“Wait Maria” Aunty Vivian was saying but i was already on my way back.
The Three figures ahead of us had somehow managed to see us and had started walking towards our direction.
Aunty Vivian was still standing in one place, trying to convince me to wait while i was on my way to the Gondola Port.
As i walked, i looked back occasionally and watched as the three of them advanced closer and closer towards me.
“Maria” I heard my name from the distance; that British accent.
There was no need looking back. My conscience had started killing me and my heart was beating faster.
Aunty Vivian who had been talking to me had suddenly stopped talking and i was sure she had turned around to see the people calling me.
I couldn’t turn around to look at them, i couldn’t face Ano. Tears had started falling from my eyes and i was struggling to hold them.
At the Gondola Port, i jumped into a waiting man’s boat and asked him to take me to San Marco.
“You alone is 10 Euros” The old man said.
“No Problem, go”. I almost shouted.
He rolled the boat and started drifting away into the water.
I heard my name being called but i couldnt look back. Their voices were closer and they knew that i heard them.
“Maria Wait, please wait” that was Ano.
I knew his voice pretty well. I was already crying wand very much ashamed to look back.
“Its OK baby, just wait” he was shouting.
I almost screamed for him to stop calling me but i didn’t want the Gondola driver to find out that i was being tortured by my conscience.
The luck i had was that there was just that one Gondola in the port. If there were others, Ano and his friends could have just jumped inside it and started pursuing me.
The truth was that they could have captured me since the old man driving me was not in such a hurry. But unfortunately. The next Gondola driving towards he Foreign office port was more than two hundred meters away coming towards us.
It was going to cross paths with us in about hundred meters ahead and it would take it another hundred and fifty meters to get to the Foreign office port.
That would give me more than five hundred meters away from them and by that time, i would be in another port where i would decide which way to go before they got there.
As expected, i got to the next Gondola port without seeing them behind me.
Another Gondola had just finished loading two Passengers returning back to the foreign office Port. Some other Gondolas were also there heading to different directions but for some reason, i jumped into the one returning towards the foreign office.
Due to the high head end of the Gondola, i managed to hid myself in it in a way that nobody outside could see me. I wasn’t seeing the waters but i didn’t need to see them, i just wanted to hide away from Ano. I could not face him.
I had known that Ano and his friends would take the Gondola that had driven past me when i was running away from them. Therefore i assumed that they won’t be at the port near The Foreign office by the time i returned there.
I was right because when our Gondola stopped at the Port, they were nowhere to be found and so was Aunty Vivian.
Unfortunately for them, Vivian didn’t have my phone number.
I got out of the Gondola and walked towards the foreign office with shaky legs.
Even though i believed that Ano and his friends must have taken A Gondola in pursuit of me, i still feared that they might not have done that.
Anything could have been possible but the only defence and conviction i had was that tears were still on my face.
If they caught me, i would tell them that i was returning to them but if they didn’t, i would just disappear.
I walked steadily and managed to get to the foreign office without falling down.
“How may i help you?” The office secretary had asked as soon as i walked into the first office.
I told her that i had come for my payment.
She pointed to a door and asked me to open it and go inside.
The elderly slim woman sitting there asked why i didn’t take the money at the welfare building.
I lied to her that i was sleeping the whole day due to illness.
After some more questions, she took my ID card, filled some information before giving me 181 Euros.
That was it, that was the peanut that nearly made me jump into the sea.
Yes, it crossed my mind to just jump into the sea while i was running away from Ano. The only thing that held me back was the joy i felt when i paid for my freedom.
I took the money and left the office.
As i walked back to the Gondola port, i wondered where Ano and his gang would be waiting for me. I was sure they couldnt just leave.
I had come with a small hand bag which i had left in Aunty Vivian’s room back at the social building.
If Vivian managed to convince them to follow her, they would be at the Social welfare building waiting for me.
I was sure they were never going to tell Vivian that i stole some money and ran away but whatever they told her, she was definitely going to believe them since i had acted weird on sighting them at the Foreign office.
The best way to leave the Port was to take a Gondola alone. It was going to be more expensive but more secured as well.
I waited for several minutes before a Gondola arrived to drop someone off, another black Edo girl who was apparently on her way to receive her own money at the foreign office.
“Where?” The Gondola driver had asked as soon as i jumped into the boat without even greeting him or the girl going to the foreign office.
“Rome, where can i get a transport to Rome?” i asked.
“San Marco” he said.
“I dont want to go to San Marco” He said.
“Then you can go to the airport or Ravenna” he said.
“Ravenna, how much is Ravenna” I asked.
“Ah Madame, its expensive” He said.
I asked how much and he said i must pay 50 Euros before he could take me there.
I hide away from public eyes and we slowly drifted into the Adriatic Sea and Headed South towards the City of Ravenna.
I had finally escaped.