“I want to go and look around” I had said to the security man at the hotel gate.
“No, no. I was told not to let you go out” He said.
“Who said that and Why?” I had asked hopelessly.
“Please go back to your room” he said.
I was in another prison, only that this time, it was a more comfortable one. The entire incidents were messing my head up.
It was obvious the security agent was acting on the orders of the manager.
The truth was that i had intended to return to the hotel after taking a walk around the familiar territory but nobody was going to trust me.
I had told them on our Way back from Misrata, that i wanted to return to Nigeria. I believed it was the reason why they didn’t want me to go outside at all. They didn’t trust that i would return to the hotel if i left and i didn’t blame them. There was no way they would know that i didn’t intend to run away from there.
I had returned back to my room and lay on the bed, thinking about how i got myself into all that mess. For the second time since i arrived in Libya, i singled out Jamb and blamed it for my woes. If i had gotten the cut off mark required, i would have been in a university then. I had applied to study Business Administration at the University of Benin and Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma. The cut off marks failed me and it meant that i had to wait at home for another year.
The down side of waiting at home was that i was definitely going to forget most of the things i studied in secondary school.
I could have gone to extra Mural lessons but it wasn’t the same as coming fresh out of school.
The worst was that i was not guaranteed success in the third attempt. It was frustrating. The more i waited was the more i was likely to fail as long as i took the exams by myself. The only way out was to hire someone to take the exams for me. My parents were never going to endorse that, i knew them.
The Nigerian academic system was a mess. The country could have adopted a system where the unsuccessful Jamb candidates would be channeled into something else such as government subsidized vocational studies.
The do or die affair of Jamb would not have been allowed. It was partially the fault of the academic system that i found myself in that condition up there in Libya.
“You have a phone call” The male voice had said after knocking on my door and bringing me back from my reverie.
He had knocked again and said the same thing.
I got up, opened the door and followed him.
The manager was seated in his office when i arrived.
“Sit down, your Aunty will call again in a minute” He had said as he pointed to a vacant seat.
I sat down without saying a word.
Two minutes later, the phone rang and he picked it up. “Come closer” he said as he handed me the receiver.
“How are you?” the female voice said.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“Its your Aunty Philomena” She said.
“Did you tell them to lock me up in this hotel?” I fired. I wasn’t scared. I was actually attempting to annoy her so she could Approve my return to Nigeria. Of course that would mean paying for my transportation.
“Look, it wasn’t our fault that you were arrested. It happen sometimes. You have to thank God that we were able to pay for your release. I am sorry for what happened to your friend, its one of those things. We will settle with her people in Lagos. You will be taken through a safer route to the Sea tomorrow night. You won’t go through that troubles again”.
I listened as she continued.
“The silly boys we paid decided to take you through a more dangerous and cheaper route. That was why you were arrested. I promise you that it won’t happen again” She had said.
Despite my young age, i knew that Aunty Philo had no guarantee of the safety of any route. She knew Libya, she has been there many times according to her but she also knew that the government security officials could strike anywhere anytime without permission.
Things were intensive in Libya at that particular time. Security agents could be seen walking around everywhere during the day time. It could have been as a result of the war which Jasmine had talked about in Misrata Prison yard.
Libya was a military Country. According to what i heard in the streets, the Eastern people of Benghazi were agitating for the supreme leadership which has been held by Mumar Ghadaffi for Long. Although Libya was relatively good and calm but the East wanted to Rule. The situation had created fear in Libya and the people of Tripoli had been on alert ever since.
The Sudanese Army were also stationed in the desert near Kufra according to Jasmine. It was only a matter of time before things escalate but it was imminent.
Rumor also had it that the Western governments were planning on how to attack Libya and that there was a large ship that belonged to The United States, stationed in Mediterranean Sea; the same Sea i was supposed to use to go to Italy.
“Aunty i have heard you but they should have allowed me to go and take fresh air outside. That was all i wanted” I said.
She said the restriction was for my own safety and after her speech, i believed her.
Back in my room, i saw two new dresses on my bed. Who bought and brought them did so behind my back.
I had walked outside the room and checked the door number again to make sure i wasn’t in the wrong room; but it was my room.
They were beautiful clothes.
I had picked and examined them one after the other; they both fitted me perfectly.
There was no accompanying note to tell me who had brought them. I hated such surprises but i had only one cloth with me; therefore even if it was The Devil himself that kept the clothes there for me, i was going to take them. I had a feeling the hotel manager and his group knew how it came but i wasn’t going to ask any questions. Whoever kept them would have to come and tell me before he or she can receive any ‘Thank You’ from me.
At that moment, i learnt that, “To capture someone, you must use what he or she can’t reject”.
They captured me.
” I think that one of the reasons why people look towards the end of humanity is that people are afraid to die alone. If you die alone, the people you love will miss you, or if they die, you miss them – the sorrow is inevitable. When you truly love someone, the thought of losing them forever is horrible.”