A PERFECT LIAR
By Mary Odiong
It was my sister's wedding morning. I was deep asleep due to the long hours of flight and delay I think caused by Covid-19 protocols. I was exhausted, I mean I haven't been in Nigeria for like two years and few months.
The quick click of heels that resonated from a short distance woke me up. My eyes flickered at the sun that peeked into my room from the window. I was still dazed from sleep, I tried to figure out what time it was.
The click-clack of heels was audible as loud footsteps approached my room. My sluggish brain tried to process what was happening.
Joan are you ready? The sound of my mum's voice sent me flying from the bed to the door to stop her from entering the room.
I looked around for my phone and checked the time.
Oh my gosh, it was almost time for the wedding! Shit!
I had forty-five minutes to get ready.
"Joan,” my mum called, trying to open the door but I pulled with overwhelming might on the door and succeeded in locking it. "Almost ready, I will be out in a minute! " I said breathlessly.
"Why are you locking the door she asked, knocking on the door a little harshly. " I don't want you to see how fabulous I look yet" I giggled nervously. "Whatever, hurry up. I can't be late for my child's wedding ", she scolded.
I waited for her to leave before running to my unpacked luggage to pick out the dress I bought for the wedding, I laid it on the bed and undressed quickly, almost tripped on my pyjama's shorts as I pulled it down my legs, hastily.
My whole twenty- eight years on earth, I have never taken a quick shower like the one I did. I scratched my skin in the process of applying my lotion in a rush. I slipped on my peach dress that stopped above my knees. The off-the-shoulder sleeves were made with delicate lace that caressed my skin.
" Joan!" My mum called.
The aftermath of her voice rang in my head. It made me felt like a child being scolded for playing in the mud.
"Coming!" I yelled back as I brushed my hair and prepared to style it to perfection.
'Joan, come on, you are going to be late for your sister's wedding..." My mum shouted from downstairs, she sounded frustrated. I didn't blame her, I would feel worse if I were in her place.
Well, I didn't know much about my sister's to-be-husband, just knew they have known each other for a year or so, but I was excited I made it to Nigeria. I had loads of work but couldn't miss my sister's wedding for anything.
I kept talking about the wedding and how spectacular it was going to be.
My mum waited for a while, I struggled with the pin I decided to use on my hair. I had everything planned for the day's event. The weave I fixed was long, which made it hard to style the way I wanted.
I felt like an angel as I stared at myself in the mirror mounted on the wall. I blocked the thoughts away with a smile. Kept my eyes on the mirror as I used each pin to hold my thick weave in place. “Coming, I just need to put the last pin ", I shouted.
I spent almost twenty minutes on my hair, I wouldn't have been surprised if my mum had left without me. It was her daughter's wedding anyway.
" Oh my God, Joan, what the hell are you doing up there?" My mum yelled.
"My dear, hurry up", I heard my dad's voice next.
“Almost done! , give me five seconds”, I yelled back after I succeeded in putting the last pin, I smiled at myself in the mirror, impressed by my handiwork.
I picked up my heels and rushed out to the room like my ass was on fire, ran down the stairs barefoot like someone escaping from a psychiatric ward. My parents stared at me looking frustrated especially my mum.
" Sorry mum, sorry dad .Let's be on our way”, I pleaded.
We got to the church early enough, just before my sister finished her confession with the priest.
Exchanging pleasantries, I went into the church, took a second right pew which was obviously for the bride's direct family. The seat behind me was occupied by some of my sister's friends and other relatives in uniforms.
I took out my phone for Snapchat videos as I admired the exquisite decorations that gave the church a fresh and magical aura. It was a big parish, the altar was decorated with gold and white roses, each pew was adorned with silky white ribbons and flowers.
The groom was already at the altar, his black suit well fitted. He looked more handsome in person than in pictures... My sister sent his picture once, my first time putting a face to his name was when I saw him at the altar that morning.
Everyone stood and looked back immediately the commentator announced the profession of the bride. I couldn't help but admired the wedding dress, it was gorgeous, the dress was a bit revealing. The V-line almost reached her belly buttons. She looked like an angel
We sat in silence for the remaining wedding rites.
She joined her groom at the altar, he didn't even turn to look at her face, not even a glance.
" That is cold, you are going to see her every day," I said to myself keeping my voice as low as I could.
"He is probably nervous, I will be too if it was me. He is tying his soul to a woman". I convinced myself.
I studied his expression for a while before returning my gaze to the altar.
It was time for the vow, my sister looked so pretty, her skin was so smooth, her stylist did a good job, she nailed it, her makeup was glamorous.
She said her vow with so much joy but the groom kept looking at her like she was boring him. He looked like he wanted it to be over in no time Like it was a forced marriage... I brushed my thoughts away and focused on the altar.
It got to the groom's turn to say his vows. He went silent
" He is tongue-tied," someone whispered.
My sister looked scared, she called his name but he looked void. The priest repeated the vow, but he didn't answer.
My sister smiled at the congregation like she wanted to tell us everything was okay, she tried to suppress the fear that surged through her as she stepped closer to her groom, her hands looked shaky as she gripped his hands.
I was as confused as my parents... Tried to figure out what the problem was but couldn't.
She looked up at him and spoke to him in a low tone but with clenched teeth.
My mum and the groom's mother stood up and walked to the altar, they whispered few words and returned to their seat with a nervous grin.
The priest repeated the vow, but the groom was still mute, that was when the crowd began to murmur... People brought out their phones to record.
"I'm sorry Maryann, I can't do this, he said aloud. I don't want to hurt you, but we can't carry on with the wedding". Everyone gasped.
"Why?" Maryann asked already crying. “Did I do anything wrong? “she screamed.
He took a step back, removed the ring she gave him. This time, the congregation murmured louder.
I'm in love with your sister, we have been dating for three months now... She is pregnant with my baby
Maryann crumpled on the marble floor. My mum tried to pick her up but she stood up and ran out of the church.
The church was in an uproar after the groom's confession.
I stood confused. I pitched myself to wake up from the dream world but it was real.
He walked up to me and smiled.
"What the hell?"
I stared at his hand then his face. " Are you confused, do you need a surgeon to reset your brain?" I asked but instead, he smiled like it was a compliment.
"Joan?" I heard my dad's voice.
" Dad, you know he's lying I'm just seeing this douchebag for the first time "
I couldn't explain myself, I was speechless for a while, I think my brain shut down to take a rest and I was left on my own.
My face went pale, I could hear people murmur. I deep down hoped it was a wedding prank, but no, it dawned on me when everyone left.
It is a week after the wedding was called off, still can't find the right words to explain to my sister that she almost ended up with a perfect liar.
Good thing, I have an understanding parent.