“You’re just a silly silly girl, Shormeh. You’re not serious.”
“Just saying. If you can’t afford something, just go with the essentials. But we just want to ‘trend’. No one is going to refuse to sit through your reception just because your yellow is sunshine yellow instead of buttercup. Or that your reception setup is not up to the standard they expected. No Minister will refuse to officiate because you had too few bridesmaids. Ideally, we should have been given the option to decide whether or not we wanted to pay for our dresses. Let’s be the ones to offer;don’t assume we are ready to pay. We’d never planned to sew long grey satin dresses. Yet here we are, about to pay almost GHc800 for a dress we’ll most probably never wear again.”
When Kayla had said the bridesmaids dresses were a two hundred each, Shormey had assumed she was talking in Ghana Cedis.
“Imagine the awkwardness when I sent her GHc200 via mobile money and she’s confused as to why I’m sending her money. Now, I tell her it’s for my bridesmaid’s dress and she casually tells me : “No, no, I meant it in Dollars. It’s $200. The Bridesmaids dresses are being shipped in from Canada.”. At that point, I went numb. All I could think was: ‘Gulp. Did she say Dollars?? Really? How is that even….? Nevermind.’.”
“Are you the reason she sent the group a message about the dresses’ being charged in Dollars?” Kweiki giggled.
“Hm. I was so embarassed eh? So I asked her to send the money back to me, and she tells me there’s no need to since it covered 40% of the cost of the lace for the traditional wedding, all I have to do is rather top it up.”
“Weddings are a big deal, Shormeh. Not to say that all the money we’re paying isn’t getting to me; it is. But you see, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event; it’s not like birthdays that come yearly.”
“Sure. I’ll try to keep that in mind whilst dressed in an entire month’s salary at someone else’s wedding.”
“Um, Shormeh? Where’s your phone.”
“Right here. Middle compartment. Why?”
“Is your Whatsapp working?” Kweiki asked slyly. Shormeh knew that look too well and she knew exactly what it meant.
“Oh for heaven’s sake! What’s she asking us to pay for this time?”
Thanks for reading!