“Sit down,” The Policeman pointed to an empty chair.
It was still January and everywhere was snow-white and cold. People were just waking up for work. The trains and buses had just started running and the streets were still deserted.
I had just walked into a police station without any thing, not even a phone or money.
“Here,” The nice police officer stretched his hand to give me a cup of hot coffee; he could clearly see that I was freezing.
He ignored me and kept doing what he was doing before I walked in; until I finished my coffee and kept the plastic cup on the floor beside me.
“My colleague will attend to you in a minute,” He said as he looked up from the newspaper he was scanning with his eyes.
It didn’t take another minute before another police officer showed up. “Miss, Please follow me.” he said.
The tension and pressure built up in me from the past few days has started to retract. I was gaining confidence already even when I have not been asked anything. I had believed that somehow, the police would be aggressive towards me but they were actually the opposite. They made sure I warmed my body up with a steamy cup of coffee and that was what enemies didn’t offer anywhere.
I got up and followed officer 2 to a small office with a desktop computer and some papers.
Rather than starting with my name, the officer chose to start from the middle. It would have been difficult for me if I had crammed the asylum story but I knew every detail; therefore it didn’t matter how he chose to ask his questions.
“How did you come here?” he fired at me.
I didn’t understand if he wanted to know how I came to the police station or how I came to Germany. I was prepared for both questions but I needed to know what he meant exactly. According to Solomon, Germans paid attention to small details.
“I came with foot,” I said.
It was the first thing that came to mind. I had somehow chosen to answer the question about how I came to the police station. If he wanted me to tell him how I came to Germany, he would have to be more specific.
“You came with foot from where?” he asked.
“I don’t know. Someone picked me up from the train station yesterday and after sleeping with me, he sent me out of his place this morning,” I said.
He stared at me for a few seconds before he continued. “Do you know where this person lives?”
“I can’t locate his apartment anymore. Everywhere looks the same to me,” I responded.
I felt I needed to kill that line he was about to probe. There was nobody to look for and there was no need to take them on a goose chase. It wasn’t part of the plan and it could quickly derail and change everything if things went that way.
“What’s your name?” He asked.
He must have known that there was no need asking about a man who never existed in the first place.
“Jennifer,” I said.
I decided to keep the ‘Ebot’ to myself until he asked for it; after all it was my name and not his.
But then, he asked for it immediately.
“Jennifer what?” he asked.
“Jennifer Ebot,” I answered.
He asked me to spell Ebot and I did.
Solomon had told me not to play too dumb like many Africans did. His reason was that it would make things very difficult for me and the Germans and that at the end; I would be the one to suffer the consequences. His logic was already playing out before me because I knew that if I had told the police man that I didn’t know how to spell Ebot, we would have been running in circles until something would be done about it.
“What is your date of birth?”
“October 10, 1991,” I said.
He looked up at my face before he wrote down what I said. I believed he wanted to check if the age tallied with my face. Not that he would be precisely sure of what he wanted to find out but it was required of him to do what he did.
After few more questions, he asked me to follow him.
At the back of the administrative offices, there were some empty rooms with small beds and lockers. I was asked to stay in one of them until someone comes for me.
I sat on the bed and thought about how I performed already. It was very important for me to remember everything I told the Police because that has become my identity in Germany whether I wanted or not. The only time I could change anything anymore would be when I was due for resident permit.
By the time anybody said anything to me again, it was already past 12 noon. A plate of rice and source was brought to me. They also came with orange juice and bread.
“Miss Jennifer, I am afraid you will stay with us here today. We will process you and send you to the appropriate authorities tomorrow,” The female cop who brought the foods for me had said before she left.
I had no problems staying with them, the room where I was kept was very good and it has gas heater that kept it warm at all times. My only problem was that I was not with a phone. I couldn’t contact Solomon to tell him what was going on. Not that he needed to know what was going on or that I was supposed to tell him but the truth was that I was missing him already. It was going to be a very long night and as I sat there, I wished I had chosen to visit the Police Station in the night, that way; I wouldn’t have to spend all day sitting idly in a small room without any form of electronics.
I slept and was woken up in the evening, another set of food had arrived and I was required to eat. One good thing I observed so far was that they didn’t play with food.
After the dinner, I stayed awake until past 11pm when I surrendered to sleep once more. According to the female police officer, I was going to be taken somewhere else in the morning. I needed to have good sleep since I didn’t know where I was going next day.
Things were apparently working according to plan because Solomon told me I would be taken to the camp by the police themselves.
Before I could wrap my mind around what was happening to me, a knock came on the door, followed by the immediate opening of the door by a police woman; a different one.
“Please come with me,” she said.
Since I slept with my clothes on, I simply got off the bed and followed her to the washroom where I cleaned myself up before I was given juice and bread and was told to follow two other people to a bus packed in front of the station.