After searching hopelessly for my phone, I jumped down from the cab and stood in one place. I was lost and that was the reality that just hit me. If Solomon wasn’t cleared and allowed into Berlin, I would be the most hopeless girl in town.
A few drops of tears came out of my eyes as I slowly made my way to a metal chair fastened on the ground where people waited for bus out of the airport.
I watched as more people came out of the airport and went their ways. I was the only person sitting for long there. Everyone else followed one bus or the other. Anyone who paid attention must have known that I was stranded.
I was shaking because of the severe cold outside. I couldn’t just return to the airport hall. I didn’t know what awaited me there.
I waited in vain until I saw one black man came out of the airport. He looked Igbo to me but I wasn’t sure. As soon as he came closer, I stood up and waved at him to stop.
“Good afternoon sir,” I prostrated.
I needed to apply all forms of respect if that was what was required to gain pity and help.
“Do you know Johnson?” I asked.
“Who are you?” he fired.
“My name is Jennifer. My boyfriend was stopped inside the airport and he has my phone. I don’t know how to…”
He interrupted. “Go back inside the airport and ask him to give you your phone. Why was he stopped by the way?”
“I don’t know, we were coming from…”
The Bastard didn’t allow me to finish before he continued walking away. I stood and watched as he flagged a cab and jumped into it without looking back. That was it, the only black person I saw had just abandoned me. The chances of getting help from a white man were almost nonexistent. I was sure they would want to know where I was going in Berlin and who I was supposed to meet; information I did not have.
Since there was nothing else to do, I sat back on the chair, bent over to protect myself from the cold. The temperature was below Zero degrees, I saw it on a screen at the airport arrival hall.
Back in school, we were told that Zero degrees was the freezing point. We sang it back then as if we really knew what it meant. It all came flooding back while I sat there alone. If Zero was the freezing point and I was exposed for long under Zero Minus, I was most likely going to freeze to death.
I wasn’t going to die, I was returning to the airport hall to sit and wait. I was certain the police would ask questions, they would want to know why I was there since I had been cleared to go. I was going to tell them that I was with Solomon and that he has my phone. If I got lucky, they would get my phone from him. It was a risk worth taking because it was simply better than freezing to death. Another alternative would have been to just go into the city and start looking for black people. I was sure that by the time I talked to 5 Igbo people, one of them must have known Johnson. If things didn’t happen that way, one of them must want to sleep with me. I was a stranded girl and young for that matter. The power of women would have come into play. It was better to sleep with a stranger than freezing to death in a strange city.
I was about to stand up and return to the airport arrival hall when I saw him coming out of the airport.
It was him, it was like a dream. I thought I saw a ghost but no, it was Solomon. They cleared him to go. I didn’t know how he talked his way out of it but it didn’t matter anymore. What mattered was that I was no longer stranded.
I was tempted to rush to hug him but I knew that the entire airport was wired with CCTV Cameras; as a result, I sat down where I was and waited.
My eyes were red as a result of silent tears that my eyes harboured since I found out the hopeless situation I was into.
“Jenny, what are you doing here? I told you to call Johnson,” Solomon said as he held my hand and pulled me up.
The tears started flowing down instantly.
“Come on, let’s go,” he said as he flagged a cab down and opened the back seat for me.
Inside the cab, he didn’t say a word, he just pretended that I was not there until I finished crying and said, “You are with my phone.”
“What?” he said and touched his pocket.
Sure my phone and his two phones were with him.
“Wow, let’s talk about this when we get out,” he said and remained silent until we stopped at the Berlin Zoologischer Garten Train Station.
Inside the McDonald’s fast food, I told him what happened. He did t blame me; he apologized for everything but told me that I could have just returned and waited inside the hall. He said that since I was already cleared without problems, the immigration were not likely going to start going over my document again.
“That’s all in the past now anyway,” he said as he handed me a hot cup of coffee.” This will warm you up.”
Thirty minutes later, we entered an underground train to Neukoln district in Berlin.
Inside an African shop where they sold food and drinks and food items, people started jubilating as we entered. They stood up and hugged Solomon as if he just returned from war zone. I didn’t know what was going on, I knew he said he lived there in Berlin but that was not enough to warrant all the hugs and shakes he was getting. Something must have been the reason and I was determined to find out soon enough.
Mr. Frank, the owner of the shop went as far as popping a bottle of whisky for Solomon. He grabbed the bottle and sipped directly from it and at the same time, ordered drinks for everybody in the shop.
Calls were being made; I could hear people telling others over the phone that Ozoigbondu was back in Berlin. It was getting too much and I had to ask what it was. Everyone seemed to ignore me except Mr. Frank who asked me to sit down near him. He gave me a bottle of Malt and meat pie.
“Why is everybody happy to see him Solomon?” I asked.
“Who is Solomon?” He asked before he knew who I was talking about.
“It’s a long story my sister. Ozoigbondu disappeared without telling anybody where he was going. He is very popular here because he helped many people before he disappeared. We heard he was in Spain, then Portugal, then France and Italy. Nobody knew where he was. Some people even said he was deported. So we are happy to see he is fine,” Frank said.