So, it’s Saturday afternoon and we had arrived half-hour to the wedding which was to begin at 4pm. It was to be held at an impressive Georgian mansion nestled in enchanting 18th-century gardens. I stood there, feeling as if I were on the set of a period drama and I half expected to see the wedding guests dressed in the sort of clothes people wore back then. It was a beautiful day. The perfect day for a wedding, especially an outdoor one.
“It’s lovely, isn’t it?” Sarika remarked, her eyes sparkling with admiration and excitement. “It’s like being in a fairytale.”
“It is quite impressive,” I agreed.
“This is the first wedding I’ve been to where the ceremony and reception is held outdoors. I think it’s great. I think everyone should have an outdoor wedding.”
That was her not so subtle way of intimating that she wanted an outdoor wedding. Why was it that every time we saw each other, the subject of marriage always came up? I was getting tired of it. I hadn’t even proposed and I can tell that she was planning our wedding in her head. That’s why I didn’t want to come to this one. That’s when I decided that if Rehema were to invite me to visit her church, I wouldn’t take Sarika with me. The last thing I wanted was for her to bring up the topic of marriage.
“You look very handsome,” Sarika said to me now as she reached up and adjusted my tie.
“Thank you. And you look lovely in that black dress.”
“Thank you. Let me introduce you to some of my co-workers and then find our seats.” Taking my hand, she led me over to several people and introduced me to them. They were all happy to meet me, most of them remarking, “We’ve heard so much about you.”
We mingled with them for a while and then, we found our seats which were on the left, in the middle. “Oh, by the way, I ran into your mother on Wednesday,” Sarika told me. “I was at Westfield London shopping for a new blouse during my lunch hour and saw her. She was coming out of Ecco. We chatted for a while and she mentioned to me that the family was having a barbecue next week Sunday and asked if we were going to be there. How come you didn’t mention it to me?”
“It must have slipped my mind.” To be honest, I didn’t want to go. I preferred to spend the day with Aunt Savitri and Rehema. Rehema. I wondered what she was doing at that moment.
“Slipped your mind?” she asked, surprised. “How could it slip your mind that your family is having a barbecue?”
“I don’t know. It just did. I guess I’ve had a lot on my mind.”
“So, will we be going to the barbecue?”
“Do you want to go?”
“Of course. Don’t you?”
“Of course,” I lied. I wondered if Aunt Savitri was going to be there. Hopefully, she would be. And maybe, after I dropped both Sarika and her home, I could stop by Rehema’s place.
“It would be nice to see the rest of your family,” Sarika said. “And I love barbecues. I told your mother that I would be taking my Jeera chicken wings and she was delighted. What about you? What are you going to take?”
“I don’t know. I’ll call my mother and find out what she needs. I wonder what my Aunt Savitri will take. Maybe her Vegan Wild Rice, Cumin & Chickpea Burgers or her Coconut Vanilla ice-cream or her Kulcha Naan. She’s such an amazing cook.”
“Why do you speak so much about your aunt? You mention her more than your mother or the rest of your family.”
“She and I are very close.”
“Is that why you spend so much time with her?”
Just then, the wedding march began and we all rose to our feet, turning to see the bride and her father coming down the aisle. As I stood there, I decided that I couldn’t wait until next week Sunday to see Rehema. I had to see her as soon as I dropped Sarika home after the wedding reception.