The Marriage of Dr. Tola – A short story by Semiu Adegbenle
The first time Tola fell in love was in high school. The lucky girl was Bisi. Young, sparkling smile and a double dimple that melts Tola’s heart every time he sees her. In those days, beautiful girls were hard to catch. So Tola contracted the job Ahmed, his kori-kosun friend. Ahmed was a poet, the captain of the school football team and the only one that wasn’t a virgin among their clique of three.
Innocent Bisi fell for Tola’s letter – ghostwrtten by Ahmed. For two terms, the lovebirds were happy until Bisi lost her parents to a ghastly accident and had to drop out of school, three months to their SSCE. Things never remained the same.
Fortunately, their house wasn’t far from each other and the lovers kept in touch. Tola would eventually gained admission into UNIFE while his lover went ahead and learn hairdressing.
Back then, there was a lot of rumours about hairdressers, especially their promiscuity and philandering with married men. Ahmed, Tola’s high school best friend used to brag about many hairdressers that had graced his bed and Tola was beginning to fear if some married men isn’t doing the same to his beloved Bisi – even though he was sure that she was still a virgin; that’s what she told him and he believed her. He didn’t.
Out of fear, Tola asked another coursemate out. Biola, beautiful, elegant and unbelievable brilliant mind. Things progressed so fast and he was soon promising her marriage. Come to think of it, who wouldn’t want to marry Biola. She could cook, dance, joke and was likewise a joy behind close doors. All these attributes nevertheless do not match the fact that she was the only first class candidate in the whole school of Medicine. Tola was thinking – even promising – to marry Biola but his heart is pledged to Bisi.
Holiday came and he was back home with Bisi, his first love. She was home for him.
At home, Bisi visited everyday, her intelligence, though undeveloped still amazed Tola. Bisi asked about the other girls and Tola laughed it off, planting a kiss on Bisi neck. The one kiss almost led to something else. But Bisi resisted, promising him that his wait almost over. He didn’t believe her.
Tola left for school at the end of the holiday and was back in the arms of Biola. Somehow, Biola was now the only color of his thoughts. With school almost over and less course to offer, they spend more time indoors, experimenting and having fun. The final holiday came. Tola would turn 25 and Biola got pregnant.
The pregnancy almost led to a scuffle between him and his brilliant lover but he maintained his calm, promising to come up with something after his birthday. After all, he is a doctor.
Unbeknown to him, his parents were arranging him a surprise birthday party. At the party, his father officially announced Tola’s engagement to Bisi – the only girl in his son’s life. Tola was shocked. He maintained his calm but was further troubled by the fact that everything had happened behind him. Including the payment of Bisi’s bride price. That night, they consummate their 8 years love. Bisi turned out to be a virgin. And things spiral into a crazy twist.
That night, Tola was locked in the dilemma of choosing between his other love – the mother of his unborn child. He thought, maybe he never loved Bisi, maybe their attachment was nothing but the product of their shared history. Maybe all he felt for her was pity and that to disappoint her now would cost him his parents’ respect. Especially his father who had gone as far as giving him the most shocking birthday present.
A truth descend on him, there’s only one way out. Tell his father he had impregnated another girl or force Biola to have an abortion. Abortion was the decision he chose. He would ensure Biola had no choice but to agree.
Tola fix a date with Biola. He had prepared the right portion of the abortion pill in her favourite Sprite drink. She ecstatic to see him. They laughed. Smiled and hugged like old lovers. For once, Tola wanted to abort his plans but before he could muster the courage to do that, Biola had pull the drink from his hand and gulp almost the whole bottle. The deed was done. They kissed and wish there was room for other things before parting for their various home
That night, Biola called and told him that she had complications and had lost the pregnancy. Tola was happy, he can finally concentrate on Bisi now. His engagement day was fixed and the wedding IV came and it was soon trending on the Internet. Everyone that knew Biola and Tola at school were shocked and aghast at the twist of event. How could Tola just break up with Biola and already about to settle down. The truth is, he must have been double dating all these while.
Biola felt gutted by Tola betrayal.
The saddest thing was that he didn’t break up with her. The events of past weeks began to add up. Tola must have induced her abortion so that he can settle down after having enough of her. She would not allow it. In her room, she marked the wedding date and plan her own silence revenge. Biola did not attend the engagement ceremony, she saved her surprise for the wedding proper.
A lot of their colleagues were attending and she keyed two of her colleagues into her plans.
On the wedding, her friends were dressed as the ushers, while she took the backdoor to the bride’s dressing chamber. The plan was to kidnap her and reveal the truth. When she stormed into her dressing room, the bridal gown and the Bisi phone was on the bed. A crazier idea flowed into her head. She picked the wedding gown and bride’s phone, throwing the keys away. She’s the bride. Yes she is.
Viola walked into the hall in full bridal regalia. Tola smiled at the sight of his future wife. He has finally accepted that he loved her. Biola or no Biola, Bisi is his choice.
Biola – disguised in Bisi bridal gown and veil – waltz softly to the alter. Even behind the veil, Tola could notice some change but he felt it may be due to the excessive make up. He held her hand. It felt different, like Biolas. But he maintained his calm. He shouldn’t allow the thought of a bygone disturb his day of happiness
Biola walked to the altar and moved close to the officiating priest. She whispered. I cannot marry this man. He’s a murderer. The priest was shocked. She repeated. I cannot marry him because he cunningly aborted my baby because he wanted to look righteous in the presence of his father. The priest kept nodding his head. Biola turned and briskly retrace her step. Her friends stood up and walked her out.
Ladies and gentlemen, this marriage cannot take place in this holy church. Your son should go and appeal his bride. Before the priest could conclude his speech, Tola ran to catch his bride.
All he saw was the wedding gown roughly spread at back of a Corolla car. By this time, the whole church had descended into pandemonium. Maybe this was Biola handiwork, he quickly ran to the bride dressing room. The door was locked. He forcefully broke it. Bisi dangles from the ceiling. He burst into tears uncontrollably.
Biola had taken the love of his life and painted his day of celebration black. He was still crying when Biola walked out of the bathroom with a pistol in her left hand. If you had the chance, would you kill me now? She asked in a tearful voice. Tola nodded. She deserves to die. Biola gave him the gun. He didn’t trembled.
He wanted to shoot her but he couldn’t. He kept crying and she was crying too. Why did you do it? She asked. I never wanted to.
Why did you do it? He asked. I didn’t do it my dear.
Bisi had committed suicide at the thought of losing her soul mate. The same guy who had murdered a soul just to be with her. Tola couldn’t bear it. He pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger. His blood splattered on Biola’s face as Bisi dangled in the air. There is no one that would believe she didn’t do any of this. So, she resumed crying because she couldn’t even imagine killing herself.