Jimiyu and Engela Attend the Wedding

Jimiyu and Engela Attend the Wedding

It was Saturday and Jimiyu was on his way to pick up Engela to take her to her brother’s wedding. It was a beautiful afternoon, perfect day for an outdoor wedding. It made him sad because it reminded him that he and Balinda could never marry each other. If only it wasn’t against the Word of God for first cousins to marry.

Instead of attending a wedding for people he didn’t know with his boss, he could have been going to his own wedding. It wouldn’t be a big, fancy wedding but a small, elegant one with family, close friends and colleagues. He could just imagine Balinda in a white dress which would flatter her figure and accentuate her lovely complexion. She would have her hair in braids or however she liked. He would watch her walk down the aisle, smiling. They would hold hands as they exchanged vows and then, they would kiss after they were pronounced husband and wife.

They would have a reception and then, he would take her to his place for their wedding night. The next day, they would fly to the destination they had both agreed on for their honeymoon and spend two romantic weeks there. Jimiyu sighed heavily. It was no use fantasizing about something that would never happen.

Engela was waiting outside her front door when he arrived. Smiling, she walked over to the car as he got out to hold open the passenger door for her. “You look very handsome,” she remarked.

“Thank you. And you look beautiful.”

She blushed. “Thank you.” She got into the car and he closed the door.

They were soon on their way to the estate for the wedding ceremony and reception. “Any vacation plans?”

He shrugged. “I haven’t thought about it.” That was true. Taking a vacation was the last thing on his mind. Besides, where would he go? And how could he bear to be away from Balinda? What was she doing at the very moment? Was she still upset that he was going to a wedding with Engela? What could he say or do that would convince her that he wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with his boss although she was a very beautiful woman?

“Jimi?”

“Sorry, did you say something?”

“You seemed miles away. Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine. What about you? Any vacation plans?”

“I’m thinking of going to Portugal.”

“Portugal? Why there?”

“I want to go because of its culture, affordability, food, wine and nature.”

“How long would you go there for?”

“I was thinking a month would be good. I can visit other cities beside Lisbon, the Alentejo countryside and the Algarve beaches in the south.”

“When do you plan on going?”

“In August.”

“Are you going alone?”

“Yes, I’m going alone.”

“Well, have a safe and enjoyable trip.”

“Thanks.”

Twenty minutes later, they arrived at the estate and after parking the car, made their way to where the other guests were. Chairs were set up on either side of the pathway. Behind the white arch column framed by beautiful flowers were breathtaking views of the mountains and the sea.

Engela introduced him to family and friends. They were pleasant toward him. “It’s a lovely day for an outdoor wedding, isn’t it?” her widowed aunt Arabella commented. “And what lovely views of the mountains and sea.”

“So, you and Engela work together,” Engela’s Uncle Arno remarked. “How do you like having a woman for a boss?”

“Engela is a great boss,” Jimiyu informed him. “I enjoy working with her.”

“And I bet Engela enjoys working with you too,” a pretty brunette piped up, looking him over, admiration shimmering in her green eyes. “You’re young and very handsome.”

“Are you Brazilian?” Mrs. Beatriz Gonçalves asked him. She was a family friend.

Startled, he shook his head. “No. I’m Kampala.”

“You remind me of someone I know,” an older woman said, studying him.

“Who does he remind you of, Beatriz?” Engela asked her.

“I’m from Sao Paulo where I used to be a teacher. He reminds me of one my female students.”

Curious, Jimiyu wanted to ask her more questions about the student but just then, they were asked to take their seats because the ceremony would begin momentarily. He was determined to talk to her again. This was the first time someone thought he was from Brazil. This woman seemed dead serious when she told him that he reminded her of her student. Who was the student? Was she still in San Paolo? Was she still alive?

His thoughts were interrupted by the wedding march. He stood up and watched as the bride and her father walked down the path to where the groom and the minister were. It was a very nice ceremony. Afterwards, everyone made their way to where tables and the buffet were set up. After the toasts were made, Engela introduced Jimiyu to the newlyweds. The groom was friendly and thanked him for being at the wedding. After shaking his hand, the bride said to Engela, “He’s very handsome but a bit young for you, don’t you think?”

Engela ignored the remark and excusing Jimiyu and herself, they returned to their table. After dinner, they danced and when Engela excused herself and went to the bathroom, Jimiyu went over to the Brazilian woman. The chair beside her was empty. “May I join you?” he asked.

She nodded. “Yes. I was expecting you to come over. You want to find out more about my student, don’t you?”

Jimiyu sat down. “Yes. Tell me about her and why I remind you of her.”

“Maria Nambuya was a very bright teenage girl. She was one of my best students.”

Jimiyu stared at her. “Nambuya is my name.”

“Her father was Ugandan and her mother Brazilian.”

“What happened to her?”

“She became pregnant and had to leave school.”

“What happened to her and the baby?”

“Sadly, Maria died in childbirth so she never got to see or hold her son. He was raised by his grandfather. I don’t know what became of him and the child because I left San Paolo to come here soon after. If Maria were alive, she would be in her early fifties and her son would be in his early thirties. When I saw you I thought that you looked like what I imagined that her son would look like.”

Jimiyu’s head was spinning. How was it possible that he bore a resemblance of a teenage girl who shared the same surname as he? Then, he thought about his mother and how it had occurred to him that he didn’t look at all like her or his father. “You said that her father was Ugandan. Did you ever meet him or her mother?”

“I never met her mother because she had died but I met her father when he came to take her home from school after it was discovered that she was pregnant.”

“Do you remember his first name?”

“I think it was Moses. Yes, that’s it. Moses like in the Bible…are you all right?”

“Yes, I’m fine. It’s just that my father’s name is also Moses.”

“You mean your father’s name is Moses Nambuya?”

“Yes.”

“And he’s Ugandan?”

“Both of my parents are Ugandan.”

“So, your father and Maria’s are from the same country and they have the same first and last name. Do you think it’s a coincidence? Stranger things have happened in life.”

“I don’t know but I need to find out. Do you know who the father of Maria’s baby was? Is he still alive? Is he still in San Paolo?”

“I don’t know who the baby’s father was. It could have been a boy at the school or someone else.”

“It might all be just a coincidence but I have to find out from my parents if they know anything about this Maria Nambuya.”

“I hope I haven’t caused any problems for you and your parents by dredging up the past.”

“You haven’t, Mrs. Gonçalves.”

“I’m curious to know how it turns out. Here’s my number. I’d like if you would call me once you have talked to your parents.” She wrote her name and number down on a napkin and gave it to him.

Jimiyu took the napkin from her, folded it and stuck it in his breast pocket. Thanking her, he rose to his feet, excused himself and walked away. Instead of going back to his own table, he decided to explore the grounds, to digest everything Mrs. Gonçalves had said to him. How was it possible that this Maria’s father and his father shared the same names? Were his parents ever in San Paolo? If so, how come they never mentioned that to him? So many questions that he needed answers to.

“Are you all right?” Engela asked when he returned from his walk.

“I’m fine. I just have a lot of questions.” He shared his conversation with Mrs. Gonçalves.

“That’s fantastic,” Engela said. “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to visit my parents in Kampala and see if they know anything.”

“When do you plan to go?”

“As soon as possible.”

“Well, you go when you need to and spend as much time as you need to.”

“Thanks, Engela.”

“I hope you find the answers you’re looking for.”

“Me too and I hope that I’m prepared for them.”

“Please let me know if you need anything–anything at all.”

“I will, thanks.”

“Let’s go and have some more dessert.”

Jimiyu followed her back to where the other guests were.

Sources: Portugal Farm Experiences; Full Suitcase