Gina’s best friend recently got hitched. The man she married had just come from abroad. He seemed to have come loaded with bags of money from the way he spoiled Marion.
“We are having a beach wedding.” Marion bragged to Gina.
“Woow! I can already picture it, the ocean breeze, the palm trees, the coconuts…” Gina excitedly said.
The two women fantasized excitedly for a few minutes and then calmed down.
“Gina, I am so thankful Clement has finally come through. I was worried he was taking me for a ride while abroad.”
“I am happy for you dear. I don’t understand your fears . He ensured he video- called you everyday to know how you are doing. He was really committed!”
And the two friends continued with the wedding preparations, making calls, meeting deadlines and confronting those who seemed to procastinate, all in a effort to make Marion’s day perfect.
Indeed it was perfect! Not only was it perfect but it was also elegant. Every detail was lavishly catered for. The venue was deluxe, the catering was sumptuous, the groomsmen and brides maids clad in ritzy attire. Even the palatial cake revealed that it wasn’t prepared by a just a baker but by a cake virtuoso.
“Your friend looks really happy.” Gina’s boyfriend whispered behind her as she watched the couple of the day whisper to each other on the high table.
“Yes,she is. You know what, I just wish I will not have to wait for long too.” She said, staring at him in the eye, unsure whether he understood her indirect message. He smiled at her but they were interrupted by the MC’s booming voice as he called out all the single women to assemble where he was.
“I guess it’s that time of the wedding where the bride throws her bunch of flowers and all the girls run to catch it.”
Marion was hesistant. She did not believe the myth that the first person to grab the bouquet would be the next to have a wedding. Then she saw Marion beckoning at her excitedly.
“Just for fun!” She said and ran to join the other ladies.
“One! Two! Throw!” The MC cheered as the bride swung the bouquet far behind her where the ladies stood. The ladies jumped to get a hold of it but boom! the bouquet fell squarely on Gina’s hands. She did not know what caught her but she found herself screaming exhilaratedly for being the bearer of the trophy as it was perceived then.
She saw her boyfriend Telvin smiling at her and waved the bouquet at him.
“Do you know what this means?” She asked him when she reached where he was.
“Oh shit! They are calling the single men now! Let’s go somewhere we can hide babe.” Telvin said as Gina tried to pull him back to join the other single men in catching the groom’s shoe.
“Babe, can you imagine me jumping up to catch a man’s shoe?”
“You should, don’t you want to get married some day?”
“I do babe but I don’t have to show it to the whole world, it’s unmanly!”
They were now in a private place where not many would see them.
Gina felt hurt. She really loved Telvin and would have wanted to also have a big wedding with him some day but he did not seem as enthusiastic about it like she was. She wanted to turn and go back to the wedding but was shocked at his next move.
Telvin was on his knees, holding a ring box in his hands. Gina shrieked in joy.
“I want to spend my life with you dear. Please say yes to the next question, Gina, will you marry me?”
“Yes!Yes!” She said tears welling up in her eyes. He rose up, they kissed and embraced and kissed again.
“We better go back before they come looking for us.”
All Gina could think about was that surprise. She did not want to steal the show from Marion so she waited until she and her husband Clement came back from their honeymoon in Seychelles.
When they did, Marion was over the moon at the great news.
“How great it is, when we both transit from singlehood life to married life at almost the same time.”
“I know! I am so happy!” Gina delightfully exclaimed.
So Gina asked her best friend to help her with the wedding preparations.
“Are you even asking? After the way you helped me? Of course!” Marion said.
“Aaaw! Thank you dear. Maybe you can start by sending me your wedding’s budget list.” Gina said.
“Huh? My budget list?” Marion asked but immediately wished she could have just shut her mouth and handed her best friend what she needed.
“Are you doubting that Telvin and I can’t afford such a mega budget?” Gina enquired, visibly irked.
“No Gina . I did not say anything like tha…” Before Marion could finish off her statement, Gina cut in.
“Look here Marion, your husband may have come from The States but everyone knows that he gained his many dollars from washing old folks behinds.” Marion looked at her best friend in disbelief at the hurtful words but Gina was not done yet.
“Telvin and I may be mere civil servants but trust me you, we will have a resplendent wedding. Our wedding will be so imposing that yours will seem like a shadow. We will prove that one doesn’t need a rich boy from the West to have an impressive wedding.”
Marion had heard enough. Knowing that she did not deserve that kind of outburst from Gina, she took her purse and phone and left.
Gina thought Marion needed the bluntness. Who would be frank with her if not her, as the best friend?
That evening she met with her fiancè Telvin and told him what had transpired between her and her best friend.
“Babe, I think you were too harsh on her. Truth is, her wedding is way off our league. Our budget can barely even cater for the wedding cake they had. In fact if I was asked, I would suggest a civil wedding which costs a few hundreds.” Telvin said, biting off a french fry hungrily oblivious of the anger that was boiling in his fianceè’s system.
“What? Tell me, how much have you drawn up for our wedding?”
“Probably a quarter of what Marion and Clement had. We have to avoid being so flashy then suffer later.”
“A quarter? Are you serious? My draft of items needed contains double of what they had! “
Telvin laughed, imagining his wife-to-be was trying a hand in comedy until he saw her stern face.
“Look babe, for us to have such a budget we will have to take a loan, borrow from people or sell our parents’ lands.” Telvin remarked.
“Let’s do it. If that’s what it takes to get our dream wedding, let’s do it.” Gina blurted out eagerly.
Telvin knew how unyielding Gina could get when she was stuck on something,but he needed to stay unbent too for there was so much at stake here.
“Gina, I can’t take a loan for a wedding. In fact if I do take a loan, it will be to buy land so that we built a house for our family. Our parents’ lands are theirs, you can’t sell what’s not yours. As for borrowing from people, I think I will live within my means to avoid bothering anyone.” Telvin said and left with an excuse of meeting an acquaintance over a work related issue.
Gina was left fuming. She did not believe that she would have a low class wedding that would leave everyone mocking her.
She vowed to have her dream wedding by all means. If Marion could have a grand wedding, she herself would have an even grander wedding. So she devised plans to have double the money Marion used.
First she would visit her bank to get the highest amount of money the bank would offer her.
As one would expect, the bankers were beaming with joy as they handed the application forms to Gina to sign. Within two weeks, the money was in her account.
“Babe, is it really necessary? ” Telvin asked when he found out what she had done.
“Look Telvin, a wedding is a girl’s most important day in her life. If I won’t be happy on that day, I might as well never be happy for the rest of my life.” She said.
Telvin sighed in reluctant agreement.
“Ok. If it makes you happy babe. Now you have your money, can we have this wedding in peace now?” He asked and she nodded. Yet , in her mind she was counting how many more days she had to top up the money. It was still not enough to her.
It was still a few weeks to her wedding. She called her friends , asking for donations and contributions for her wedding, playing emotional blackmail along the way.
“Tomorrow you will be the one asking for help.” She would say or, “This is the time to know my real friends.” And it worked, the contributions trickled in, but the money was not enough yet.
Then it dawned on her an idea. She laughed at her bright mind and the sudden realization of the fact that she was sitting at a goldmine at her workplace.
Gina knew some crooks in the busines of forgery. She contacted them and they did not disappoint her.
“Nice, it looks so real!”She exclaimed.
“I told you madam, we are very good. No one will know this is fake.” The crook told her.
He was right. The Benefits Office did not detect the sham in her documents. After one week, she received a notification from her bank. Her account had gotten fatter.
Hurray! Now her dream could be achieved. True to her word, her wedding was like no other. It was so magnificent that the local TV channel aired it on the Wedding Show programme.
Even the groom himself was shocked at the plush details of his wedding. He did not want to question his bride about the recherchè decor or the voluminous gorgeous cake or her gold sequine wedding gown. He was just happy that his bride was all smiles as they celebrated a new phase of life.
“Babe, Hawaii? I had booked a hotel at Mombasa!” He said as he marveled at the surfers playing in the sea, children building sand castles, tanned bodies lying in the sun and the smell of salty air beating his nostrils.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it? They call this place Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii. Gosh, I could live here forever!” Gina said as she lay her body on the gritty sands, facing the sunlight that was starting to fade.
For two weeks , husband and wife enjoyed the honeymoon. It was time for them to leave. With nostalgia they said goodbye to Hawaii. If only they knew what awaited them back home, they would have stayed a bit longer.
Nosy neighbours informed the fraud investigators of the arrival of the couple. As soon as they had a shower and a cup of tea, Gina and Telvin heard a knock on the door.
Telvin could not believe it. He was enraged, ashamed and anguished that his wife had committed fraud to have a grandiose wedding. It was too late to discover that the loan alone was not enough to cater for the wedding and the honeymoon they had enjoyed.
“We will not take you to court if you pay back the money in one week’s time.” The company’s representative announced. Both Gina and Telvin knew going to court would lead to an unknown number of years in jail.
That night, neither of them had any wink of sleep. All Gina thought of was prison. Telvin was upset that his plans would crumble down. They woke up the next morning.
“Babe, I am sorry! ” She said trying to hold him.
“Don’t touch me. How could you? Gina? How could you lie that your parents died, fake death certificates for them then shamelessly claim the bereaved benefits from the company?” Telvin asked his wife indignantly.
He took a shirt and trouser from the wardrobe and left her seated on the bed sobbing for her thoughtless actions. He came back twelve hours later,still disgruntled.
“Telvin, I am afraid of going to jail!” She cried. Telvin did not reply. In fact he did not speak a word to her until he finally came to bed and met her weeping.
“I applied for a loan to pay for your crime. Just hope the bank sends the money in time so that you will not have to go to jail.” He said and lay on the bed facing the wall.
“Oh sweetheart, Thank you..” She leant to give him kiss on his cheek but he threw her off.
“Don’t touch me! You have ruined our lives. I even hear that you pestered your friends so much that they could not find peace until they sent their donations for your wedding.” Telvin clicked in disgust as he continued.
“7 years! I will have to pay a loan I didn’t have to borrow for 7 good years. To add on that, our payslips are so thin that if any of us fell ill, we would need a fundraising to go to hospital! 7 years! Gina! 7!”
He did not want to hear her apologies. Since that day, any effort to please Telvin was rebuffed. He would really fly off the handle at the slighest provocation. It would be a bad night for Gina if anyone tried to borrow some money from him for a well meaning cause.
When she fell pregnant, she had to choose the cheapest hospital to attend clinics and to give birth.
Gina knew that even after the seventh year when both their loans had been repaid, life would never be the same again. The humiliation and agony she had caused him would take an eternity to heal.
If only she had been content with his idea of a small wedding. If only she had agreed to live within their means. If only she had not compared herself with Marion and her tycoon husband who were now enjoying life in the States.
If you are getting married and ask her now she will tell you,
“Focus more on how your marriage will be, than on your wedding, because a wedding is only a day’s event while a marriage is a lifetime journey. “