Five white Chrysler saloon cars enter the gates of the Golgotha Heights Chapel. The cars are now parked in front of the church with precision. Mr and Mrs Opoku alight from one car. Effe gets out, helped by two handsome men in black tuxedos. Eyram pulls the veil across Effe’s face.
Mr Opoku and Effe link arms and are seen entering the church. People are shouting happily.
Photographers and media personnel rush forward; camera lights flash, and recorders and powerful cameras are brandished. The organist plays a slow sweet flow that ushers Effe and her party to the altar.
Rupert Henderson smiles broadly as he gets up to stand beside Effe, and then they mount the elaborate dais and stand in front of the officiating minister.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today in the sight of God, to join this man, and this woman, in holy matrimony,” the Minister begins.
All sounds die down.
Rupert and Effe exchange glances. The organist begins a soft, barely audible tune.
“Not to be entered lightly, holy matrimony should be entered into solemnly and with reverence and honour. Into this holy agreement, these two persons come together to be joined.”
His gaze sweeps the congregation. Tension mounts slowly.
“If any person here can show just cause why these two people should not be joined in holy matrimony, please speak now, or forever hold your peace!”
A tension-filled silence reigns as the Minister’s eyes sweep the room from one corner to the next slowly. Finally, he nods slightly, picks up his spectacles, cleans it quickly, and settles it on his nose.
“Marriage is a sacred union…” the minister continues.
And then the entrance darkens suddenly. Chris Bawa stands in the doorway.
“Hold your peace, Man of God; hold your peace a moment!” Chris Bawa says.
There is a stunned silence.
Rupert curses and grinds his teeth. The Bridesmaid whirls around, her face is absolutely startled and frightened. Mr Tamakloe jumps to his feet, but Evelyn holds his arm quickly.
“The fool! What’s he doing now?” Mr Tamakloe asks furiously.
“Hold it, John! Let him be!”
“Why should I? That boy’s going to make a mockery of Rupert’s wedding, for Christ’s sake!”
“Sit down, John!” Evelyn hisses and pulls his arm. “Should I remind you that you need Chris more than you do Rupert? And for God’s sake, that boy loves the girl! Did you think for a second that he wouldn’t fight for her?”
There is a buzz in the church room. Mrs Opoku jumps up with a sharp groan, but her husband holds her down and stands up himself. Chris walks forward. His steps are purposeful. Mr Opoku meets him halfway across the room.
“Young man, do you have anything to say?” the minister asks and he looks quite uncomfortable.
“You bet your holy clerical that I do have something to say to that woman!” Chris Bawa says softly.
Mr Opoku holds up a hand to halt Chris.
“Chris, what’re you doing? Please don’t do this! If you love her please don’t do this to her! Don’t ruin her day, boy!”
Chris smiles sadly and stops.
“But I am not here to make trouble for Effe, my dear Mr Opoku. I just want to say sorry to her.”
“I don’t understand, boy!” Mr Opoku says with some level of confusion.
Chris walks past Mr Opoku and pauses in front of the dais. The noisy mumblings in the room drop to a few scattered whispers. The bridesmaid stands up and walks towards Chris.
“Chris, please,” she says desperately. “Don’t do this.”
Chris ignores her and turns to Rupert Henderson, whose face is tight with anger.
“I am extremely sorry to make such a scene, and believe me, I feel greatly humiliated. I just came to say sorry to Effe.”
Effe does not stare at Chris. She is trembling. Chris’ voice is now filled with sadness.
“I am sorry, Effe. I am so sorry for the pain I caused you. On my own behalf and on behalf of my mother and all the people close to me who contributed to breaking your heart, I stand here and apologize for our misdeeds. Please, forgive us.”
Effe still does not stare nor speak. Tears slowly trickle down her cheeks.
Chris turns to Henderson.
“Mr Rupert Henderson, you are a lucky man. You are not marrying an ordinary person. Today, you’ve got an angel for a wife, and I hope you know that.”
Rupert nods, and suddenly the anger leaves his face. He smiles gently.
“I know, Chris. I know.”
“Yeah. She is a good woman, Rupert. I’ll tell you this for real, if it was in our era that God was choosing a mother for His beloved son Jesus Christ, I am convinced that He would’ve chosen Effe!”
Rupert laughs gently.
“You know what, I think I agree with you on that too, Chris.”
Chris has tears in his eyes now.
“Treat her well, Rupert. You treat her good. If you ever hurt her, I swear I’ll rip out your intestines through your nose and strangle you with them.”
“I will do my best, Chris. I give you my word.”
Chris throws up his head; tears drown him. The room becomes absolutely quiet now.
“Oh, God! I am in pain, but I think I’m done here now!”
Rupert takes out a white handkerchief and hands it to Chris. They nod at each other. Chris turns away, and faces the congregation. He is a picture of absolute dejection. He begins to clean his tears with the handkerchief as he walks away.
Chris passes Mr Opoku, who is still standing. Mr Opoku touches Chris’ shoulder lightly. Chris is halfway to the door now. He is passing Evelyn. She reaches out and squeezes his hand. Chris is almost out of the door. The room is still quiet.
He is passing an old woman who seems to be in her late sixties. She stands up and glares at him. She begins to speak.
“And what was that nonsense all about, young man? What do you think you were doing? You’re a foolish man, you know!”
Chris pauses and looks at her.
“You speak the truth, old woman. Never has truer words been uttered by a human being. I am, indeed, a very foolish man!”
He walks out of the church. He walks on the grass, and his legs tremble. Chris misses a step, and he suddenly falls to his knees and throws up his face to the heavens.
He bellows loudly.
“Dear God! Why are you doing this to me? How am I going to survive this moment? Help me out here! I need peace Lord! I am in pain, please give me a second, just a second of peace, Lord!”
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