If you missed the first episode, Solomon Grundy: Monday, you can read it Here
That done, Enjoy today’s episode!
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Christened On Tuesday
12, November 1985
Dan stared at his reflection and smiled at himself. His black hair lay curled on his scalp and some of it covered a scar on the left side of his temple; one of the many souvenirs from his brief stint at the military school back in London. The tough, white, khaki uniform stood on him like it was an extension of his body; his well-toned muscles and abs fitting perfectly in the well ironed shirt. The immaculate naval uniform shone in the morning light that was slowly creeping in through the massive windows in the high head room living room and asides the gold ring on his finger he would have passed off as a single, handsome, well to do Briton.
He stroked his moustache in a circular motion and scanned his chin for stubbles. When he was satisfied there was nothing, he ran the comb in his hand through his hair again and yelled for his wife to hurry. Today was his son’s christening and he wasn’t going to miss it for the world… or go late either. The folks in this part of the world probably had a bad omen attached to attending one’s child’s christening late. They always had one omen or another for every situation.
Just last week; Wale, their Yoruba valet had commented on how their journey to see the United Kingdom ambassador to Nigeria in his office in Victoria Island would be a futile one. He had asked why and the stout man had mentioned something about a bad omen with meeting a person of the same sex first when one was off on an important business or mission.
He laughed the man to scorn and carried on towards VI from his Surulere abode only to find out that the ambassador had left for the airport for a flight to the UK barely thirty minutes before his arrival. He strayed longer in the embassy and emerged later all smiles to the stunned Wale. He however pondered on what the local man said on their journey back home. Maybe omens existed after all and one would probably stand against them if Jane didn’t get her ass down now.
“Darling we’re going to be late.” His voice boomed in the house and after the echoes, all became quiet again. The curtains fluttered lazily as a gentle breeze oozed into the room from the gardens and caressed their light fabric. Dan hesitated for some seconds as he waited for a reply and raced up the stairs taking three steps at once in long strides.
“I’m coming baby.” Jane replied as he scaled the last flight of stairs.
“You said that twenty minutes ago dear.” Dan said, trying desperately to mask his frustration. She laughed and appeared through the master bedroom door in a dashing mauve-blue dress. He halted in his stride and smacked his lips in respite as he let his eyes run a thorough investigation of her body. The short dress delicately stopped some inches above her neat knees and a gentle slit showed those well shaped thighs he always craved.
He saw her grin and traced her line of sight to the bulge forming in his well ironed trouser. She smirked and he wiped the naughty thoughts growing in his head and diverted his gaze to the baby. The sight of the christening gown infuriated him and his face squeezed into a frown.
“What’s with the white dress? Is he supposed to look like a girl for his baptism?”
She laughed and waved him away. “You’ve obviously not seen any christening ceremony.”
He scratched the back of his neck absentmindedly and shifted as she walked past him and down the stairs.
“Actually, no. So that is what they make those poor children wear?”
“My baby looks charming in it.” She retorted. He opened his mouth to say something witty and shut it when she put up her ‘say something stupid first’ look. Accepting defeat, he feigned a smile at her and followed her down the stairs.
“I love this girl.” He uttered under his breath.
“I know, I love her too.” Jane said without looking at him. He started saying something when the front door opened. Both of them froze and Solomon yawned oblivious of the visitors.
“Rose! Mum! Dad!” Dan exclaimed and hurried down the stairs, past Jane and Solomon and towards his once immediate family. Rose smiled and accepted a hug from him. She pecked him gently and released him to greet their parents.
“You guys didn’t write to say you were coming.” Dan said as he hugged his mom and shook his dad’s hand.
“Oh! You expected me to miss my nephew’s christening.” Rose said and took Solomon from Jane’s arms. She exchanged kisses with Jane as Solomon watched; his young mind probably trying to fathom why the only familiar female he knew was kissing a stranger. One that had roughly the same nose he had, only bigger. He stretched out his hand and Rose took it in her palm. She let him wrap his tiny fingers around one of her fingers and the whole house ‘awwed’ in unison.
Dan engaged the older Mr. Grundy in a conversation as the women took turns to make faces at the newest addition into the family. The men slowly got engrossed in watching the women play with the baby and a knock on the door startled them. Dan turned to look at the visitor and gasped.
“The christening! We’re late!”
“Yes sah.” Wale said still standing at the door. “I was just going to tell you that sah.” The young, dark man added.
The family rushed out of the house and took their respective places in the two Peugeot 504 cars parked in the vast compound. Rose joined Jane and the baby in the car Wale was to drive and Dan stayed with his parents in the other ride. They said a brief prayer and drove out of the gate, their destination; The Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina.
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The liturgy was shorter than Dan envisaged. After minutes of pleading, the priest reluctantly agreed to perform the ceremony.
The family watched some pews away as the priest carried Solomon to the font. The baby trashed in his arms, obviously bothered by the unfamiliar hands and finally resorted to crying when the same hands refused to let go. The priest hushed him and smiled warmly in his face. Solomon stopped wailing and watched the ‘strange’ man in the immaculate apparel quietly. The priest took some water in his right hand and sprinkled it on the forehead of the white baby. The chill swept through Solomon’s body and the resounding wails filled the entirety of the cathedral.
A tear ran down Jane’s face and Dan pulled her close in an embrace as the priest completed the rites.
“I baptize you; Solomon Walter Grundy in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
To be continued… Married on Wednesday
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