She pulled the shawl closer to her body as she walked on. The wind had picked up. She knew she had to think fast or she would freeze to death. Her feet had become sore and numb. She could hardly move her fingers but she knew she had to keep walking. Any moment from now, she thought. Any moment. She had timed it properly. She pulled the shawl even closer wishing there was another way out of this mess she had gotten herself into. The wind had picked up again, this time it almost lifted her off the floor. “Dear God” she thought. It just had to be now. Then the flicker of light came. She tried to think of the last time she felt such relief. She had to act now.
She had replayed this scene in her head over and over again. It had to work. The lights grew brighter as the car approached. As carefully as she had planned it out, she walked to the middle of the street and lay down. She felt a shiver run down her spine as the car got closer. What if he did not see her; she should have worn a brighter color so she would be noticed. What if his brakes were bad and he could not stop the car. What if he ran over her? For the first time since she left the house she prayed. As she did, the car got closer. The dust came up. Closer. She closed her eyes. Closer. She clenched her fists. Closer. She knew the moment he saw her. The honk was so loud, then the brakes, then the screech. The dust on her face and the smell of petrol from the car were the last things she remembered.
He had killed someone. He just knew he had killed someone. His mind was wandering, his pulse was racing. He could not get himself to move. He tried to think of what to do but his brain was not thinking. He sat there shivering. After what seemed like a thousand years, he finally opened the door and with a foot after the other, made his way to the front of the car. It was a woman. “This makes it even worse” he thought. He bent down to feel for a pulse or anything to clear his doubts. “God please let her be alive”. As he put his hand on her neck, the tiny beat beneath his fingers put him at ease. So suddenly, anger replaced his fear. He wished he could go back and complete the task by running over her. He decided to take a closer look at her face. It was pale. She had been freezing before he even got there. However, it was obvious it was a well groomed face. Not particularly pretty but good to look at. “What was he going to do with her” he thought. He could not leave her here. She would freeze to death. He lifted her up; she was so thin and looked fragile. He felt pity for her. On his way back home the questions he was going to ask her began popping in his head. He wished he could write them down so he wouldn’t forget. What was he going to tell his mother? He was so sure she would have a dozen questions for him. He looked at her as she lay on his back seat and wandered what her story was and why she would try to kill herself.
She was there again, on the street. The night was very cold and quiet. Her feet were sore, she was tired and hungry. Then she saw the lights from the car. Instinctively, she started to move to the center of the road. Though she heard herself yelling to go back, she could not help herself. She just kept going. Then the car horn, then the tires screeching.
Liam was at her side the moment she started screaming. She’s had one of those bad dreams again. This was the fourth time in the day she would wake up screaming. He felt so sorry for her. He had to know her story. What was a young black beautiful lady looking for in the freezing cold?
“You have to tell me your story. I can’t keep you here any longer if you don’t tell me your story. You have been here for a week now and you have not said a word to me. What is your name? Where are you from? Why do you want to kill yourself?” he asked, concern written all over his face.
She stared at him, her face pale and void of all expressions. How do I explain to him? She thought. He did not even recognize her. She on the other hand recognized him the moment she saw him. Two weeks ago he was registered as one of her clients. He was the 6th person she entertained that night. He was brought to her room by Madame Bossom herself. She couldn’t tell him her story. She couldn’t tell anyone her story. Her only option was to end it all. To slip away into the next life where she would know no sorrows or bear the gruesome memory of her family killed in the civil war, her aunty promising her a better life away from the hardship of the Niger Delta and selling her off to Madame Bossom, the highly placed Italian mogul who ran a secret escort service in Italy. After 3 years, she finally executed her escape plan only to be picked up by Madame Bossom’s nephew.
She closed her eyes again in a bid to hide the pain and regret that engulfed her.
Photo Credit: singleblackmale.org
Atinuke Aweda was born in Owerri, IMO State. She discovered her passion for writing at a very young age. She is an adept listener and observer of situations and events around her. This makes her write-ups very relational to people. She is a graduate of Covenant University where she studied Business Administration. Most people will describe her as quiet with a peaceful nature. Her passion for writing covers poetry, drama as well as prose. She sees no limitations in engaging the right medium to bring her thoughts to life.