In lieu of gifts, I’ll just take one giant ‘Ashia’.
Every girl dreams of her day. I’ll admit it; the thoughts have caught me in their fairy-tale influenced web more than once. The dress, the veil, the very specific song choices and the finely tuned cuisine—the wedding I hoped for had long been arranged in my head.
Never, and I do mean never, did I predict that my marriage (or my first, at least) would proceed to be confirmed in a Cameroonian bar over Castles and Exports the Chief of Kom had purchased for me and my fellow volunteers. A noted prognosticator, the Fon of Kom had lured us over with promises of fortunes told and futures demystified. Little did we know at the time that he actually had his all-seeing eye on one of us.
As is common, the first question we were asked after being motioned over was inquiring about our marital statuses. Though I have become single in this country, I maintain that I have a significant other on the opposite side of the Atlantic when asked. Usually I point to a ring on my right finger, one actually inscribed with a quote that inspires me, and proclaim it to be my martial band. This works 99% of the time.
When it doesn’t work, though, is when a fellow volunteer pipes up and confesses that he is your “husband”, and you are out for drinks after a long day of volunteering. Because the status of Fon is one that is equivalent to ‘chief’ or ‘king’, he has every right to ask said volunteer to kindly give up his “wife” so that she may be bestowed with the honor of marriage to a Fon. My fellow volunteer, finding this amusing, sided with the Fon and gladly offered my hand.
At this point, the Fon made me sit next to him. He explained that though he would normally gift me cowrey shells, he happened to be all out. Instead, a picture would seal our union. A camera was brought out, “cheese” was said, and there you have it, Bob’s your uncle and I’m someone’s wife.
The rest of the night I was seated to the Fon’s right, my “ex” husband to his left. The both when through cigarette after cigarette, which I had the privilege of lighting as newly crowned Foness . At the end of the night the Fon dutifully asked for my phone number, so that he could keep in touch with his new, fair skinned wife. As is standard, I gave him a fake. As is standard for Cameroonians, he called me right then to make sure it was my real number. Busted.
With a heaving sigh I entered my real number for his Highness. He ‘beeped’ me so that I would have his number, too. I promptly blocked it and walked to the five minutes back to the volunteer I was visiting’s house.
I imagine the annulment with pass any day now.