I was in total bliss. My wedding was turning out to be just the way I wanted it. The planners had paid attention to every detail and my gown was so on point and the “oohs” and “aahs” I was receiving from the congregation boosted my ego. It was a beautiful day and I couldn’t stop smiling.
Soon the ceremony was over and I had to take pictures with my friends and family. It was such a magnificent moment and I enjoyed all the attention that was being showered on me.
“Friends of the bride” the emcee’s voice rang out.
I literally blushed when I saw my friends approaching the stage to take shots with me. They came in their numbers; some from primary school, some from Junior and Senior secondary school, some from the University and some from my workplace. I felt so loved.
And then I saw her. Thelma Asante! She was walking slowly towards the stage with her head bowed down, quite unsure of her steps. She had a slight baby bump or so I thought. She raised her head and our eyes met. She flashed me a weak smile but all I could do was to stare. I stared without blinking and was suddenly overcome with remorse and sympathy. Tears welled up in my eyes as my mind flashed back to five years ago. I remembered the sharp pain that went through my heart when I found her kissing my then boyfriend, Agyemang, in the room we both shared back in University. What I didn’t understand was why all the malice I had harbored in my heart against her was suddenly turning into remorse and sympathy. She bypassed me and went up the stage. I managed to smile for the camera but deep inside I was bleeding.
Thelma and I were course mates in Senior High School and by studying together occasionally, we became friends. We continued our friendship in the University and became quite inseparable until that fateful day when I walked in on her having the time of her life with my ex boyfriend. That was when I found out that they had been dating secretly behind my back for over six months. I was dumbfounded and shattered. I couldn’t speak or do anything meaningful with my life for over a week. After gathering courage, I moved out of the room I used to share with her. No amount of pleas from both of them changed my mind. I stood my ground and vowed never to forgive them. Agyemang, after apologising and trying to get back with me for weeks, understood and backed off when he realized I was bent on not taking him back.
But not Thelma! She was persistent. I ignored her calls, texts and visits and even went to the extent of humiliating her in public, just to get her off my back. I blocked her on all the social media platforms and completely shut her out of my life. I even refused to attend her wedding which took place some months ago. She had sent the invitation through a mutual friend.
Seeing her today has made me realize how heartless I have been. I wasn’t even prepared to see her and was really surprised she had made an appearance at my wedding, especially when I had refused to attend hers. The past was in the past and she had been trying her best to make peace with me over the past five years but I wouldn’t budge.
“Okay so we’re done here. The reception is a few minutes away from here so everyone can move there. The couple will join you soon after taking their exclusive shots” the emcee announced.
Everyone dispersed and I turned around just in time to see Thelma descending the stage. She was approaching me. I faced her and managed a smile and before I knew it, I had broken into a sob. She came closer and embraced me tightly. Peter, my husband, the bridal team and the few people who were around cast surprised glances our way.
“I thought you were going to turn me away again today” she said in a shaky voice, still embracing me. I realised she was also crying.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for all this while and I’m glad you came” I said.
After a while, I let go of her. I took a good look at her appearance. She was still the same and I was right about her baby bump. She was pregnant. I introduced her to my husband, whom I knew had no clue if who she was because I had never mentioned her to him.
“Nice meeting you Thelma. It’s amazing how I’ve never met you or heard Sue mentioning you” Peter said and stretched out his hand for a handshake.
Thelma smiled and stretched her hand too. I made a mental note to explain everything that happened between us to him. We had quite a time trying to catch up on what we missed in each other’s lives over the years. She showed me pictures of her recent wedding and her husband and told me where she currently lived and worked at.
The exclusive shots were successful and the reception turned out even better. There was so much to eat and drink and a lot of entertaining activities. Thelma sat close by and we exchanged smiles and glances often. I was quite sad when it was time for her to leave. The reception wasn’t over but she had to go on a trip the next day so she had to leave quite early.
I embraced her tightly once more and looked on sadly as she took her leave. We promised to stay in touch and continue with our friendship from where we left off.
That was the last I saw of Thelma. She lost her life that day in a gory road accident on her way back home. It’s been three years now and I’m still nursing the pain of her death. The selfies we took on my wedding day are the only memories I have of her which I hold on to dearly. I sometimes blame myself for her death but I still believe she purposely came to seek one more chance with me on that day before bowing out of this world.
“Why didn’t I forgive her earlier? Why was I so hard on her? What if I had turned her away on that day? How would I even survive knowing that I held a grudge against her till her death?” Those are the questions that keep running through my head. Everyone’s wedding anniversary comes with joy but mine always reminds me of her death.
I just left the cemetery after sending a wreath of flowers to her grave. I do that every year! I’ve forgiven Agyemang as well, to free myself of any further guilt. I’ve made up my mind to patch things up with him wherever we might meet.