I was halfway to my destination when I realized I couldn’t show up the way I was looking. I looked awful with my scandalously short dress and scattered hair and even worse, I had no shoes on. I thought fast and came up with a solution. One of the many perks of being an ‘it’ babe in UNILAG was that a LOT of people wanted to be friends with me, they sucked up to me in the hopes that I’d introduce them to the happening crew. Another perk was that a lot of people owed me favours, and I was about to collect one now.
I gave the driver new directions, made a phone call and we arrived at my new destination in five minutes. I called to let Joy know I was outside and she came to open the door to let me in. Joy was not a student like me, she was a banker and I helped her keep her job. How? She had a target to meet at her bank and she didn’t know anyone who had that kind of money to deposit in her bank but I did. So I hooked her up with several chiefs and alhajis who opened accounts with her and deposited millions monthly.
Of course she had to do something for them in return and she had obviously impressed them because she drove a nice car and lived in a tastefully furnished apartment in Gbagada Estate.
She looked at my disheveled appearance but before she could talk, I hushed her with “babe, it’s a very long story abeg. I just need to shower and get a change of clothes and a handbag.”
“Sure” she replied, eager to help me in the hopes that I’d direct another customer to her and her bank soon. While she went into her bedroom to pick out clothes, I made a phone call to my boyfriend, explaining that I had planned to surprise him at night and maybe catch him with one of the many girls hovering around him. I explained that the surprise was ruined because the taxi I took was first delayed by police for not having complete papers and that soon after, it stopped and even though the driver called his mechanic, the cab didn’t restart and I had to go over to Joy’s place which was close by. For once, I was glad he had insisted that I never drove to his place because it would have been more difficult to explain myself.
He asked why I hadn’t used my regular cabbie and I told him all the cabbies around Akoka were all busy ferrying girls to this party at the club I worked and I had hyped the party in school. Everyone knows how crowded the parties I publicized were. Anyway, it was late now so I’d have to spend the night at Joy’s, could he pretty please come pick me in the morning so we could spend quality time together because I had one or two things to show him.
He swallowed it all, hook, line and sinker. I smiled contentedly and went into Joy’s bathroom to wash off the stress and craziness of the night. If my boyfriend still had any doubts, a bout of acrobatic copulation was sure to erase them.
Tonight was a close call but Nkay always finds a way, I didn’t come all the way from Owerri to play in Lagos.
I had only slept for a few hours when a loud noise outside the corridor woke me. I was irritated at the interruption because I had been having a rather sweet dream that I didn’t appreciate being cut short abruptly.
I stepped out of the room and found my roommate on the corridor, excitedly watching the cause of the commotion. She spotted me and yelled “they’re fighting! Rebecca come and see!” Sure enough, in the quadrangle in the middle of the hostel, one girl was pummeling the other who was trying and failing to return the favour.
The winning fighter grabbed her opponent in a chokehold and screamed “I will kill you today. Ungrateful bastard. I will kill you” as she continued to deliver blows to the unfortunate girl’s head and face.
From where we spectators stood, I heard other students murmuring and wondering what went wrong between the two girls because they were close friends who did almost everything together and now one was threatening to kill the other.
After a few more entertaining minutes of the wrestling match, the Hall Mistress and security guards showed up to break up the fight. Right there and then, the Hall Mistress asked them what caused the altercation and why they were bent on disgracing the legacy of the hostel. The girl who had almost killed her friend went first. I’ll just call her Wrestler and call her friend Loser since I don’t know their names.
They had been close friends since their 100 level and they were in 300 level now. Wrestler had an older boyfriend, sugar daddy if you prefer that term, that had been taking care of her even before she gained admission. She had tried without success to hook Loser up with one of his friends but it never quite worked out. Anyway, Wrestler always shared whatever she got from sugar daddy with Loser and even invited her out with them sometimes.
Then she and sugar daddy quarreled because he suspected she was unfaithful to him which I think is funny seeing as he was the one being unfaithful to his wife and family. Anyway, sugar daddy was very upset and her friend, Loser was trying to broker peace. However, she did just the opposite because she told sugar daddy awful things about Wrestler and eventually started dating the man, all unbeknownst to Wrestler.
The truth came out when Loser said she had a date with her new catch and Wrestler picked her phone for her while she was bathing only to hear the voice of her former beloved. She didn’t want to believe it so she kept watch vigilantly by the window of her friend whose room faced Moremi car park. Lo and behold, sugar daddy dropped Loser off. Wrestler flew down the stairs and accosted her friend at the quadrangle.
The Hall Mistress said “I understand that you’re upset but that doesn’t mean you should beat her nau.”
Wrestler replied “Mummy I have to beat her. She has snatched the man paying my school fees and paying my mother’s hospital bill so I have to beat her ma.”
Everyone watching the spectacle burst into laughter and I decided I had had enough. Shameless girls disgracing their entire lineage by fighting over a man, and not just any man, someone else’s husband. If they were going to kill themselves over him, I wonder what they want his wife to do. I would never ever fight someone because of a man, ever!
I went back to my room, hoping the noise and excitement would die down soon enough so I could get some more sleep. I picked my phone and checked my messages; I had a ping from Yemi. It read “Would you like to grab a late lunch or something this evening?” I smiled and typed my reply, forgetting all about the commotion going on in the quadrangle.
“What you’re experiencing is post traumatic stress disorder”, Prof said. He continued “It’s a psychological response to the violence you experienced. But the good news is that it is very easy to treat. All you need is some sessions with a good therapist and you’d be fine. I have a friend who works at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital here in Yaba.”
I felt weird being asked to visit a hospital commonly called Yaba Left, a place where people thought the patients were crazy. In fact, it was a standard insult to tell someone they belonged in Yaba Left because they were crazy.
He seemed to read my thoughts and he said, “He has his own private practice somewhere in Alagomeji, you might be more comfortable visiting him there. Also, you’ll get treated faster than you would at a government owned facility”.
My fears were laid to rest and Prof called his friend to schedule a visit. Luckily, he was free that morning and asked that I come right away if I could. Prof held my hand and I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and stepped out of the apartment for the first time since that unfortunate incident.
I was so happy that I thanked Prof profusely. Before he turned and went to his house, he asked me for the full details of the ‘scum bag’ who had put me in this condition. I told him and he promised to have him dealt with.
While I was elated at this small victory, I didn’t trust myself to drive so I called a cab and reeled off the address to him.
It was time to confront my demons.