Mama’s joy knows no bounds seeing her daughter splattered with the array of beauty as she steps gallantly into her nuptial bliss. She has been carried away by several chores around trying to be sure everyone is happy. She suddenly remembers that she never reminded Omolayo about the procedures of using her special package. She raises her head to look around. When she sees the couple’s car still there, she is rest assured. She beckons at a lady around to look after the remaining drinks. Moving towards the car, she hears Iya Bolu calling. As she turns to greet her, she hears a sound. Turning towards the sound, she realizes that the car is moving already. She cannot afford to start shouting nor can she run because age is telling already.
Mama watches the car rolling up dusts as it speeds off. She would have loved to explain to Omolayo. She would have also loved to embrace her before leaving. She watches with a faint smile as Iya Bolu holds firmly unto her shoulder.
"What else is there to do?" Iya Bolu has been so helpful for the past three days. She will bluntly refuse to eat once there are still things left undone.
"I’m just trying to count the remaining crates of drink. In fact, I left a lady there to help me monitor them while I’m away." Mama replies with a radiant smile revolving round her cheeks.
"Okay. Let’s do that together."
"Thanks. We shall soon celebrate with Bolu too." Mama’s heart bubbles with sincere appreciation.
"My gele will be the biggest in the crowd. In fact, like Kilimanjaro."
They both burst out loud with laughter ringing in the excited air. African women are known mostly with gele tying at events. The bigger the gele, the closer the person is to the celebrant(s) they believe. Both friends move together swinging their knotted hands in the air. They head towards Mama’s former position but they couldn’t find the lady. Noticing the absence of the lady, Mama unknots her hand from Iya Bolu’s and rushes towards the drinks.
"I left about 7 crates here. The seventh only had two missing bottles. Now, there are about one, tow, three, four…"
Iya Bolu smiles mischievously as she watches her friend counting these empty holes in the crate.
"It is okay," Iya Bolu finally interrupts.
"Do you know how much?"
"How much what? You need to have some rest. Go in. Let us be grateful for the success of this event at least."
They see Omolewa, Omolayo’s sister chatting with her friends close by.
"Omolewa!" Mama calls out. "Carry the remaining crates to your room. Your friends can assist."
"Okay ma." Omolewa replies.
Mama moves to her room with Iya Bolu. As she enters, she is shocked by what she sees.
"Who kept this here?" Mama’s question lingers in the air awaiting the response of that one person.
To be continued…
Missing (3)Short fiction.
By Flora O'seyi Ayodele