I woke up as early as 5:20am and considered it late. For that reason, i didn’t take another bath. I just scrambled into my clothes, picked up my international passport and resident permit card and ran to the train station since cabs hardly come to my area. My phone was ringing as the train stopped me at the station where Sister Eve and Sister Fatimah were both properly dressed with their heads covered. Fatimah looked so innocent and beautiful in her new decent cloth. She was wearing a green gown and a blue scarf given to her by her new godmother Eve. It was amazing how a change of clothes could just transform one physically and even mentally. She looked like someone who had been in the Convent for long.
They greeted me as we waited for the next train to Stockholm Central Station. Ten minutes later, the train arrived and took us to the Stockholm Central. We located the Linkoping bound train and entered since there was no direct train to Vadstena; However we bought ‘a day’ tickets to Vadstena which cost just Kr1100 each, the equivalent of €121 or thereabout.
We arrived at Linkoping and changed to a bus which took us to Vadstena. We arrived there before 9:00.
The Convent at Vadstena Sweden was built near lake Vattern. According to the small handbook Sister Eve had given to us in the train, the Convent was founded in 1383 by one St. Bridget who got married to a landowner at the age of 13. She eventually gave birth to eight children whom among them was another popular Swedish St called Catherine. The Convent was closed down during the rule of the reformists but was re-opened later. The remains of the founder St. Bridget were buried there.
It was such a historic place.
As i read through the handbook in the train, i had talked to Fatimah. I needed to encourage her on her new endeavour.
“My dear Fatimah, we were all born into this world for different purposes. All of us are never going to do or become the same thing. If this is your call by nature, you will succeed here and become one of the best African immigrants in Europe. You will stay very long in Vadstena if you are a good girl. You must learn to obey the Nuns and stay away from their affairs. You are going there as a servant but knowing how Europeans behave, they will never maltreat you there. I am not sure how people communicate there with the outside world but if you have the opportunity to call, do so to Sister Eve. I will pick up her number before i leave Vadstena. I also want you to tell me your parents phone number in Nigeria, i will contact them when i get back to Stockholm. I will visit them anytime i go to Nigeria again” I said as i handed my Nokia phone to her.
She typed in her Father’s phone number and handed it to me.
“That is for my father, Forget about my mother; she will be angry for you for stopping me being a prostitute” she said.
“Don’t worry about that, just put her number there as well. Anger doesn’t kill people” I said as i handed the phone back to her.
When we got to the gate of the Vadstena Abbey, i was told to stay outside since it wasn’t a visiting day. Sister Eve said that it will take more than two hours to process and properly settle Fatimah inside the convent. She urged me to go back to Stockholm since i knew the place already.
“Its ok Sister. Thanks for everything. Let me know when you return to Stockholm. Here is your transport money back to Stockholm” i said as i handed her Kr2000 which i was very sure was more than enough to get her back to Stockholm from any part of Sweden. I had purchased daily ticket for her in Stockholm but there was a chance she could not be returning that same day and even if she was returning, she would still need to have some money with her.
“I need to talk to her for a minute” i said to Eve as i pulled Fatimah aside and said,
“If there is any slight danger for you inside there, pretend that everything is alright until you have the chance to make a call. Then call me as soon as you can and i will come to take you away from here” i said even without a slight knowledge of how i was going to achieve that.
I watched as Fatimah and Eve entered the gate into the Vadstena Abbey Pax Marie World of Catholic Convent. She had turned and i had seen some tears in her eyes. I stood there and watched until the automatic gate closed by itself and jammed with a small click. Then it occurred to me that it could be the end of me and Fatimah. I didn’t think i was going to ever see her again. I felt tears coming into my eyes too as i turned around and walked back to the bus station. A Swebus bus was loading up passengers; i climbed into the seat behind the driver and put my head forward to lean on the metal protector separating me and the driver.
My journey with Fatimah had been the strangest of them all. Initially it was selling me and Ngozi out to Maria in Napoli, then fate brought me to Alice in Sweden who happened to have been a sex worker in Napoli where she knew Maria who was serving the same Madam Tessy as she. One thing led to another and we brought Fatimah to Sweden. She had not come out of the shock of seeing me in Sweden when the idea of taking her to the Abbey materialized.
Right there in the bus, i wished her goodluck and safety. I prayed for her even when i wasn’t sure the prayers would happen.
Our bus stopped us in Linkoping where we entered a train back to Stockholm Central. It was when our train announced that we had arrived in Stockholm Central station that i remembered there was still a big war ahead of me. It didn’t bother me a bit since unlike other wars, there was no girl to protect. It was just me against the enemies. I didn’t know the connections Maria had in Sweden but i knew that the prostitution ring spanned across all the European countries.
The Igbo Proverb says that the ‘Hen with chicks doesn’t sleep on a tree”.
Right then in Stockholm, i was a hen without chicks; therefore i was allowed to sleep on a tree.
I didn’t know the form the new fight would assume but i was ready; Yes I was ready and looking forward to it.
“When the cat is gone, the mice come out to stretch”