Glenn forced a smile for the priest, who was grinning from ear to ear like it was his own wedding. He turned to look at Kwasi, his best man. Kwasi grinned and winked at him.
“I’m proud of you, man,” Kwasi whispered.
Glenn nodded. He cast his eyes around the full church. At least 300 people, he thought. He saw his mother whispering furiously with his aunt Bertha. They were probably gossiping about what other women were wearing. His father was looking directly at him, beaming. His father always thought he’d never get married. Glenn moved his gaze onto his younger brother, David, who got married four years before him. He was holding his wife’s hand, and their heads were bent close together, chatting softly. David still loved his wife. That was admirable. Could he possibly have that? Glenn turned his body slightly to look at Carly’s parents. Her mother was wearing a deep dark blue dress, with a small coat and a wide rimmed hat. Glenn smiled. She looked beautiful. You couldn’t even tell how sick and frail she was. Her mother caught his eyes and she smiled broadly, nodding in approval. Glenn felt a tear fall down his face.
“Hey man, where is Carly? Are they running late? Isn’t Carly a stickler for time?”
Glenn stared blankly at Kwasi. Something had been bothering him for two days now. Hours after he left Jazmine’s apartment, he realized he sent Jaz’s text to Carly instead. It was a mistake he hadn’t made in over ten years. It showed how confused and distraught he was. Carly hadn’t mentioned it, but he knew she received the text. He just knew. And he decided unless Carly wanted to call off their wedding, he wasn’t going to do it. He proposed to her. He asked her to marry him and he was prepared to see it through. He always criticized people who made foolish decisions and blamed it on ‘matters of the heart.’ He called himself a realist, and this was his reality. He’d known Carly for 15 years, she loved him, and she was carrying his baby. Her mother was dying, would probably be dead in a few weeks. She wanted to see them married. There was no way on this earth he could leave Carly for a 23-year old he just met three months ago. No way.
“Carly, your father is waiting outside. What is wrong? You’ve been acting strange the last two days. Are you nervous? I was exactly like this on my wedding day. You remember, don’t you?”
Carly looked away from the mirror and bent her head. Her heart was heavy. Her will was weak.
“Sweetie, what’s going on? Talk to me.”
Adjo led her to a sofa and they sat down. Carly run her hands over her dress. It was such a beautiful dress. She looked at Adjo and the tears started falling.
“Oh please don’t do that. Please. I’m terrible with make-up. And the make-up artist is already sitting down. We’re running late, Carly. Stop crying. God, is there any tissue in this room?”
Adjo started to get up and Carly pulled her back down.
“Glenn accidentally sent a text to me, meant for someone called Jaz. He said he loved her and he always will. This was two days ago.”
Adjo was silent for a minute. Then she hugged her friend tightly. Neither of them said anything for another five minutes.
“I’m really sorry that happened, Carly. I don’t want to make excuses for Glenn. But do you know where he is? He’s up there at that altar, waiting for you. You, Carly, you. Men don’t make those decisions lightly. He could have kept this going for the rest of his life, but he proposed and you didn’t even pressure him. Do you know how rare that is? He bought a beautiful priceless ring and he asked you. You’re going to marry him and you’re going to be happy. Listen to me, and listen well. I’ve been married 8 years and I wouldn’t give it up. Is Peter a complete tool and a cheat? Yes, he is, but he’s my husband and that’s it. Glenn has problems but he is a wonderful man. Will his problem go away? Maybe, probably not, but he will work hard. He will provide for you and your kids. He will take care of you. Do you understand?”
Carly didn’t respond, and Adjo kept talking.
“Sweetie, I don’t want to bullshit you. You’re my best friend and I am going to be as blunt as I can be. You’re 34 years old. You’ve been with the same man for practically a lifetime, a man who despite his issues showed up today. You don’t have many options. You don’t have any options. You’re going to look back on this day and laugh it off, because you’ll be happy. So please, pull yourself together. Let’s clean you up, okay?”