by EMMA KRUSE VA'AI
illustrated by REGINA MEREDITH MALALA
Regina Meredith Malala lives in Leone, American Samoa with her husband, Jake, and family. She is the Department Chairperson for Fine Arts at the American Samoa Community College, and is very active in her community and regionally in the Arts.
Emma Kruse Va'ai lives in Siusega, Western Samoa, with her husband, Ala Vaemoa, and their four children: Moana, Saleimoa, Monique and Jay. She is a lecturer in English at the National University of Samoa and is a strong advocate of bilingualism in English and Samoan. She has written and published other chidren's stories, mainly in New Zealand.
"The Wedding" is based on a true story.
Four o'clock. Lili fed the chickens at the back of the house. They were always on time.
Lili looked at the chickens and then at the garden. "Pati and I will get married here in my mother's garden," she said. "I will walk here, through this little path and into the fale Samoa."
So everyone helped to clean up and make everything look great. The lawn was mowed, the weeds were pulled out and the hedges were trimmed. The fale Samoa was swept and cleared of cobwebs.
Lili sewed her blue wedding dress and a matching vest for Pati.
On Saturday afternoon, everyone and everything was ready for the wedding. Red teuila blooms lined the sides of the path to the fale Samoa. The fale Samoa was decorated with coconut leaves and flowers.
Everyone had on their nice clothes. Pati had on his blue vest, Lili her wedding dress and even Nova the dog had on a blue bow. Everyone was ready.
"Brrring Brrring Brrrrrrring!" went the phone. "Hello?", said Lili. "Hello, Lili," said Pastor, "I'm sorry I have a flat tyre. I will be an hour late but don't worry, I'll be there."
"That's alright," said Lili. "Everyone is in the garden. We'll wait for you."
So everyone waited. They had red cordial and iced tea and iced water and cold coconuts.
The kids played aki with little stones and looked up at every car that passed by the road.
They saw Pastor's pick-up truck turning in from the road. They jumped and shouted, "He's here! He's here! Yaaay!"
It was four o'clock. Pastor announced, "Brothers and sisters let us now begin." On went the music and Lili stood at the back of the house ready to walk through.
Suddenly all the chickens came running to Lili. Of course! Four o'clock was chicken feeding time! But the wedding was on and Lili was already walking down the path.
And the chickens followed her like hundreds of bridesmaids dressed in different colours singing their own cackling songs. "Koko e e! Koko e e! Kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk! Koko e e!" And the roosters cut in with "Koka roo-rooh! Flap! Flap! Flap! Koka roo la rooh!"
Lili was laughing. Pati was laughing. Everyone was laughing.
And the wedding went on happily until Pastor finally announced, "I now pronounce you man and wife."
On went the music and the happy couple walked out holding hands.
Everyone threw rice over them and at them and onto the path and into the garden where the chickens were waiting to be fed and for the party to begin.