We finished the production of The Financial Post, a business magazine which I edited and I stepped out of the office to banter with my Arts Editor and a correspondent. We needed the time- out to ease the tension of producing more than 40 pages of the magazine every two weeks.

As the editor of the magazine, I made it a point to relax after each production with jokes.  And there we were, bantering, when I noticed two girls, mid 20s, come into our business premises. The passed us by and went straight to the front-desk office.

They came to deliver an invitation letter from a bosom friend who was doing his traditional wedding. Such weddings are big events (usually coming before the church wedding) among the ethnic nationality of Igbos, in South-East,Nigeria.

As the front-desk officer pointed me out where I was standing with my colleagues, the two ladies   turned and approached us. Who is Eric? Jane, who later on became my wife enquired. “That’s me,” I replied. She handed me the letter which I ripped open immediately. Behold it was my friend Tony, inviting me to his traditional wedding.

“T for Tony,” I exclaimed. “So this is it. You are finally settling down, my friend, after years of searching for a wife,” I remarked gleefully as my eyes swept through the contents of the invitation card. The usual contents were there: date, time, venue, location, family identities of groom and bride, and others.

“Oh, all my friends are settling down,  I am the only the only left,” I chuckled as I folded the invitation card, and put it away in my pocket. The two ladies laughed at my remark. I quickly shifted attention to them as my colleagues melted away. It was well 5pm for the day, and it was time to go after a hard day’s work. Time for introductions: I am Jane. This is my cousin, Frances,” my wife-to-be said. But I did not know then, at that moment.

“Oh I know your elder sister Rosemary,” I said to Jane. “”Were in same campus during our undergraduate days in the university. How’s she?” I enquired.

“She’s fine. She is now married with four children,” Jane replied.

After more pleasantries, the girls wanted to leave. I persuaded to wait for me as I closed for the day. I opted to drop them at home before going for my evening fellowship. My sense of humor was evident, and Jane laughed uncontrollably at them. I told her that’s my nature. She was responded with excitement that she loved humorous people. At that moment I took an intense liking for her. And I did not hide it.

The journey to their home in Ikeja area of Lagos, took about 45 minutes. Jane sat beside me in the front seat, Frances at the back seat. We talked, laughed and cracked jokes as if I had known the girls for years. Not so. I had just met them some two hours ago. Jane was more vocal and outward. She spoke more than Frances who was a bit reserved.

Looking back now, 19 years later, I wondered why Jane took the initiative to warm up to me, ahead of Frances who is two years younger.. Whether she did out of her nature or to register a strong presence in my mind as a potential bride, I do not know. What  I made them realize on that day we met, was that I was still single, in search of a wife. Though I did not say so directly.

Getting to their home, Jane insisted that I should get out of the car to greet her mom, routine practice, on her mother’s instruction, for any male friend. I did. I talked with Mama, telling her I had come there to see her  on  few occasions, at the prompting of my friend Tony. I departed Ikeja, promising Jane I was coming back following day.

Read the conclusion in next edition of Great Storytelling Network

Eric Okeke is a storyteller, editor, business writer, motivational speaker and author of the best selling book: I Want a Husband. He is one of Nigeria’s most experienced financial journalists. He has published several articles in local and foreign publications and in websites such as http://www.ezinearticles.com, www.ezinearticles.com and www.writingcareer.com. He is currently running Infomedia Company, a media consulting and information marketing company. Visit his blog at http://sallywantsahusband.blogspot.com

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