While Solomon Ozoigbondu chatted and drank and hugged new arrivals that came to greet him, Mr. Frank told me more about who he was, he was very careful to avoid what Solomon did as business while he lived in Berlin in the past, he only concentrated on his good side and it made me curious. No one was ever that good without black spots. I didn’t want to push further into who Solomon was and what he did. The one thing I picked from Frank was that Solomon helped people back in Berlin. That wasn’t difficult for me to believe because he did the same thing for me.
Frank eventually turned around to ask if I was his girlfriend.
“Yes, we met in Lisbon in November last year, ” I said.
“So he was in Portugal all along and people said he was deported to Nigeria,” Frank chipped in as I continued.
We talked more before he took over and started to give me advice. “I want you to be very careful here in Berlin. Some of these our Igbo and Benin boys will come after you. They will start by asking for your phone number and then they will promise you this and that. I believe Ozoigbondu likes you to the extent of bringing you to Berlin. Don’t give out your phone number to anybody without telling him. Many girls made such mistakes here and they are stranded now. If he ever finds out you are doing anything with anybody, I can’t tell you what he can do. Just know that he is capable of many things as you see him.”
“Thanks Uncle Frank but that’s never on my kind. I love him and he knows that,” I said and sipped from my malt.
It all looked like Frank was the eldest there. He gave me advice as if he was the father of Solomon. They must have been doing something together to warrant such incident, but I liked it that he was on my side. I was going to need all the allies I could get if I was going to marry Solomon.
It was late in the evening when we took a cab to a hotel down the road near Hermanplatz.
Inside our hotel room, he made calls while I took my bath. He seemed to know a lot of people and that made me wonder what he did exactly while in Berlin.
Mr. Frank even said his name wasn’t Solomon. Not that he said it vocally but the way he was surprised when I called him Solomon, showed that it might not be his name.
“Baby, it’s time to tell me what the celebration at the shop was all about,” I said as I walked out of the bathroom.
“I am tired Jennifer, there is always another day for such things,” he said.
“I want to hear it now; you just talked for 30 minutes on the phone without getting tired. Another five minutes won’t kill you,” I said.
He turned and looked at me. “That’s called nagging, you know it.”
I laughed and fell on the bed. I will be listening while I try to sleep,” I said and we laughed.
“People are just happy to see me back in Berlin,” he started, “I lived in and around this city for over three years. I did my business here and all that. So I guess they are very excited that I returned.”
“The celebration seemed to me bigger than just seeing you. What am I missing?” I fired.
“Less than a day in Berlin and you are already a parrot. What is going to happen in one week? I am calling Madam Grace immediately.” He said and laughed.
I told him not to make jokes with such statement again and that it was not funny.
“I can’t believe I finally got away from Madam Grace. It’s still like a dream,” I said while we were on bed in the night.
“Jenny, everything in life is dreams, even the things we are doing now. Someday somehow, everything will varnish away when we die. Then the lives we lived here on earth will become a dream for those who knew us while we were alive and then the circle goes on forever. It is the reason why we seek comfort at all times because we do not want to create bad dreams for the ones we love. Your life is going to be better from now on, not because I will give you everything in the world but because you will have control over what you do and what you do not want to do. The first step is to get you to an asylum camp were the government will take your fingerprints, issue you a legal document to be able to walk freely in the streets and possibly pay you some money every month. After that, we will see the next thing to do,” Solomon said.
I was in tears before he could finish. I didn’t know why I always get soft and emotional each time he comes up with his speech about life. Not that there were things I haven’t heard in the past but I was surprised that a clever and brilliant good man like him was not occupied by another woman before we met. He was a good guy, no doubt and he seemed intelligent and wise. I was sure that his being single was because he didn’t want to get involved with anyone yet, not that women didn’t like or see him.
I was scared because of the way we met. Black Africans were a group of people who believed it was a taboo to become a Prostitute. The unfortunate truth about it was that every religion in Africa adopted that stand. Christianity frowned upon prostitution, Islam and paganism did the same. There was no way out of it. The only place prostitutes were respected was at a place where nobody knew what they did. That was not my case with Solomon, he knew what I did. He saw me there, he picked me up there, he cleaned me up physically and mentally and he took me out of the street. He knew I was forced into prostitution, he knew it was against my desire in life and when he found out I was ready to quit, he took it upon himself to do the rest.
But there on the bed in Hermanplatz area of Berlin, I was on his side, living like his wife, kissing him whenever I wanted, sleeping with him without protection. I was sure that if he didn’t want anything to do with me or if he didn’t trust me, he would have been protecting himself from getting a disease from me. Not that I had diseases but I was a Prostitute. The general perception was that all prostitutes had one disease of the other but Solomon never cared. He only took me to a hospital once while we were on the run in Porto. I was injected with Anti whatever according to him. I wanted to reject the injection since I didn’t know what it was but the way he looked at me at the hospital suggested that he would abandon me as soon as we left the hospital without the injection.