We alighted from the car after he had parked in the lot. I was so angry and frustrated that I had been towed there that Sunday. For God’s sake, I thought Sundays were for rest.
“I have told you to stop wearing short dresses if you won’t wear them properly,” dad said as he dragged my dress down.
“Dad stop this thing you are doing,” I angrily mumbled to him and he gave me a bad look.
Sophia chuckled in front of me and it was I and mum’s turn to give her the bad eyes.
We went into the hall. I’d admit it was beautifully decorated. They put a lot into it.
I hissed and crossed my leg as I sat close to mum. “Mum do I have to be here?” I sulked.
“Well, your father insisted we all come. He claims it’s a special day,” she said faking smiles as she greeted some people. And I realized she was just as dissatisfied as I was to be there.
“Just relax and enjoy it. I bet it’s going to be fun,” the annoying younger sister squeaked like a rat.
I frowned at her, “you… you better move away from me before I pluck your small eyes out,” I threatened and she humbly moved to the end of the roll.
My sister was a pain in my ass; like father like daughter.
I was still furious that I had to be there. “Why couldn’t these men just celebrate their end of year party alone just like when they always have their meetings.”
My thoughts were cut short when my sister tapped me. I didn’t even know when mum moved over to where dad was seated.
Sophia was smiling sheepishly.
“What is it?” I asked her without blinking.
She signalled with her head towards the door. I looked and I saw that a very handsome man and his parents had just arrived and they were exchanging pleasantries with people.
I was still staring when his eyes caught mine and I quickly looked away.
“He saw me,” I whispered to my sister.
“Really?” She giggled.
I expired and pretended to be looking at my parents.
Merriments had already begun and everyone was having fun especially Sophia who had already blended with some girls and was carried away by their small talks.
After about what came off as hours, “Merit, come,” dad called from where he was seated. Mum had already been hauled away by her “fellow” women.
I stood up and readjusted my dress, I didn’t want to get one of his looks in front of all the people there.
“Dad,” I said as I got to him.
“Ada m,” he remarked smiling. “This is my first daughter I was talking about.” He told the men around him.
The man who I had seen earlier with the handsome man spoke, “I saw her sitting over there looking so pretty. She’s perfect.”
I was confused, what was dad trying to do?
“He’ll like her,” the man added.
“Excuse me. Perfect, pretty. I’m sorry what are you talking about? Who will like who?” I asked.
The man smiled and looked at me, “My son. I think you’ll make a perfect wife. Don’t worry, he’ll be here soon.”
My eyes widened and I tittered, “wife?”
“Yes. You will make a good wife to him, Merit,” my father commented with a straight face.
“Dad,” I called and he gave me the usual look.
I couldn’t explain how angry I was at that moment and I couldn’t express it either. So my dad was serious about this marriage talks and now he just wanted to peddle me off like that. I stood there like a dummy in front of them, waiting for a man I knew nothing about to show up. I couldn’t believe my life was going to change soon. Me, a married woman? I wasn’t even ready to think for myself let alone for two people. A new life. What was it going to be like?
“You pushed me into something I wasn’t ready for. You ruined my life. You almost killed me. I don’t know if I can ever forgive you, dad,” Merit turns her head to the other side of the bed.
“Ada m,” her father calls but she doesn’t reply.
Sophia lays down beside her and hugs her from behind.
Her mother after staring at him for a while, “Did I not warn you? I told you all that glitters is not gold. You said let us try this gold. You said she’s taking too much time. I told you she’s just taking her time. For heaven’s sake, she was just 24,” a tear rolls down her cheek.
“Now see what you put my baby through. See what you put our daughter through. I knew that that fine face was a demon from the very first day I saw him get angry at that party over a mere wine bottle that was broken by that poor boy. A wine that did not even concern him, bottle or wine did not even touch him. It was so glaring that he was a mad dog waiting to be unleashed and today, he intentionally broke a wine bottle and stabbed my child all over with it. The child I carried in my womb and suffered for, he almost killed her.”
She shakes her head, “somebody’s husband. I don’t care how long this abuse has been going on but that idiot will not escape this one.”
Merit’s father lowers his head.
“Look at me.”
He doesn’t raise his head.
“Look at me Jacob,” she thunders.
He lifts his head to look at her.
“Now look at her,” she says in sobs.
He looks towards the bed and her state pierces through his heart. He shivers.
“Yes, I hope your conscience can handle this,” she swallows. “If not, I want Ebere to suffer like my daughter is doing right now.”
She daringly looks into his eyes. Then she dries her eyes and strolls out of the room.
Jacob sniffs, lets out a heavy sigh as he takes his eyes off Merit’s bed and leaves the hospital room too.
Merit bursts into tears and Sophia tighten her hug.