She looked at herself in the mirror. Everything she wanted could be hers with just a phone call. She looked at herself again. Could she go through with it? The only thing she had to lose was her dream after all. Her dream or her dignity. Dignity would not feed her nor give her the life she wanted. But her mother had told her once, that her dignity would be all she had left when everything was gone.
She couldn’t pick out a top to wear – not like the decision mattered, all she had were the few tops she came to Lagos with and so she sat in front of the mirror in just her bra and the one black skirt she wore every time.
She was staying with one of the girls she knew who had left home years ago with her dream, in her one room apartment. She had never told her what she did but it wasn’t much seeing from the state of her life. She told herself every day that this was temporary.
Her friend – Sade – walked into the room then, with a man in tow. The guy gave her the once over with his eyes and she saw approval which disgusted her but still gave her a sense of pride. She hadn’t been the village beauty for nothing. Sade on the other hand had always envied her but she liked being known as the friend of ‘Arewa’
‘Arewa’ wasn’t her given name but it had stuck. She had been named Abiola and that was the name she used everywhere. She wasn’t only blessed with beauty, she had brains also. She had aced every one of those village classes and had always craved knowledge. She was literate and always practiced how to talk like the ‘City People’.
Sade’s voice snapped her back to the present.
“Rewa, Abeg I get customer.”
The look of recognition came into Abiola’s eyes. This was what her friend did for a living.
“I never bring customer since you don come here but I need the money.” Sade’s voice rang again.
“But Sade where will I go? I have no where else to go.”
“That one consign me? But you gan sef e never do?” She eyed her as she said it. “You don dey here for weeks I never collect one kobo from you, I never even ask you to commot house rent but still I dey tell you may you gimme one night make I do my work but you dey refuse, you be wicked friend”
And with that Sade bundled her out of the room, still in just her bra and her only black skirt. She locked the door behind her and threw a wrapper through the window.
She could hear her “customer” through the thin walls saying that she could have joined them and that he was willing to pay extra but Sade bluntly refused. Abiola sensed that it was the jealousy talking – not like she wanted to join them – as she laid herself down on the cold concrete in front of her room and covered herself with the flimsy wrapper that was thrown at her.
She made up her mind there and then that she would do whatever she could to achieve her dreams and that included saying yes in the morning. But first she had to make it through the night.
Read the next part here Her Dreams (Part II)