For our New Year celebration, we went out to the river and bought two tickets. With some other tourists, we were taken around the city where the river passed. A man in front explained everywhere to us. When we finished with the boat, we joined a tour bus and continued looking around the city until late in the evening when we returned to our apartment.
“Get our things ready, we are leaving here tomorrow,” Solomon said.
I looked up at him, “Where are we going?”
“We are returning to Lisbon, but not the part of Lisbon where Madam Grace lives. We will hang in a hotel room for a few days and then, we will see where to go from there,” he said.
I suddenly became scared once more. For the past two days, I had managed to push our predicaments behind me. I had assumed that we were already safe until he made such unfortunate statement about returning to Lisbon.
“I am scared,” I said.
He pulled me closer to him and kissed me for a few seconds, and then he said, “I want you to know that before anyone can get to you in this Portugal, the person will have to come through me first.”
I nodded and kissed him more. Not that I believed him 100% but his assurance was good enough. I witnessed everything he did to secure me; thereof I had no reasons to doubt him.
What exactly was even going to happen to me? Even if Madam Grace eventually recaptured me, the worst she could do would be to punish me and send me back to the street where I will eventually call Solomon and go back to him. My only fear was that Solomon was definitely going to stand in the way between Madam Grace and me; he was bound to get hurt one way or the other.
Before we slept, I arranged our belongings and asked if I should pack the cooking pots too.
“We are leaving here with just our bags,” he said.
“But Baby, we just bought these…” I was saying before he interrupted me.
“Jennifer, we are not leaving here with anything except our clothes, phones, money, shoes and dental kits. If you as much as bring anything else I will throw it out of the window in the train. We are on the run, being pursued by black and white enemies. The last thing we need now is to carry pots and kettle. We are going to stay in a hotel and we can’t lodge in a hotel with such things.”
I knew he was right, it was just painful to leave those things behind a few days after buying them.
We didn’t leave Braga in the morning, we waited until it was 6pm. Solomon had earlier explained to me that it would be ideal to enter Lisbon around 10pm when we could still get a good hotel room and at the same time, when people would be heading to bed already. I knew enough not to doubt his judgments. It was true he was making all the decisions but his decisions kept me alive and secured so far.
We got to Lisbon around 10pm like he said we would. I didn’t know how he did all that but he seemed to know his way around everywhere. I envied him on that because I was sure I would get lost even if I was told to go to where I had been in the past. Everything was written in Portuguese which I unfortunately didn’t know yet.
We found a cheap hotel in Setubal area of Lisbon and paid for one night.
The next day after a meeting with his friend, Solomon returned and asked where I kept my international passport.
“I told you she took it away the day I arrived here,” I said.
He knew I was talking about Madam Grace.
“Why do you want my passport?”
He said he wanted to make a resident permit for me too so we could leave Portugal together. Unfortunately I didn’t have the passport. However when he went out again and returned in the night, he said he would find a resident permit card for me to be able to leave Portugal. I was excited that I was eventually going to leave Portugal for good. I didn’t care where we were going or how we would get there, I just wanted us to be as far as possible from Lisbon.
There was huge tension for both of us in Lisbon. Despite lodging in Setubal, away from Rossio area where I worked as a Prostitute, I was still scared. Street girls host their customers in hotels most of the time. I felt that someone who knew who I was could stumble on me in the hotel and the news that I was in Lisbon would naturally spread from there. I didn’t know how long we were going to spend in the hotel and where we were going next. I didn’t know how long it would take to find the resident permit card for me. I also didn’t know how the emergency resident permit for my boyfriend would turn out. I was totally blacked out and the worst part of it was that it was in Lisbon of all places, the city that brought nightmares to me.
The following day, we woke up before midday and took out bath together.
“What would you like to eat?” Solomon asked me as he put on his shirt.
“I don’t really know. Maybe you can buy big Mac for me at Macdonald’s.”
“Alright, I will do that on my way back, I need to see someone,” he said before he left.
Since there was nothing to do, I went back to sleep until my phone rang. I didn’t look on the screen before I pressed the green ‘answer’ button.
“Baby,” I said
I knew who it was because unfortunately only one person has my phone number.
“Open the door for me,” he said.
“What’s up?” I asked as I took the ‘Macdonald’ s branded nylon bag from him.
“I need to snap you with this phone. The people looking for your resident permit card needs to know what you look like,” Solomon said.
“Wait, I need to wash my face and apply powder and…” I said as he positioned his phone Camera to snap my face.
The flash of the Nokia E71 flashed on my face before I could finish what I was saying.
“You don’t need powders and lotion, you need resident permit,” he said as he walked out of the room again.
It was already 8pm before he returned.
“This is what is going to happen. These resident permit papers could take more than two days. After that, we are going to require flight tickets too which means we must go into the city during the day time. I am going to send Madam Grace and Jose to Porto so that the coast will be clear for us to venture into the city,” he said as soon as he opened the room door.
“How do you intend to send them to Porto?” I asked.