Melissa didn’t leave Napoli that day. I had somehow managed to convince her to sleep over in Max’s place.
She had cried for more than an hour; not because of what she told Mrs. Mark, but because she still didn’t know how long it would take her to become free.
I had eventually told her how everything happened in Aunty Philo’s house. She had come to realise that her own destiny could have also been tied somewhere the same way Aunty Philo tied mine with a key and a nail.
The worst part of her life was that she didn’t even know how much money her Madam was going to demand, or how much she had already paid.
The original intention of our Madams was to extort money from us as much as they could.
News all over the place was that some Madams extorted money from their girls for as long as 10 years.
In those 10 years, the girls lived like slaves, waking up early every morning to go to the streets.
Some girls who were arrested by the Police for one offence or another and locked up, also started their payment when they got released, no matter how long they spent in Prison.
I was very lucky to have met Ano in Milan. I was very lucky that he was arrested. I was very lucky to have known Julia at the Mcdonald and i was even more lucky that i had the nerves to run away with that money.
The way i started to view the whole matter, even if Ano and his gang get to me eventually, i wasn’t going back to Aunty Philo to demand for the money. I didn’t know what they would do to me but i was ready for whatever it was. The worst they could do was to kill me but that would be better than returning to the Domitiana highway.
The following day, i told Max that i was going to Castel Volturno with Melissa.
He didn’t care what i did or what i wanted to do, he only asked me to call him an hour before i return so that he would be able to stay around.
For reasons best known to him, he had made only one key available for both of us. It meant that the key was either with him or with me.
Perhaps he was still sceptical about my motives but then i would do the same thing if i was him.
Since i was in the custody of the remaining money, i took 600 Euros and left Napoli with Melissa.
We got to where she lived in Castel and rested for an hour, then she wore her work cloth and picked up her bag.
Back in the train, she had said that she was going to work when we got to Castel.
Since i wasn’t doing anything, i followed her to the Domitiana way where many girls were already standing and waiting for men.
I was wearing a tight Jean trouser and white blouse. Anybody who saw me knew that i wasn’t there for work.
Girls who came for work usually wore very lose clothes that would enable them to get naked in less than a minute.
Tight clothes made things difficult because it took many minutes to remove. Since Police occasionally invaded Domitiana way to arrest Prostitutes, it was better that the girls come to work on lose clothes.
When we settled at our old position, Customers started coming.
I waited while Melissa went into the bush with his first man. I also did the same when she went back to the bush with his second man.
She was still in the bush when the third man came and asked for her.
“She is coming, wait for her” I had said to the man.
He had agreed and was talking with me until Melissa came out ten minutes later, then she returned to the bush with the man.
That was the kind of life i lived in the immediate past. But as i stood there and waited for her, i thought about what could have happened to me if i was still in that line of business.
The truth was that there was nothing i could have done rather than work with them or run away, which i eventually did.
Thanks to Jacob, he was the person who encouraged me to follow him to Milan. I was courageous enough to make that move and followed him despite knowing what Aunty Philo would do to me.
One thing i knew very well was that My life was playing out the way it was destined. Jacob was just a stepping stone and so was Ano, Max and every other person i met on the way to my freedom.
Around 7pm, i called Max and told him that i might not return that evening. I told him that i was at Aunty Philo’s restaurant and that she wanted me to help her out with some works.
He didn’t object, he just asked me to be very careful.
I didn’t go to the restaurant, i had followed Melissa to her place and when she was done changing her clothes, we went to the Uncle’s Restaurant.
Uncle, as we all called him, was an Edo Man. He owned a Large restaurant in town where senior girls worked.
The restaurant was also used as a place where girls where organised for men all over the town.
Uncle himself had connections with some Italian men and each time the Italians wanted girls, it was uncle that organised the girls for them.
I had known about his work and his restaurant since i arrived in Castel Volturno. However, only the senior girls were allowed to work with uncle.
The senior girls were those who had been freed one way or the other.
Most of the senior girls were far older than me. There were girls of 30 years and above who worked at the Uncle’s restaurant.
The youngest one i saw there was about 25. It was very clear that the girls were those who had paid for their freedom and had outgrown standing in the streets every night waiting for men.
On my own part, i had paid for my freedom as well and belonged to their class. However, i was still very young. I was getting to 20 and from what i saw there, none of the girls who worked there was even close to my age range.
Melissa and I walked to Uncle and greeted him.
“What are you girls doing here?” He had asked.
“We Have come to discuss something with you” I said.
He opened his small office and asked us to follow him.
When we settled down on the chairs, he asked what we wanted to discuss with him.
I began, “Uncle, i have just paid for my freedom and i want to start working in your place”.
“I dont believe you” He said.