“Oh, Shit!” I muttered.
It was too late, the police officer already saw the almost empty bottle of beer beside me.
“Ahh, fine girl like you! Driving while drinking!! Oya, get down, you are going to be spending your night in jail today!”
I got down from the car, feeling a mixture of trepidation and regret.
“What have I gotten myself into now, this is just like moving from frying pan to fire. I should have just listened to Kofo! Oh, God! This is all Richard’s fault!!” I lamented on and on in my head.
“Kola, Oya come and arrest this lady, take her to the station.” the officer called out to his colleague.
I thought of begging or bribing the officer with some money but he seemed visibly angry and looked like one of those honest ones.
“Let me not add to what’s already on ground.” I thought.
“Oya move!” He shouted.
I was handcuffed, put in the back of the police car and was driven to the police station. By the time we got to the station, I was really frightened and scared. I was sweating and trembling slightly. The custody sergeant at the main desk took in my details while shaking his head intermittently.
“Put her into a cell,” the arresting officer told one of the officers there. “You will be detained until we feel it’s appropriate for you to be released,” he said, facing me.
“Please, can I make a phone call?” I pleaded.
I was allowed to, and I punched in Kofo’s number on the telephone. Kofo was my best friend and only confidant, who has been trying her level best to bring me out of the depression I plunged myself into after having discovered that my boyfriend of six years was cheating on me.
Amidst tears, I explained to Kofo what had happened, she promised to come over as soon as possible whilst trying to alleviate my fears.
I was led down the corridor and put into a cell. The cell was a basic cell, bare cemented floor, dimly lit and there was just something unpleasant about the smell of the place. There were two ladies present in the cell. One sat in a corner and appeared to be lost in thoughts, oblivious of her surroundings. The other lady sat hugging her knees, her head bent downwards, I couldn’t tell whether she was crying, praying or sleeping. The whole dysphoria of the cell made me want to puke, I felt terrible!
As soon as the officer locked the door of the cell from behind me, the second lady looked up at me and flashed me brightest smile ever!
“Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome. What’s your name?”
Welcome??! To this hell of a place! Is this woman a joker or something. Despite her unkempt hair, rusty clothes, and haggard face, I could tell that she’s a very beautiful woman.
“I’m Tolani” I managed to say while struggling hard to return the smile.
“What are you in for?”
That’s the sort of thing you ask a fresher that just moved into the university campus. Why is she trying to be so nice! I’m not in the mood for such frivolities. I sat on the bare floor, not too far away from her and replied as dismissively as I could, “Drunk driving”
“Wow! That’s sad, what happened? Why were you trying to kill yourself?
Kofo had earlier suggested I see a psychiatrist, to help me get out of my depression, but the idea of sharing my sorrow with a stranger doesn’t appeal to me. I decided to just ignore her.
“I’m sorry to be pestering you. I guess it’s because I’m just bored. Rita over there doesn’t talk at all. It’s really no use to just keep to yourself and wallow in self-pity. Let’s just make the best use of this situation we’ve found ourselves. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
I was overwhelmed by her positiveness.
“What are you in here for?”
She smiled, “False accusation of fraud. I couldn’t compromise my integrity, so I found myself here. It’s a long story.” She shook her head. “Anyway, so what happened with you?”
“Thing is, I’m not really comfortable talking about my life with someone I don’t know…..” I started to say.
” Oh, don’t worry then. Let me start with my own story first. At least once you get to know me, I won’t be a stranger to you anymore” She said, flashing me that beautiful bright smile again.
I chuckled. “Alright then. I’m really keen on knowing your story. Why would anyone falsely accuse you of fraud?” I said, stressing the “you”.
She took in a deep breath and started, “I was working as an accountant in BASOYS GLOBAL SERVICES, the owner, Mr. Gbadebo, happens to be a benefactor of mine. I met him through my daughter…”
“You have a daughter?” I asked, surprised.
“Yes, She came as a succor for me after the unfortunate incident of rape I had nine years ago. Joy. My pretty little princess.” She said, smiling. “She’s late now.” She added dejectedly.
” Oh my God! What happened to her?!”
“She was diagnosed with a kidney disease late last year, We frequently visited the hospital, it was during one of such visits that I met Mr. Gbadebo, he took pity on our condition and offered me a job as an accountant in his company. Joy fought really hard but fate wasn’t on her side.”
“I’m so sorry about that.” I said, trying to show how sad I am about what happened.
“Thanks.” She smiled at me. “Well, let me continue my story, when I resumed at BASOYS, I met Mr. Femi, Mr. Gbadebo’s younger brother, he was a member of the board of directors and had total control over the company whenever Mr. Gbadebo wasn’t around. He is a very corrupt man, he even tried luring me into his web of deceitfulness, which also included some of the workers, but I stood my ground. I worked very hard to curb him and there was a lot of antipathy between us. When my daughter died three months back, I was very disturbed and also had to take time off work. It was during that time that the evil doers had all the opportunity to carry out their plans. They made off with a large amount of money and left a trace that would lead to me. I didn’t immediately notice when I resumed work and by the time I did, it was too late. An inquiry was set up and I was found guilty.”
” Wow, that’s really sad. And Mr. Gbadebo couldn’t do anything?”
“He trusts his younger brother, he was against the arrest but majority were insisting that I had to be arrested, so his hands were tied. But he promised me that he would get to the bottom of what happened.” “I know the truth will come out sooner or later” She added cheerfully.
Her attitude and countenance just left me gobsmacked. “How do you manage to be this positive and vibrant even after all that has happened to you?”
She smiled and was about to answer, but was interrupted by the unlocking of the cell door. An officer entered into the cell, “Tolani, oya come out, someone is here to bail you.”
Why did Kofo have to come this early!
“Aw, so I won’t get to hear your own story. All the best though. Please don’t drink and drive again.”
“I won’t. Ever again” I assured her. “We’ll meet again. Very soon.” I said hopefully, surprised by how optimistic I felt about that statement. She only smiled back.
I followed the officer out and into the outer room where Kofo was waiting. Her mum was also there, signing some papers at the front desk. Kofo’s mum was a reputable lawyer in the country, so I knew I was in safe hands. I walked steadily towards them, ready for an earful but also determined to get justice for Sarah.
“Oh, Shit!” I muttered.