|This time, I might as well say, "I do."|
TYPING: Unlikely is a word I find myself using a lot when it comes to my family… unlikely situations, unlikely consequences, unlikely conversation in unlikely places…
“Are you kidding me??” My mother yelled being sandwiched in a Beetle between my dad and I. “I mean, I wasn’t expecting a limousine, but they could have hired a taxi if their intention was to bundle us together in something this small.” She casted a look of irritation at me as though I was the cause of her plight. “Why am I even agreeing to go to this wedding in the first place?”
Two reasons. Grannie Grandma threatened her. She would be disowned if she didn’t show up.
“Or we can all form a united front, protest and not go at all…” I suggested unwisely.
“I need the money for those sex toys your dad is denying me.”
Why is it always about sex with my mum? You’d think in another life she was a struggling actress. Or just a beauty queen.
“Or you could think of using other natural stuff like bananas, or plantains––oh, wait, here’s a good guess––my penis!”
“Oh honey, I’d stick to sugar canes.”
I scrunched my face in disgust. Very unlikely I am privy to this conversation between two grown adults supposed to be my parents. And you used to wonder why I have no sense of direction.
TYPING: So my mum finally managed to convince me (I’d say, threaten) to be the ‘man of honour’ for my grandma’s royal traditional wedding in which she elopes with a witch doctor. Typical me not to consider the very unlikely consequences before jumping right into very unlikely situations.–––
The Beetle pulled up at a shrine at the outskirts of Accra. Three of us could have stared out at the location in horror. But really, take a guess, where on earth would a royal traditional wedding be held at? Church! It could have been at a church! Where we would be safe! And would never think of carrying our own first aid kit!
“Don’t blame me. Blame the bride.” The driver pointed out to the cause of all our woes. Grannie Grandma beckoning us to come over.
“What the heck is she wearing?” My dad asked as we got out of the car.
“I don’t know, but on closer inspection we would find out.” With that, my mum shoved me towards her mum.
Before it dawned on me, ‘we’ had actually been ‘me’, I had already an eyesore (the literal kind) from my granny’s habit. Really, why couldn’t I have a very likely grandma?!
On, her hair was a wraparound bird nest, her neck was a dead wraparound grass-cutter (talk of really understated jewellery), her sagging boobs were held secured and erect by two calabashes (which they should have ordered in larger sizes––shrivelled boobs, eek, the view!), her XXLL granny panties bore the words: The Under Taker.
She was smiling at me widely like an idiot, had the guts to twirl and ask, “How do I look?”
“Breath-taking.” had been the exact word to describe the stench of the dead animal around her neck.
“You look...” she peered at my simple traditional smock and the face-painting my mum had done (which had entailed dipping her hands in AZAR and slapping my face all over) “… like slapped shit.”
“So, mum, where is everyone?” My mum asked as she drew nearer.
“Unfortunately, they married well enough not to give a dime about my fortune.”
“There your mum goes, insulting me again.” Dad muttered.
Mum stamped his foot. “Oh, really, you don’t think I am here for that inheritance, do you?” A fool wouldn’t have fallen for that smile.
“OK, piss off,” Grannie Grandma replied dismissively and shoved that bouquet of horse tail fetish priests hold into my hands. “You follow me to the shrine.”
“Be careful.” My mother mouthed at me wiggling the first aid kit in the air, then hit my dad’s hind head so he joined as she mouthed, “We Love You.”
I very much doubted they did. Really, what parents would let their son (who’s their last born too) walk into a shrine without protection. I’d given up asking–––
Me: So you guys are letting me in there alone?
Mom: (mock-sorrowfully) Oh, it seems.
Me: Guys, it’s dangerous! I might be made into a squirrel and be eaten as someone’s meal.
Dad: A good thing the totem animal of your mum’s village is a squirrel, so no worries.
(Me: I could be made into a chicken!
The shrine’s interior was decorated with so many kinds of animal skin I could have sworn it had been an abattoir before the fetish priest chased out the butchers (for doing business in the house of the gods?)
At the far corner, some old, bearded guy who looked like a northerner bored with life was bashing sticks against a xylophone playing out something that sounded distinctly not so familiar to Here Comes The Bride. At least a better alternative to Isaac, my brother’s, suggestion there would be endless chanting of “Mmm….” by a disembodied voice.
I watched Granny’s groom with his back turned to us as we entered, in front of him what looked like the haven of a fetish priest with a bonfire and the chopped head of possibly every animal on earth from which blood was constantly oozing out of if you guys are keen on nauseating detail. Ironically, he, my grandma’s husband-to-be and fetish priest, was clothed in a suit, black and fitting. (When I was made to wear those loose jumper shorts which kept falling off my waist. Apparently, in the traditional world, things are not fair also).
He turned to gaze at his bride… and my breath caught.
Grannie Grandma turned to grin at me.
“Tell me that isn’t…”
“Yes, it is. I am getting married to John Dumelo’s granddad.”
True that. Screen blanks. Commercial break?
Just before I could recover from my shock, out of nowhere, a fetish priest jumped out and began running circles around the trio of us––my grandma now hooked in her husband’s arms all giggly like a lovesick teenager. (I didn’t blame her. I knew an auditorium full of girls who would have passed out being touched by John Dumelo… or Pastor Chris).
Finally, the priest sat in the open jaws of the tiger just as I was turning dizzy. A moment of hush fell over us, for which I was thinking: Really, no one should be allowed to stare at a bride and a groom so menacingly.
Apparently, no one tells you in shrines your offensive thoughts can be read out loud. You would only know if a fetish priest flipped you the bird–––literally (the crow’s head flew up from the display and slapped me in the face).
“Kiaaaa!” The fetish priest barked at the couple, catching me unnerved in the process…
“Aaargh!” A scream escaped my lips.
We took turns like two kids engaging in a tag of war over a favorite toy.
Granny whacked me in the head with the back of her hand before I could ruin her big day. “Kobs, he’s only blessing us.”
Just when did the world acquire technology to translate ‘Kiaa’ into human readable forms?
As if reading my thoughts, “Don’t worry,” her husband soothed, “we would put down
everything so you could put it up on that blog of yours.”
Wait, how did he know about me-twi-tea(dot)blogspot(dot)com?–––
I run out of the shrine when it was cue for the bride and groom to jump the bamboo (––if your floor wasn’t cemented, for what reason would you need a broom?). It was after I’d seen the bride and groom kiss did I feel like throwing up all I had for lunch. Two wrinkled lips pressed together in a snog didn’t exactly bode well for kids’ innards. At least, it made me see the most important things in life, and that I should be more sympathetic towards child-abuse protestants.
“How did it go?” My mother run to me after I was done throwing up.
“Yoo-hoo!” Granny was screaming loudly after successfully jumping (––or pardoned to walk over because of her weak joints––) the bamboo, beckoning us over to come catch the bouquet of horse hair. There went my mother’s affection.
“OK, your turn,” she pushed me towards my dad, “check your son’s head for errors.” and rushed for the catch.
“But you are already married!” Dad shouted after her.
“Oh who cares if I do not get it right a second time!” She yelled back as she dashed off.
Unfortunately for mum, granny hurled the ‘bouquet’ so hard at a nearby bush before she drew nearer. Mum yelled at her for being intentionally careless. She shrewdly blamed her bad aim.––––
Just when we thought it was all over, and we could go home and lament at how hideous the whole affair was, Granny had other plans for a wedding reception.
Our eyes widened when we were all handed tickets to a Sprite Ball contest.
“What?” she barked at us defensively. “Over fifteen kids with lots of grandchildren, they all have deserted me on the most important day of my life.”
And she was right, nothing like a crowd of teenagers supportive enough to whip out their smartphones to directly upload the video of Granny and Groom having their first dance to Lady GaGa’s Bad Romance––Mum’s request to the DJ.
“What’s up with Granny’s husband?”
Mum drew our attention to my new grandpa-in-law doing a rather sickly Soldier Boy dance.
“Wasn’t that dance decades ago?” She inquired.
“Well, this goes to show Old Soldiers Never Die.”
I totally agreed with dad.
“Hey, aren’t you guys enjoying yourselves?” Granny approached and on the cue––
“Ooh!” We all chorused and broke into a much-practiced Adowa dance.
“Oh, you can stop it, my inheritance is yours!”
“Woo-hoo!” We all gave a collective cheer. That had been the crux of the moment. Our goal achieved. All that was left was for Granny to die, die, die and we would be rich, rich, rich! A-hu! A-hu! A-hu!
Granny joined us to view the party from our eyes. “I know you people think this sucks.”
“Oh, we do.”
“We don’t.” Dad’s foot was stamped. “Wait, are we supposed to be honest?”
“When you are my age,” Granny ignored her, “realizing you would be dying alone after years of companionship…” she paused to look us all in the eye, “… remarrying would be the least of your worries.”
We all nod solemnly. Touched in a way. A silent moment dawned on us as we watched the crowd enjoy themselves.
“So, mum,” my mother interrupted the silence not too keen on those mushy-mushy feelings. “You said your husband––“ Granny gave a giddy ‘yay’ at the first time the term was used “––is a responsible man with kids?”
I shot her a look that said: This really isn’t the time to probe. But Grandma took the question light-heartedly.
“Oh, you should see them.” She pulled a picture from the gourd that was ringed across her torso.
We stared at a huge, rustic enchanting landscape a painter had perfected capturing animals grazing.
“Honey, this is it. Let’s lock her in.” My mother whispered to my dad.
“Um, Gran, could there be something we are missing?” Dad inquired. “Perhaps, you are losing your sight––“
“Stupid, I’m not as blind as a bat or your own mother!” She thrust the picture in our faces.
We took a closer look.
“Ohhh,” we all chorused in realization, “kids.” wondering how we could have missed the goats in the picture.
“Yes, really, every fetish priest has kids.” She replied as though we were the biggest thickos she’d ever encountered in her years on earth.
“The surprise guest!” Granny’s husband yelled as someone mounted the stage metres away.
My mom and I gasped.
There, bouncing across the stage was Sheriffa. And as though her presence wasn’t stupefying enough, she began butchering her rendition of Rihanna’s We Found Love In A Hopeless Place. In. Twi.
Granny pulled mum and I with my dad following clueless towards the dance floor.
Boy, did we dance exuberantly––mum doing the Party Rockers, dad doing the Gangnam Style, me found twerking as usual when the cameras were nowhere close.
TYPING: Looking back to that very unlikely day, I wouldn’t take anything back, really. It was the day my fetish granddad danced till he had a heart attack and collapsed clutching his chest–––I wish (I really, really do!). I did have a blast. A very unlikely event. But sometimes unlikely is good and the best weddings have no planners. (Sorry guys, no morals for you today).