Hi Folks, glad to be back with you. How did the holidays go? Mine was great and I never cease to thank the Lord for His mercies. Had fun during Christmas but most importantly, I renewed my fellowship with the Lord.
I have started a new life, kind of. I got another job after working as a gateman (or is it gate woman?) for six months after my service year. I’m sure you’re wondering what I’m talking about. What do you call, standing at a car park gate post collecting parking fares? There you go! Anyways, in other ways I’ve started a new life. I recently started dating my long term friend since university days.
His name is Lai and he is the epitome of a good guy. I’ll tell you more about him and how we got here. Meanwhile, let me continue from where I stopped last time.
I had continued on my destructive path when things suddenly changed for me. I met a guy in Rumukuota who worked for or rather owned an oil servicing firm. I liked him, really liked him and I was beginning to rethink my ‘don’t –date these- kinda-men creed.’ I spent a lot of time with him and in fairness, he was a real gentleman.
I went out with him one Friday evening. We left from his posh apartment and stopped by some house to see his friend. I stayed in the car. He was in the house for a while then came out with a heavy set guy. They were laughing and talking. The guy looked me over, greeted me and I said “hi.”
Next thing Barry was searching frantically for something in the car. He searched the booth and beneath the car seats. After a while he raised his head and said, “Zara, did you take that red bag?”
“What red bag?” I asked, unfazed. He had better sort out his issues and let us get going.
“The red bag I left in the booth from home?” the heavy set guy, obviously incensed by the whole discourse walked back into the house briskly, calling on some ‘Ghandi!’
Before I could say ‘Praise the Lord,’ Barry had jumped into the car and was speeding off like a formula one expert! Panicked, I looked back to see about two more heavy set guys running after the car, they turned back after a few minutes and got into another car and the chase began.
I was livid, confused, afraid and jittery. What was going on? Barry refused to answer my hysterical questions. Within minutes it dawned on me that I actually had no idea what kind of person Barry was. I had gotten myself into a huge mess.
After we had been racing for a while and I felt like we had lost them, I ordered Barry to drop me. He did without a word, still huffing and panting. I found my way home, visibly shaken. I didn’t have the nerve to explain to my roommate what had happened.
Two days later the police came calling while I was home alone. I had no idea what they were talking about, something about a minister’s safe being burgled and millions of naira stolen. I neither knew nor had dealings with any minister. I didn’t need a soothsayer to tell me I had been roped into this. I wasn’t allowed to call anyone. My roommates didn’t know where I was, I could have died and no one would have been the wiser.
On my second day in the police station, some fellow *corpers came to the cells to preach to the inmates. I was so ashamed and distressed when I saw them. I wasn’t dressed in the uniform so no one knew I was a corper until some guy who had been in my platoon spotted me. His eyes grew wide in recognition but he raised no alarm. Bless his soul; he probably wanted to spare me the shame.
He came back later to see me, I cried all through his visit, unable to bear the shame. He promised to contact the Legal Aid Movement (Lawyers in the youth service corps) and prayed with me. That night I slept fitfully, unable to shake off the feeling of dread that enveloped me. I decided I would leave for Lagos after I got off, if I got off. I was tired of the mess I had created and my only inkling was to runaway. I had no idea there was more waiting for me.
My lawyer friend came back two days later to see me. Before then I had been called for questioning a few times. Turned out Barry had mentioned my name while he was being interrogated. He had been nabbed for conniving with the Minister’s son to break into his safe. He apparently owed his heavy set guys (who were in on the break-in deal) some favour and wanted to renege. They brought him down.
I was elated when I got untangled from the mess somewhere along the line, thanks to God’s mercy and my lawyer friend. The very next day I was released, I hopped on a bus to Lagos.
…to be continued