My name is Christine. It’s 9am in Lagos, Nigeria. I’m walking down the aisle, arm in arm with my father in Global Harvest Church. It’s my wedding day and all over the building wonderfully dressed family and friends are standing, smiling and staring like I’m the most beautiful bride they’ve seen. I look up and stare into the eyes of the man of my dreams and of course, my feelings are mirrored in his eyes. Today isn’t just about us. It’s about God. It’s a day of celebration and a day of profound gratitude to God. For without Him, neither Rob nor I would be here.
Two Saturdays ago, we were getting set for the wedding. Everything was working just fine. I also had to do my final dress fitting that Saturday so I called my best friend, Tasha to go with me to the dress shop.
Tasha and I have been friends since we were in kindergarten. It was love after the first lesson. We stuck together through high school and college. Tasha and I are similar in complexion and stature, they say we look alike even though I’ve never seen it. But that’s where the similarities end.
I got to the dress shop ahead of Tasha so I waited for her at the reception. She came in hurriedly which is no surprise cause Tash is always late. We went into the decor room arm in arm giggling like school girls. I requested for my dress and my lovely satin dress with beads was brought in.
I was just about to go into the dressing room when Tash grabbed my arm and whispered something into my ear. I laughed and told her she was silly then I shrugged and said, ‘why not Tash?’
Five minutes later Tash wasn’t still out. She had asked to please try on the dress since we’re the same size. Of course I had to humor her after all that’s what’s besties do. She had also made me promise not to to peek so I had to stay put until she came out. They were taking time but wedding dresses generally take a lot of time so I just paced the length of the room waiting impatiently.
Fifteen minutes later I knew I had to drag Tasha out. So I marched into the dressing room ready to do war and just stood utterly still when I got there. On the floor were the two female attendants bound hands and feet with their mouths strapped with a paper tape. Their eyes were wide with fear and worse, there was no sign of Tasha. I screamed and the security guys came running. Then I tore off the tape from the mouth of one of the ladies and asked about Tash.
The lady was whimpering and I had to calm her down. After a few seconds, she told of how three guys in mask came and grabbed Tash just when they had worn her dress. The first guy bundled Tash out while the other two stayed back to quickly tie them up.
I was stunned. Why would anyone kidnap Tash? I walked dazedly to the reception and as I was about to walk out of the shop, it hit me like lightning. That was supposed to be me. They wanted me, not Tasha. I sat heavily while the security guys were running around. I took out my phone without much thought and immediately dialed Rob. I explained the situation to him and he requested to speak to one of the security men. He instructed him to watch me and made me promise to stay put until he got there. I agreed. Not like I was even considering moving an inch when my life was obviously in danger and Tash was nowhere in sight.
Eighteen hours later and we still had no news about Tash. Of course the police were already working cause it was clearly a serious case. Our lines were all connected to the police line in case we were contacted by the kidnappers. Rob and I were at my parent’s house. It was a long wait. A gruesome wait. I was frightened and I just kept praying for Tasha’s safety. We had no idea who would want to kidnap me.
2am Sunday morning, Rob got a call from the police station. Tasha was rushed into the hospital about an hour ago and since she was reported missing, the hospital had identified her and called the police. She was in ICU in serious condition. She had been shot.
I cried and cried and prayed. My best friend couldn’t die. It was completely unfair. Apparently a good man had found her injured in an enclosed area while he was walking his dog Saturday evening. Realizing she was still alive, he took her to the hospital.
Friday night, Tasha woke up. It had been a traumatic week. She was quite weak but she held me by the arm and whispered, ‘Trish.’
I couldn’t believe it. Trish was Rob’s ex girlfriend but they had broken up awhile before he met me. I knew she wasn’t happy about our wedding but I didn’t figure she would attack me or even try to kill me. I told Rob and immediately, the police apprehended her.
She was shocked to see me. Trish had hired assassins to kill me while I went for my final dress fitting. Of course they were instructed to take me in my dress and kill me and dump me somewhere I would eventually be found. She wanted the irony to hurt Rob. When they saw Tash in my wedding dress, they just assumed it was me and shot her. Tasha said they were going to shoot again when one of them brought looked at the picture they had been given and realized that though we looked similar, Tasha wasn’t me. They panicked and ran away.
Trish of course was told I was dead. She tried to reach Rob but the police had warned us to stay under the radar. So she just figured the entire family was in too much pain to reach out. Her arrest was completely unexpected because she had been out of town during the kidnap. She made sure of it. The only reason Tasha knew was because one of the men had said, ‘Madam Trish wants you to disappear. So unfortunate. You would have made a lovely bride.’
It was all a miracle. The switch… The discovery… The rescue… My best friend being alive and Trish’ arrest. I’m so full of gratitude today as I’m joined to my beloved with my family and friends together. Indeed it’s been a ride and I’m looking forward to a beautiful future….