Wasted years

Seated in the cathedral where her wedding would take place, I was one of the first attendants because I wanted to be sure the wedding invitation was not one of her pranks to get me started. Late comers were still settling in as the ceremony was about to start.

Poor me, with old suit inherited from my dad and faded shirt I had bought from the second hand shop down town. Of course, there was no way I could have afforded new clothes for such a ceremony which I knew everyone would come looking flashy so I had to improvise, to say the least. The clothes in my wardrobe were no good as I didn’t bother flipping through.

The past three years has been about me struggling to find my feet in life after my graduation from the university with a third class. Not like I was particularly dull or I found the course I studied extremely difficult, not even that I found school life too over-bearing. How could I?! My Dad was a top government official in my country and gave me all I needed to make me go to school at ease. I stayed in the best apartment, drove a good car, was popular and dated the nicest girls. I was one of the famous students on campus.

It all started one lunch hour as we positioned in our favorite cafe to have snacks, when she walked in. I was stunned by her beauty and the aura she came in with. I walked up to her, as expected of me by my peers, not too long after, we were exchanging numbers with me promising to ‘holla’ afterwards.

I did ‘holla’ and we went on a date. One date, two dates and it became a routine. Fondness grew and gave birth to emotions that gave birth to love. We would lavish our time holding each other, building castles in the air, talking about our future marriage and how many kids we would have. We even had imaginery pictures of how our kids would look and carved out plans for them. I never thought I needed to graduate from school with a good result to actualize these dreams… Was I even thinking then?

After our final paper and submission of dissertation, I already knew I would graduate with a third class, as I had been monitoring my GPA ever since. Not that I didn’t know it needed a boost but procrastination kept me thinking the next semester will be better. The next semester to the next semester to the semester that ended my course of study and the boost I thought I needed was not forth coming and never came.

Back home with my third class certificate, my retired dad could do nothing for me. Even if he wanted to, his ties in the government had been severed due to change in political party. The only door that was in place for my entrance into the job market was the certificate I will come back with. That door I ruined coming back with a third class certificate. No company wanted a third class degree holder, not while the economy was having a fair romance with recession.

I managed to get menial jobs on contract basis but who’d pay a third class degree holder anything satisfying. Since I could not afford to get myself an apartment, my Dad’s home became my source of shelter. Thank goodness my younger brother who I shared room with had gone overseas to do his masters on scholarship.

This three years could have been less worse if the girl I lavished a great proportion of my  University years with, who also was struggling to find her feet after school with her third class degree, didn’t tell me she was ending our relationship, the only tangible thing I benefited from going to the university. Not because the love had fallen short but because love alone couldn’t put food on the table and we both needed food to live and love. I understood.

Now here I am, seated in the cathedral where she will say “I do” to a man who knows nothing about my life ruined from loving the girl he is about to make say “I do” and I wonder, did love ruin my life or was I practicing love when it just wasn’t the right time to do so or did I totally get the dynamics wrong… I wondered even more.

Organ stroke, bride walked in holding her dad, groom knelt before the priest waiting for the ceremony to end so he could take his bride home, where they’ll actualize the picture they’ve created of their kids, as the congregation (including me), stood up for the opening hymn.

Submitted for Thursday Poets Rally.

Written: 2010
Revised: 2013.