Her heart was thumping against her chest so loudly she was surprised none of the bridesmaids or the other women could hear the sound. She looked at the excited faces of the people milling around her and swallowed resignedly, they didn’t understand her plight; none of them knew of her grief. She did not trust any of them well enough to bare her pain, not even her chief bridesmaid who was so excited like it was her own wedding. Even if by chance any of them heard the thumping in her chest, they would probably mistake it as nervousness or excitement since today was her big day. But who could blame them, it was only natural for them to think it was it not? It was after all her wedding and she was supposed to be the happiest woman in the world right but happy was the last word that described how she felt.
Shade rubbed her palms together to steady her nerves in anticipation of that walk down the aisle, the walk that would lead her into a world she could never come back from as soon as she stepped into it. This was a big decision she was about to make. Whatever she did today was going to forever change the course of her life but she knew she was not ready. She stared at her reflection in the mirror making sure that her disinterest in the whole affair was well guarded as the bridal make-up team did their thing to her. She felt like meat ram being prepared for roasting as they expertly worked on her hair while another was adjusting her ridiculously expensive wedding gown.
Suddenly her mother’s sister, Mama Bisi burst into the room to announce that it was time. Shade swallowed the lump that developed in her throat and tears welled up in her eyes as she looked at the woman who had replaced her mother. Shade’s mother died when when she was just nine and Mama Bisi had never for a day allowed her to feel the vacuum of the loss of her mother. Her mind went to her mother, her sweet gentle mother who if she had been alive was sure to have saved her from this madness. Mama Bisi noticed the tears in Shade’s eyes and hugged her gently, smiling in her usual sweet manner. Shade hugged her back and wished Mama Bisi understood her tears weren’t what everyone thought it was. She wasn’t feeling emotional and over the moon because she was about to become a married woman, her tears were of pent up frustration. She felt so alone among all of them. Being the only daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the country was her plague. Although it was supposed to be a life of luxury and contentment, a life most would give an arm to have, Shade knew she would trade places instantly with the lowliest of beggars at that moment than to be called Shade Sukungbade. With a final look around the dressing room, she allowed herself to be led away like a lamb to the slaughter while the excited murmurs and chatter of the women sounded like her funeral song in her ears.