He had said he would come to Bremen the next day but he was there already.
“I couldn’t wait until tomorrow. I am sorry for what I did to you, I should not have punished you this way,” he said.
The tears were about to fall from my eyes when he held my hand, picked up the bucket of ice cream I was admiring and we walked out to the counter and paid.
I couldn’t say a word, I was stunned. I didn’t believe he was coming. There was a faint hope that he might come the next day as he promised. I knew him well enough to know that he didn’t promise what he had no intention of fulfilling. I didn’t know who among Johnson and Frank that eventually talked him into forgiving me but all that mattered to me at the time was that he was there in flesh and blood.
I couldn’t hold back my tears as we walked away from the mall. He did all he could to make me stop sobbing but it was very difficult for me.
A few minutes before he arrived, I was thinking about what to do with my life after camp. From what I heard, I was likely going to be posted to one remote town outside Bremen. There would be no work or school for me there. I would simply eat and sleep and eat again on daily basis. The entire set up would eventually push me to run away to one city where I knew someone. Unfortunately, I knew no one in any city in Germany or anywhere else in Europe except Lisbon. I was never going back to Lisbon because I would rather suffer in wherever I would be posted instead of returning to the street to sell my body for money.
I was never going to ask Mr. Frank or Johnson for help, they would simply ask me to reconcile with Solomon before they could do anything for me. The issue of why we broke up in the first place was likely going to be discussed with them. No matter how the case would be presented, I was still at fault. I did what every man hated. My situation was hopelessly hopeless. The situation I found myself already reconfigured my brain to start thinking that it was over for me.
That was what I was going through until I heard that strange voice behind me at the mall.
“I hope you are with your ID card, you won’t be returning to the camp this evening,” Solomon said as he held my hand and we walked towards the major.
I nodded to indicate I had my ID card with me as we walked across the road and stopped a cab.
At the Bremen city center, we found a hotel and he booked with his International Passport.
As soon as we got upstairs, he dropped the bag he was carrying, hugged and held me that way for long. He whispered in my ears that he was sorry for abandoning me. He said he was too harsh and didn’t know what he was thinking. He even told me that he did similar things with women during his camp time when he newly arrived in Germany. But at the end, he also said that he was hurt because he never believed he could see such thing with his eyes.
“I am sorry for everything, it was my fault. I tried to hold him off since the day I arrived at the camp. I had no friend here except him. I rejected all the Igbo boys here because I didn’t want to cheat on you. I don’t know what came over me that day that made me agreed to kiss him when he asked. That was how it started. Thank God we didn’t do anything yet before you arrived, I would not have been able to forgive myself,” I had said as our mouths closed on each other and halted whatever word we intended to say.
That was how Solomon Ebot, my elder brother and boyfriend returned to me in Bremen. As we played in the hotel room, I silently vowed never to fall for such temptation again in my life. I have learnt my lesson the hard way and I was sure the second chance was all I needed.
We went to watch a movie that night and the following day, we traveled to a city called Kiel. Solomon said he read somewhere that Kiel was where Germans started manufacturing Submarines. I didn’t know what he meant by submarines then and I didn’t care. I just wanted to go wherever he wanted us to go.
My frail body was easier for him to hold as he crossed his hand around my waist and held me inside a military Museum where we were apparently the only black people.
“Are you not scared that we are the only black people here?” I had asked inside the Museum.
“No, I am not; I don’t get afraid that way. The instructions said we should not take pictures. We are not taking pictures. They sold the tickets to us and allowed us to go inside. That means there is no problem.”
It was later in the evening when we returned to the hotel in Bremen. He announced he was leaving back to Berlin the next day and I started missing him while he was still with me. I wanted to follow him back to Berlin; I didn’t want to be alone anymore. I wanted to abandon the asylum process and return to my apartment in Berlin. Life was easier and better there for me and I got to see and feel Solomon every other day but according to him, ‘Sometimes we have to sacrifice what we like to do what is right’
I thought I was in trouble when Solomon left the next morning. He gave me money and said he would be expecting me in Berlin as soon as I got posted out of the camp.
As I walked back to the entrance gate of the camp, I wondered what questions I would answer for sleeping outside the camp for two days but when I got there, the young man at the gate smiled at me and asked me to show my ID card. He didn’t touch it, he just asked me to go.
That was how I got my life back.
That was how I learnt never to lose hope.