At the Brandenburg heim office, they gave me €120 and told me it was the money i was to be using until the next payment day. They warned me not to follow anybody out of the city again.
I walked around the heim meeting new faces. The only old face i met was Bolaji, the Yoruba guy who used to steal our weeds in the bush. He hugged me for a very long time and told me he was the only person left. I asked what he was still doing in Brandenburg but he never gave me a coherent answer. It seemed Bolaji was massively frustrated. He wanted to start a story about how drug business had gone bad but i told him to follow me outside.
We walked to the city center and on the way, he told me how he tried to get resident permit in France and Spain but people embezzled his money. He was almost in tears and begged me to help out if i had any connection. I didn’t blame him, the same thing happened to a lot of people who sent money for papers but the fact was that some people got used to the easy luxuries in Germany and forgot where they came from. Even though we were illegal immigrants, life in the heim was almost equivalent to the life of rich men in Africa. There was constant electricity and water, the best roads you can ever see anywhere, no pressure whatsoever because we didn’t pay house rents, trains, cheap food and drinks etc. We were all living large in Germany; however the conscious ones among us understood that we were expected to help grow our families back home in Africa. We were supposed to pay for school fees, build houses and help solve some health problems. It was such a silly thing to get absorbed into the system and forgot where you came from.
I told Bolaji that i could only help him by taking him to Paris and check if they still accepted applications. Another alternative was to start looking for a woman to impregnate.
I adviced him to leave Brandenburg and move to Berlin.
“This small city can only keep you blindfolded to the things happening in the outside world. You can’t get a girl here because they are not used to city life and exposure. Go out there and mix up with people; you will get a woman soon enough. Sleep with her regularly and don’t use condom. That’s the easiest way to get paper here” I had told Bolaji.
He eventually followed me to Berlin.
In Berlin, i stopped at the Akunne again and when he saw me, he stood up and said i was either a ghost or that i had charms.
After having some laugh, i told him that my asylum was restored that it was time to teach the Nsukka gang how to live in Berlin. After eating some food, i called Maria.
She was still at the Hotel California and when i asked why she didn’t go to a small hotel as i instructed, she said she was too weak to do anything. Yes, she was really tired of life and the kind of man she fell in love with. When i told her to come to Akunne, she declined and said she gave me less than an hour to return to the hotel. It was an ultimatum i had every intention of obeying; therefore I left everything i was doing and took a cab to Kur’dam where the hotel was located.
Maria hugged me for a very long time and asked what happened. I showed her the new ausweis and told her how i was restored and even paid some money to stay back in Germany.
“Are you going to stay here in Germany?” She had asked.
“No, We are continuing with our Journey down to France and even if i chose to stay here, you will stay here with me. We will return here someday but for now, get our bag ready, we are going to France” I said.
Kenneth was calling me as we rode to the Kaiserdam where the international buses loaded up for other European countries.
We bought tickets to Marseille and waited until 8pm, when the bus left Berlin and joined the autobahn heading to France.
Maria slept on my laps as we drove through cities and towns down to France. It was difficult for me to sleep. My mind was occupied by so many things. I wondered what was happening with Bonaventure and his friend, Aunty Joy in Prison, Jennifer and the footballer husband, Ify and the Prince husband in Dublin, Esther, Lisa, Blessing and Angel in the UK, Ngozi and Naomi in Marseille. My entire European family were right there before me.
I didn’t even call Blessing and Angel to find out how they traveled to London. The arrest by the police had derailed my plans and it was only natural that everybody took care of herself for the time being. I had connected Lisa with them and i believed she would do what i asked of her. Ever since i rescued and sent her to London, she learnt to do everything i asked her to do.
It was 8 am when we arrived in Marseille. I didn’t give Naomi and Ngozi any notice that i was coming. I wanted to surprise them. Ngozi was one of Maria’s girls that i rescued from her. I really wanted to see the reactions of both girls when they met. Maria didn’t even know Ngozi was in Marseille because i never told her. I had lied to her that i sent her across the Atlantic to the United States.
We left the bus station near the Marseille Central Train Station and located a familiar hotel where i had lodged two or three times. We paid for a night and slept for hours. It was past mid day when we woke up, took our baths and went out for food. We took a cab to the old port and had our Lunch there. We also bought soaps and some other things we needed urgently before going back to the hotel.
As soon as we got back, i called Naomi and told her i was in Marseille. She said Ngozi was in the house while she was in Eric’s place. It seemed She moved in with Eric her white boyfriend while the One room apartment belonged to Ngozi. She sent me Ngozi’s number and i called her.
Ngozi was very happy to know that i was in Marseille and even complained that her money finished.
I told her the hotel where we were and told her to come there. She said she was coming immediately.
“Baby i want to surprise you” I had said to Maria when a knock came on our door.
“What is it?” she had asked
“Just wait” I said.
“We should take care not to make the
intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful
muscles, but no personality.”