My baby cousin is getting married.
Well, she’s not exactly a baby anymore.
I’m scrolling through the pictures I have of her on my phone and stop at this particular one. I’m looking at how the sunset yellow shift dress she’s wearing swells at her chest and then caresses the curves of her hips. Her jet black hair is piled up on her head like a crown. She is wearing little makeup; not like she needs it any way. She is beautiful. He’s a lucky man, I say out loud to myself, as I look into her smiling, dreamy brown eyes.
It seems just like yesterday. At the red roofed house in Apapa. Where we played hide-and-go-seek. I have always been the chubby one, so finding me was always easy. There’s not many places I can squeeze into.
And then, I remember sneaking to steal the fresh hot akara as we stood “helping “ Aunt Helen in the kitchen. I was the “thief” while she transported the hot balls of brown goodness to a safe location for us to devour. And by the time Auntie was done frying, she’d still heap our plates full. So it wasn’t any surprise that we struggled to finish our meals as we were already stuffed.
We’ve come a long way, my cousin and I. Having no sister myself, it was always refreshing to visit their house for the holidays and have girls to play with instead of my pesky brothers. And it was always mad fun. ‘Nazom, ‘Nua, Ezii and ‘Nma and me…. The only Ezealor princesses I know. Love you girls, silly!
When her dad, my uncle, passed away, it was a hard blow. I couldn’t imagine life without him. I used to tell my mom that the day I got married, he would be the one to walk me down the aisle, not my dad. He was that special. I remember how my brothers and I would lie on our bellies on the faded burgundy rug in our living room in Zaria and put my dad’s picture besides my uncle’s and see how many similarities we could spot in them both. They were so very much alike. And so very close. So close that, the night I heard of uncle’s passing, I was scared my dad would pass out or something worse when he got the news. That was the first and only time I’ve seen my dad cry.
I miss you, Uncle Bii. No one has been able to fill your shoes. And the pain…it hasn’t gone away.
So, back to this girl, this cousin of mine who is sugar and spice and everything nice! Like seriously, she is getting married!
I should sit that young man down over a cup of tea and peer over the rim of my glasses at him while I drill him with some very pertinent questions! Hahaha! No, that won’t be necessary; my cousin’s a lawyer you see, so I’m sure she has cross-examined him enough for the both of us. And if she’s hit her gavel and said he is the one, then, I say yes too!
Nma darling, I told you I’m coming for your wedding with a little bucket, right? You think I’m kidding? You just wait and see. I know I’m going to cry buckets!
I love you, my sister, my girlfriend, my partner-in-everything! You’re going to be a beautiful bride, not because of your milk chocolate skin tone or your cute brown eyes….but because you have a beautiful soul.
Hey, what am I still doing here? We need to get on the phone now! There’s lists to be made and shopping to do, nails and faces to paint and some cake tasting, too!
My baby cousin is getting married! She’s going to be someone else’s baby now!
She said, “Yes!”