Thursday January 9 2014

The marriage that ended on the wedding night


By Mike Ssegawa

They say a wedding is the bride’s day. Common sense, however, shows this is the day the groom parades his trophy, so he should be the one celebrating.
A wedding is a sacred event, the first brick into the foundation of marriage – but it can also start on the wrong footing, like it happened to my Bob.

Bob has always been an ambitious boy, wanting to belong to the big league. While at university, he had his eyes on the daughter of one of the top shots in the military. Being a gifted talker and persistent young man, he captured her attention.
Claire’s looks were not that striking. But for a social climber like Bob, this did not stop him, as long as she provided a stepping stone for his dreams. He had his target - money and power.
There was not a relationship that turned heads at our hall of residence like theirs did, not with Bob talking about his new catch as the key to his fortune.

Unknown to Bob, Claire was seeing a married military officer, a close friend to the family. Bob had seen them together before, but he didn’t mind them. Besides, he didn’t want to antagonise his wedding plans by crying over things he didn’t know much about. It was not also wise to make enemies with soldiers he thought ran the show that he badly wanted to be a part of.
Their introduction and wedding plans went well. For a daughter of a ‘big’ man, contributions were not hard to come by. Among the funders of the wedding was the officer, Claire’s “friend”.
On their wedding night, the money was evidently splashed, the couple looked stunning and the reception at a hotel in Kampala attracted some of the who is who in the land.
Bob’s family was lost for words. Their son had brought honour to a clan whose greatest member was a councillor at their rural district.

The music blared, drinks made rounds, cake was served… then the bride excused herself to see off some guests.
The groom continued entertaining the guests, receiving congratulatory messages, gifts, praise, and advice from elders and newly-found friends in the big circles. An hour later, Claire was out of sight. The guests were asking for her.
“She went to see off her friends,” Bob said.
His old woman wanted to retire to bed, but she had a gift for her daughter-in-law. Bob offered to go look for her. A hotel attendant led him to the hotel room they had had booked for the night.

“Poor girl must be tired and went to steal a nap,” Bob thought. “But she should have told me instead of leaving me with the guests behind.”
So he went to ask her to see off his mama and return to bed.
He opened the door. There she was, butt-naked! Bob was dumbfounded. He looked on like a zombie, speechless.
He could not believe that the army officer he thought was a family friend was the same man lying in bed with his bride - the bed that was meant to consummate their marriage.
“Sit Bob,” the officer said. “Claire has been my girlfriend for more than seven years. We love each other. It is you who came between us. But, we have agreed this is the last time we are meeting. Forgive us.”

Claire lay there helpless, her eyes begging for mercy.
Bob felt humiliated. He paid a price for setting himself up with a wrong person for marriage. He walked back to the reception dejected, but he did not want to show it to his guests. The officer drove off from the scene.

Claire later told Bob that their marriage could end that night if he thought he could not stand what he saw.
Standing there, Bob remembered why he had walked the girl down the aisle in the first place. He immediately buried the skeletons, and embraced his wife.

To make up for the mess, the guilty army officer found Bob a good job in the government. He wiped his tears.
Today, Claire is the mother to Bob’s children, he is a big name in government circles and of course that comes with some money.

I don’t really know whether Bob forgave Claire. But all I know is their marriage ended on that wedding night.