True Story: Once a stripper, always a stripper, but will our love triumph over all?

Bayo Ajibola

Please bear with me as I share a lengthy story. A few years ago, my friend received a contract and moved to Uyo for the job. He had been inviting me to visit him there, but I never found the time. My friend Timi and I have been close since our youth service days, and when my annual leave came up, I finally decided to travel to Uyo and spend my time off with him. Uyo, the state capital, turned out to be a pleasant and peaceful place. My friend treated me to a luxurious weekend stay at a well-known hotel in the city.

Timi was living a lavish life, and I was happy for him. He organized an entertaining evening at the hotel club, complete with delicious food, drinks, and ladies. I ended up getting involved with one of the ladies. However, when we arrived at the hotel room, she confessed that she wasn’t feeling well and asked me to be gentle with her. Concerned about potential sexually transmitted diseases, I questioned her about her condition. She explained that she had malaria and was undergoing treatment. She showed me the medication and mentioned that she couldn’t afford to take time off work due to a debt she needed to repay.

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Whether or not she was telling the truth, I knew I couldn’t engage in intimate activities with someone who was sick. I asked her to leave but she pleaded, saying she wouldn’t receive payment if she didn’t perform any actions that night. She revealed her fee was 10k, so I gave her the money and asked her to leave, which she did, expressing gratitude. The following day, while Timi and his associates boasted about their experiences with the girls, I lied and said mine was exceptional.

To my surprise, Obong, the lady from the previous night, showed up at my hotel room the next day. I was confused about her purpose, but she pushed me back into the room and insisted on completing her job. Despite my attempts to dissuade her, she was determined, so I reluctantly allowed her to proceed. She left me astounded by her performance. Afterwards, she thanked me, but I felt it should have been the other way around. She expressed her gratitude for not pressuring her when she was ill two nights prior. I assured her that I would never force a woman into any situation.

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We began to talk and spend more time together during my stay in Uyo. Obong and I grew closer, and I found myself genuinely drawn to her. Before leaving, I confided in Timi about my feelings for Obong and our desire to help her leave her current lifestyle. However, Timi laughed and informed me that Obong was actually quite wealthy and serviced influential individuals, including politicians. He even claimed to have engaged in threesomes with her. Disappointed by this revelation, I decided to end the matter. I concluded my leave and returned home, unintentionally leaving Obong with my contact information. She attempted to reach out to me, but I had to block her number. Timi informed me that Obong had visited his office in search of my contact details, but he lied, saying I had lost my phone. Obong pleaded with Timi to help her reach me, explaining that meeting me had positively impacted her life and that she wanted to change her lifestyle. Timi told me that I wasn’t interested in her anymore because I discovered her involvement in the escort business.

According to Timi, Obong broke down in tears and left. I felt guilty because I knew she wanted to turn her life around after meeting me, but she had become deeply entrenched in her current profession. I had to let go. Months went by, and one day at the mall, I passed by a group of ladies, and Obong unexpectedly called out my name. I turned back, but she withdrew from me when I attempted to greet her. I managed to say hi before leaving. I couldn’t ignore the guilt and the betrayed look on her face. Later that evening, I unblocked Obong’s number and texted her an apology. She called me, crying, and I repeatedly said I was sorry.

Finally, we were able to talk, and she expressed her readiness to leave everything behind and change her life after meeting me. She had always prayed for a man who would love and accept her despite her mistakes. The night we met, she believed she had found the man of her dreams because nobody had shown her kindness since she started working as an escort. I apologized to her and asked if we could be friends, to which she agreed.

We have been friends for several months now, speaking almost every day. I feel a deep connection with Obong, but I am engaged, so I cannot encourage a romantic relationship with her. With my guidance and support, Obong left the escort business and relocated to Cross River, aiming to start anew. She has also decided to pursue studies abroad, and I assisted her in obtaining a nursing admission in the UK (not the actual location). Obong’s story represents a remarkable transformation after meeting me.

On the night Obong was set to leave, she called me and revealed that she had terminated a pregnancy that was mine. Yes, after our time in Uyo, she became pregnant, as we had engaged in unprotected intercourse repeatedly for nearly a week. I felt immense guilt for abandoning her, but she assured me it was okay, and we remained friends. She kept me updated on her life in the UK, and one day she mentioned meeting someone and being in a stable relationship. That’s when I realized I was deeply in love with Obong. Despite telling her I was happy for her, I felt intense jealousy and desired her to be with no one else but me.

For months, I fought against these feelings, but the more I denied them, the more they consumed me. I had to confess my love to Obong. She reciprocated, but she believed we could never be together due to her past and the fear of being betrayed again. I found myself in a complicated situation. I was engaged but in love with someone else, specifically Obong.

The thought of breaking my fiancé’s heart felt cruel, but I had to do it. She noticed my growing distance, so she decided to end the relationship. Our friends blamed me, especially Timi, who believed Obong had used some form of magic on me. Everyone opposed my decision to pursue Obong due to her past, but I stood up for her. I genuinely believed that Obong was a changed person. I ignored everyone’s advice and professed my love for her. She was thrilled, and I was overjoyed.

Then I told her I was coming to the UK to visit her. She was excited, unaware that I was planning to propose. She provided me with her address, but I decided to surprise her by arriving a day earlier. When I reached her apartment, she appeared stunned. I expected her to embrace me, but she reacted as though she had seen a ghost. To summarize, Obong had her boyfriend with her, as she hadn’t ended their relationship despite my breaking up with my fiancé for her.

The situation became messy when the guy embarrassed me. I left, feeling ashamed. Obong came to kneel and beg for forgiveness, claiming she had finally broken up with him. Although hurt, I believed her and returned to her apartment, spending the next few days together. I eventually proposed, and we were both elated. We made video calls to our families, and everyone was happy.

We announced that our wedding would take place in Nigeria in December. I stayed a few more days after the proposal, and Obong would dress up and leave for what she claimed was school, only to return late at night. However, one day I received an envelope addressed to her from her nursing college, marked as urgent. Curiosity got the better of me, and I opened it. To my shock, the letter stated that if she didn’t attend classes, her admission would be withdrawn. I was outraged that the school was claiming she wasn’t attending.

Instead of confronting her right away, I decided to follow her the next day to see where she was really going. And to my disbelief, I witnessed her entering a strip club. Obong was working as a stripper in the UK. I left after observing her for a couple of hours. When she returned, I had already packed my bags and demanded an explanation for lying about attending school while engaging in stripping. Obong confessed that studying was difficult for her and that she didn’t possess the required intelligence. She made a conscious decision to stick to what she knew best, which was working in the club. She insisted that she wasn’t a prostitute but a dancer, and she made more money dancing than nursing ever could.

I can’t adequately express my disappointment. I tried to persuade Obong that clubbing or stripping wasn’t a sustainable path, but she challenged me, saying that if I was ashamed of her, I should leave. She reminded me that I had been ashamed of her and abandoned her before. In her eyes, the UK had shown her that being a registered prostitute wasn’t something to be ashamed of. We had a heated argument about this, and she eventually apologized, crying, saying that she was trying her best but found it challenging because she wasn’t academically inclined due to her years on the streets.

Obong then proposed that if I agreed to help her, she would return to school. She acknowledged her struggle with old habits and how it was easier to make money through her former lifestyle than pursuing other avenues. Now, I’m returning to Nigeria broken-hearted. Obong believes that if I’m by her side, she can change and focus on a better future. She wants me to permanently relocate to the UK to support her. While she claims to need my help, I can’t help but wonder if she’s using me as an excuse. Relocating would mean leaving behind my great life, including a good job. I’m afraid that she might eventually discard all my sacrifices. Can Obong truly leave her past life behind and commit to a more respectable path? Am I the right person to help her change her life for the better, or is she merely taking advantage of me? Obong’s mother believes I’m the only one who can help her daughter.

Obong has lied to me on multiple occasions, and now I question her every move. She lied about her boyfriend and about attending school, so what else has she lied about? It’s challenging because my feelings for her remain strong. I understand that she had a difficult life, and abandoning the past is not easy. She believes that she can leave it all behind with my support. What should I do? Should I relocate to help her, or is she just saying what I want to hear? Will Obong ever truly change her lifestyle? I’ve invested so much in this relationship, and I feel like I can’t give up. However, I also worry about what the future holds.

Bayo Ajibola

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