Flashing the keys of his car and exhibiting that side smile, he glanced at me while he licked his lips. As expected, he approached me with a gallant walk. Sensing the moment of being treated as a lady, I smiled. Unfortunately, he was walking towards the bar lady. I followed their movements, he held her hands and she smiled. She gave him a glass of vodka mixed with Coca-Cola and ice. While she continued on her rounds, he admired her and it was clear he loved her diligence. I wished I had all that. Despite my glossy looking laps, short shiny blue dress, flawless make-up, and Indian Virgin Remy, he did not see me. In his sight, he could only see her.
I examined the girl; she had X-pression weave on, no make-up or some ordinary Iman powdered face and her bar tending uniform. I hissed and wondered what this classy dressed gentleman was doing with “this…urrghhh…I can’t even figure out.”
All the time I sat there, he did not see me. I grew frustrated until “this clearly a yahoo boy” drew near me. On a usual day, I would gladly smile but today I was just not in the mood for any rough handling. I wanted to be treated like a lady. So as he advanced, I stood like I wanted him to join me in the bar toilet, only for him to be disappointed when I got into a cab. “Abeg, nah Lakowe I dey go” I told the cabman. At first he murmured but looking through his window and accessing my dressing, he drove.
The scene at the bar kept running through my mind. I wanted all that. But how was I to get it if I run rounds with my body instead of with drinks like that girl. I did not hate my life, after all, I have all I need though it is minimum. I need to look as sassy as I looked but I also need someone that will not squeeze my ass and chew the life out of my nipples. I thought of the money that these blood suckers give every night. At least, they paid my bills and needs. Hmmm, I sighed.
I sustained in this line of thought until I got to my destination. In fact I was completely engrossed in my mind that the cabman had to snap me out of it. I paid him off. Still feeling remorse and trying to maintain a sober mood till I fell asleep. My girls, I mean ma hommies walked in at about 5:30am only to fling up dollars up in the air. I flew from the bed, amazed. Obviously, they had done better. That’s the spirit, you don’t just break down and stop the flow of money because of one gentlemanly feeling you want to have. Oh yes, I was told of their adventure that night with this yahoo boy. Faridat said,
“If you see as this bobo frosh…Bebe, we con dey find you, you no con gree pick your call…How far that bobo wey sit beside you, he pay?”
I was too dumbfounded on the flow of money to even hear her words. Then, I reckoned the yahoo boy that came to me. I asked for a description and Linda immediately said:
“He wore this Michael Kors perfume that first busted my brains. I think he was dark and tall with little bald head. He uses iPhone 6s. I am not sure but he wore sky blue shirt and black ripped jeans…”
Though she went on but I began to bite my lips. Shit! It was that yahoo boy that approached me. Ahhh! This would have been my money. I could have even made him my man so I can travel wherever I wanted. “Yepa! Bobo je wo…Ko de odo mi.” I thought. At that moment, I made up my mind not to allow such luck pass me by again. I swore to enjoy myself endlessly.
At my usual spot the next time, this strange guy walked up to me. Instead of making advances, he was rather questioning me. Hoping we would get to main deal, I answered, “That’s why I came back tonight. I wanted to meet the rough guys. But since you said you wanted me, what can I do? My problem is, why you are so interested if I have ever considered stopping? Are you a pastor? No you no fit. Shey you be omo pastor?”
“I am not. I just want to know you.” He says. “How old are you?” asking me with much curiosity in his eyes.
“Are you interviewing me or do you want to f- me? Didn’t your parents teach you never to ask a lady of her age?” I began moving towards him, trying to pull his trousers while I started kissing him, all the while, he continued to jerk. “Are you impotent? Whether you f- me or not I will take my payment by 4:15am. You have all night. This is just 10:35pm.” He still was not responding. So I drifted to checking my phone.
In about an instance, he says: “It is not as if I don’t want you. It is not as if you are not beautiful. It is not as if I am impotent” he chuckled. “I just feel I want more from you than this. Actually, I saw you the night you were seen next to the gentleman. In fact, the gentleman is my brother and that girl is his wife-to-be. I observed your movements as you were following theirs. I saw your countenance.” He stopped and moved towards me, gradually embracing my shoulder. Pushing my body off, I felt that strange sensation all again as though God wants me to stop this so-called fun of mine. Tears took the better part of my emotion instantly, remembering all that has led to this. Wiping my eyes with his Smart sprayed handkerchief, he embraced me. Crying with all my might on his strongly built chest, I began to tell how I, Iremitide Ayoola, became Susan.
“But first, what is your name?” I decided to ask through my rough voice and mucus nose. He smiles and said: “Shola Ogunbadejo.” “Well, Shols, sorry I want to change your name.” I started giggling as he laughed. “It was only four months that my sister, Dire left for Lagos. She arrived not looking the way she was before she left. Her hair was untidy. Her dress was almost tacky. She wore one worn out sandal and was darker from extinguishing sun. I did not envy her as I had thought Lagos was supposed to be the saving grace from the village dry life. In fact, I refused to hug her. I was very disappointed to the point that I declined following her to Lagos as I had always desired.”
He continued to stare at me, took note of all my gestures and expressions. I smiled. “You see, Dire, had told us before she left that Lagos was for greener pastures. She said that the city smelt of money and bliss. She called the houses mansions, far better than the brick house Baami had built before his death. I enjoyed hearing the talks about Lagos and envied the people of Lagos. I made friends with those children that came from Lagos to visit their grand-parents, though they make fun and rebuffed me. I wore nothing less than the clothes given to us by the Lagos people.” I laughed. “You know what Shols, I had just five. So I shuffled. I read day and night, thinking that in Lagos, academics matters for survival. My mother was happy that I excelled in my academics. The guys wanted to have me. They called me “beauty with brains”, I loved my life but I was not gain satisfied. Many at times, my teachers would commend me of my excellence, unfortunately, back home I am surrounded by hunger and poverty.” Pausing to take some water, he offered me a glass of wine. Smiling, I refused the wine. “By the way, I am 18yrs old. So can I have water?” He amazingly offered me some water. “Are you surprised? Don’t I look it?” Sipping my water, I told him: “I was only greedy…lol…right? Laugh out loud.”
“Well, Dire brought me to Lagos although I did so hesitantly. I wanted to stay back seeing that she could not possibly have means to take care of me if she could barely look good. I was 16yrs old then. I was supposed to come and stay with her and make some money till school resumes for the next session. I worked. Oh my god!!! I worked more than a 25yrs old youth. We sold pure water. We sold food. We hawked bread. We sold sausage rolls. We tried to suffer by all means.” I exhaled noisily.
“I gave all my income to Dire. And she was impressed, saying she had saved up for me to take home since the vacation had ended. Unknown to her, I had been captivated by the city life to go back home. I reminisced on the scene of Ajegunle where we lived to the beauty of Lekki where we sold our wares. I saw pretty girls with nice clothes and thought since I could find my way around here; I could stay on my own. So I took the money, #35,000 from my sister that morning and went off as if I intended to travel home. When she left me at the car park to start selling her wares, I got down and took charge of my life.”
“Because I had known many places, I knew the fastest place to increase the money I had with me. I had met this girl called Tracy. Oh Tracy, Tracy, Tracy. Tracy was a freak for men. Sometimes she did not meet men for the money but for fulfil her horny.” His expression of surprise had vanished, to be replaced with repulsion that said,
“How come you got exposed to these dirty things?” I ignored it. “Tracy had come to our food joint at Lakeview Crescent in Lekki and admired my beauty. She said ‘you could get more, you know, you have all-that ass’. I traced the address she had given me on that day. It was then I began to use my body to get what I wanted. I had wondered why Tracy and the other girls I saw in that building did what they did. I had my reasons for being too poor but did these girls have the same reasons? After entertaining me on my arrival, Tracy enlightened me on the job. But she did not cease to explain why she started to live that.”
“Her father had died at a very young age. She lived with her mother and younger brother. They had been living off from the donations of family and friends as they were not affluent enough in finance before her father died. Eventually, her uncle came to the town where they lived and volunteered to take care of Tracy. Despite Tracy’s diligence and uprightness, her Uncle’s wife did not stop at making false allegations against her until she forced Tracy to leave the house. On the day she left the house, Tracy told of how she was brutally beaten by a market woman for stepping on her eggs. Thinking no one care for her existence, she decided to go home. But because she did not have money she started engaging in menial jobs for feeding and savings. Where she laid each night was no different from a refuse dump. One of the nights was when she made her mind to go into the business that brought her goodwill. She said she had abused the ladies on the driveway where she slept, for tempting young men, husbands and teenagers to premarital and extramarital sex but the day one of these desperate men could not get into the ‘Quarters for Sassy Girls’ as they called themselves, he grabbed her from her sleep in his drunken state to forcefully sleep with her. She said she had struggled hard, scratched his face, and tried screaming but the man had covered her lips with his. She wrestled through the intercourse that she did not consent to. He raped her and spat at her, saying, ‘You should be more cooperating.’ Without remorse he left, nevertheless, Tracy said she was too debased to even pick up a stone to hit the filth that had raped her. She cried about the maltreatment, beating, hard-work and sexual harassment that she dealt with. Few weeks later, Tracy said she began to suffer from gonorrhoea as a result of the rape. ‘That instant’ like she said, she decided to hustle whichever way. She promised herself to find that man and teach him a lesson. So she went to the palace of prostitutes. She began working under the guidance of Madam Lisa, a full-time madam for prostitution. She became one of the top girls in weeks because of her constant involvement with men and the ways she collects their money.”
“Tracy gained at 21yrs a house with her name written in its documents from one chief. She told me if I played my cards right I could do the same. The first four months on my own after Tracy had left off to her new life as a boutique owner and a landlady were profitable, Tracy taught me well and I desired to know more. I worked everything workable. The men that have been my men have paid my bills and I started meeting new girls. By the end of the year, I had the latest clothes, latest phones, and newest things in my own apartment. The biggest girls were my friends. They understood the game and we played the games, and won. We own this apartment in Lakowe together. Fatimat, Linda, Deborah and Tope, we all live together in our various rooms. Although, Tracy involved in prostitution for survival, I needed the money to survive too though I had not suffered as much as Tracy. I wanted to enjoy life to the fullest. That’s me.” He hugged me like he felt that I have gone through a lot. Then he asked:
“So have you tried finding your sister? Or are you scared of going back to her?”
“I am not scared. I have more than enough to give back…I just want…” Shuddering, “I don’t know what I want…I really don’t want that shabby house because I am very sure they are still living the same…Only if they would take my money because I know mother would reproach me for all the things I had done. In fact, they might think I died and just move on…” I could not talk anymore because of the thought of being assumed dead. I felt ashamed of myself, not sure where it came from. I feel frustrated. I had nothing left. There was no justification for the steps I took. I choose this cause. Reading my thoughts through my expressions, his stare forced me to cry. Then he says:
“Do you want to go home?”
Without hesitation, I scribble through moans,
“I want to go back to my innocence? I miss that life of not knowing the world. I want to…Just please help me back?” And like the teenager that I really was but ran away from, I whispered: “I want my mummy…I want to go home.”
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