“I found her at the Dobelnsgatan and we are also taking her out of the street” I said and proceeded to changing my cloths.
“You didn’t discuss this with me first” She said while her hands were on her waist as if she was ready for fight.
“I didn’t discuss anything important with you since last night Maria and you know why” I said.
“You mean you have been with her since last night” She asked.
“Yes, we slept in the same hotel and the same bed; however we didn’t have sex. I respected you on that and this is the last time i will discuss this issue” I said.
She shook her head and returned to the sitting room.
When i finished what i was doing, i called Rose and Maria into the room.
“Maria I believe you know Rose from two nights ago. I think she wants to stay with us but doesn’t know how to ask. The bed in the girl’s room is enough for three of them, beside one person can always sleep on the couch. I will address the three of them together in a few minutes” i said.
“Fine with me” Maria said.
Rose thanked me and walked back to the sitting room. I would have discussed the issue of Rose living with us first with Maria alone but i believed she would have refused. It was better that she refused in front of Rose but she surprised me by accepting her without a fight. Perhaps Maria was even better than i thought she was. Or may be that she has her plans and didn’t really care about how many people I bring to the apartment.
About an hour after eating my food that morning, i called the four girls out to the sitting room. It was time to tell them why they were all in Sweden.
“You Sharon, where are you from?” i asked.
“Nigeria” She said without an atom of respect from her..
“You little brat, i think i am going to have a problem with you here but lets wait and see how it turns out. Where are you from Sharon?” I asked again.
“I said i am from Nigeria, don’t you know where Nigeria is?” she said again.
I walked back into the room and came out with a leather belt.
Maria was standing on my way as i pushed her to the sofa and descended on the stubborn girl. It was the combination of Maria and Rose that rescued her from me after receiving over five hits from the belt. She was crying when they pulled her off my grip.
When things calmed down, i said, “Let us start from the question again, where are you from Sharon?”.
“Edo” She said and looked at me.
The anger in my face told her that i needed a more specific answer.
“She is from Benin” Peace said.
Apparently Miss Sharon has a problem; a problem i didn’t know about. She started the hostility as soon as i entered the apartment and she continued long after that. She didn’t even consider that i could send her packing out of the place. Something was wrong and i was going to find out one way or the other.
I dropped my belt on the chair and walked up slowly to where she was sitting. I needed to talk to her first if i was going to talk to all of them together. We must somehow be on the same page because as soon as we have a division among us, my intentions of making the Madams pay will collapse. It also meant that i would disappear from Sweden leaving the girls behind. They would naturaly return to the streets which was the only thing they knew how to do.
“Baby girl, i am sorry for beating you. I don’t beat people but you forced me into doing that. I won’t touch you again but i need to know some things about you if we are going to live in the same apartment. I don’t know you or Peace but trust me, i was the person who brought two of you to Sweden. I don’t like teenage girls standing in the cold streets in the name of making money for one Madam or the other. That is injustice and crime. You are still very young to waste your life in the streets and night clubs. If you don’t listen to me, you will become a drug addict and a drunk in the next one year; then your life will slowly drift away to a point where you will never recover again unless they take you to a psychiatric hospital; do you want to go to a Psychiatric hospital Sharon?” I asked.
She shook her head, signifying that she wouldn’t want to go to the Psychiatric stations.
“Good. Would you like to go to school and become a very important person?” I asked again.
She nodded without saying a word. She was still sobbing quietly.
“Now clean your eyes and be a good girl” i said and went back to the middle of the sitting room where i initially was.
“You Peace, where are you from?”
she said she was also from Benin city. Actually she was from the same village with Sharon. They attended the same Primary and Secondary schools. Intact they had merely finished their senior Waec when the offer to go to Europe surfaced.
“I didn’t even know where Italy was, i thought it was somewhere after Lagos. The Woman who told us about Italy said we were going to go to the University there. She said they don’t take Waec and Jamb exams in Italy and we believed her” Peace was saying.
Since she started the story without me asking, i decided to sit down and listen.
“Aunty Joy had returned to Benin City with Money. Everybody talked about her; she was our role model and we wanted to be like her. Her village is not far from our own and everybody knew that she built a duplex in her father’s compound. We wanted to just be like her even without considering how she got the money. We were still writing our Waec when one woman came one day and said that Aunty Joy wanted to see Me and Caroline; that is Sharon’s real name. We were very surprised that she knew us. The only time we previously met with her was the day she did her biirthday ceremony in her compound. We were among the many people who helped shared foods to the people; we didn’t even know that she recognized us until that day when she invited us. We told the woman that we wanted to do some revisions on the subject we were going to take in the exams the next day but promised her that we will visit Aunty Joy when the exam is over. After our exams the next day, we didn’t even go home; we went straight to her duplex. We were anxious to know what she wanted to do with us” Peace said. Tears had started circling in her eyes just like the others before her.
And I wondered if some of them faked the tears just to get sympathy from people.
I never liked a war that I had no chances of winning but the way things were happening with the teenagers, it seemed that every one person I took off the street, two hundred more replaced her.