He wasn’t coming. I could feel it, first in the air—the way the vicar’s musky cologne hung heavily in the stuffy office cubicle. Then I felt it in the shaking of my hands and then blood-pumping thud in my ears and chest. Nicholas was not going to show up.
“Ms. Bamidele, I’m afraid there are many other couples waiting to be officiated this morning and I will not be able to wait much longer.”
He seemed like a friendly-enough man, in his mid-60’s. He was mostly bald with a modest patch of graying-to-white hair hedged around his round oval head. Probably under-paid and accustomed to expecting little or nothing from people. Beyond his smiling face, I could feel the sadness in his eyes –the fatigue from an unfulfilled life. Once again, he gave an urgent glance at the lopsided wall-clock on the opposite end of the cramped cubicle. In seven minutes, she would have to leave the cubicle.
Clearing his throat, the Vicar, began, “Ms. Bamidele, I do hate to pry– but I have witnessed such situations too often in my life-time not to—
The shame of the entire experience forced me to cut him off before he could finish the statement I had been fervently praying I would not hear on this day.
“Vicar…err..Vicar James, I do apologize for taking your time like this. I do realize that this might seem like a typical immigrant story but I can assure you Nicholas and I are in it for the long haul. I am sure he will be here at any point.”
The desperate words even seemed hollow in my own ears. Who was I fooling? The vicar simply smiled weakly and nodded, returning his gaze downwards as he pretended to view some scattered documents on the desk.
And so here I was, a 30-year-old Nigerian woman engaged to the man of her dreams who was thousands of kilometers away. Even when Segun’s visa to the United Kingdom had been denied for the sixth time, I could not have imagined that this would be it. That I would be sitting here waiting for a strange man to come and sign a marriage certificate, making me his wife, in order that I could ‘legally’ remain in the country.
I suddenly felt very nauseous. Very nauseous and very alone.
Ronke enjoys writing and reading. She is passionate about many issues and likes to describe herself as a womanist at heart. She has always had the deep desire to feel rooted in one cultural identity but she is realizing and learning to accept that culture is, in fact, dynamic and can be many things. As a recent graduate, she aspires to be a successful adult who is able to gracefully balance the curveballs and upsides of life.
© Ronke Abodunrin