“I can’t believe that the wedding is just two weeks away,” Mrs. Agrawal said to her daughter, Rahina.
“Are you excited?”
Rahina nodded. “Yes, I’m excited and nervous too.”
“I suppose it’s natural for you to be a little nervous. I expect Nal is nervous too.”
“I can’t imagine that. He’s always been so calm.”
“He’s a perfect match for you. I think you two will be very happy together. Our parents arranged your father’s and my wedding and we have been happily married for forty-three years.”
“I hope you’re right,” Rahina replied.
Mrs. Agrawal frowned. “You don’t sound sure, Rahina. What’s the matter?”
“I love Nal but I’m not sure that he loves me too.”
“I’m sure he does.”
“I hope so.”
“I’m positive that he does. His parents said that he couldn’t stop thanking them for choosing you to be his wife after he met you. I saw the look on his face when he saw you. Yes, I’m positive that he loves you. Now stop worrying about such things.”
“You’re right, Mother. I shouldn’t worry or doubt Nal’s feelings for me.”
“Now, we should go over more details for the reception.”
“I wonder what Nal is doing right now?”
“Didn’t you say that he was going to fit on his wedding suit?
“Oh, yes. That’s probably what he’s doing now. I can’t wait to see him in the wedding suit. I have no doubt that he will be the most handsome man at the wedding.”
“And you’ll be the most beautiful woman at the wedding.”
Rahina smiled although she couldn’t shake a sense of foreboding. It’s probably just my nerves, she thought. Everything will be fine when Nal and I say our vows during the ring exchange.
Nal looked at his reflection. The wedding sherwani he was wearing was a very elaborate one, handcrafted from the finest material. He had given the store his measurements and the outfit was a perfect fit. It came with a Dupatta (stole). He looked good in it–regal.
The wedding was a fortnight away. Everyone, especially his parents and Rahina’s. It was an arranged marriage. Rather than going through the rigmarole of dating with the sole purpose of finding a wife, he decided to let his parents find one for him. And they couldn’t have done a better job.
He was completely blown away when he saw Rahina for the first time. She was easily the most beautiful woman he had ever set eyes on. And in a fortnight they were going to be married in a very extravagant wedding. It was to be held at Meridian Grand and in the Meridian Ballroom which had a capacity for 420 guests. The number of people attending their wedding was 400.
Everyone was going to be there, including his friends and co-workers. Yes, everyone was going to be there, except the one person who meant the world to him.
Jameila didn’t want to hear about or think about Nal’s wedding. It hurt too much. When he told her about it, she was at a loss for words and it was hard to fight back the tears. Finally, she said, “Congratulations. When-when is the wedding?”
“The 17th of September. Jameila–“
“That’s too bad. I won’t be able to attend.”
He was very surprised to hear that. “Why not?” he asked.
“That’s–that’s the week I plan to go away.” Of course, that was a lie but she was desperate and had to have an excuse for not going to the wedding.
“Where are you going?”
“To Miami to visit my sister and her family.”
Nal had been very disappointed that she wasn’t going to be at his wedding. After that, she tried to avoid him as much as possible. Then, one evening, he invited her to have dinner with his fiancée and him. She was tempted to turn him down but at after wrestling with it, she decided she would go but take a date. When she showed up with Kwaku, her Ghanaian friend, she sensed that Nal wasn’t pleased although he was very cordial towards him.
It was a difficult evening for her because she had to pretend that it didn’t bother her seeing Nal with his beautiful fiancée, Rahina. And it didn’t help when Kwaku said that they looked really good together. Rahina was polite towards her but not particularly friendly. Jameila couldn’t help wondering if she perhaps sensed that she had feelings for her fiancé. Women could pick up on these things.
Jameila was relieved when the dinner was over. The four of them said goodbye outside of the restaurant and then went their separate ways. She didn’t say much on the ride home and after saying goodnight to Kwaku, she hurried towards the entrance of her building, anxious to get to her flat. When she got there, she broke down.
She didn’t see much of Nal after that night. And after he got married, she wasn’t sure she would see him at all. It was probably for the best. At least that was what her mind was telling her but her heart was saying otherwise…