The day eventually came. As soon as I got out of bed, I knelt down and closed my eyes for prayers. I knew I wasn’t the best prayer warrior out there but I felt it was time to ask God for help. The situation seemed to be disturbing even my strong-headed boyfriend. I had never seen him disturbed as much as he was the previous night
I said some prayers and sang some Gospel songs. He was awake, he saw what I was doing but didn’t bother to join me or ask me to lower my voice. He just stared on the concrete ceiling as if his mind was somewhere else.
After my prayers, I crawled back to bed beside him and said, “I believe everything is going to be alright. My God just revealed to me that nothing would happen to us.”
That seemed to have gotten his attention because he turned over and faced me. “I have no doubt about anything happening to us. Nothing is going to happen to us because I have been thinking for the whole night about the possible traps Francis could set for us. I am going to be dictating all our meetings and movements. That worst that could happen is that we could abandon the permits and drift away from Lisbon. That’s what I am afraid of because we will have to start looking for traveling documents before we can leave Portugal. That’s what I am afraid of, not whether Madam Grace and her army will catch me.”
His phone was ringing before he finished what he was saying, it was Jose. He said he and his friend were already in Oriente station, heading to Porto.
“I am at the Golden Tulip Hotel in the Biavista area. Call me when you get to the Sao Bento Station in Porto and I will direct you to where I am,” Solomon had said before the conversation ended.
It didn’t take long before Madam Grace called too. She said she was already in the train to Porto and that she would be there before 2 pm.
“That’s fine. I hope you are not coming with you thugs this time. Remember I didn’t ask you to bring money, you are simply coming to pick up your girl,” Solomon said.
At the same time he was telling Madam Grace that she was coming to pick me up, I chipped in as usual. “I don’t want to follow her.”
Solomon shouted at me and asked me to shut up, I did.
At around 12 noon, Solomon called Francis. “I hope you know I expected your call two minutes ago,” he said.
“I will call you as soon as the guy calls me. I have tried to call him twice but his number didn’t connect,” Francis said.
“What are you talking about? You said you know this guy very well. You better go and find out where he is or I will come for my money,” Solomon said before he cut the call in anger.
Then he turned around to me and said, “Start getting ready, we may have to leave this place in an hour.”
The reality that we may not get the traveling permits hit me hard. I had hoped that the traveling documents would put an end to the hide and seek game we had been playing with Jose and Madam Grace. I had hoped that we would be out of Portugal the next day and that would have put an end to everything we were going through. The greatest disappointment so far wasn’t even the permit itself. The greatest hit I received was that I had also hoped that as soon as we disappear from Portugal, we were going to find a quiet beautiful town in another country and live there. I had hoped that we would make a home wherever it would be, legalize our relationship and start having our own kids. I knew it was just a dream but it was a dream I had hoped to hold on to because so far, Solomon hasn’t said anything about separating with me. It was true he said something like me taking asylum when we go out of Portugal but I didn’t see how that was going to stop my dream of living with him forever.
“Are we going to leave the permits behind?” I asked for the sake of saying something.
“It looks like that to me now, but trust me, if Francis as much as tried or even thought of taking my money without giving me what I paid for, I will return to Portugal alone and make life unbearable for him.”
We took our bath together, wore our clothes and shoes, and then we sat on the bed and waited until the call came from Porto.
Jose’s voice boomed on the phone speaker. “Where are you? I am in the hotel.”
“Jose, I told you to call me when you get to Sao Bento,” Solomon said.
We were surprised he came straight to the hotel without calling as he was told.
Jose was up to something, unfortunately for him, the man he was trying to outsmart had calculated all his moves long time ago.
“I didn’t have to call you at the Station. You told me you are in Golden Tulip Hotel and I know where it is. I am there now at the reception.”
“No problem Jose. Pick up a bottle of whisky from the bar and drink with your friend, I will be down in an hour,” Solomon said before he killed the call.
“Why did you ask him to take the whisky? It could be expensive inside the hotel and he may not have the money to pay after drinking,” I said as soon as the call ended.
“Worry about your problems, leave others to worry about theirs.”
It didn’t take long before Madam Grace herself called. She said she was in Sao Bento Station in Porto and asked how she could get to the hotel.
Solomon told her to take a cab to the hotel and wait in reception. “I will be there with Jennifer by 2pm, remember what I told you; don’t start anything with me or even with Jennifer. I am not sending her back to you because I want to do that, I am sending her back because I don’t know what to do with her and because her parents are angry with what we did.”
Madam Grace promised not to start anything. She even said she would forgive all the money Solomon took from her because he was sending me back. I couldn’t help but laughed in the hotel room. The two parties were going to meet in the same hotel. Jose knew Madam Grace and Madam Grace knew him too. It was just a matter of time before the fight commenced.
We waited until Jose called again. He was frantic on the phone. “That woman just walked in here, what’s going on?” He was talking about Madam Grace; it was expected anyway.
Solomon asked Jose to hide and not allow Madam Grace to see him.
The Porto collision had just started.