Back in my room at the asylum camp, I cried for the rest of the day. Emmanuel had managed to follow me to my room but I turned him back before I opened my door. I told him that I didn’t want to be seen with him anymore.
I knew what happened was not his fault. He just wanted a girl friend like everyone else, unfortunately he made the wrong choice and I encouraged him. I didn’t know that Solomon could someday, jump into a train and start coming to Bremen without talking to me first. I called him every two or three days, he should have told me two days before when I called him that he would come to Bremen. I would not have allowed Emmanuel or any man near me for the entire week. But the last time I spoke with him on the phone, there was no hint whatsoever that he would come to Bremen.
I didn’t know how he even found out where to find Emmanuel and I. Someone at the playing field must have told him that we went into the woods. It must have been one of the Igbo boys I rejected. I knew they were angry over how I didn’t want any of them. The reason wasn’t that I didn’t like any of them; I did. There were some handsome ones among them. My problem was that it would be easier for Solomon to find out I dated at the camp if I went for one of the Igbo boys. I was sure it would create enmity between me and them.
First thing the following morning, I rushed to the phone booth to call Solomon. I felt that he must have calmed down from what happened the day before.
I called more than 12 times without him picking the calls. The person waiting for me to finish my call so she could make hers had become so angry that she left the booth.
I started crying right there at the booth. I didn’t know the next thing to do, he wasn’t taking my calls and I knew he knew it was me.
I thought ignoring my calls was the worst thing he could do about what happened until I returned to the booth two hours later to try again, the phone was dead. Not just switched off, the voice mail made it clear enough for me to understand. It said that the number I was trying to call was no longer in service. It simply meant that he removed the Sim card from the phone entirely. My entire young life was crashing right before my eyes, because of an avoidable mistake I made. I felt as if I was being choked. My entire belonging was at his apartment in Berlin. I didn’t even know how to get to the apartment on my own. I didn’t have an email address to contact him even if I wanted to. I didn’t know what else to do except to find a way to connect to him.
I knew only two of his friends, Johnson and Mr. Frank. I knew that if he had changed his phone number as I suspected, he must have given the new number to one or both of them.
I decided to call one of them to see if he could help. Unfortunately I didn’t have Mr. Frank’s number offhand. Solomon had given the number to me and I saved it on my phone but my phone was left behind in Berlin too. I knew Mr. Frank was the right person to call; Solomon seemed to have a lot of respect for him. I was sure he would have helped me to calm him down. Unfortunately Mr. Frank had advised me to stay away from men. He told me that I would get into trouble if I didn’t respect myself with men in Berlin. Although I forgot everything he told me about men when the fire was burning inside Emmanuel and I. I didn’t think there was any immediate danger since I was not in Berlin where someone could see me cheating. But the last person I ever dreamt of seeing was the one who eventually saw me and he did not just saw me, he saw me in a different city far away from Berlin.
I decided to call Johnson since I knew his number offhand. Solomon had told me to study the number and know it offhand so that what happened at the Tegel Airport would not happen again.
Johnson didn’t pick the first and the second calls. I thought Solomon must have warned him too but since the phone was still active, I decided to give it one last try before I return to my room. This time, he picked the call.
“Hello,” Johnson said from the other end of the phone.
“Good afternoon sir,” I said.
When he asked who I was, I told him.
He asked if everything was alright. He wanted to immediately know why I called him because I never did. I started crying.
“What is the problem Jennifer?” Johnson asked.
I told him what happened. I told him everything the way it happened and I made it clear to him that I could kill myself if nothing was done about it.
After calming me down, he said that Solomon changed his phone number and that he gave him the new one. He called the new number to me but asked me to wait for an hour before calling Solomon. Johnson told me he needed to talk to Solomon first before I could call him. It was the best idea because I was sure my boyfriend could change the new number again and chose not to even give it to Johnson this time. What I did hurt him deeply and I felt it. It was my first to see him with tears. He never believed such thing could happen to him.
I didn’t leave the phone booth; I simply sat down on the tarred pavement and waited for an hour before I called the number Johnson gave me. I would have loved to call Johnson back before calling Solomon but the money I had with me wasn’t enough to make the two calls.
“Yes,” Solomon said.
He knew it was me. He didn’t give me the new number but he knew it was me. I believed Johnson told him to talk to me or at least hear me out first.
I started crying.
“I don’t have time to listen to your cries; I need you to stop calling me. If you call this number again, I will change it all over again and either tell Johnson not to give it to you or in the alternative, decide not to give it to Johnson himself. What do you want?” he asked.
He was dangerously calm, I had expected him to come blazing with anger but he wasn’t. He sounded depressed and tired. The enthusiasm in his usual voice had varnished.
“I don’t know what to do. Please don’t hang up on me,” I said.
“What can I do for you?” he asked.
Such awkward question from a man who was in love with me a day before
Since I didn’t know how to answer such question, I started crying again.
He cut off the call.
Ten minutes later, I called again. He answered the call like he did the first time. It was time to talk to him once and for all because I knew that it won’t take him much to change the number again.