The Make - Up Artist

As a child,I loved watching my mother put her make up on. She looked so beautiful. I admired the way she would grace her face with powder and blushes...Her eyes would sparkle as the colour of eye shadows would bring out her eyes...Her red lips would sing me songs of love. She would carry me and play with me...she would play with that one year old me. Years went by...As I grew up, she grew older. She was still that beautiful woman my young eyes had always admired but her countenance had changed. She stopped smiling...I couldn't sing along to her songs, because she sang no more. Mommy was ill. She didn't tell me she was ill...She never mentioned that she needed help. And she went from slim to skinny..."Sarah!" Mommy called me to her room on my 16th birthday. "Come and sit down" she struggled to utter those words. I could see fear in her big brown eyes. What was going on ? "Do you remember your native name ?" Yes, I did remember it...Osayemwenre. "My time is coming to an end, I want you to be the good girl that you have always been. Don't follow men. Stay pure till you get married. Sarah, don't repeat my mistakes." I saw tears rolling down her eyes. She coughed for a while, I didn't know what to do, so I brought her some water.  She drank a bit of it and lay her head on her pillow. " I'm sorry, I kept this away from you for so long. I didn't want to spoil your childhood with the constant thought of my illness. I have had breast cancer for the past 3 years and the  doctors said there is nothing they can do about it. I'm at an advanced stage..."  It then hit me that my mother was leaving me just like the same way daddy did. Tears rolled down my eyes as I stared at her lifeless eyes when she told me everything about her condition. Why did she wait so long to tell me all this ? I was hurt and broken. She then smiled...I hadn't seen her smile in a very long time. She then gave me her make - up  kit and laughed gently. "You are mature enough to wear make - up now, I know you've always wanted it". I hugged her tightly. Mommy planted a kiss on my forehead and sent me away. "Go enjoy the rest of your day. No boys !" She said jokingly. I left her room and went to mine. I didn't feel like going out that day, so I stayed in my room and thought about all my mom had told me. I woke up the next morning to find my mother dead. Her big brown eyes were opened and had no sign of life in them. I panicked and rushed out to the street, where I begged for people to help me. The streets of Benin city...A few men came into our flat. They tried waking her up, but she wouldn't respond. "O wu ne ! O wu ne  o !  " More people trooped into our compound. I looked at all these men, hands on their head "O wu ne oo! Iye Sarah wu ne oo!". In benin, which is my native language, this means "She is  dead ! Sarah's mother is dead !" I sank in the ocean of my tears. I had nobody. No mother to comfort me, no father to protect me. Shouting, screaming... People tried to console me. Little did I know that no one really cared.

About 2 months later, my late mother's younger sister came to stay in our flat. Aunty Helen...I wanted to bond with her...I needed a mother figure in my life. But she proved to be the opposite of kind. She gave me a lot chores to do. I never had any problem doing chores, but she wanted perfection. I scrubbed the floors and toilet with every strength I had in me, but she was never satisfied. I cooked, cleaned and did everything alone while she spent her time watching TV and ordering me around. In all this, I never complained. I wanted to make her happy with me, but I just couldn't. This went on for two more years...I was set for university, my dream was to become a lawyer. I came back home one day in August 2010, and there was a strange man sitting in our living room. Aunty Helen sat opposite him. "Sarah, go to your room". As I  was quietly exiting the living room, I heard: "Pack your things, your are going to study in Europe." At the saying of those words, I jumped up. I was so happy, I hugged aunty Helen tightly. It took about a week...Aunty Helen gave me a flight ticket and my passport. She made me promise her not to open the envelop containing my flight ticket. My destination was meant to be a surprise, she said. She gave me an address and told me that was the address of my school. A number was written beneath the address. On my getting to the airport, aunty Helen told me to leave my things with her  and take just one bag with some clothes to change. I thought it was strange for her to insist on such. Not wanting to make her angry I did as she instructed. But I took my mother's make - up kit along. I handed my passport and flight ticket in and boarded my flight. My destination was announced over the speaker phone...I was headed to Italy.

During my flight, I thought about how I would accomplish my dreams. Study law and later on, venture into international business, get married, have kids, grow old...All these things I had told my mother and she would listen to me with so much love and passion. My mother would applaud my dreams and smile whenever I spoke about them...I miss her so much...My plane landed in Torino, Italy some hours later.  The 5 thousand naira I had left on me, wasn't worth much after I converted it to euros...just about 25 euros. I showed a taxi driver the address given to me, but upon searching his map and GPS system, he couldn't find it. Out of desperation I called the number written on the paper. A female baritone like voice picked up the phone.  Before I got the chance to introduce myself, she asked for my name. "I will be at the airport in the next 30 minutes" . Not a minute too late, the woman came and tapped me on my back. She gave me a sign to follow her. She was big in stature, wore golden high heels and a red jacket. Her weave was mess. We got into her car, she then dialed a number and gave me the phone. "Follow Madam G and do what she says" Aunty Helen then dropped the phone. I didn't get the chance to say a word. This Madam G entity drove away,  till we got to a building which I supposed was her house. As we got in I saw a lot of women dressed like sluts, smoking, drinking...They  all hailed Madam G. "Madam the Madam ! " The women checked me out and  analyzed me. One of them stood up and came closer to me. Chewing her gum in a drastic way and holding a bottle of Cognac in her hand   "Na the new babe be this ? She get breast sha. I sure sey this oyinbo people go like am well well " . They all laughed. "Angie, wetin you dey talk sef ? Darkie go wan enter the place too na"  Confused, I asked what was going on.  I got no reply but a "Don't worry, you hear ? This is your home, we are your sisters". Suddenly, two very tall and muscular men carried me  into a room where they dropped me on the bed like a log of wood. They then  tied me with handcuffs to the bed. I screamed. One of the men hit my face with his belt severally. That explains the scar I have on my forehead. I then knew deep down within me that the worst was about to happen. I cried in silence. They covered my mouth with duct tape.  The man, who hit my face, started rubbing my legs and tore my long blue dress my mom bought for me. Madam G walked into the room. "Wetin u dey do ? U no go pay first ?" she asked. "Don't worry na. You sef too like money. We go settle you. We be your boys na. Just chill, we go pay. " She then left. The last thing she said was "Una no go comot this house if una no pay." He came closer to me and tore my underwear. That was the night I lost my virginity in a brutal way. They both forced themselves on me. Taking turns...Laughing like it was a fun game. I cried...tried screaming...tried getting myself out of those handcuffs...Why didn't anyone help me ? Why didn't anyone save me ?

Weeping and wailing were the companions that followed me for the next two years to come. Since that incident, Angie was the one who brought me food once in a day. She would take the duct tape off my mouth and tell me screaming was unnecessary because no one could hear me. Weeks and months went by, I gave up on trying. The only time I was allowed to get out of those handcuffs was when a new "customer" was about coming. I had to take a shower and clean up under the surveillance of those two men who raped me.After I had accepted my fate, Angie told me something that made me gain faith in God: " I went through what you went through. Never lose faith in God. He hears the prayers of the weary. As for me, it's too late. But you, keep praying in your heart. You'll get out of here. You are to beautiful for this. This isn't life" And I never stopped praying since then. Even when those filthy white men were on top of me, sweating... I kept praying. 2 years...After 2 years, mister Paolo, a white man, came into my room. I was mentally prepared for the worst. He looked at me with shock and disgust. He spoke strange words to me, but I couldn't understand him. He told me to remain still and I did. Then he unzipped his trousers and left the room. About 30 mins later, I heard screaming coming from downstairs. Suddenly the door to my room was forced. I saw flashlights and voices that sounded like they were coming from a radio. Mister Paolo took off the handcuffs and duct tape. A white lady came in and covered me with a blanket. I was glad when she spoke English to me. She told me that everything was going to be fine and that I was safe. She took me outside. Fresh air..Air I hadn't breathe in 2 whole years. I asked for the date. October 28th 2012...So I had been locked up for so long, It seemed like two bad days...I saw Madam G, the two men, Angie and the rest of the women being arrested. The police lead them out of the house and I stared at them...Angie looked back at me and smiled. "I told you",she whispered

I was asked to write a statement at the police station. I was then told that mister Paolo was an undercover agent. They handed me my bag in which my clothes and my mother's make- up kit were in. "Do you want to go back to Nigeria ?" Mister Paolo asked with a very bad English accent. I looked at my bag and said no. I didn't want to return to Aunty Helen's pit of hell. When I was asked what I wanted to do with my life...I said: "I want to be a make - up artist"

I then asked for my name to be changed to Osayemwenre...which means "God remembered me"

This is just the beginning of my story...Osayemwenre's story.

- The Alpha Female


  1. Amazing story. Really resonated with me.

  2. Too amazing. You're such an amazing writer. Touched my soul

  3. This is so so AMAZING!!! I was really touched! U r just an Amazing writer! I love this.


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