I walked to where Mary was standing and hugged her. It was clear that she wasn’t happy with me and i was very sure it was related to how i sold and separated her from Angela her friend.
Angela was up there in Rome and since they didn’t have each other’s phone numbers, they were going to miss each other and wished they would meet someday.
I had the ability to reunite them. I knew where i left Angela and i could return there to look for her. I also had Madam Silver’s phone number; i could call her to get Angela’s phone number for Mary. But the problem was that it was better that they remained separated.
The moment they begin to talk, Aunty Philo could overhear some dangerous information related to Angela and that would definitely cause a whole lot of war between us. The war would certainly be a small portion of what would happen to me.
The news would get out that i sold one of my Madam’s girls and the entire Nigerians in Castel Volturno and as far as Napoli would isolate me.
As a matter of fact, my destiny in Castel Volturno and the entire Italy depended on Mary. As little as she was, she held the key to my happiness or my disaster.
I didn’t have much time to spend with Mary when she newly came, i would have easily configured her mind to work with fear and to work to my advantage but due to my visit to Nigeria, i created a vacuum between us.
“I want to go to the Mall to buy meat for my soup. Can i go with Mary? She Will return before customers begin to come” I had turned and said to Aunty Philo.
Obviously i needed a time out with the little rat. It was time to warn her more or at least reconfigure her brain.
“Make sure she return here as soon as possible. I need her here to do something before she goes to work” Aunty Philo said.
Mary didn’t have time to agree or disagree to follow me. The decision has been taken on her behalf and she must follow me. I was sure she must have learnt that she didn’t own herself.
As soon as Mary and I stepped outside, i began my speech.
“How have you been Mary?” I asked.
She said ‘Fine’ and remained quiet.
“Why did you look at me that way at the Bar?” I asked.
She kept quiet.
“Is anything wrong Mary?”
She kept quiet.
I stood in front of her along the road and hugged her.
“It’s OK Mary. You can tell me what it is” I looked in her eyes.
She showed me her hands; there were bruises on them. Tears has started to form in her eyes.
I looked around and saw a small coffee bar down the road and led Mary into the place.
“Sit down here sweetheart” I said. My heartbeat has increased dramatically. Something was wrong with Mary.
To divert attention from us, i sat beside Mary and requested for two cups of coffee.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Aunty can you take me away from here, i don’t want to live with Madam again” She said.
“That is not going to be easy. But if you tell me what happened, i can do something. Did you tell her about Angela?” I asked.
She shook her head.
Great, our secret Was safe still.
It wasn’t difficult to determine that Mary was being physically abused. I was foolish not to have known that; I practically went through the same thing.
“Tell me what happened” I said as the waiter dropped two cups of coffee in front of us and demanded for Euros.
I paid her and asked Mary to tell me what happened.
“She beats me every night She said i am dull for business and that she regrets investing in me. Each time i didn’t return with big money, she would beat me.”
As she talked, i recalled how Aunty Philo used to beat me too. It was a mistake to think that she would have changed, it was even impossible for her to change as long as she still consumed the red wines that messed her head up.
I pitied Mary. I would have even refused to go to Libya to bring the girls if i remembered how violent Aunty Philo was but the truth was that i forgot how she treated me. The idea of heading to Libya covered the disadvantages that would possibly come out of it.
“I am going to help you out Mary, but i don’t know if Aunty will agree. When we return to the Bar, i will tell her that i want you to live with me so that i will train you very well on how to become a smart street girl. If she agrees, you will come and live in my apartment. But if she doesn’t agree, you will just have to live with her and endure her behaviour until you find a way to run away” I said.
Immediately i said ‘Run Away,’ i regretted it. I believed i should not have brought up that idea into the discussion. If Mary happened to heed whatever advice i gave her and run away, the whole thing could return back to hunt me.
“Aunty how can i run away?” That was Mary.
“Mary, forget about running away for now. You don’t know anybody in Italy and the Police could arrest you and put you to Prison” I said.
I would have also attempted to scare her with Olokun and other deities if she was my girl but i knew the negative fear and impact Olokun created in me when i newly arrived in Italy. I didn’t wish that to any other teenage girl.
When Mary was calm enough, she took her coffee and we left for the mall. After buying meat, we returned to Aunty Philo’s Bar.
I didn’t want meat but i had to buy it.
I had convinced Mary to laugh and be happy when we return to the Bar. I didn’t want Madam to find out that we had a dangerous conversation that could possibly led to the disappearance of Mary.
I doubted that Aunty Philo would allow Mary to live with me. She still remembered that i actually ran away to Venice where i took asylum. I was sure she would not have forgiven me if i didn’t return with money to buy my freedom.
I was sure she also wouldn’t want to risk the same thing with any of her girls again.
But one thing she might have forgotten was that Mary could also run away from the streets. All she needed was just to find where to go and who to help her.
That was how the idea of re-uniting her with Angela came up. It was time to find Angela to know what she has been doing herself.