The wedding was the talk of the town: one that will go down memory lane as the most elaborate and glamorous in the history of Golf town.
Jane couldn’t be more grateful for the effort her committee -of -friends put into the successful outcome of her wedding:
Tayo saw to it that every guest had more than enough to eat and drink. People still kept talking about the breath-taking wedding cake Mariam baked for her – free of charge. Sade was responsible for securing the five-star hall used for her wedding reception. Even Bola’s genius on matters of aesthetics was at its peak with the superb interior-decorating job she did on the hall. Indeed, all but one of her close friends came true for her.
Linda, her loquacious friend, was supposed to make the toast at the reception. Not oblivious of her elusive nature, Jane had informed her much earlier of her role and Linda was more than willing to play the part. She gladly promised to make a ‘wow’ toast. Despite her words of assurance, Jane kept reminding Linda of her role, even two days to the d-day.
NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!
The d-day came but Linda didn’t show up for the church wedding. The plan was for her to make the church service and then follow the convoy of the newest couple in town to the reception. She was supposed to intimate the bride’s maid of her presence once she got to church. Her worries grew when Linda was nowhere to be found, even after the service was over. How to get a replacement for Linda became her only concern. Thank God for Segun, her husband’s best-man who stepped in to save the day. His was a job well-done for an assignment given at short notice.
A week had gone by after her wedding, yet Jane didn’t hear from Linda. Not even a common SMS came from her end. Not even a call to explain and apologise for her unbecoming attitude.
As far as Jane was concerned, whatever tie existed between her and Linda has been severed.
Although Jane often felt this prompting in her mind to check on her – just to get closure – she strongly resisted the urge.
“Why on earth should I call her? After all, her absence at my wedding wasn’t her first. She went ‘awol’ during Fisayo’s convocation. Even when she was supposed to supervise Temi’s birthday plan, she excused herself at the last minute…. ‘Something came up’ was all the excuse she gave. If she could behave that way in previous occasions, why should mine be an exception? Best we go our separate ways”.
It however never occurred to Jane that things may not be what she thought it was.
Flashback a day before Jane’s wedding, Linda had taken – off in her car en route Jane’s wedding. She had rehearsed her speech and couldn’t wait to get to the church and share in her friend’s joy. Mega town, where she lived, was just a three-hour drive from Golf. So she started her journey at exactly 6:00am, hoping to get to the church on or before 9:00am. Since it was still dawn, she had no issue with traffic which meant she would make prompt arrival at the church.
She had driven for the first two hours without any incidence until she got to Goza bypass. The bypass was a sharp bend that led straight to Golf highway. So sharp was this bend that, quite often, many vehicles had bashed into one another, causing ghastly and sometimes fatal accidents. Careful drivers therefore decelerated before they negotiate the bend. Linda didn’t see the need to be so cautious since traffic was still at its lowest.
Little did she know that by negotiating the bend at her current speed of 110, she was running into disaster. She made a left-turn towards Golf road and changed gears. Just as she made the turning, she came in contact with terror.
The approaching lorry driver, having developed a brake fault, lost control of the wheels. The lorry swerved, went off its lane and turned towards the direction of Linda’s car. “Oh my God!” she gasped. And before she could make any attempt to dodge the lorry, it ran with full force into her car. In the split of a second, Linda was gone.
It was a terrible way of dying!
Having finished her chores for the morning, Jane decided to go on Twitter to see what was trending. It was her first visit on social media since her wedding. She scrolled through the series of tweets on her wall and indulged herself by reading those that caught her fancy. Just as she was about to exit the app, a fresh tweet by her friend Fola popped up. The picture attached to the tweet caught her attention immediately. It was that of her estranged friend Linda. What was more unsettling about the tweet was the bold RIP text inscribed on the picture. ‘RIP?’
Is this what I think it means or something else, she asked of no one as sudden fear gripped her.
No, this can’t be real. Fola must have used the acronym to mean something else. Her heart had begun to race; her body trembling. She refused to agree with the gloomy thoughts running through her mind and decided to seek clarification.
Picking up her smartphone, she located Fola’s number and dialed it instantly and after a number of rings, Fola picked the call.
Hello Jane, whatz up…?
Hi Fola, Jane rejoined abruptly and went straight to the point.
I just saw your tweet about Linda… What’s the RIP business all about?
Haven’t you heard, Fola replied after a short pause. I thought you already knew about it.
Knew what… Knew about what… What in God’s name are you talking about?
Linda is dead! She replied in trembling voice.
A cold shiver ran down Jane’s spine at the receipt of the news.
Yes, dead. She died in a terrible accident, on her way to your wedding. How come you’re just hearing this? I couldn’t call you all this while because I didn’t know what to say to console you; knowing that she died on her way to share in your joy.
Hello… hello… Are you there? She asked, noticing that she wasn’t getting further response from the other end. Fola checked her screen only to discover that the call had been terminated. She was speaking into thin air.
She died on her way to your wedding. That was the last thing she heard from Fola before the phone fell off her hand. And that statement kept ringing in her head. The wave of guilt and pain hit her as she began to weep uncontrollably. While Linda sacrificed her life on the altar of her wedding; she, due to her costly assumption, had held Linda prisoner in her heart.
MORAL OF THE STORY