‘We are gathered here to celebrate the life of a beloved young lady, one who could have made a beautiful bride and a befitting wife to her future husband. May the odds ever be in her favour especially at the gates of promotion and salary increase.’
Oh, snap, who died now? It’s a weird funeral though. Very unlike the traditional ones I’ve been to. I take a pamphlet from the ushers and catch myself up. Hold up, wait. I am not dead! This is utterly disrespectful. This man doesn’t know me well. I stand up and walk up the aisle to the pulpit, ‘Excuse me sir, do you have any idea what you are doing here? You cannot bury me alive, do you understand?’’ Perhaps he could but he doesn’t hear a word I say. He can’t hear a word I say. I raise my hands in the air to try and get his attention. These sleeves are heavy, what god forsaken dress is this am wearing? My graduation gown? Oh funny! Real funny. First that, now this! This church is pretty full, most people here I have worked with and the rest should be my mother’s relatives.
I have to find my best friend, what kind of funeral would this be without my best friend here with me? I walk towards the cascade at the centre of the room. Screaming as I see my body lying in it. Dressed in a beautiful white wedding gown and white rose’s bouquet. I tear up at the sight and break down there and moan my loss, the loss of me. My phone rings. It’s my best friend. Now she decides to show up! ‘Mbuya!’ Why is she shouting?
‘Huh, what have I done?’
‘Nothing, dude I’m so heartbroken, Lala and Carmelo divorced. Like why?’
‘Lisa, who’s Lala?’
‘Haa iwe you know Lala mhani!’
‘Uhm pretty sure I don’t. Is she pretty?’ Me.
‘Yes very! You should have seen the dress she wore to the Met gala last night. God damn it!’
‘Hezvo, mbuya calm down.’ Ok, I’m awake now. Full attention throttle to besty.
‘Yo my sister, manje if she’s pretty we’re going to have a problem here, we don’t need any more pretty people in the singles section. Times are tough enough.’
We both laugh. I tell her of that weird dream I just had. I never should have gone to that wedding at the weekend. Not with my aunts giving me side notes on what to do on my own wedding. I wanted to look them in the eye and explain that all good man died during the Chimurenga struggle. Or perhaps I had been bewitched for having been a tomboy most of my life! The biological clock was ticking, and according to them I had to get married pretty soon.
It’s past eleven approaching midnight, I have just finished catching up with my high school roommate. She was trying to persuade me to get married. That’s ironic because she’s always been the forthcoming one in terms of romantic relationships. So we are here, lying awake at eleven arguing myself out of getting married anytime this year. It’s not like I’m against the notion, no! In the words of John Nash, I’m simply, “mortified, petrified, horrified, stupefied by ‘it’”. We start counting how many of our classmates are now married. We couldn’t even get to 5. Now I’m lying here wondering why? What could possibly be so wrong that not many of us wouldn’t go down that path? The economy??? Or are we all just unlucky in love? What comes next is a pang of guilt followed by a deep analysis on why it was expected for girls our age to be married, although we ourselves had chosen to pursue education. Was that the price to pay? Education in place of marriage?
Two things made us different in this pool of singletons that is, thoughts and actions. What is most preferred in a woman? Her silence or her strength? Her silence it seemed. You either woman up or lose hope of getting hitched. To woman up, meant to let the man be the man. It also meant to suffer in your conviction to be that woman for him. Yet, education was the centre upon which every cognitive person was presently developed, both man and woman, helping discern between senseless and stupid. However, there were places where this education card would become obsolete. In such instances the expectation of a woman would be to keep her opinion to herself and follow tradition, no matter how unbecoming she considered it. To stand for her beliefs and rightfully communicate theoretical nonsense to the textbooks and exam scripts. There was simply no place for a woman to have a working brain in my social construct. Much to the point that the black graduation gown I wore on my ‘funeral’ is a depiction of a lost chance of being a good or recommendable wife in this setting. You couldn’t have both it seemed. You had to choose between the black and the white. The easy or the hard way. Bearing in mind that choosing the black one, could potentially drive the white a bit further than preferred. And so the crossroads exist, what shall I honour most, what am I prepared to lose, or can I really have both?