“You need this money”
Swantha, her friend is merciless. A Lagos big girl, with the trappings- tush gadgets and posh lifestyle to go with it, she rolls with the creme de la creme of the centre of excellence.
Her natural habitat? The Lagos nightlife scene.
Temiloluwa considers her friend’s words for a full minute. It is true. Things are hard. Her house rent is still unpaid, and the Landlord has taken to ceaselessly calling her to know “when his money would be ready.”
As if she was cooking a pot of soup.
She thought of a few other things. Her sibling’s school fees for example. And her ailing mother’s medical bills still unpaid. It was only the innate kindness of Dr. Quadri that kept him from throwing her out. But what was she to do?
Swantha keeps chewing gum. At last she says the one thing that pushes her friend over the edge.
“Shebi it is just for you to lie down and collect something. Its not like it is your first time of doing it. And this time, you get paid good cash. Think of what you can accomplish with the money.”
Looking at Swantha, Temiloluwa sighs. For years now, she has been her confidant and closest friend. It was Swantha who pulled strings and greased palms to get her a job at Madam K’s. Of course Swantha is NOT her real name. At home, with her aged parents, she answers to the name Omolewa. A beautiful name, lyrical and familiar. But big men want something short and foreign sounding, something to distance the girl they pay from the girl they know. Something superficial.
She remembers when she came to Lagos. How when she called her friend Omolewa, by way of greeting, as she stepped inside the motor of the big man that came to pick her, she had been quickly shushed.
Later on, Omolewa had pulled her to a corner.
“Here in Lagos, my name is Swantha.”
“No! Swantha. S-W-A-N-T-H-A.”
Omolewa laughed. it was a short harsh thing, not the throaty mirth she knew her friend with. “You’ll get used to it.”
At the time, the name had felt stiff and foreign on her lips. Like plastic. Now, she hardly noticed.
Swantha had done what Omolewa could never have done. Given her feeding money. Rented a flat for her. And what she said was true. She wasn’t a virgin anymore. Hadn’t been one in a long time, you see, she lost it to her best friend Ahmed, one hot, lazy afternoon at the back of her mother’s hut. But she had loved him. This felt different.
Then the Landlord called. She stared at her phone, afraid to pick it, knowing the way the conversation would go, knowing it and hating it.
Her mind was made.
“Do you still have that pink mini skirt? That tight shiny one I’ve always liked?”
Swantha smiled broadly.
“I thought you would never ask. Your job is still open, if you want it…”
Submission is a sequel to the previous story, Defiance. If you missed Defiance, click here to read.
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