At a marriage ceremony last weekend (precisely Saturday, 10th September, 2016), I stumbled into my old school course mate, Mrs Gloria Udeviegwo.
She was sitting at another side of the marriage reception ground, almost opposite where I was relaxing with some of my friends. It was she that saw me first and practically ran over to join me.
I got up from my seat to meet her and we embraced passionately for almost a minute swinging from side to side like two old love birds who had not seen each other in a long while until I had to force myself to break it up.
Somewhere at one corner of my brain a red light was blinking non-stop, almost annoyingly. It was reminding me that “Oh Glory!” (as I fondly called her back then) was now a married woman with four lovely kids.
But, she did not look it. Even at 52, she looked 10 years younger than her age.
I Pulled back and admired her again, while still holding her hands.
She was a woman with all the beauty and curves at the right places – comparable to the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado car that took the newly wedded couple to the Church where they were joined together as husband and wife that beautiful Saturday morning.
Indeed, she was the original American’s definition of a “broad” in every sense of the word, a woman worth taking home to mama with excitement written all over your face as you scream: “Look what I found Mum! Be happy for me. I’m getting married!”
In my mind, I screamed “Ooh la la!!! This woman’s husband is truly fortunate. Some guys surely have all the luck!!!”
She noticed the knowing look on my face being an old-timer in the business and took the words from my mouth: “You think I am good enough to eat, hen?! Isn’t my husband fortunate?”
Of course he was. But, I did not put that into words. It was not as if I was afraid of how she might react. Gloria and I were way beyond that in our friendship. I did not want my envy of her husband to be too obvious – even when I knew she already knew I regretted not marrying her anyway.
Eventually I forced myself to let go of her hands not knowing if her husband was somewhere around the corner.
As if she read my mind, she said: “My husband is at home. You know he is not the outgoing socialising type. He is kind of a homebuddy person. But he has a great personality, almost like you.” and we laughed at that.
“That is why I married him in the first place. I should have married you being best of friends and all. But, perhaps it was best we did not get married. Anyway, I am here with one of my friends, Betty. She is sitting over there.” pointing to a spot where she was sitting before running over to meet me.
Amazing woman indeed! Gloria always knew what I was thinking like a mind reader. That was how close we were. As a matter of fact, we were so close back then at school that people thought we surely would get married. But, it did not happen. It was a miracle we did not marry.
You know what they say that best friends should not ruin their relationship by getting married? And she even alluded to it in her response to me.
So, what happened? Is that what you are thinking? Curious mind!
Well, I do not know. I think after school we just lost each other’s contact and you know there was no GSM back then. You can blame fate for that.
But, the next thing I knew she was married and I kicked myself in the side half happy and half sad. You know she was four years older than me. But, you know what they say about “age being nothing but a number”. I think I agree with them too.
“Oh Glory!” I exclaimed, having a mind flash on the joyous times we had together. “You must be a mind reader! How do you do it? Even after 4 good children – at least last time I checked. Or, have you added another one now?”
“What?” She asked. “How do I remain young? Well, it is God oooo! And I have not added another one oooo!!! The economic is biting hard, you know.”
But, I knew better. So, I asked: “I heard you and your husband are in the local government. How do you cope? How do you survive?”
She was about to tell me when the MC announced that the latest couple in town had arrived the reception ground and the second half of the marriage ceremony was about to start.
It was a huge struggle within myself almost wanting her to stay with me all through the reception but I had to let her go back to her friend, Betty.
She later introduced Betty to me when we got together again at the end of the marriage ceremony and we got friendly. Not wanting to loose her company too soon, I immediately took them to my favourite spot in town where I usually hang out and bought some soft drinks for them.
Thereafter, we continued our conversation.
She confided in me that she and her family had been surviving by the grace of God. To which I replied that God knows her children and always know how to take care of them.
Mrs Udeviegwo continued: “It has not been easy, my dear. It is when the chips are down that you know who your true friends are. Some of my friends who used to be with me almost 24 hours a day deserted me. But, I don’t mourn their loss. It was good riddance to bad rubbish. God gave me new and more wonderful friends like Betty here. We attend the same church.
“We are very close that most people think we are sisters. She can come over to my place and spend the weekend. I too can go over to her place and also spend the weekend with my husband’s permission. As a matter of fact, there is nothing about me that she doesn’t know and the relationship is less than a year old. That is how close we are.”
“Towards the end of last year things became very difficult for my family. Honestly, that period was the darkest time for my family and I. The rent became due for more than five months and the landlord was the overbearing type who did not joke with his money.
“Also, we were unable to pay our children’s school fees and they had to stop school. Even feeding became a problem too. But, as God would have it no one was sick throughout that period and there was no bad news of death from my relations near or far. That would have broadcast our misfortune to everyone in the family more than anything else.
“Eventually God sent a saving grace in the form of the online mini importation business. That was when I also reestablished contact with you, Kome.” And she smiled as her whole face lit up at the thought.
I smiled too at that and said softly almost caressing her with my voice: “I am glad I met you again.” I could not even hide the love and endearment in my eyes as I said that.
She laughed out loud and said: “I know the next thing you will be thinking of now is how to device the perfect plan to steal me away from my husband. But, let me assure you that you just might succeed.” She ended with a knowing wink: “Isn’t that what you want to hear?”
Of course it was. But, I wasn’t going to admit that to her – even though I knew she knew anyway.
Continue reading her full story here ===>>> My Awesome Time Out With Mrs Gloria Udeviegwo’s The Complete Story