I woke up late in the evening and he was not there. His phone was on the table; switched off as has been since midday.
That fear of him disappearing from me returned quicker than I thought. His bag was there but then if he really wanted to leave me, his bag wasn’t going to stop him from doing that. I felt like I knew him well enough to know that he was capable to doing anything but I also believed that if he really wanted to leave, he didn’t have to come down to Vilamoura to achieve that. There were many times when he had the chance to varnish but he didn’t. There was nothing I could do but to check how much money I had with me. Of course I had enough to take me to anywhere around Europe. I also had the traveling card he got for me but the big question was ‘Where will I go?’
I got up from the bed, wore my clothes and walked to the reception; our room was on the ground floor of the large 12 story building.
There he was, with a bottle of whisky in his hand, staring at some black people coming down from a white bus. They all wore green cloths and it made me think they were special people.
It was only when I saw Okocha and Kanu Nwankwo that I knew who they were. They were the people I have seen on TV many times. I knew they played football and I watched them a couple of times but I didn’t know what they were doing in Vilamoura.
I walked to where Solomon stood as he smiled and waved at them. Some waved back while some ignored him. I stood beside him and held his hand until the men disappeared into the hotel, then we walked out to a large a Chinese restaurant for food.
“We are going to Germany tomorrow or next. First we have to find a way to buy a ticket. We can’t go to Lisbon anymore because I believe Madam Grace will be back there this night. Jose will return as well. We can’t risk being seen around there anymore,” Solomon said as we waited for our rice to be ready.
“What are we going to do about it then?” I asked.
I was excited that I was going to see Germany. Unlike Portugal, I had heard so much about Germany in the past. I had seen a man who returned from Germany. He lived near our school and everyone respected him.
“We will go to the Airport in Lagos tomorrow morning. If we are lucky, we will buy a ticket there,” he said.
The way I looked at him made him know that I needed some explanations.
Lagos was in Nigeria. Why did we need to go to Lagos to look for ticket?
He eventually explained that there was also a city called Lagos in Portugal. He said it was less than thirty minutes away from the Villa where we lodged. He also said that we could sneak into Spain and buy our tickets there if the Lagos plan didn’t work out.
“It means that we also have to travel from Spain because we will not be coming back to Portugal. The third option is to travel by train. According to the map, we will go through the entire length of Spain, Andorra and France before we make it to Berlin Germany. The problem here is that we are likely going to change trains more than four times. We will be controlled by immigration police many times and one of them is likely going to find fault with either your document or mine. So we will go through the air at all cost.”
I paid close attention as he lectured me on the possible routes to Germany. Apparently he knew what he was saying because when I asked him how he knew all that, he said he studied it in school. I didn’t know whether to believe him or not but after everything he did in the past week, I would be a fool not to believe he knew what he was talking about.
Back in our hotel room, we chatted and played and kissed and did the things we didn’t do due to the fear that was in us. I was grateful to him for everything. I promised him that I would never hurt him, that I would never leave him and that I would never stop loving him. He knew I was telling him the truth because when the red wine I took started forcing me to early sleep, he whispered in my ears that he would never let me suffer. That was the moment I thought that Solomon was mine forever but that never happened. It never happened because of what I did. Something I didn’t know he would find out but he didn’t only find out, he saw me in the act. There was no excuse. There was nowhere to hide. There was only one thing, to accept what happened and move on. It was the most difficult thing to do but it took care of itself.
The following morning, we woke up early and followed the Airport shuttle Bus to the Faro Airport. The bus came to pick people from our hotel to the airport but we managed to talk ourselves into joining them.
At the airport, we made enquiries about flight ticket to Berlin. We were told there would be available seats the following day. According to the lady who attended to us, there was a blizzard in most German cities and that prompted the cancellation of many flights. According to Solomon, It was January and the winter was at its peak in northern Europe where Berlin was located. He told me to expect to see snow everywhere when we got there.
“But Portugal is in Europe too, why is the snow not here?” I had asked out of confusion.
He said I was right, Portugal was in Europe but he told me that Portugal was actually about 4 hours to Nigeria. The same amount of time it will take to get to Sweden from Portugal.
“Portugal is also less than an hour away from Morocco. This southern part of Portugal where we are at the moment is not far from North Africa. They share the same Mediterranean weather most of the time.”
“What is Mediterranean?” I ask.
He looked at me and smiled. “You wouldn’t have asked this question if you came to Europe through the Sea. Some people from Nigeria traveled all the way to North Africa before crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. You can see them mostly in Spain and Italy,” he said.
We bought tickets to fly the next day and took a taxi back to the Villa. At a beautiful green filed, we saw the boys on green clothes and stopped to watch them play. After some talks with two security men who asked us not to enter the field, we were eventually allowed when one of the men in the field waved at them to let us come inside. I believed it was the coach who asked for us to be allowed but then I didn’t know who he was.
We watched them trained for over an hour before we left back to the hotel.
The following day, we left Portugal for good.