She collected the letter and checked for his eyeglasses hung on her chest.
"You are cordially invited to the wedding of Joy Amodu," she read out the invitation letter. Her hands trembled and she lost her senses.
The letter fell off as she was going down slowly. The postman was standing imagining what was going on. When the slow body motion was transmitting to a total fall, the postman grabbed her.
Kasali met them in this position.
Dressed in an overflowing dasiki and a snicker with a face cap whose combination was rioting in colors, Kasali is the only companion of Juliet. He had been serving her for 10 years.
He joined the postman to support her both sides as she was taken inside.
"Madam, what is the problem? Don't forget that you are managing a high BP." Turning to the postman, Kasali asked, "Oga, what happened to Madam?"
"I am a delivery man that only came to deliver a letter. She barely saw the address on the letter when she began to go down with the letter flown to a different direction." Postman explained what transpired.
Juliet regained her consciousness and made a hand gesture to the postman to go.
"Thank you," she forced herself to muster words out of the mouth below a teary eyes and intermediate nagging of teeth. The postman had done his job so he left.
Bewildered by what was playing on, "What is the problem?" Kasali asked
"I used my hands to destroy myself. Kasali, don't ever be selfish in life. It will come back to haunt you." Juliet bowed her head in-between her palms. "Hmmmmm, it's my daughter's wedding invitation card." She revealed the details.
"You daughter? Where? How?" Kasali asked. Perhaps, he was hearing that for the first time. He pushed aside the center table in his front as though it was blocking his hearing, dragging himself forward where he was sitting to listen to such a surprising revelation.
"I got married about twenty five years ago and the marriage produced a daughter two years later. I got a job abroad three years after the birth of my daughter and that was where the misunderstanding between my husband, Paul and I started from."
"Madam, stop crying, it's not good for your health." Kasali interjected as tears were flowing down Juliet's face.
"Thank you," she wiped her tears and continued.
"Paul insisted that I shouldn't accept the job. He wanted me to remain with him. He was working with the government. I insisted on going and after much persuasion and insistence, he told me to go if that's what I wanted but I should be ready for a polygamy as she was going to marry another wife to stay with him. I was mad at the hearing of polygamy. I traveled without his support."
"What about your daughter?" Kasali inquired.
"That was the peak of my selfishness and wickedness. I left Joy, my daughter of three years and traveled. I didn't just travel, I severed all communication channels with Paul. I lost the job that took me abroad ten years later and I decided to return to the country."
"How did you then meet your husband and daughter after your return?"
"I never did." Juliet responded.
"How are you sure that this is from her? There is a phone number in the RSVP, let's call it." Kasali posited.
Juliet put on his glasses and dialed the number.
"Inya," Paul picked the call at the other end.
That's a word she last heard from Paul before traveling abroad. Inya means wife and that's what Paul called her throughout their short marital journey.
The call was one sided. Juliet was short of where to start from. Apologize? Request to speak with Juliet? She was confused about what to do.
"I can't withstand disgrace by attending this wedding." Juliet concluded as she dropped the phone on the table.
"Madam, you will have to attend. The more you push forward the possible disgrace, the more the severity." Kasali advised otherwise.
Reluctantly, Juliet agreed to honor the invitation. The wedding venue was a two hour drive.
She woke up early on the day to take her bath. "Should this be a day of joy or sadness?" She asked herself, standing in front of the bathroom mirror to view the image of a selfish woman. She put on the shower with her head under.
"Ooops, I forgot my cap," her hair got wet. She picked her soap and in an attempt to get her sponge, it fell into the seater of the WC. She put her body reluctantly under the shower and left in no way cleaner than she entered.
Juliet sat in front of the mirror in the room to apply her usual favorite makeup. She picked the powder and dropped it. Her hand wasn't strong enough to even comb her hair. She decided to drop all the makeup plans, rub oil and leave home.
Any journey involving Kasali and Juliet used to be accompanied with many side activities like stopping over to buy fruits, yams and other things especially when passing through communities producing such commodities.
Thinking it was the usual Juliet, "Madam, this plantain would be good for you," he stated as he matched the brake in an attempt to park.
"Kasali, you should be emotionally intelligent enough to know when certain activities are unnecessary. Please take me to where I am going."
In tracing the address on the IV letter, Kasali stopped one of the passerby and asked about the next road to follow.
"Good afternoon my sister, please where is the venue of this wedding?" Kasali asked while showing the lady the address on the IV.
Instead of replying, the striking semblance of Juliet and Joy caught her attention.
"Any problem?" Kasali asked
"Joy is a copy of this woman, are you her Aunty?"
The question elicited tears from Juliet.
"Did I stop for you to see any resemblance? Please where is the way to the venue?" Kasali questioned the lady.
"Continue going down. Take the right turn in the next junction, you would see the banner." The lady stood there for a few minutes trying to connect her compliment with the tears she got in response.
The activities had started for some time before the arrival of Juliet. The hall was full to capacity. Coincidentally, Paul called to know if she was in the hall already.
"Yes, I am in my car outside."
Paul went out to meet Juliet.
On sighting Paul, Juliet went on her knees.
"You don't need to do this here. Let's enter the hall." Their entrance to the hall coincided deliberately with the invitation of the bride's parents to the dancing floor. Paul dragged Juliet's hands to the dancing floor.
Her feet were cold and body not flexible - what was in her mind was beyond dancing.
Seeing Juliet, Joy knew that she is an offspring of the woman. The face, the move, the shape and what have you, it was glaring that these two shared some genes. Joy saw her mother on her wedding day after 22 years.
She approached the mum and they hugged. For the rest of the day, she had a guilty conscience.
After the event, the trio of Paul, Juliet and Joy met to have a discussion. It was during the course of the discussion that Juliet realized that Joy got information about her on Facebook. It was a deliberate decision between Joy and her father to forgive Juliet.
Juliet pleaded for forgiveness.
"I hate myself for my actions. I prayed for a day to see my daughter and her father to seek forgiveness before I die and I never knew it would be on your wedding day. I am sorry."
"You left because I mentioned polygamy but I ended up not marrying any second wife. You are forgiven" Paul responded
The trio came together and hugged. Juliet regretted her actions and her wish became a reality.