When I returned to Lagos, Kafiyah, who knew how stressed I was over the wedding, insisted that we needed a movie night. On our way to Silverbird Cinemas, she said we had to make a quick stop at her house. I had no idea that she had other plans.
Startled, I took a step back from the doorway. Kafiyah laughed as she gently pushed me into the room. Eniayo and a beaming Ekanem were among the small group of women. Balloons with wedding bells and streamers were everywhere. Eniayo handed me a sash with “Mrs. Nwosu” printed on it to wear over my clothes. Kafiyah had organized a surprise wedding shower.
Ekanem and I flew into each other’s arms. I had not seen her since her own wedding. She was glowing.
“Ekanem, you came!”
“Bride-to-be!” Ekanem said. “You know I would not miss this for the world.”
Later Kafiyah teased, “Okay now. Morayo, let us see what Ekanem bought you.” When I unwrapped Ekanem’s present, I recognized the gift box. It was from one of the exclusive lingerie stores on Victoria Island.
Ekanem smiled at me. “Morayo, do you remember that conversation we had about getting ammunition for our marriage arsenals? I bought you some essentials. I know Kachi has been waiting impatiently all these years.” My neck grew warm when everybody started laughing.
Lifting up the tissue, I saw a matching pink silk and lace bra and panties. The women all ooh’d and aah’d as they passed the lingerie around.
“That, my friends, is known in select married circles as the grenade,” Ekanem said. “Small but mighty, guaranteed to produce an instant reaction.”
“Eky Baby!” Kafiyah said with a laugh.
“Trust me, Kaffy; I am a true Efik woman. My mother shared the notes she took down inside the fattening room.”
“Morayo, please bring out the next item for viewing,” Ekanem said. It was a red silk chiffon teddy with shiny gold silk threads.
“Aha!” Ekanem exclaimed. “The Tear Gas. Grown men have been known to weep at the sight of this little mama.”
Eniayo’s face was now almost as red as the teddy. “Ekanem,” I laughed, “I beg you, please don’t kill my sister.”
“Eniayo, close your eyes,” Kafiyah commanded. Eniayo covered her eyes with her fingers, but I saw her smiling anyway. After all, her Tunde was patiently waiting for her to finish school, and someday she would be unwrapping such gifts too.
I pulled out the last item from the box. It was a backless lilac nightgown with a plunging neckline and a matching robe. Ekanem bowed her head. “Last but definitely not the least. Behold, the Rocket Launcher M4 Special Edition. The ticket to that guaranteed honey pot in the moon.”
“Honestly, Ekanem, you missed your calling,” Titi from head office said. “You should be on stage doing stand-up comedy.”
“Or selling lingerie to premium ladies of the night along Allen Avenue!” Kafiyah said.
Ekanem narrowed her eyes at Kafiyah. “Kaffy, I guess you will be public relations officer for the lingerie business?” Ekanem laughed when Kafiyah visibly shuddered. “My sisters, it is good to know I have some options if this banking career becomes too much for me to handle. Very soon, I don’t think I will be able to find any more family members with money to deposit at our bank!”
The rest of the evening passed quickly as we ate, laughed, played some games, and danced.
On our way out of the house, we went to greet Kafiyah’s aunty, Hajia. “Hajia, thank you for your hospitality.”
Hajia wove her dainty fingers in the air. “It is nothing, my dear. I am happy you enjoyed your evening.”
As we walked out of the room, Hajia called my name. “Morayo.”
I turned. “Yes, Hajia.”
“I would recommend that you start with the Tear Gas,” she said with a shy smile.
Ekanem’s hearty laughter echoed throughout the house.
Yejide Kilanko was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. A therapist in children’s mental health, Yejide, lives with her young family in Ontario, Canada. Daughters Who Walk This Path (Penguin Canada, 2012) is her debut novel. For more information about Yejide or her writing, please visit www.yejidekilanko.com