“Why are you so happy today?” Aunty Philo foolishly asked Mary when we returned to the Bar.
If she was clever enough, she must have suspected that something positive came to Mary. But her ignorance had made her to question why someone who has been living with her for over a month was happy.
It meant Mary hasn’t been happy living with her.
I ignored her question and pretended not to have read any meaning into it.
“I am just happy that Aunty Maria returned safely,” Mary lied.
I seized the opportunity to make my demand.
“Aunty i want her to come and stay with me for a while. I think she still haven’t learnt how to be smart in the street. She needs someone to teach her,” I said.
It was important that we joined hands in condemning Mary first. It would create a positive tomorrow from her negative today.
Aunty Philo didn’t say anything. She just looked at me and continued what she was doing. I believed she was contemplating how to go about my suggestion. I was sure she would have easily released Mary to me if there was another girl at her disposal. However, someone needed to be cleaning and cooking at home.
I had thought about all that on our way back to the Bar and agreed that it would come up during the discussion of whether Mary should follow me or not. But it was better that i said it anyway.
“Maria,” Aunty Philo eventually said after two minutes, “No one else lives with me. Mary does some work for me at home. I am not against your idea but someone needs to be taking care of domestic works at home.”
“You are right Aunty. But since my place is not far, she can always come along and cook for you and clean the house” I said.
After a few moments of deliberation, Aunty Philo sanctioned my demand. She asked me to come to the house the next morning to take her. But also warned that she must come immediately any time she needed her.
Mary continued to smile all day at the Bar. She knew her problems were going to be dramatically reduced.
However, One thing Mary didn’t know was that i also wanted to keep her very close to me. We shared a secret about the Angela deal in Rome. It was only a matter of time before she took alcohol or a beating one day; then she would say or do what she didn’t know she was capable of doing or saying. Life was easily like that.
I left The Bar that evening knowing that i had worked hard at keeping my secret longer. I was sure it would be revealed one day. Nothing could be hidden forever but time also has a way of taking care of things.
The following morning before i left for Aunty Philo’s place, i called Madam Silver up in Rome.
“Hello Aunty, its me Maria” I said.
“Maria who?” she asked.
I went on to explain to her who i was.
When she recalled, she asked if i had any new business to do with her.
“Not yet but soon” I lied.
She asked me not to be calling her until i have a girl to sell. She also said i had no business asking about Angela.
“You have sold her to me. You need to forget about Her and move on.”
My heartbeat increased as always whenever i sensed danger.
Why would Mrs. Slave trader ask me to stop asking about Angela. I was still a stakeholder in Angela as far as i was concerned. If not for any other thing, i still knew about the business. She must have been careful how she talked to me. But what could i even possibly do?
The Angela deal was like a snake and a man chasing it. The snake would be running for its life while the man would also be careful for his own life. The hunter and the hunted were in danger.
At Aunty Philo’s place, i took Tea and bread before i left with Mary. I still didn’t know what to do with the girl. She was definitely going to be heading to the streets because that was the only thing to do for her in Castel Volturno. If i decide to send her to the asylum camp, i would also have to leave Castel Volturno for good; Aunty Philo would make life unbearable for me if i stayed back in the city.
Back in my apartment, i showed the vacant room to Mary and told her it was her room. She was very happy and believed her troubles were over. She knew i must have done something extra ordinary to be able to have become a Madam at my age. She must have certainly wished that i thought her the things i did that worked for me.
But where was i supposed to begin?
How do i tell her how to go and steal money from Ano in Milan?
How was i supposed to teach her how to go to a sex party with Max and his friends.
Those things just happened for me out of nowhere. They where ingrained into my Destiny and it was impossible for any other person in the World to do the same and come out with the same result.
Ano was never certainly going to find another Nigerian girl in the street and take her home. Even if he ever did that out of ignorance, he would most certainly keep his money where the girl would never see it if he ran into trouble. Even if he happened to be careless with the money, he would certainly not have found a job for the girl at the McDonalds.
The whole events that led to my success would never repeat itself without the same actors. I believed that each life was made different by God Almighty. The same things never happened to the same people at different times without some alterations.
The differences started with the names. I was Maria and she was Mary.
Well, it sounded similar enough since they basically meant the same thing. We came to Europe almost at the same age and through the same route and for the same woman.
Wasn’t that a mysterious coincidence already. Of course it was and while i thought about it, fear almost started to grip me where i sat.
Was Mary another version of me from a parallel Reality.
No, it can’t be because while Mary flew to Italy through the aircraft, i sailed to Italy with a boat.
Atleast that was a difference and as i remembered that part of our lives, a smile formed on my lips.
“Why are you smiling Aunty?” The girl sitting beside me in the sitting room asked; it was Mary.