Immediately after the service, all of us scurried back to our cells.  And on getting back to my cell, I began to ponder seriously over the chaplain’s sermon.  “What reason could God have for making me a victim of this kind of circumstance?  And what miracle could happen to an extremely beautiful young lady like me, who at her prime had been fated to spend the rest of her life behind bars simply for killing my beloved husband to prove how much I loved him?  I began to wonder again.

But just as I was pondering over this, one of my cell mates, Lydia also a very young and pretty lady came to me and tapped me on the shoulder.  “Naimat, what is the matter with you? I’ve been watching you now for quite some time, and you don’t seem to be happy.  Please tell me, what is actually wrong? “But listen Lydia, “I’d replied, “What is there to be happy about? And for God’s sake, I don’t know how I’m going to cope with this kind of life for the rest of my life …… I’d wanted to continue ranting when Lydia held me by the shoulder and said in her usual feigned American accent: “Look Naimat, you ain’t gonna die, at least I can assure you.  I have spent 12 years here out of my 15 year jail term, and here I am today still looking pretty and healthy.  It’s not as if I’m happy being here, but when one finds him or herself in a certain uncontrollable situation, what one needs are hope, courage and endurance.  When I first got here, I’d thought I wouldn’t survive it for a week, but here I am today about 12 years after, still patching on.  If you wouldn’t mind, I will reveal to you the secrets of my survival here”. I’d suddenly stopped sobbing, and was now curious to know what secrets had been responsible for the survival of this 36year old damsel called Lydia, an American returnee, who had been jailed for drug trafficking, and when she saw that I was really interested in the gist, she moved closer and began the revelation.

Lydia revealed to me that the superintendent of the prison was her secret lover and this had made it possible for her to enjoy some privileges. According to her, she had never slept in the cell for more than two weeks since she got here, neither had she been eating prison meals. She confided in me that the superintendent of the prison had always provided her needs. Lydia told me that if I wouldn’t mind, she could hook me up with another top official in the prison, who would take good care of me. My countenance immediately changed on hearing this and I was dumbfounded.  I did not know what to say. I was engulfed in my thoughts, Should I say yes or should I say no? After ruminating over the offer for some time, I finally found my voice. “Thanks for the offer Lydia, I will need some time to think about it, if you don’t mind,” I said. “That’s ok, the choice is yours,” she replied……………………………… be continued

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