“Yes” I answered.
A Fiat car had stopped and rolled its window down. A black man of around 30 was sitting behind the steering wheel.
He had said something i didn’t understand and i had said ‘Yes’.
The yes was more like question since i didn’t understand what he said.
Under normal circumstances, i would have most likely ignored him but i was stranded.
I had some money to pay for a cheap hotel room but it was better to hook a man up and save the money.
“Where are you going?” He asked.
His accent was American, i had heard that accent in movies before. He seemed to be speaking too fast.
“No where” I said.
“What do you mean you are going nowhere, come inside the car” He said while stretching his right hand to unlock the door.
I entered the vehicle and sat down in the front seat beside him. Since my bag wasn’t heavy, i carried it on my laps.
“I had a problem where i lived and was sent out” I said without looking him in the face.
“Oh, that’s bad” he said.
He didn’t ask where i was headed, he just kept driving forward. Some seconds later, he asked for my name. To avoid complications, i told him it was Maria.
Arnold took me to a restaurant. He said he was a Briton but lived in Milan. According to him, he was a business man.
I didn’t ask the kind of business he did, he wasn’t asking for my hand in marriage.
We had arrived at an Italian restaurant where he ordered for Pizza for both of us.
I wasn’t a fan of pizza but to keep the ball rolling, i accepted to eat with him.
“Do you mind coming to my place with me, i live closeby” Ano said.
‘What else do you think i wanted?’ i thought.
“I dont know, i dont think its a good idea. I just want a place to stay for the day” I said.
I wasn’t going to accept his offer right away. I was a woman, vulnerable at that stage.
“You dont have to worry baby. My apartment is close here and i live alone. If you wish to leave the next day, you can always do that” He said.
“Thanks” I said.
There was no need going negative again, he could change his mind and put me in a situation where i would have to beg him.
After the Pizza, we got back on the road and drove to his apartment.
The two bedroom apartment was as neat and simple as it could ever get, tiled floors, one glass center table, one long leather sofa, a flat screen Samsung TV and nothing else.
As soon as i entered the apartment, The first thing that came to my mind was to wish myself that i could live there. I also wished that i could just summon enough courage to ask Ano if i could stay with him and go to work from there but so many things were against me. He was naturally going to ask for the kind of work i did. Prostitution was not particularly the kind of work we were proud of announcing to people as our line of work.
“Please sit down Maria” he said.
My phone was ringing at the same time he opened the door to the apartment. It had stopped ringing and had suddenly started again. It was Jacob calling but i didn’t want to talk to him. I didn’t want to start listening to pleas that could lead me to raise my voice. It could jeopardize the new fortune that had come my way.
“Coffee or Tea?” Another said.
He had pretended not to have heard that my phone was ringing. I was sure that if he was a Nigerian man, he would have reminded me that my phone was ringing as if i was deaf. But Ano chose to ignore it. He knew that i heard the sounds too, he recognized that i might have decided not to answer the call for some reasons.
“Tea” I said.
I was never a fan of coffee. The few times i tasted it, it was as bitter as bitter leaf. I never liked bitter things when there were thousands of sweet things.
I have heard in several occasions that sweet things caused this and that and all sorts of disease. But then, i saw them in every mall i visited in Italy; Chocolates, ice cream etc.
Ano went into his neat kitchen and five minutes later, he returned with a cup of tea.
“Thank you” I said as he handed it to me.
“You can keep your bag in this room” He said as he pointed to the room on the right hand side.
I looked up to his face and fixed my eyes there as he nodded to remind me that he meant what he said.
I nodded too and watched as he took the bag and went to the room which was open.
When he returned, he went to the kitchen and came out with a cup of coffee, then he sat beside me and started asking questions.
“Tell me about you Maria, how old are you?”
I looked at him like i did when he asked me to take my bag to the room.
He nodded again and waited as i started saying who i was.
“I am 19 Years”.
There were strict laws in Italy about men sleeping with under aged girls. Every reasonable man was wary of the laws. It attracted several years in jail and people were being convicted on daily basis. The news was everywhere. Therefore people usually asked for the age of girls before sleeping with them, especially the girls they wasn’t sure were adults.
“That’s fine. Where are you from? Ghana” he asked.
“No, Nigeria” I replied.
He nodded and sipped his black liquid.
“I have Nigerians friends in the UK, many of them were in the same school with me” he said.
I smiled. It was good he knew about Nigeria already. Many of the European people dont know much about Nigeria.
“Where were you going when i saw you?” He asked.
“I dont know” i said.
I had waited for the question and i had tried to find out the best answer to it but i only came up with what i answered. The truth was that i wasn’t going anywhere. I was hoping for a man to pick me up along the road, which eventually happened but that wasn’t a kind of thing you will tell someone who just brought you to his place.
“Tonight, i am going to a night club, do you want to come with me?” He asked.
Why not. At least it means that i would return to his house with him. I would also sleep when we return and i would pretend that i liked sleeping, that will keep me in bed for many unnecessary hours.
“Yes, I will come with you” I smiled.
Written For http://www.globalruns.com