I don't know if it was because they were so surprised to see a batauri, or that they had not believed that I would turn up or maybe it had something to do with the fact that this particular batauri was also wearing the official wedding uniform, the fabric gifted to me by Ladi the previous Monday. The fabric and the invitation in thanks for me (OK, Jared) getting a picture I had taken of Ladi at her business printed; a picture she has put into a glass fronted frame in pride of place in her sitting room.
Grace led me through a maze of passages to a small compound where we passed a stable housing a large bull and three sheep (or ‘shoats’ as my father used to call them – it’s really difficult to tell if they are sheep or goats) into the next room adjoined to which was a bedroom, dominated by a large family bed on which sat the young mother. I asked Grace if this was her first child. First?
Grace and I parted company at the market and I tottered (in my ‘wedding shoes’ complete with heel) along the road to the Kudnax garage to pick up my ride back to Kagoro. Once loaded onto the first awaiting vehicle, a young man sitting next to me (one of four on the narrow bench seat) greeted me and I returned the greeting in Hausa to the unbridled joy of the whole bus who then asked me what I had been doing ‘Aurea – Kafanchan’ (wedding) I got out about three times before someone understood my strange accent – again drawing smiles and laughter from the passengers.
I dropped earlier than my usual stop as I had discovered that my sisters were enjoying a cold Star at a new bar we had discovered two streets down from our regular supplier who (as readers will know) only has warm beer. I hitched up my skirt and hopped onto an ocada to join them.
As we sat under the tree relaxing an old gentleman came up to admire my Nigerian dress and asked if I would marry him. I was somewhat concerned at my sisters’ readiness to bargain: “no less than 10 cows”, said Dori to which I hastily added “and only as the senior wife”. He turned out to be the barmaid’s uncle, on his way back home up the mountain, so the negotiations stopped there.
As I arrived home and checked my text messages, my day of appreciation (for doing next to nothing) was complete when I received an SMS from an admirer.
Hi ‘CECILY: I mis sein ur luvung n chami beautyfl FACE, mstly! Dis preety eyes ball of urs”. I luv u. Frm ???