Six years ago, Shana was a beautiful young undergraduate of Salem University, Lokoja where she was studying Banking and Finance. It was her final year and that day she came home to visit her parents who were celebrating their silver jubilee wedding anniversary that weekend. It was a period of great celebration for the Banjo’s. Her father who was a director in a government ministry had contacts of top notch politicians who willingly funded the occasion. Her mother, the daughter of a one time ambassador of Nigeria to Switzerland also left no stone unturned in making sure that the Silver Jubilee was well celebrated. Prior to this time, Mrs Banjo who is herself a fashionasta had taken care of asoebi’s which were in different categories, depending on the guest’ closeness to the family. And indeed, their marriage was worth celebrating for it had been 25 beautiful years of marital bliss. The marriage had produced 3 children; two boys and one girl. Shana who was also the last child of the family was the apple of her parent’s eyes. Right from her infant days, she went to the best of schools and had everything she wanted. Her parents had insisted on sending her to Switzerland for her university education but she had refused saying she didn’t want to leave her parents in Nigeria and go to another country where she will not have all the privileges she had in Nigeria. Her two elder brothers had obtained their first degrees in USA and UK and they had settled down there after their studies. Some years later, they had returned home to pick Nigerian wives and had returned to the respective countries with their wives who had bore them children. They including their wives and children were expected to be home for the anniversary and Shana was looking forward to meeting her nieces and nephews.
On the day of the anniversary, the Banjo’s alongside friends and well wishers dressed elegantly drove to Our Lady’s Pro Cathedral in Garki Area 3 where the thanksgiving service which was presided over by the Archbishop of the diocese was held.
After the thanksgiving Mass which lasted for about 2 hours, guest filed to the grand reception which was held at the International Conference Center. The reception was indeed grand as people from all walks of life graced the occasion. It was a show of affluence and splendor as everyone was gorgeously dressed with enough to eat and drink and throw away. The Banjo’s had employed the services of four caterers to provide both local and intercontinental dishes to the guests. Different artists were invited to perform at the show and the guest had a wonderful time. At the end of the programme, Shana who was the only female and baby of the family was invited by the MC to the podium to give her vote of thanks. Dressed gorgeously in a red cord lace dress and gold head gear, Shana although shy, composed herself and walked elegantly to the stage. She had travelled all the way to Ghana to sew her dress and the effort was not wasted as the fitting came out well, flattering her curves.
Shana: “It is a great privilege for me to be invited to give this vote of thanks on behalf of my parents. First, I would like to appreciate God for the lives of the most amazing parents on earth. Every day, I pray to God to give me this kind of marriage where love and peace reigns. I couldn’t have asked for a better family, my parents are simply the best and I am sure that you all agree with me and that is why you have taken time off your busy schedules to grace this occasion. On behalf of the Banjo’s I wanna say a very big thank you to you all for the love and support….”
While she was talking, Ayomide who was sitting with his parents and half brother was staring at her and day dreaming of having her as a wife. Although he was younger than his half brother, Femi, he was already looking forward to settling down soon and he saw the qualities of a good wife in Shana. He thought of telling his family of his intention to ask her out after the reception but he thought against it for several times his father had warned him never to talk about getting married until Femi had married. But he made up his mind to visit Shana later in the evening, several times he had been there with his parents for the two families were very good friends with so many things in common.
After her speech, Shana decided to move round familiar guests to appreciate them properly, her brothers were also doing same and she came to the table where Ayomide and his family were seated. As soon as Ayomide smiled, her heart skipped a beat because he had been her crush for long ever since their teenage days when the two families visited each other with their children. For her, what she felt for Ayomide was beyond mere crushes that come and go with time, she was infatuated with him, what she felt for him was an obsession. Even when they met in Church, she would lose concentration and instead of listening to the homily, she would keep an eye on Ayomide because she didn’t want to miss any of his moves. She knew that he had an elder brother Femi who was more matured than Ayomide but she never liked him for once. Her parents had told her that Femi’s mother died at childbirth while she was having him and some years later after mourning his wife appropriately, he had married Ayomide’s mother who gave him one child, a boy named Ayomide. “Hi, you look beautiful”, Ayomide said offering her his hand and waking her from her reverie.
Shana: “Thank you”, she replied shyly shaking his hand weakly. She greeted their parents respectfully. “Thank you so much sir and ma for coming. Your presence means a lot to this family”.
“You are welcome, my daughter”. They chorus.
Femi who was busy fizzling with his phone didn’t even acknowledge her greetings. He had raised up his head to look at her once and had mumbled an inaudible greeting. Several times, he had met her sitting on the pew next to him in Church and deep within his heart, he thought her to be plain and childish. He was interested in sophisticated girls and this one obviously wasn’t one.
“Thanks Femi, thanks Ayomide for coming. We appreciate your presence”, she said sweetly.
Ayomide: “You are welcome, ma”, he teased while she moved to the other guests.
That evening, Ayomide picked one of his father’s car and drove to the residence of the Banjo’s. Few minutes later, he was sitting face to face with Shana in one of the sitting rooms and suddenly he lost his voice. All the sweet words and poetry that he had conjured in his head to say to her suddenly flew away. Shana on the other hand was excited to see him and she prayed in her heart that he would ask her out which was what she had always dreamt of.
Shana: “So, how are you?” she asked when it was taking him too long to say a word to her.
Ayomide: “I am fine. You know, I just thought of coming over to see how you are doing this evening after the long day”.
Shana: “That was very thoughtful of you. It had been a hectic week for me, and to think that I have to go back to school next week. If not for the event planners mum and dad employed, I don’t know how we would have coped”.
Ayomide felt cold when she said she was going back to school the next week but then he decided not to allow that dampen his spirit. They continued to chat and laugh and Ayomide found himself talking about irrelevant things instead of talking about what brought him to her. This trend of him visiting and not saying any meaningful thing continued until the next week and he was thinking of asking his brother to help him talk to Shana on his behalf when his brother walked on his room one evening.
Ayomide: “Hey, bro. I was just about coming to your room”.
Femi: “Well, there won’t be any need for that. I have something to discuss with you”.
Ayomide: “Bring it on then”.
Femi: “It is about Shana…”
Ayomide startled up from the sleeping position he was on the bed.
“What about her, he asked”.
Femi: “I just want you to tell me about her because I noticed that you two are pretty close, I mean from the way you were talking with her during her parents’ silver jubilee, I didn’t know that she could be so lively until that day.
Ayomide relaxed for he saw this as an opportunity to paint her good before his elder brother, that way his family will support him any time he summoned courage to start up a relationship with her.
Ayomide: “Shana is a very good girl o, big bro. In fact, she is one of the most humble girls that I have met. You know despite the fact that her parents can afford to send her to school abroad, she refused to go and insisted on getting her first degree in Nigeria. The other day she told me that she had never been in any relationship before because her parents and her brothers told her to stay away from men. Can you imagine such loyalty? Even when she went to the university, she is still holding on to what her parents taught her. And the girl is very beautiful o, you need to go to their house and see her without make up, that is when you will know that she is a very beautiful girl”.
Femi: “Really? Is that so?”
Ayomide: “Yes o, bro. And she can so cook? Anytime I go to their house and I meet her cooking like this, I usually wait and eat o, let me not lie. The aroma alone seff is enough to make your stomach full”.
Femi: “Wow! That is impressive. I never knew that the girl is that good”.
Ayomide: “She is o. I can’t even talk about all her qualities”.
Femi: “That’s nice”, he left the room without saying another word to his brother. Already, his plans were already incubating and he knew just what to do.
Question: How did Shana end up marrying Femi and not Ayomide?
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