Joe’s wedding ceremony was the first ever to take place in our family. I grew up in a large family in a village close to the border post. This area was basically regarded as suitable for wildlife but there we were, The Doma a, secluded clan. I was ten years old when my brother Joe wedded. The wedding has been a talk of the day for three months by the time we actually left the village for the wedding. I was too young to attend the wedding but Joe had instated that I should come for his wedding. I was a favorite young sister to Joe, he used to carry me on his shoulder going to the fields or to herd cattle.
My mother woke me up when it was still dark. We had to be at the bus stop early so that we could not miss the only bus that passed through our village to the city. It was still dark when we arrived at the bus stop, there were other two women at the bus stop, and my mother greeted them. They asked me where I was going and I told them I was going to attend a wedding. I answered with a sense of pride and I felt very important to be one out of many children of my age to be allowed to attend.
When the bus arrived at our bus stop it was already full and several passengers were already standing in the bus. A boy I was standing next to kept looking at my new dress; I could see from his look that he was admiring my dress. I pretended not to notice it until he finally gathered courage to ask me where I was heading to.
“I’m going to attend my brother’s wedding,” I answered with some pride.
“Sure, you will enjoy at the wedding. I was called at one point to attend my uncle’s wedding and we did enjoy every moment of it that I wish he could wed again,” he said.
I could tell from his voice that he was lying; he just wanted to show off.
The bus veered past the dusty countryside, townships and schools. Some people were dropping off the way so I finally got somewhere to sit. I sat there facing the side of the road reading what was written on sign posts, sometimes I would read aloud and people on the bus would turn to look at me. The sight of the trees running past the bus was a spectacular sight for me. My mother laughed when I told her how I enjoyed seeing trees running. She told me it trees weren’t running at all it was the bus moving. I pretended to believe her only because she was my mother.
It was already dark when we arrived at my brother’s house. The lights that were put all over the place made it look like it was just day time. The place was already full of other relatives. My mother took me around introducing me to the relatives. “This is my last born Anna,” she was saying to everyone at the house. They all marveled at how big I have grown up.
I was taken to a small bedroom where I was asked to try my dress for the wedding. It was pink and made of lace. I was overwhelmed by the nice dress that I felt I didn’t want to remove it, but it was for the special day. It was a little big for me but that didn’t bother me a bit. The tailor said he was going to adjust it that evening I almost told him not to as I felt it was going to make my dress ugly.
I was taken to an open space where there was a large radio playing music. The bride maids were having the last rehearsals for the wedding. I got nervous when I was told I was going to be the one in front of the bridal team with basket of flowers. This was my first time being a flower girl at a wedding and I felt it was going to be fair had they put someone who is used in front. I was happy when one of the bride maids suggested that another girl who was experienced be in front. My brother however insisted that I be in front, and knowing how my brother would not be moved from his word everyone agreed to me being in the front.
We had the rehearsals till late in the night and I was at ease when we finally retired to sleep.
I slipped into the blankets beside my mother who was already asleep. I was so excited that it took me time to sleep. I was in the blankets looking at the roof and imagining how the day was going to be.
I was there standing in my pink dress when with my brother and his wife besides me, then a chariot comes straight on me. The horses were running so fast that I had to hide behind my brother. The chariot swept past taking my brother and his wife and it began to fly away with them, the tail of my brother’s wife hanging loose from the chariot. I was left there crying and shouting that the chariot brings my brother back.
My blanket was removed from my face and I opened my eyes and there was my mother facing me.
“Wake up otherwise you will be late for the wedding,” said my mother who was already dressed for the day.
The aroma of food being prepared had already filled the atmosphere when I woke up. I could not describe the aroma in words; this was going to make my life difficult when I got back to school. I had promised my friends back home a written account of the events in the city, but it’s only day two and before the wedding and I was already overwhelmed. I carried my notebook and pen from home but never had the time to write anything.
I stood there in my new pink dress. The new high heeled shoes made life difficult for me. I felt I was some inches taller and I began to shiver, I could not walk comfortably in these shoes. The previous night when I went for rehearsals I wasn’t wearing these shoes and they proved to be hell to me. I almost asked if I could get flat shoes instead but was too shy to say that after all everyone else was wearing heels. I stood still for a moment looking at how others were making it in their shoes.
Finally the miracle happened I walked a few steps and there I was, after all I could make it. I walked to and from the house on my own; I changed my step though to match the new shoes.
My brother’s angel finally joined the bridal team. My mother has always been telling me how beautiful she was and I marveled at her beauty. I was staring at her in her white gown and I wondered if she was seeing me from the veil.
I was startled when the Master of Ceremony announced that it was time for the bride to enter. I took it to the front swinging my waist and walking way faster than I had been told to. The noise from the music and people celebrating made me even swing more that I didn’t notice the bride was far behind me. An aunt stopped me to wait for the bride.
I looked down in shame as I waited for the bride. I was carried away by the joy that I forgot the training I got the night before.
We walked into a large church; with long benches all filled with elegantly dressed man and women. I felt important as we walked past the guests.
We sat in front facing everyone else. My brother’s wife could not face the crowd directly I guess she was as nervous as I was.
My brother walked in with his team, they walked in a faster than we did. They walked in casually and didn’t act like they were at a wedding.
The priest, a tall elderly man came from offices behind us. His large green and white robes made his presence obvious. They didn’t go with the wedding decor colors at all, I wished she was a lady maybe they were going to make her a pink one. All people rose as the priest entered, I was the last person to stand and sit down when the priest had taken his place. The previous night rehearsals didn’t teach me what to do in church. I felt ashamed each time I acted in my own way, I didn’t want people to realize that I was new to the city but I always found myself out of the way now and again.
My brother was the first to say the wedding vows; his voice was shaky as he said the vows. His wife was made to say the same words to her husband, and I wondered why. Her soft voice was a melody to my ears. It was my first time to her such a voice.
When the priest’s wife called the bride maids to come for distribution of the cake I remain seated and pretend I have not heard anything. I was feeling uncomfortable in my high heels and didn’t want people to see me having difficulty walking in the shoes.
The cake ceremony went on for some time but the cake didn’t come my way, I realized if I don’t take action I wasn’t going to get anything. I tiptoed to the benches and sat close to my aunt like I wanted to ask something. Finally I got the cake but it was so small that I was left yearning for more.
Lunch was served while we were in the park for wedding photo shoot. I enjoyed the photo shoot and even asked if I could get one to go show friends back home. My brother said yes, I couldn’t wait for that moment I would sit at the centre with my friends surrounding me so they get a glimpse of the wedding photo.
I was very hungry by the time we got back to the ceremony venue. I quietly sneaked from the bridal team and joined other children of my age who were already eating. The food was served in two large bowls, one with starches and the other one with meat. A group of five were eating from the large bowls and I joined them, initially they didn’t welcome me but I promised them soda drinks and they allowed me to partake in the meal.
There was a sudden noise of celebration in the tent. I got to my feet quickly leaving my table mates to finish the meal. I was so enthusiastic that I didn’t want to lose any moment of the wedding. Holding my long dress I rushed to the tent, this time I was walking bare footed.
My brother and his wife were dancing. I stood there watching them dance, slowly I learnt the dance and wanted to join them but I was too ashamed to do that. I danced by myself, a tall man, my brother’s age joined me, I looked at him once and turned back and stood in the crowd leaving him on the dance floor alone. How can someone come and join your dance uninvited?
The music suddenly came to a stop and everyone shouted for more music. The new couple was supposed to eat as well announced the Master of Ceremony. We then retreated to some wonderfully decorated tables.
Food was served and this time each was eating from her own plate. There was a variety of meat and vegetables and some foods I didn’t know by name. I regret having eaten something already. I didn’t know that those close the married couple were treated like kings and queens.
I sat there eating my food quietly. When I raised my heard I saw Rufaro, one of the children I had shared the meal with earlier on. He was staring at me with eyes that reminded me of the promise I had made earlier on. A felt a sense of guilty within me and I didn’t want to spoil our friendship, so I had to take action and get the soda drink for them. There were a lot of them at the table but taking them away without being questioned was a big job.
I finally got a plan. I whispered something to the girl who was sitting next to me, she didn’t hear me but when she tried to ask again I picked a bottle and left the table. I wanted people to get the impression that I got permission from her. I walked away confidently and met my friends behind the tent. I left my friends taking turns to drink the soda drink from one bottle and walked back to my place celebrating the victory. I was their superhero of the day.