The above used to be exclusively the title of one of Adele’s songs from her hit album ‘21’ until Lana’s experience.

Lana is my friend, and she belongs to that age group where a majority of her friends are getting married. People no longer ask if she is in a relationship. They simply ask for the wedding date! Until recently, I seem to be the only one who understands why she is not in a relationship. Everyone has just stopped buying into her point of view, and so, understandably the pressure is mounting.

One of her resolutions, she had told me, was to give a serious guy a chance before the end of the year 2011. She had trusted me with what she called ‘my guy specs’ and I sincerely didn’t think she was asking for too much. I only hoped I was the only one she was telling about it because it had one or two parameters I would not even dare mention openly. She recently reviewed how she anticipates meeting her future husband, so now, she is considerably more open. I had cheered her bravery a number of times on how she had ‘chopped’ insult from people her younger sister aptly described as clowns.

So Lana had gone to her tailor’s that arid Tuesday evening. Worn from the day’s dealings, she still had some hope left. She tried on her heavily embroidered chiffon knee-length dress, the one she was going to wear to her company’s end-of-year dinner the next day, amidst apologetically explaining her delay.

After deriving immense satisfaction from the perfect fit the dress afforded her, she began her journey homeward. Dispersing the fears of the danger of the night, season of the year and notoriety of the location, she trudged on, her little hope firmly registered in the warmest part of her heart.

She started to hum to Newsboys’ ‘Orphan’, and then almost immediately stopped. Instinctively, she turned around just in time to catch this burly figure with a cigarette dangling dangerously from the corner of his lips land his hand first on her bag, before sliding it down her arm. Held firmly in his second hand was a half-gone green bottle. Fear, more fear, and much more fear descended on her mercilessly.

The street was suddenly empty, and Lana tried to remember what it was she last weighed as Mr. Burly carted her away as though she was not worth more than a bag of vegetables.

Lana is yet to tell me what galls her more than an agbero with alcohol and cigarette breathing into her mouth, because Mr. Burly had thrown her to the ground behind a dilapidated building and was bending over her while struggling with his jeans and she was not about to believe what was going to happen. Lamely pushing him away, she screamed the loudest she could. She screamed again and louder too when her buttons started flying off.

In what Lana is convinced is commando-style, someone jerked Mr. Burly off pants down, and they engaged in a scuffle. A third person joined the fracas, and Mr. Burly was brought down.

Teary-eyed, Lana lifted up her head to behold her saviour, and possibly her Prince-Charming (just as in the movies). She peered into the reddest eyes and ugliest face she ever saw. Not understanding a bit of the Yoruba he was speaking, she offered her thanks and didn’t stop running until she reached the bus-stop.

Chinazar Okoro©2011