DOZ Issue 34 August 2018 - Page 36

yet. He took me out for the third night in a row, and that night as he dropped me off at home, we reached an agreement. He was travelling out of Abuja for two weeks and he didn’t want me to go out on the streets selling my body, so we calculated how much I would make in two weeks, and he paid me right there and then, promising he would see me in two weeks’ time. I stayed off the streets for two weeks, and it was a good feeling, but I missed Ray terribly. I had become quite used to him. I thought about him every passing day, and those were the days when mobile phones were for the very rich in Nigeria. Ray had a Turaya phone, and I could reach him, but the sheer thought of going to stand at the NITEL phone booths for hours to make a call was very discouraging. And besides, I didn’t want him to know that I had begun to care about him, so I refrained from calling. At some point, I did wonder if he would be back at the end of two weeks as he had promised, or if he was gone out of my life for good. He wasn’t gone, as I had feared. On the last day of the second week, he showed up at my front door, uninvited as usual, but this time I didn’t care, I was really glad to see him. I was not home when he called, and I don’t know how long he waited but when I returned, there he was, sitting on the bonnet of his Honda. “Ray!” I screamed in excitement and before I could stop myself, I was running to him. He jumped down, caught me in his arms and spun me around. We both laughed as he put me down, and I could tell he had missed me as much as I had missed him. That night we didn’t go out to any fancy restaurant for a meal. Ray wanted us to stay indoors, and at first I assumed he wanted sex and I was ready to give it to him, but I was mistaken. He wanted to have a serious conversation with me. He told me he loved me and that being away from me had given him time to think about us. He was convinced he loved me and wanted to marry me, « 36 DOZ Magazine August 2018 but he wanted to know everything about me and how I ended up on the streets, and he also wanted me to know about him. So we talked, and I told him the entire truth, crying as I spoke. He did not interrupt me but held me close in his arms. It was the first time I had told someone my story without being criticised. When I was done telling my story, I expected him to realise I was not the kind of girl he wanted to take home to his mother then leave me in my misery. But instead he held my face in his hands, and our eyes locked as he spoke, “With all you’ve done, I still love you, and I still want to marry you.” His acceptance of me was really more than I could bear. I broke down and wept uncontrollably, and all the time Ray just held me and assured me it would be okay. That night, because of my emotional state, he did not talk about himself or what he wanted, and as soon as he was sure I was feeling better, he left. A man like Andrew would have taken advantage of my state of mind to have sex, but not Ray. He was too decent for that. The following night, he was back, and this time he told me about himself. He was an engineer with hi ́ݸɥɴչє)ѼЁЁٕɹЁɅ́ЁѡɅ)хєٕͼ݅́եєх!)݅́䁙ٔ啅́ȁѡ쁡ݕٕȰչ)ɽݕѼ䁅݅́ѡ)Ёͽ́ɕ̸!䁽)ͥȁͥѕȁݡ݅́ѽ)ٕɥݥѠȁ丁!݅́ɽ)ͅЁɽݸ ɕѱ)ٕѠͅթ!́ɕ́ѥ)ٕ ͼɽٔݸѼ͕ѡ)ݡٕȁ݅́ͅ)!́ɕ́ݕɔѕ ɥѥ́ݡɅ͕)́ȁͥѕȁѡ݅䁽ѡ1ɐ)!́ѽ݅́Սȁ䁙ɽ$)ݽɕ܁ձЁͽ+q$ͼЁх́ɽݥt)q%ѕ啅́$ɕ)ɕϊdѡɥ䰁Ёѡ䁍хѱ