Dazed, and just conscious enough to feel the cold, I woke up. As my vision cleared up and I was once again able to focus, I realized that I was in a dark alleyway. I was alone! My hand and legs were stained with dry blood. I began to panic. How long had I been outside that the blood was dry and frozen? I’d been thrown out as if I was trash!
I tried in vain to stand. As I stood up, I fell back down again, I realized I was barefoot. My head pounded as though a jackhammer had gone to work on it. I searched for my phone but that too was gone.
My body ached, I was alone and I had no clue where I was. I began to sob uncontrollably. I tried to lift myself until finally I was on my feet. It startled me to notice that my dress was ripped, but I walked anyway. I tried to flag cars down to help but at this hour no one would even bother. Looking at the sky, I surmised that the sun would be up soon. I continued walking until I found a pay phone. I had no money. There, sitting on the side of the pay phone was a homeless lady. She unselfishly handed me a R5 coin. “You look like you need it, madam.” She said sympathetically. I couldn’t stop thanking her.
As I dropped the R5 coin into the slot, I paused. “Who, in this day and age remembers phone numbers?” “Think Fatima!” I commanded to myself. The only numbers I could remember were my parents’ and Aneesa’s.
A groggy “Hello” answered the phone.
“Aneesa, please, I’m lost. I’m alone. I’m somewhere on the streets. Please help me.” I begged.
“Fati what you mean?” Aneesa replied.
“I was at a club. I got high and woke up on the street. Listen I don’t have much money in the call box can you come please, I don’t even know what street I am on.” I started to sob.
“Fati can you see any landmarks?” She asked
“I think I’m in Braamfontien near the Mandela Bridge. I am walking distance from the Mandela Bridge.” I answered.
“Hold on! I’m coming!” said Aneesa in a panic.
I went and carefully sat down next to the homeless lady. At least nobody bothered to check my bra. I took out some crack and snorted it. I offered the homeless lady some, but she declined. I must have fallen asleep because the phone rang and woke me up.
I answered the phone,
“It’s me, Aneesa. Listen, the sun’s coming up and we’ve been searching all over for you. Can you see a street name?” she enquired.
“Mariam something… I can’t see, my vision is blurry.” I answered.
“Oh ok, I know where you are. That’s by all the clubs.” She replied.
I sat down next to the homeless lady again and she wished me well as she left. I thanked her. Watching the sunrise made me feel sick and woozy. I threw up and fell cheek first into my own vomit. I began to shiver and tremble as though it was the middle of winter. I needed more coke! I searched and dug into my bra but found nothing. People began making their way to work. Some passed and merely gawked, others asked if they could help. Out of frustration I simply told them to fuck off.
Finally Aneesa arrived with Faheem and Layha. Aneesa and Layha helped me into the back seat. I remember my head resting on Layha’s lap. She stroked my hair kindly. As baffled as I was by her reaction, I welcomed the gesture from my co wife.
I looked up at her and asked where Aslam was and she said that she had no idea.
“He came briefly to meet me yesterday and left in a hurry.” Answered Layha.
“He was with some foreign businessman that night and I didn’t know the nature of the deal or anything thereof.” I explained.
Suddenly Faheem stopped the car with a jerk, “Was the name of the man Aslam met David?” he asked. I confirmed that it was.
“David is a drug dealer on a large scale and for weeks he has been talking about using Aslam’s business as a front for this. I was in David’s clutches and finally managed to get my life back from David after many years of being used by him as a front to clean money,” explained Faheem.
Faheem rang up David and by Faheem’s tone one could hear that he did not associate himself with these people any more.
I began to shake uncontrollably. I begged Faheem for just one line.
Layha cradled me in her arms as though I were her child. I begged her for some cocaine too because I really needed a line. She tried to calm down and convince me that perhaps going to the hospital would be a better option.
“No Woman!” I yelled, “I need a line that’s all!”
Turning back to Faheem, I yelled, “Faheem! I need a line dammit!”
“Listen, I am changing my life for Aneesa. I can’t get married to her knowing my money is haraam, so please I can’t give you a line! I can get you to a hospital or I can drop you at that hotel you and Aslam are staying at.” He replied.
I asked to be dropped off at the hotel and they obliged. As we stopped Layha reprimanded me. “Rather go to rehab now than later,” she said with a look of concern on her face. I yelled at the top of my voice, “Who the hell do you think you are? I don’t have a drug problem!” I slammed the door and they drove off.
“Ma’m, are you ok?” asked the receptionist.
“Listen, stop being nosy and get me a card to my room!” I instructed her. It’s under the name Aslam.”
“I need some sort of identification,” said the receptionist.
Irritated I retorted, “Lady I’ve been robbed! I don’t even have a purse on me! I’m his goddamn wife!”
In spite of me being so rude to her, I have no idea why she helped.
I got up to the room and the shaking started, even worse this time. I could barely get the card to the door. When I finally did, the first thing I did was search the room for any sort of cocaine traces. I finally found a small bottle which held enough cocaine for just one line. I snorted it and just sat. The most horrible feeling in the world not have your fix when you need it.
With still no phone, I had no idea what Aslam’s number was. In fact, I didn’t even care where he was. He had left me in that club to die.
I searched the room for anything that would help me get my fix. I found his credit card. “I’m sorted for the night!” I thought.
I looked in the bathroom mirror and I was shocked. The truth is, I looked like shit. My teeth were browning, and my face was aging too. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, changed into fresh clothing and made my way to the ATM to withdraw R5000 for some more cocaine.
The problem is I had no idea how to score this stuff. Faheem was my go-to-guy. And now he’d gone all saintly. Surprisingly, dodgy looking people on street corners are not drug dealers. In desperation I begged a car guard to tell me who sold cocaine. Aah, success! Soon I was on my way to meet a man.
We all assume drug dealers are found in dingy areas, but it’s quite the contrary. They are well-dressed in expensive suits, driving fancy cars and are found in well-known coffee shops.
“Are you Jack the man with the plan?” I asked.
“Who are you?” replied Jack.
“Cut the bullshit! I need to score some lines from you.” I asked anxiously
“Gorgeous women turning to the line? Sad…but that’s why I am rich.” He replied with a sly smile.
“Shut up and tell me what does R4950 get me?” I asked getting angry.
“Bet the car guard scored a R50. Ok missy it will get you not as much as you like.”
He showed me a small bag, hardly worth R5000. Nonetheless, I took it, shoved the money in his hands and left. I ran right back. He laughed handing me his card, almost knowing he would be my dealer on speed dial.
I had to walk back to the hotel because I didn’t have money. I got to the room strew some of the powder across the table and cut it up into lines.
The hotel room phone rang.
“Are you ok?” enquired Aneesa.
“Yeah, I am. Thanks for bailing me out” I replied.
“Anytime. Listen, you seem off. Are you a drug addict? Faheem came clean with me and told me about what was in the bag. He told me it was drugs and how he got involved with David. Please Fati, don’t throw your life away for Aslam,” Pleaded Aneesa
“I am an occasional user, nothing major. Listen any news from Aslam? My phone got stolen. Can you get me his number?” I replied
“No news on Aslam yet. Listen, Layha asked if you want to come stay for a few days?” she said.
“Nah, she will kill me as I sleep. Plus a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Chat later alligator.”
I snorted one line and packed three to go. Got dressed, got a meter taxi and headed to Sandton for some supper.
Sitting at the Hard Rock Café, I noticed an incredibly handsome man looking at me. I tried to pay no attention, but he soon came over anyway.
“Fatima, where is Aslam? “David is looking for him.” He said.
“I have no clue.” I responded annoyed. Before I could even order I got up and left. Never mind, perhaps I would try to eat later.
I bought some new clothes on Aslam’s credit card and arranged a new phone.
I called Aslam.
“Where were you?” I asked.
“Sorry, crazy night! I ended up going home with someone else. I tried to find you but couldn’t. Good to know you’re ok.” He replied.
“You idiot! I woke up in an alley! I was left for dead! Anyway, some guy said David is looking for you. I need money. I maxed out your credit card on clothes.” I asked anxiously.
“Do you need money or a little recreational medication?” he enquired.
“Mmm, you know.”
“Okay, see you at the hotel at about 01h00, and we’ll talk then. We need to move out of the hotel. You know I’m not made out of money.”
I got into the taxi, headed back to the hotel room, snorted a few lines and eventually took something to help me sleep.