A throwback tale of the tail.
What day was that again? Friday. A certain Friday three months ago. Yes. I remember, I think. I was scouting for the location they were using for the wedding. They gave me an address and a bus route. I took a bus to the bus stop. From there, I had to take a keke down the long everlasting road.
I kept asking: Where is number 80 XYZ street?
Everyone said: this is the street, we don't know of the number. Just keep going.
'Okay do you know Yhdswrh church?'
'No. No. No. Never heard of it'.
Wow, I was going to a place that didn't exist. I looked outside. Most of the houses were not numbered. Like who builds houses and doesn't put numbers? How will they get mail? Oh. Nigerians don't do mail. Many of them don't even know that the post office still exists. And the ones who shop online are the "woke youth".
What about Nepa bills? You may ask. Well, nepa has a way to find you everywhere you go sorry live. A million and one questions run in different directions in my small head. Where do I start from? I reach the end of the street. Does it go further? I haven't seen 80 yet. No, after this junction na the next street. So, I'm officially lost or rather where I'm looking for is lost? The Lord turns my neck 360 degrees (don't ask how it felt) and I see a hotel.
Hdewtfgh hotel. No 110 XYZ street.
Hmmm. If this is the end, I better start going down, I say to myself. No more keke this time. I'm using legedes Benz so I can look closely at the houses and shops for numbers or something that looks like it. I walk slowly and look. Walk, look, walk look. To a passerby, I am a tourist. One of those Nigerian abroadians coming back to their homeland for the first time. Everything is strange and somewhat intriguing - even the woman flinging pure water sachet from the window.
I keep looking and walking. I must find this church because tomorrow is a wedding I have to attend. And I'm bringing kids with me. Left to me, I wouldn't attend weddings, not even mine. I'd rather we do a video call and the audience will be in church. Will I wear a dress? Maybe, but not white. Something simple, short, flay and red (like the dress I couldn't afford last week), would do. Then boo can wear any color he wants. Something complementary would be great.
But then instead of giving you all the heartache of watching a virtual wedding. Let's just do it in the registry and splash photos on facebook later. And if you want rice, walk into any restaurant and eat a plate in my name. (if they give you plates to wash afterwards, don't blame me).
So I keep looking and I end up in a brick house that was once a church. The sign board is still there. The building seems intact but so dusty and there's a Mercedes parked right in front of what would have been the entrance. So clearly, no one is getting married here anytime soon. I take a picture. One sure cure to the momentary feeling of "what in the world is going on here"is a good selfie. That's for me though but don't try it at home.
I take two deep breaths and think again. I cross the road. Maybe they meant 81 not 80. Stuff like that happens, typographically. I see a sign board of a mission school or Bible school (they're not the same, right?) with a really long name. But no church. I ask the people around the side street beside the school which looks like a hill: Do you know this church? They all say No. From the woman at the base about to roast her corn to the man in the provision shop at the tail of the street which happens to be the top of the hill.
I place a call. This is getting out of hand and I'm starting to feel vertigo because I can see the entire road from there, as far as where I trekked from. I climb down slowly and think carefully. The person on the other end of the line had just given me the perfect description of where I was standing. Was the Bible school the church? I asked around again but this time I didn't go all the way up. The people in the shops at the base were enough. One woman started like she had just been reminded of something. Yes. Yes. Yes, she had said. She didn't seem sure but she gave me hope. We would come the next day and if it wasn't the venue, we would take pictures, sing to each other and go back home. simple short wedding dresses
I thanked the people and began to find my way home - Keke first, then bus just as I had come earlier on. The next day, we went there and indeed it was the church. But men and brethren, who builds churches without a signboard for it? (even if the building is for dual purposes)