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Real Life Part 2

“Sister it’s evening already, it’s 4pm already. Please continue your story because my ears have been itching since yesterday.” I knew she wouldn’t forget to remind me once it was 4pm.

Aisha was my favourite cousin , she was a beautiful, tall and elegant girl of twenty. She liked storytelling and loved reading novels, articles and anything readable. She calls me her role model; she always said, “ ‘Sister, I want to be like you when I grow up.’ ” I still don’t know why she calls me ‘sister’ instead of my name or ‘aunty’ as is usual with other girls.

“ ‘Aunty is for married women, and I call you sister because I take you as a direct sister and not my cousin.’ ”

Aisha was in her 300 level in the University of Lagos where she is studying Mass Communication. She has been a good girl until she finished her 100 level and started going to school from her hostel. She had been living with her parents and going to school from home, but after checking the expenses involved in her going from home everyday, the parents decided to pay for a room in the hostel for her, and that was when everything about Aisha the innocent girl changed.

Without delay, I continued my story.

“ ‘I have come to Lagos,’ ” I had said to myself and to Halima’s hearing too. “ ‘It’s time to start hustling,’ ” I said again. Halima asked me to go for check up and make sure that I was alright and also to make sure that those robbers didn’t plant any seed in me. I went to the hospital and the doctor said that I was alright.

“ ‘You are okay now, they didn’t succeed,’ ” the doctor told me.

I was happy that at least I won’t have any hindrance in accomplishing my mission here. I went home rejoicing because I was free. Two weeks later, I had fruitlessly walked around the whole city of Lagos looking for a good job, without getting any. Halima had laughed at me, because she had warned me about job hunting.

“ ‘There is no job in this country and the ones that are left have already been occupied by ghosts,’ ” she always said to me whenever I told her that I was going to try my luck. The only jobs that I kept seeing were that of a sales girl or that of a nanny. I know I don’t have anything, but that kind of job would be belittling myself considering my educational level. I continued my journey of job hunting for almost two months without any success. Then I started considering doing what Halima was doing—she was always going out with different men. After my fruitless job hunting of two months, I decided to join Halima in her line of work.

“Halima was my friend. We met during our university days in the University of Maiduguri. We became very close friends, to the point that we shared secrets, but I knew that there were things she didn’t tell me about her life. Halima was a Muslim girl just like me but her way of life was totally different from the description of a Muslim girl. She dresses anyhow and always wears the latest things in fashion. It was from Halima that I always knew about the trending clothes, shoes and bags.

“One thing I was sure of, was that Halima did not make clean money. Although I don’t like concluding on things without proper evidence, I just knew that Halima was not going the right way. Her parents were not rich, they barely provided three-square meals a day, and they have lots of children. Halima was the eight child of her parents and she was the only one who had managed to go to school, when everything had been difficult, as the father had wanted her to get married to one Alhaji but she refused. When the pressure became too hot, she fled to Lagos and that was the last time she ever checked up on her father. She secretly sent money to her mother to pay for her siblings’ school fees and pay for other things.

“I liked Halima a lot, especially her courage and zeal for achieving her dream. Halima was a bright student then in school, she was intelligent too. She could write any exam and pass, but the only problem was that she was not always around in school to write them. She preferred giving money to the lecturers rather than writing those exams herself. That was the lifestyle she chose for herself, and as a friend of hers, I had tried my best to advise her, and also tried covering up for her every time. And she appreciated me by always buying the latest clothes, shoes and bags for me.”


“One day, I decided to go with Halima to her meeting with one of her clients. When we got there at one of the clubs in Victoria Island, I didn’t need any prophet to tell me what they did because it was plain.

“ ‘Halima is into prostitution,’ ” I had said to myself. I decided to calm down and play along. After all this was what I wanted, I wanted to get rich quickly and that was when I decided to do whatever she was doing to get such money and to be rich just two years after graduation.

“She came to me and said, “ ‘You are no longer a virgin, so please don’t act like you are one. I know you have known all this while what I do for money, so don’t pretend let’s just go and start the business of the day.’ ”

“She introduced me to one man, he was young and handsome and looked very rich, his entire outlook spoke of immense wealth. I was happy that at least I was given a young man for a start. We started talking and he was fun to be with, I was enjoying the discussion, until he said it was time for us to go and do the business that will give me lots of money.

“He promised to give me half a million, and I was already wet just at the mention of the money. I had concluded that I would try my best to satisfy the man and keep him as my customer if he fulfilled what he just promised me. We went inside and I saw two girls already sitting down on the bed almost naked. I looked at him with questions written all over my face. He noticed my discomfort and said to me, “ ‘Please dear don’t worry, they are also part of the game.’ ”

“ ‘Part of the game, what game?’ ”

“He said that I would understand when the time comes, and immediately three dogs were led inside by a man who seemed to be his bodyguard because the guy was huge. The girls started laughing in a very devilish manner that got me really scared, but whether the laugh was supposed to be a seductive laugh for the dogs or the man, I didn’t know which one. The man turned to me and said that I should start pulling off my clothes, that the dogs already knew what to do.

“ ‘I don’t understand. Dogs? I will sleep with a dog?’ ” I asked to be very sure my ears were not deceiving me, and he answered and said yes.

“ ‘That is why I’m paying you half a million. I don’t usually pay that high, but because I like you and you look fruitful, I will pay you that high.’ ”

“ ‘I am sorry I didn’t know I will have to do it with a dog, please let me go.’ ”

“I didn’t even want to think about it, talk more about doing it. Although the money was tempting, but right that minute, I decided to suffer and make money instead of searching for money in the get rich quick scheme that my friends always talked about. That was when I discovered that the get rich quick scheme was a scam. I would rather suffer, work hard to make that money, than to get it this way or through any other get rich quick scheme.

“He increased the money to a million naira, very tempting but I rejected it and asked to leave. His bodyguard wanted to force me, but he asked him to let me go, so that I would come back and beg for it. He also added that that was how all the girls started and later they came back begging, and now he doesn’t pay them that high again because they blew their first chance.

“I couldn’t believe how girls could have such minds to sleep with a dog, an animal that was created for man to be in charge of. An animal mated with a fellow animal, and not with a human being. I left there, thanking Allah that they didn’t even try to force me. I promised Allah that minute that I would rather work hard to make money than to do any illegal stuff to make money. I left Halima there, and went home.


“ ‘Hello! Please, is this Zainab on the line?’ ”

“ ‘Yes, please who are you?’ ”

“ ‘Ma I am sorry, but you will have to come to Adams hospital at Balogun Street, your friend Halima was rushed in here a few minutes ago.’ ”

“That word ‘hospital’, I detested the word hospital a lot. I checked my watch, and it was 4am in the morning. I hadn’t even slept up to 30 minutes before the call came in. I rushed immediately to the hospital; Lagos was always busy, so it wasn’t that difficult for me to get a taxi that conveyed me there. When I got there, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Halima was bleeding profusely, from every part of her body. All she could do was to whisper my name. That was what the doctors told me when I came, she had insisted that I come before any treatment would commence on her.

“ ‘Zainab, please forgive me for everything bad that I have done to you. I know you are mad at me but still stayed with me because I’m your friend. Remember that day that robbers attacked our house and raped you? It was I that planned it. I wanted you to hate the world just like I did and start doing what I did for money. And also the day you slept off and woke up telling me you were feeling like someone who had sex? I’m deeply sorry, because that day I drugged you, one of the men said that he would do anything to have you, And he promised to pay me half a million for that. I knew you wouldn’t agree so I decided to drug you. I am deeply sorry for all the bad things I have done to you,’ ” she said with tears mixed with blood running down her cheeks.

“ ‘Halima why?’ ” I shouted, crying, “ ‘what have I done to you? Why did you do all those things to me?’ ” I was crying, and I left the room and went outside to get some fresh air because I couldn’t take it any longer.

“ ‘Zainab, Zainab, please hear me out,’ ” she said with almost her last breath.

“When I was outside crying, I heard hurried footsteps, I turned and saw the doctors and nurses running into her room. I immediately forgot about the pain I was feeling and ran inside, I still didn’t want to lose a friendship of six years plus now. All she was still saying was my name, and when I came in she said,

“ ‘Zainab, please tell the youths my story, tell them to work hard instead of believing that getting rich quick schemes will help them. It’s better to work hard for all your earnings, please advise them for me. And please, I know I am a terrible person, but please find a place in your heart and forgive me.’ ”

“And that was when she started fighting for her life, the nurses escorted me outside the room and started working on her. They used the EKG on her but it didn’t work.

“ ‘At the count of three, we take it up. Are you ready? One, two, three—press it!’ ”

“ ‘Doctor, the patient is not responding,’ ” said the nurse.

“ ‘We’ll try again, let’s try again.’ ” They tried three consecutive times, but Halima didn’t respond, and I saw her spirit leaving her body.

“ ‘Time of death at 6am,’ ” a nurse said and came out to hold me.

“I had already fainted before they held me. I stayed unconscious for more than an hour, and when I regained consciousness, I saw myself lying on the bed of the hospital that I detested a lot, this was one of the reasons why I didn’t like going to the hospitals, because people rarely made it out alive.



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