My client and I had been planning this wedding for months. It was going to be a big affair, attended by the elite in society. Pearl had been dating her fiancé for five years, and she kept telling me how much he loved her. She told me the story of how they met and how he proposed to her on the most amazing trip in Thailand. The only problem they had was that some of her family members didn’t really like him. So he was willing to spend a lot of money on the wedding ceremonies to impress her family.
When I told her my fees, she didn’t even flinch. She paid my deposit straight away, and we got started with the planning. I was happy to oblige and indulge her, since she wanted no expense spared. So we ordered the biggest, most glamorous engagement and wedding cakes. Her jewelery was second to none. Her outfits were top-of-the line designers, right down to her accessories. We hired the best make-up artist, the best hair stylist, the best DJ, the best caterers, the best hotel and everything.
Today, we were meeting up for lunch, to have one of our last meetings before the big day. We were sitting in a lovely restaurant in Lekki, facing the waterside. It had a lovely atmosphere, a great menu and a lovely view of the lagoon. Normally, I would be relaxed in such a place, but today I’m not. The wedding is ten days away, and planning is at fever pitch. The reception is taking place at a very exclusive venue, and I have been asked to provide a final guest list for the table seating arrangements. I notice that Pearl is not her usual excited self today. She’s distracted and barely listening to me. She keeps checking her phone every two minutes. I’m curious and also slightly annoyed but I don’t want to pry. Instead, I continue with our business discussions.
“So please email me a final guest list, with the names of everybody who has sent in their RSVP,” I said. “We should also provide for at least thirty extra guests, knowing how our people are…”
“Hmmm, okay.” She sighed, and picked up her phone again.
I ticked off a few items off my notepad, and moved on to the next thing.
“You have your spa appointment next Monday, and your final dress fitting the day after.”
She’s frowning at her phone screen, ignoring me.
“Pearl? Are you listening?”
Finally, she looks up. “My sisters are up to something.”
I paused to let her continue.
“They said I should expect a phone call soon.” She looks at me, and snaps back into the present. “Sorry, you were saying?”
“We’re finalizing your itinerary for next week,” I said, trying not to lose patience.
“Oh right, yes. My hair appointment is when?”
I was about to reply when her phone rang, and she jumped.
“Hang on, let me take this.”
She moved away from the table and picked up the call. I could hear small bits of her side of the conversation:
“Hello? Yes… this is Pearl….yes… who is this?…. no…. really?…alright… I’ll meet you there in twenty minutes.”
She hurried back to the table, grabbed her bag and her things, and said, “I have to go. I’ll call you tonight.”
I shrugged, paid for lunch and left the restaurant.
Later that evening, I got a text message: “My fiancé has impregnated someone. The wedding is cancelled.”
And this is why I always ask for a seventy percent deposit upfront.
Memoirs of a Lagos Wedding Planner is a flash-fiction series of 8 stories. Stop by next Friday for the next episode. Meanwhile, catch up on past episodes.
About the Author:
Tolulope Popoola is an award winning Author, Publisher and Writing Coach. She is the author of two collections of flash fiction stories, “Fertile Imagination” and “Looking For Something”, and a romance novel “Nothing Comes Close”. She has written extensively for many magazines and publications. Tolulope is the founder of Accomplish Press, a coaching, consulting and publishing company, that provides services to support aspiring authors. She was given a special Award of Excellence at the 2016 Nigerian Writers’ Awards, and has recently been shortlisted for Diaspora Writer of the Year for the 2017 awards.She has also earned the nickname of “Africa’s flash fiction queen” for her unique ways with writing dramatic short stories.