A Bride’s Husband and a Masquerade

bride.jpg           Alade had eagerly rushed out of the house immediately he returned from his father’s farm where he had gone to tend to the yam. The Alagemo festival was around, and as the next carrier of the Agemo masquerade, he had been tending to the farm, he must be able to harvest big yams that would be used during the festival. It wasn’t an easy job but so far he had fared well. Aside this festival, there was one other thing on his mind; it had been on his mind for a while now. Since he met Adetoro, his life seemed to have worn a new smile. He wanted to be with her all the time. And true, a man must be honest, the girl is a damsel. A well brought up maiden. She wore her Iro properly all the time, neatly tied above her breast, firm. Aaahha, talking about her breast, those lumpy balloons hanging like pawpaw on her chest, she carried them well. She had come to the farm to help him and they had both planned to meet by the Oyela tree, their favorite spot. With smile on his face, he bounced along the street, passing every hut and greeting both young and old.
The sun had just retired to its inn, but there were still traces of his presence about the place. Above red huts, some trees and the village stream. He passed through them all, smiling and whistling to himself momentarily. Finally he got to the Oyela tree. He had a small mat with him; they usually spread it on the floor and just talk, enjoying the evening breeze as they munch on fruits or whatever it was Adetoro had sneaked out of the house with. He sat on it, happily and talking to himself, trying to rehearse how he would tell her that his Parents had given their blessings that both of them could get married. In fact, so many blessings they gave that they think it would be appropriate for them to get married after the Agemo festival. He imagined the glow that would take over her face like riots of pimples or acne. He munched away on the mango fruit he brought from farm.
Thirty minutes into his wait, he peered momentarily into the direction she normally came from. It was the direction towards the path that led to her house. It was a big gaping empty space. Except for market women who would come into his view after every ten minutes, there was no sign of her and he became restless. He kept getting up, sitting, munching on the mango and talking to himself. At last, he concluded that she would come still, Adetoro never missed an appointment with him and if she would she would send Oluwadamisi her younger brother to tell him not to wait in vain. He decided he was being impatient.
An hour passed, two, then the sounds of drumming and singing came from an opposite direction. The songs sounded rather unusual for that time of the day. Songs of a wedding .He rose up and saw a troupe moving towards him. ‘Wonders shall never end, on a Wednesday, some people are just jobless, Ogun knows’ he muttered to himself. Soon the troupe danced and sang past him. He recognized Sowonola, the daughter of Ajisafe the village kolanut seller. Sowonola danced even while answering questions from Alade, her face a gleeful carnival
“It is Kunbi, he marries his wife Adetoro tonight, though it is quite awkward, a wedding in the evening, but you know, there’re a lot of enemies everywhere”
He wondered if he heard her correctly, ‘Adetoro?’ which Adetoro? He was determined to find out for himself, he marched and danced with them and truly when they go to their destination it was Adetoro’s house. Her parent bedecked in the finest attires waiting to receive their in-laws. He couldn’t believe it. As the leader of the emissary from the Mabogunje house spoke of their mission and formally introduced his family members and their intention to officially marry Adetoro her father smiled. When it was his turn to speak, Adetoro’s father rose to a cheerful applause from the guests, he cleared his throat
hhmm hmmm. Thank you my in-laws. It is true that I know of our children’s little friendship, and I am happy that it has led to this. Though there was one boy, that one who dances at the festival. We must be honest, he dances well, but who shall hear it when I tell them my son in-law is a dancer, Alajota
The crowd hissed, murmured and laughed. Alade’s knees weakened, his eyes met with Adetoro’s younger Brother Oluwadamisi, the boy was fond of him. He could see the disappointment on his face. Slowly, he walked away from the partying crowd. No one missed him; no one knew he was there. The party continued. Kunbi was made to prostate trice. He received blessings from Adetoros parents and even sat on their legs in warm embrace!
And then the time to reveal the bride, her friend was first sent out, but when the veil was uncovered from her face everyone laughed and thundered
bride3    “This is not our wife, it is Adetoro we want
After a few more tricks by the Alaga idoru, Adetoro and her friends danced in, she was regal; her attire glittered under the lowly lit arena. She danced and danced. Kunbi too was happy, his teeth shining behind his fat lips confirmed it. bride2 Soon it came to the point where he had to remove the veil from her face, and then, the unexpected happened, a masquerade appeared not far off from where they all were. The masquerade had two dancers behind it, drumming and praising it. Since the village was in preparation for a big festival, the parade of mock masquerade wasn’t strange. It was all part of the ritual, but there would only request for some money and go about their way.
maskAs the masquerade drew closer they all cheered it, in fact, most of the guests had little cowries ready to give to it and say a little prayer. The masquerade danced and danced. They cheered on, almost forgetting a wedding was going on. The masquerade got into the center of the arena, just where Adetoro and Kunbi were, he kept dancing and even the couple joined in.
In a quick flash, a gunshot was heard and Kunbi was on the floor, blood all over him, the masquerade unmasked itself, it was Alade, omole’egun (the boy from the house of masquerade). His voice reeling with laughter and hate.
For 3years I did all your bidding, looked after your daughter as if she were my burden already, I loved her as I loved life itself and all these while I was just an Omole’gun? ”   masquerade
He raised his gun to his chest and let the shells riddle his heart, another gunshot another man down. The night suddenly became dead. It died heavy, tears and confusion rented the air, two suitors, and one bride.