Ivy was a young ‘gentle lady of the night’. No. She wasn’t born into prostitution. She had come to Lagos to stay with an aunt in Ojodu in 2012, just after she sat for her WAEC and NECO exams. After assurances to her ailing mother that she would take care of her tertiary education, aunt Adesua had brought her to Lagos and introduced her to one Alhaji Damko Danladi, the man who was in charge of all the ‘runs girls’ in aunt Adesua’s guest house at Ojodu.
Ivy had pleaded and pleaded with her Mom to let her come back to Benin City. She had been willing to do any kind of work that wasn’t prostitution, even if it meant washing dead bodies. But since she couldn’t bear to tell her Mom the real reason she wanted to come back home, the poor woman had completely misunderstood her. She had called her an ungrateful and naive young lady who wanted to throw away the bright future her Aunt was offering free of charge. Ivy had had to stay back in Lagos.
Seven years later, Ivy was the proper runs girl. She had become fully engrossed in the business of sleeping with men for money, when her mother had a stroke in February, 2013. All her pleas with aunt Adesua for some financial assistance had fallen on deaf ears. That was when she had given in to the pressure. Despite it all, her Mom had died three months later, all attempts to save her having proven abortive.
To make matters worse, her in-laws had quickly taken over the few property her late Dad had left her and her mother. Being an only child, she had had no one to return to in Benin. So she had embraced prostitution with a vengeance. She would book different men on the same nights, move from hotel room to hotel room, and somehow still reserve some stamina for her part-time degree course in Lagos City University. She was determined to make it in life. She still nursed the dream of being a clinical psychologist some day.
Ivy looked at the pot bellied man lying by her side. She didn’t remember his name. There was never any point remembering their names. They were faceless figures to her; means to an end. She glanced at the clock, got off the bed, took a shower, got back into her clothes, and left the room silently. She smiled at the hotel receptionist as she made her way out of the hotel.
The cold night air embraced her fiercely as she walked through the car park to the gate. Her next appointment was at 1:00am in another hotel just across the street. Nothing prepared her for the impact of the vehicle that knocked her senseless onto the sidewalk.
Kemi was in shock. She had somehow managed to escape the accident in one piece, thanks to the air bags in her sedan. She could however not say the same for the young lady she had run into. How she got the badly injured lady into her car and drove her to the only hospital she knew in the neighborhood was a mystery even to her. Everything had happened in a flash, as though she was trapped in a bad dream. As she sat there in the waiting room, the cold tore at her insides.
“We need to get you checked as well ma’am,” a nurse said, bending over her.
Kemi hadn’t heard the nurse. The cold made breathing difficult. “Sorry?”
“I said we need to get you checked as well. Your face is flushed and pale. You look like you’ve seen a ghost. I’m assuming you were at the scene of the accident?”
“Yes. I was the accident.”
“I mean, I was in the car that had the accident…”
“So how come your friend is in that bad state and you’re unhurt ma’am?”
“No, you don’t understand. She’s not my friend. I’ve never even met her nor seen her before this morning. I was driving home when she suddenly stepped right into the road. I couldn’t stop the car in time… Don’t you understand? I may have killed another person…” Kemi’s voice trailed off.
“Its okay ma’am. I understand.” The nurse had a sad look in her eyes. “Just this way, I’ll get a doctor to examine you. You may have hit some part of your body without knowing. It’s our duty to make sure you’re alright.”
Mangodo sleep-walked into his office at 5:00am. The victim of the accident had pulled through. Her condition had been so bad, they had had to immediately prep her for surgery. He sat down and laid his head on the table.
Mangodo raised his head to see one of the nurses assigned to the A&E poking his head into his office. He must have dozed off, which explained why he hadn’t heard his office door open. “Danny, make una kuku kill me nau. What is it this time?”
“Sorry Doctor Mangosky”, Danny apologized. “The woman that brought in the patient that just came out of surgery has not been examined.”
“What?” Mangodo was dumbstruck. “Why?”
“I don’t really know Doctor. I guess we were all too busy with the accident patient. Her case file says her vitals were checked and that she’s in stable condition. But she needs to be examined by a doctor before we can let her go.”
“Where are the other doctors on call?”
“Doctor Bola left early. Some home emergency. Doctor Isa has been in the theatre since 10:00pm. We cannot get hold of Doctor Philippa at this time, and the Chief asked us to get you. He left as soon as we all left the theatre.”
“Alright,” Mangodo said, yawning shamelessly. “Show me the patient.”
Mangodo followed Danny into the ward and froze. He could have sworn that the woman sleeping on the bed was Barrister Kemi, from six days ago.
To be continued…
© Oselumhense ANETOR, 2019.