This story I am about to share happened to me a long time ago.
I was in school at that time and I was very foolish. The more I think about it, the more I hate myself for what I did. But to be honest, I had no idea I could have done better.
So this is what happened.
I was in my second year at the university and had been given money for my accommodation by my parents; I was also given feeding allowance, which was hardly enough but I knew how to get by once I got to school. My parents would send money later but you know, money was never enough.
Now, you see I didn’t go to school as I had told my parents when I boarded the bus at Ojota to travel back to school. I went instead to visit my boyfriend, who was doing his NYSC at Enugu.
I didn’t tell my parents, just my younger sister. I told her not to tell unless she heard that something bad had happened to me. She agreed, so I headed to Enugu, instead of up north where my school was.
When I got to Enugu, I stayed with my boyfriend for just two days, instead of the one week we had both agreed to be together before I headed to school. Why did I leave?
When I got to Enugu and located my boyfriend, who I had met at school, he only spent one day with me. The following day, when he went to his place of primary assignment, me being the dutiful girlfriend; used my money meant for my accommodation, to go to the market. I bought food, rice, beans, yam, palm oil…in short, I cooked two pots of soup, did everything, as per say, babe don land, na.
I didn’t suspect anything; I didn’t know the bobo had met another babe at the NYSC camp. I should have known but I was blind. So after cooking and we ate, I went to the common bathroom to take my bath, as per say get ready for the long night… only to come back to his room to find a note he left for me; he said he had to go and see a sick friend but that he would be back. I should lock the door and he would knock when he came back!
See me see wahala.
Me sef, mumu, I waited till about 11.30pm, after I had called and called and he didn’t pick, I slept off.
Which was even good because you won’t believe it, he came back around 5am!
I swear, I was like, “Why, what happened?”
He came up with one stupid story, which by the way, I fell for. By morning, he told me I had to go to school because he didn’t want me round! He was sorry…
Shege! I was shocked. I should go where? How? This same guy I spent my pocket money on buying food, cooking…I was too angry to even begin to ask why. I just packed my kaya, and he escorted me back to the bus park!
I didn’t cry, o. I was just angry that I spent my money on him and I wouldn’t even have enough for my accommodation when I got to school.
I lived off campus, so I knew I had to go and explain to my landlord why I couldn’t pay him rent for the next three months.
Now, my so called landlord at that time was in his early 30s, I think. He inherited the bungalow he rented out to students like me. There were six rooms, we all shared bathroom and toilet and kitchen…you know that sort of arrangement.
I paid for just one month, telling myself that by then that stupid boy in Enugu would send me money to complete the remaining months. I had to sort out food for myself. You know, even at this time, it didn’t fully sink in my head that I had been dumped! As in dropped like hot yam from a child’s hand.
So this dirty stinking landlord had been harassing me for months; even when my boyfriend was around.
Hummn, boyfriend didn’t call, I swear, I didn’t even abuse the boy, we didn’t quarrel, fa!
About three weeks after, I swallowed my pride and called Enugu, he didn’t pick, he didn’t reply my texts! When he finally did, he told me he was sorry but I should move on because he had moved on…
Ask me say what caused the ‘move on?’
He had met someone else in camp and dropped me like…you get the picture!
…and landlord was on my case.
I had no one to turn to; most of the boys in my yard were the same, they just wanted to have sex and drop you…my other girlfriends too couldn’t help, they didn’t know any rich Alhaji who would sponsor them. So I was on my own. I couldn’t tell my parents their hard earned money ended up in the pot of soup of some ingrate in Enugu.
I figured I had nothing to lose, sebi landlord wan do, he should come. I mean, I was at my wits end as far as my small 19year old brain could take.
That’s how I began to sleep with the stinking landlord for rent…yes!
I’m not proud of it o! I’m just telling you the facts and I am not even making excuses. I was a fool, I told you earlier.
This guy, ehen! The landlord, hummn. I suffered. I gave him conditions, he had to at least clean himself, even the cleaning, hummn. He still stank! But can beggars be choosers?
He would be on me for like hours…as in by the time we were done, I would be aching all over! All over as in, body pains. He would bite my breasts, bite my thighs…he was an animal, I swear!
What was the point of all these, biko answer me?
Who was I to turn to? I was hungry most of the time, I sometimes had to trek from campus back home when I couldn’t afford achaba, that’s what we call okada, up north…I was a wreck for a long time.
Poverty is a bastard!
I would cry myself to sleep many nights but I was a fool. I should have called my parents and told them something, lie that my money was stolen or something…I wouldn’t have endured the sex slavery I subjected myself to with the landlord. But I was ashamed, I had deceived them too many times, so I thought I deserved the shame I brought on myself.
You know, I did this for like four times and decided I had had enough! Because after the sex, I would be looking for money to buy panadol extra!
I called my dad the following month, I just wanted to say hello papa, how are you…I just began to cry, I was crying like a goat giving birth. You know. I cried so much that two days later, my father landed on campus!
That day, I didn’t even go to school, it was a course mate of mine who told me my father was looking for me.
When I saw him, I just began to cry again. You know. I was so overwhelmed. Why was I living the life I wasn’t even prepared for? Why was I sleeping with this dirty landlord that left me nothing but bruises and bite marks? Why did I lie to my parents that I was going to school and spent my money on a boyfriend?
I was just so tired that I couldn’t stop crying.
Eventually, I told my father what I had done! I blurted out everything. The man just held me and told me to stop crying. He didn’t want me to remain in that place, so the following day, we went looking for another place for me to live. He paid for one year and gave me pocket money…he told me he wouldn’t tell my mum what happened except I wanted to tell her myself.
I didn’t want my mother to hear, I was glad she wasn’t even the one that came to my school that day, she would have been so disappointed and would have broken down…you know. I didn’t think my mother deserved that.
I learned a valuable lesson, I learned things could have turned out worse. I could have died on my way to Enugu; I could have got pregnant from that landlord, I could have contacted STD…I could have been so depressed and committed suicide. I came close to it one time. I had no busness doing adult things at that time…
Hummn. That is my story!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)