Marriage Lessons, part one. #marriagelessons #VOA #BBCNEWS #AFP

They have already started the marriage rites, two people in love preparing for the actual payment of the bride price. That fateful day, Johnson the would be groom was at home preparing to go out when his best friend of many years came knocking and after a little chat, he had hinted casually that he saw Mr. Johnson's would be bride entering a hotel.
"Are you sure? Johnson hand inquired. "Did you see her with your own eyes?" He kept asking. His friend feigned anger for not being believed and went ahead to describe the clothes she was wearing.
Earlier that day, the would be bride had visited Johnson and had informed him that she was going to see her mother in the village. To support her movement to the village, he had given some amount of money for transport and another to enable her purchase somethings for the parents, she had thanked him dearly and left for the market. According to her, she needed to do the buying before going to her house to prepare for the travelling.

So Johnson went mad with his friends revelation, he quickly ran to the bathroom, took his bath in a flash and jumped out heading straight to the hotel where his would-be bride has gone to see her lover. On getting to the hotel, he had waited at the reception, hoping to catch her red handed with her lover, he couldn't sit down even, he walked from one corner of the reception to the other, his heart beating faster than ever, he could barely control himself, how can someone he has begun the long traditional process of marriage with disappoint him this way.

The receptionist and the staff of the hotel became apprehensive, the know what this means, if it is not his girl friend that is in their hotel room with another man, it must be his wife and they know what that means: violence is lurking, should the lady step out with her secret lover, hell is bound to be let loose in their hotel premises. In other to avoid the looming confrontation, the young lady approached him and tried to know what the problem was, having waited foe quite some time and not seeing his wife to be, he decided to open up. He described his would be wife and the clothes she was wearing this morning and demanded to know whether she had been to the hotel and what room she was staying with her lover. The young lady told him that no woman with such description had been to the hotel that morning but the man got angry and shouted down at the lady, accusing her of attempting to cover up for his new wife to be.

To ensure that the man leaves the reception before some of their customers starts complaining, one of the Guards took Johnson aside and asked him to describe the woman in question to him. After he did, the Guard exclaimed, "Ewuoooh! was that the lady you were talking about? don't mind the receptionist, they like to cover up, I actually saw someone like that and she left a few minutes before you came in." With that Johnson shouted "Thank you my brother, may God bless you." He turned immediately and left, unfortunately. this was not the era of handset. Johnson went straight to beer parlor, got himself soaked in alcohol and then went home to sleep in complete anger and frustration.

Mr. Johnson slept throughout that day, he was awoken the next morning with loud knocking on the door, by the time he stood up from bed to go and open the door, he was already experiencing a slight headache. He got to the door and threw it wide open without inquiring to know who was knocking and lo and behold, Jane his fiancee was standing in front of him with fear in her eyes. "I had been knocking since God knows when for you to open the door, what happened? are you sick? why haven't you gone to work?" Johnson turned around without answering the questions and went back into the house and Jane followed him closely behind confused. "I came straight from the village to do some washing and cooking for you before going to my own house." She said.

"Cook for who, me?" Johnson replied without turning back. He went straight to where Jane's bag was kept, picked it up and flung it outside, "Go and cook for your secret lover, you were sleeping in the hotel with." Jane was flabbergasted, she moped at her husband to be with mouth wide open. "Who told you such nonsense" She screamed and nearly received a slap. She begged for her few things not to be thrown outside but to no avail, done with throwing her things out, Johnson equally pushed her out. His neighbours came pleading on behalf of Jane who was crying uncontrollably but Johnson's mind was made up, he called Jane a prostitute who was sleeping about with men in hotel rooms in front of everybody. Jane swore that He was lying and that she was ready to see the matter investigated at all cost but Johnson simply looked his door from inside.

Jane wept that day like never before, she was not consolable, she gathered her little things and went back to her own house still weeping, few days after, she fell sick and expected that Johnson would walk through that door any moment to apologize to her but that never happened. When her friends and relations tried to make peace between her and Johnson and to investigate the matter, Johnson made it clear that the marriage has been called off because he can not get married to a prostitute and that he is not willing to investigate anything. He told them that his own investigation had already been concluded before he took action. Days went by, weeks followed and so did months and nothing happened. One day Johnson had a quarrel with his best friend, the same friend who had told him about his would be wife sleeping with a man in a hotel room. This his best friend had been married long before Johnson had started his marriage process with his girl friend, Jane.

Their quarrel had started over a business deal they where both involved with, his friend had claimed that Johnson cheated him and had demanded for more money from Johnson as his share, a call which Johnson felt was unfair. To settle the issue amicably, Johnson had invited their other friends. During the attempt to reconcile both friends and sort out the issue, the matter degenerated to the extent that both friends started calling each other abusive names and almost led to physical combat which was prevented by their invited friends. The issue took a new dimension when Johnson referred to his best friend as a big fool for demanding what is not due him in the deal and for calling him names. This made his best friend laugh out loud to the surprise of all. "See who is calling me a big fool," He had replied. "because i honoured this peace invitation and came to your house, that is why you have the guts to call me a big fool." Then he laughed again as he approached the door to exit from Johnson's while still in the tight grip of some friends who where making sure that fight doesn't ensue.

"The truth," he said. "is that i know how to make you pay for your insults in due time, remember how you had referred to my wife as an ugly duck the day we where drinking beer at the beer parlour, you had told everyone that Jane was the most beautiful girl on earth and that she was better than my wife, did you remember?" He asked. "That was the day I decided that you will only marry Jane over my dead body, did you marry her? wild beast." He said and Johnson felt like fainting instantly, he could not utter a word, he felt like everything in him has been drained, he was dazed and only mopped at his friend like a nonentity. "You paid for your slights on my wife with Jane, you will also pay for this when the time comes." Having said that he left and their friends left too, his words about Jane was still echoing in Johnson's brain, he did not know what to think, do or say, now it is very clear that his beloved Jane must have been innocent after all. Not knowing what next to do, he ran all the way like a mad man to Miss Jane's one room apartment on the other side of town.

Her door was under lock and key, he waited and waited for her to come back but to no avail, he left for his house only to return in the evening with lots of flowers, cards and jewelries in other to beg Jane for forgiveness because he was now convinced that Jane never went to that hotel in first place. His other friends not being happy with what they heard had confronted his best friend and he had told them that he lied about Jane because Johnson insulted his wife and had boasted about the beauty of Jane. He knew about Jane's dressing that morning because he accidentally saw her on the road to her village and gave her a lift as her fiancee's best friend, he was also furious that Johnson never told him that he has started the marriage rites for Jane being his best friend and he decided to sabotage it to prove a point to Johnson.

Johnson left and came back again around 8 pm hoping to find Jane but when h discovered that Jane was no where to be found, he went to her neighbours and inquired. Most of Jane's neighbours refused to talk to him knowing what he did to Jane, some others mocked him until an elderly woman volunteered to tell him the truth. That was how he got to know that Jane's traditional wedding ceremony would be holding the next day and unfortunately mobile phones were not in use then. Johnson was the first to arrive for Jane's traditional wedding, everyone was shocked to see him that early even Jane was still waking up from sleep. He made his way swiftly into the house and demanded to see Jane, her parents refused afraid that he came to make trouble despite his efforts to the contrary. When Jane heard about his presence she came almost immediately and demanded to know why he came to her place on her traditional wedding day.

Johnson narrated what happened to her with tears in his eyes, he was encouraged when Jane started crying too, he begged Jane to cancel the wedding or do it with him instead and that he was ready to pay back every dime spent immediately. After listening and crying with him for a long, Jane said she thanked God for vindicating her after everything and thanked Johnson for coming to tell her all these in front of her parents and everyone, she assured him of their continual friendship and the friendship of their families but stated that her marriage to her new love is unstoppable because he was the only one who believed her when her most trusted disappointed her and pushed her out of his house and his life. Johnson was too heartbroken to witness the weeding, he left crying out loud after his pleadings fail on deaf ears.

Today, they are both happily married to their different spouse with children, they still come across each other sometimes and as such times, Jane would always ask Johnson, "I hope you trust your wife, you don't suspect her all the time." and Johnson would reply "Yes, but I hope you do forgive your husband when he admits his stupidity" and Jane would reply "Only because he is already my husband."

                                                   THE END



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