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WHEN HEAVEN SPEAKS (Final Episode)

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March 2015

Ifeanyi and James stepped into the church as the early mass was winding down to an end, and they stood in the back, listening to the priest, Tobi, drone on in a dull monotone broken occasionally by a louder ‘Lord’ which tended to rouse the sleepy congregation. Eventually, a rousing, final ‘Amen’ was chorused and the small fold began to throng out of the church, eager to shed their piety in order to take on their individual days.

Ifeanyi wryly observed the church members as they trooped past him; he wasn’t a steadfast catholic, didn’t regularly attend church, and couldn’t remember the last time he’d been to the confessional. James and his wife, Julianah, were the Catholic faithful in their clique. Aidee was Protestant, along with Chinyere, and had managed to get him to go to service with her at one of the New Generation churches she attended, where the worship was remarkable more for its pomp than any actual religious ritual. Aidee had grudgingly favoured a Catholic wedding service instead of a Protestant one, as a bid to impress Ifeanyi’s family.

“You two career men are not allowed to be here, in church, away from your offices, on a weekday, at the same time,” Tobi drawled as he approached his friends, his simple white robe billowing slightly in the morning air.

James chuckled. “Hey! I’m a boss! I can do whatever I want.” At Tobi’s pointed look, he sighed with a smile. “And I’ve got the day off.”

“Well, my extended leave is still on,” said Ifeanyi, “what with this month supposed to be my wedding month and all.”

Tobi looked at him. “These things happen. Have you and Aidee made a decision about the situation?”

“Yes. In fact, we’re all here to follow up on the decision we made.”

“We’re all?”

“Yea, the girls are outside in the car park,” James said.

“The five of us are on our way,” continued Ifeanyi, “to attend to some wedding details, to restructure some stuff, and we just dropped by to know the church’s schedule for our new date.”

“Your new date,” Tobi echoed.

“Yea, the holiday after March Twenty-Eighth. We have pushed the wedding forward to Easter Monday.”

“Easter Monday,” echoed Tobi again.

“Yes, nothing can go wrong then,” James said with a chuckle. “Jega and his people certainly can’t mess with the day after Christ rose from the dead. Baba God go just vex.”

Ifeanyi, ever astute, cocked his head at Tobi. “You don’t seem too pleased to hear this, Tobi. What’s wrong?”

The priest paused, but only for a microsecond, before he said with his characteristic frankness, “So you two are definitely going ahead with the wedding then?”

“Well, of course we are,” Ifeanyi said with a startled laugh. “That’s what people do when something interferes with their wedding date. They reschedule and go ahead, full throttle.”

“Not people whose wedding plans have been interfered with twice.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That perhaps you should consider that there are powers-that-be trying to tell you something about this event that is supposed to mark the beginning of the rest of your life.”

The comment hung in the air, pregnant with meaning.

Then James intoned, “If Jules should hear this, she’ll attribute it to the witches in Ifeanyi’s village.”

Tobi gave him an arch look, before deadpanning, “I’m not an advocate for the witches in Ifeanyi’s village.”

“So you’re saying…” Ifeanyi began.

“That heaven knows something you don’t, and is using two wedding date cancellations to speak to you, to illuminate your mind on this.”

James chuckled to take the sting off his words as he said, “All this long grammar just to express your disapproval, eh Tobi?”

“No. Not my disapproval. My doubt.”

“Your doubt.” It was Ifeanyi’s turn to reiterate.

“Yes. Look, Jerry, it’s not my place to tell you what to do. As your friend, my duty is to support you in your decisions, especially one as lifelong as this. But the thing is, especially because of the gravity of this, I’d be failing as a friend if I didn’t point out how this could be a mistake.”

James shut his eyes momentarily, as he braced himself for the storm. A man did not try to get in the way of another man and his woman, and not expect to get singed by a lightning flash.

“You’re saying I might be making a mistake?” Ifeanyi queried quietly.

James’ eyes flew open and he turned to stare at him. Tobi was looking at him too. There was no rancour on Ifeanyi’s face.

“I’m saying,” Tobi replied, in the manner of someone carefully weighing his words, “that instead of rushing headlong into an Easter wedding, perhaps you should – you and Aidee should – take a moment to breathe and think on the real reasons you want to get married.”

“I love her, Tobi.”

“People like to think that love conquers all. I’ve been a priest long enough to know that love is not the superhero we make it out to be.”

“That’s a good one,” Jams interjected, clearly impressed. “Who said that?”

“I did. Just now,” Tobi returned.

“Touché.”

Ifeanyi made a sound that drew their attention back to him. His expression betrayed his struggle to untangle his emotions, a shifting compound of sadness, irritation and amusement. Then he turned to James and said, “What do you think?”

James hedged, suddenly uncharacteristically serious, before saying, “I think that if you have to ask me what I think, then you have some serious thinking to do.”

Ifeanyi shook his head. “Every time you do this, say something without actually saying anything, it makes me wonder what you’re doing in the banking industry.”

“In my next life, I’ll seriously consider your recommendation for me to be a lawyer,” James rejoined.

The three men shared a short, awkward laugh, one which died as fast as it spurted to life, overcome as it was by the undercurrent of disquiet and doubt eddying around them.

Then Ifeanyi blew out an explosive breath, before running a hand over his face, and said, “I can’t believe I’m about to do this.”

“Wait – here? Now?” James squeaked then, looking panicked.

“What better time to get it over with,” Ifeanyi said, before turning to walk out of the church.

Tobi started after him, patting James on the shoulder before gibing, “Don’t worry, old friend. I’ll say a prayer for you, for Julianah not to squeeze” – his gaze dropped tellingly on James’ groin – “too tight for being a part of this.”

He was laughing as James retorted, “Oh you’re so going to hell for that, Father.”

The men moved through the church premises and approached the women, where they stood conversing and leaning against Ifeanyi’s Honda. James’ Mercedes was sedately parked beside them. As they drew closer, the women perked up; Chinyere reached for the backdoor of the Honda, opened it and slid inside. As far as she was concerned, the business of the church proceeding had been taken care of, and it was time to move on to the other things on the schedule.

“Good morning, Tobi,” Aidee and Julianah chorused.

“Good morning, ladies,” the priest returned.

“So, we’re all good now for Easter Monday?” Aidee said, glancing at her fiancé.

“Aidee, we need to talk,” Ifeanyi said instead.

“We do?” Her brow furrowed, and alarm sparked in her eyes. For a bride-to-be, she was beginning to acquaint herself with trouble at every turn. “What is it? Is Easter Monday not good? We can always wed on the Saturday before it. They can’t re-fix elections on that day too. I mean, this government might be crazy, but they can’t mess with a Christian holiday weekend. So Saturday or Monday is fine by me…” She was talking fast, and could not understand why a sliver of presentiment was snaking up her spine.

“No, Aidee,” Ifeanyi interrupted gravely. “We need to talk about us.”

In the silence that followed, Chinyere opened the car door and stepped back out. And Julianah shot her husband a quizzical look he refused to meet.

“About us,” Aidee repeated uncomprehendingly.

“Yes. And what it means for us that two dates we’ve fixed to get married were ruined by the elections.”

“What are you – that doesn’t mean anything…” A mirthless laugh gusted from Aidee. “I mean, I told you we didn’t have to reschedule this last date. We could have done what my friend, Josephine told me her friend did. They simply moved their party to Ghana, which is where they plan on getting married. A location wedding isn’t so bad.”

“Of course it’s not. But this all makes me wonder which one you’re more interested in – the wedding or the marriage.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I proposed to you a year ago, Aidee. A whole year ago. Most people would have gotten married, at the most, six months down the line.”

“But we are not most people –”

“Why exactly is that? Because I’ve got more than enough money to turn out a wedding that’d be the social event of the season?”

“Jerry –”

“For an entire year, it has been all about the perfect wedding with you. The fanciest wedding. The biggest wedding. The wedding everyone will talk about. The wedding, Aidee. Not us. Us! The actual people who should matter.”

“But we do matter. You matter very much to me.” She stretched out her hands to cup Ifeanyi’s chin. Consternation was etched on her face as she hastened to add, “I love you, Jerry. I love you very much.”

Ifeanyi unclasped her hands from his face. “I know you do. I just have to wonder if you love me enough, or if that’s enough.”

“What are you saying?” The words escaped Aidee’s mouth in a gust of exasperation and dread. He turned her head to stab a furious look at the other men. “What is he saying?” James didn’t meet her stare. Tobi looked stoically back. Comprehension began to sink in, and she turned back to Ifeanyi as she said her next words, feeling her whole world begin to topple like a row of dominoes. “Are you breaking up with me, Jerry?”

A heavy silence followed, one that was underscored by the sounds of the morning eddying around them. Five people tensely waited for the answer to the question, while the sixth stared, understanding slowly saturating his mind.

“No, Aidee,” he said slowly. “I’m not breaking up with you. I want to marry you. Right now.”

“What?”

“This wedding is supposed to be about us. Everything else was supposed to be details. But we let the details get in the way. Well, here’s our chance to reclaim it for us. I asked you last year to marry me. Well, I’m asking you again. Aidee, will you marry me…right now?”

“But…I don’t…are you insane?” she burst out.

“Aidee –”

“Our friends – our families… What about our guests?”

“We have our friends and family right here.” Ifeanyi gestured at the other people standing, gaping at them. “They’re all the guests we need.”

“And you want us to get married in these clothes?” She was incredulous. “My wedding dress…we don’t even have a cake…no flowers –”

“Details, Aidee. Details.”

“Where’s this coming from, Jerry? Why the rush?”

“There’s no rush. There’s just an understanding that heaven knew something I didn’t, and is illuminating my mind with it.”

Behind him, Tobi smiled.

“I don’t understand, Jerry –”

“Then understand this: I love you. I want to marry you. So will you marry me…right now?”

There was a moment when Aidee wanted to say no to the ‘right now’ part, when she wanted to put her foot down and insist on a proper wedding, on all the trappings she’d envisioned for her big day. That moment however fleeted past when she looked into her fiancé’s eyes and realized what he’d been saying: that their journey on two people becoming one should be about those two. Everything else was just details.

“Yes, Jerry,” she husked, her eyes suddenly misting over with tears. “Yes, I’ll marry you right now.”

For several moments, they punctuated that declaration with an embrace, before turning to face their friends. James brought out the box of rings he’d been toting around in his capacity as the best man. Chinyere and Julianah took up positions on either side of the couple, and Tobi stood regally in front.

And he began: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered right here to celebrate the union of Aidee Erhime Agoreyo and Jerry Ifeanyi Chiemeke…”

THE END

 

QUICK QUESTION: If you’ve enjoyed this series, then I have a question for you. 🙂

After hearing Tobi’s doubts on his marriage, was it truly Ifeanyi’s intent from the onset to wed Aidee right then and there in the church’s parking lot, or had he intended to break up with his fiancée?

Give us your answer with reasons, and the commenter of the most satisfactorily correct answer wins a N1000 recharge card of any network.

Thanks, guys, and do have a Terrific Tuesday.

I am @Walt_Shakes on twitter


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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41 comments

  1. Ifeanyi never wanted to breakup with Aidee, he was simply doing what most men do- Going with the flow to ensure he’s happy and she’s even more happier

    There were times Aidee just said to him, all you need to do is show up for your wedding leave the rest to me.

    Ifeanyi truly loved Aidee, he wasn’t arsed about the location and paparazzi hoopla that Aidee was on about. After listening to Tobi, he simply had to say “fuck this” (excuse my French) and take a stand and do what he’s always wanted to do for a year.

    Ifeanyi has the patience of job honestly, but then again love can make you do incredible things.

    • shakespeareanwalter

      Interesting input. Really interesting. but this Ifeanyi though…what a man, huh?

      • Lol he was sidelined from the minute he popped the question a year ago and things just went downhill from there. Tobi had to speak some sense into him and then he had to go back to the beginning-popping the question all over again. Only this time nobody is pushing him to the sidelines anymore. The paparazzi and asoebi and cakes can drown inside 3MB for all he cares. He’s making it official and that’s final.

        Tobi though he’s the one I find quite interesting. From the onset Tobi struck me as one who knew something but waited until the last minute to speak up

  2. Huh Huh!!!!
    Wow did see that hasty part coming tho’.
    But that’s the part I enjoyed most!
    And as for whether Jerry intended breaking up with Aidee. From the way he turned and left with no words, that’s what his friends, especially James thought. And with the way he called on Aidee that they need to talk, it was so much of a suspense.
    But only Jerry truthfully knew what was going on in his mind, what he truly wanted.
    So, if I’m asked to answer whether he had the intention of breaking his engagement, I would truthfully say yes, as I’m no mind reader.
    Captivating and wonderfully carved. Thanks for making me a part of this. I so love it.
    Looking forward to reading more from you; especially #TheHandOfGod!
    *mischievous grin*

  3. So what happens to the cake, the wedding dress, the hall, the decorator, all that money wasted? Forget the right thing, this guys just be wasting money and God does not like a money waster.

  4. Awww Walter, so beautiful! I was so sure that he was going to break up with her…

    Anyway, I haven’t read the previous episodes, will read them later, but from reading this one I don’t think that he intended to get wedded at that moment. Tobi’s doubts obviously struck a cord, and so to help him make a decision he went the ‘let’s get married right now’ route in order to discover if truly it’s more about the wedding than about ‘them’, Aidee’s response would have made the decision for him, which it did.

    Men are not interested in the whole fanfare that comes with weddings as women are, they usually just go along with the ceremonials just to please their brides so anyone would have been ok by Tobi, I think. For me, if there’s anything like a non-existent wedding, that’s what I want so long as its in my power to choose.

    I wish that couples would take more care with proceedings leading to their marriage than they normally do in this our time. A friend told me one day that his confidence in men of God would be renewed when one day he sees a man of God refuse to wed a couple because he knows that they’re headed for disaster. But the truth is that a lot of people are told not to go ahead with a particular person, but end up rejecting that guidance for a lot of different reasons which compared to what may come out of that union down the line, won’t even be worth it. A lot of people hold unto the wrong people because they claim they can’t live without them, hmm, whoever says that they can’t live without another is lying to himself and his partner, because they can and they will if the circumstance presents itself, and most of the time it has more to do with the person making the claim than their partner.

    Plenty epistle from me, sorry guys.

  5. Ifeanyi actually wanted to break up with Aidee. And he would have done so. It was first a test to know if Aidee’s love was materialistic or not. The tense atmosphere and his friends’ reactions prompted the impromptu proposal and subsequent impromptu marriage…

  6. Tobi is just boring, dasall

  7. That Ifeanyi guy is very much like me.

  8. If not for my wayward muse and my marrow-deep laziness, this would’ve been the best chance to get money for my data subscription…

    Excellent story, powerful, shocking ending, the way I love ’em. Thumbs up, Shakes. (At least this comment should fetch me card for 10 mb).

  9. Ifeanyi proved himself to be a man by his actions. Not threatning or cajoling but making Aidee see his point and what really mattered: them, not the pomp and pageantry inherent in Nigerian weddings.

    At first, I thought Ifeanyi wanted to break the engagement because it seemed Aidee was more interested in the perfect society wedding, not in him or their life together after the wedding. Classy read Walt!

  10. Hahahaha…Uchennaya! I hail thy pen and Mirinda head!
    Now to play: Ifeanyi was never going to break up with Aidee. I know so for two reasons:

    1. I would’ve done the same in his shoes; in fact, the thought fleeted across my mind as I read the “Ican’t believe i’m about to do this…” part. Ifeanyi is a solid guy, mature and all; for such a man, a proposal is not small chops. He must have loved Aidee a LOT if he proposed, and then let her post the wedding for that long, all the while spending money (he’s Igbo so we can be sure family et al must have given him hell for it). And if a guy like that loves a woman that much, he doesn’t decide on an ‘inspired’ whim to break up with her AND actually do it immediately.

    2. He didn’t ask to speak with her privately. I had my doubts about his intentions but when he went ahead to start ‘the talk’ while their friends looked on, it felt odd. If he had wanted to break up, he would have asked to speak in private; maybe she would have insisted he go ahead there but he’d have asked.

    That done, my actual befuddlement is with Tobi. Did he intend the result that played out? Now that would have been something!

    I’m reblogging this sometime, Waltz…just too good.

  11. Wow. Great story. I was thinking it was long but I just couldn’t stop reading.
    To the question; no, it wasn’t on Jerry’s mind to marry aided right there. Toby brought his mind back from the hustle and bustle of getting all the details right to remember that the marriage was about the people marrying and not the details. A tough decision if you ask me. Jerry didn’t want to break up with aided; he wanted her instead to prove she loved him more than details and the perfect wedding.

  12. An awesome episode and series Waltz, you will marry a woman.
    Now to the question.
    I think Jerry intended to marry Aidee right there in the parking lot. That decision was made right there in the church before his friends, and evidenced in his statement ‘I can’t believe I am about to do this’
    Secondly, he intended to break up with Aidee as well. He knew it would go either way and he was prepared, this is evidenced in his statement ‘what better time to end this than now’ .
    Yes, he knew he had all he needed in Aidee however he wanted to be sure Aidee wanted the marriage for the right reasons as he did: if she did, then the marriage will hold right there in the parking lot; well if she only wanted a societal wedding and not a lifetime with Jerry, then it will end right there in the parking lot.
    This is my humble submission mi Lord.

  13. An amusing piece with salient lessons. Ifeanyi never thought of breaking up with Aidee nor having the wedding right there. He wanted to be convinced that Aidee had a focus on the marriage (both of them) that was the why he said ‘lets get married now,’ although Aidee was carried away by the wedding preparations, Ifeanyi brought her back to reality, which is…’it’s all about us’

  14. uhmmm….I think he was not planning on breaking up with her..but if she had insisted on having an elaborate wedding,then that would have been his excuse to break up with her…

  15. From the beginning, it was obvious that Jerry is not a kind of guy that gets swayed by other peoples opinion. The mature way he handled issues even when he was relegated to the background planning his own wedding is a testament to his patience.
    Deep down in his subconscious, Jerry knew he would have his way at the end of the day. His love for Aidee made him susceptible to her wiles as a woman, as he was able to tolerate all her excesses. He also understood how women can get carried away with little details, which is why he gave the ultimatum. If Aidee had insisted on the big wedding, that would have been the end of their relationship, no matter how much he loves her. He is a spontaneous guy, left to him he would have married her a week after proposing. I’m sure Father Tobi had a premonition of the outcome (as per his spiritual connection to Baba God lol).
    Thank you Walt for this wonderful series, i for one have learnt a lesson…to be focused on the goal and not be distracted by peripherals!

  16. Ifeanyis intention was to get married to Aidee if she agreed for it to be right there that was why the rings were available and their friends present but if she refuses… Perhaps they’ll actually be no wedding… It is a test of love.

  17. i have a confession Shakes… i never really followed this series.. but the end is awesome

  18. Chisos! Final episode eh? I think i have some catching up to do.

  19. Am back now, that wedding was an event on its own. Ifeanyi would have ended the relationship there and then if Aidee had not done the right thing by accepting him there and then. But then, the guy get sense no be small. Many thanks Walter. I enjoyed this from the first to the last episode.

  20. This final episode just reads too good. I enjoyed it till the final fullstop. Thanks for this, Cap’n Walt.

  21. LWKMD.
    Meehn, Walter, you are one bad ass writer!!
    The jokes got me laughing really hard and then, even though I expected the second disruption of Aidee’s wedding plans by Inec it still got me cracked up.
    Bro, you rock!

  22. Uh, the above comment was meant for episode five of this series

  23. Beautiful series. Best thing since EAST. The whole story is not just about entertainment, there is a deep lesson to be learned.

  24. Wow! This is a wonderful series. Aidee was much preoccupied with the marriage preparations before, but good she made the correct choice at the end.

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