San Marino was one of the most complicated countries I have ever known. As small as they were both in land mass and population, they seemed to be holding the mighty Roman government hostage. They claimed not to be in European Union and Euros Zone but they use Euro as their currency. There was no flatland in San Marino, just hills and valleys everywhere. The moment I arrived at the small country, I wondered if it was right for me but I had to wait and see first.
The train from Turin stopped me at Rimini, since there was no train service in the entire San Marino, I took the bus from Rimini to Dogana where I was told to stop.
Rosaline was waiting for me when I arrived at the bus station. Her face was red with anger. “Give me your bag,” she yelled.
She had changed her name from one thing to another in that past few years, depending on where she relocated. That was one of the characteristics of street girls.
“Won’t you even say welcome to me?” I asked as she grabbed my bag from me.
“Why would I say welcome to you when you allowed that bad Igbo boy to do all the things you said he did to you? Were you waiting for him to kill you before you run away?”
I decided that it wasn’t yet time to argue with my new host. Time for that would come. For the time being, I needed to see how things go before making comments capable of sending me back from wherever I was coming from. But one thing I wasn’t going to do was look weak in Rose’s eyes. She was my mate and I wouldn’t allow her to bully me.
We took another bus to where Rose lived. It was a commercial building perched on top of the hill. The view was amazing as we could watch the aerial trams moving over head.
Due to the demographic condition of San Marino, there was no room for good railway structure. The internal transport was by taxi, bus and aerial tramway. It looked like it was going to be fun in San Marino except that my welcome song turned out to be a war song.
“There is food in the kitchen,” Rose said. She sounded as if she was doing me a massive favour by offering me food.
“I ate at Rimini,” I lied.
We were still talking about whether I should eat again or not when my phone rang, it was Zuby. I thought for a while whether I should answer him or not. I was sure he wanted to know how my journey went but the hostile big sister sitting opposite me discouraged me for a while before I eventually picked the call.
“I hope it’s not that thief in Amsterdam,” Rose said.
I gored her, “I am in San Marino now. The journey was good. I am tired and need some rest. We will talk tomorrow,” I said and cut off the call.
Rose was talking at the same time while I talked with Zuby. He was cursing him and threatening to send the Italian Mamas to his place in Amsterdam. It was obvious that I told Rose more than she should have known about Zuby and his dealings. I wanted to speak more on the phone with him but I didn’t want him to hear everything Rose was saying.
“I think we should set this Zuby up for everything he did to you and to the Madams. We cannot allow him to go free of all this things he did. I am glad you know where he lives. We will…” Rose was saying.
“We will not do anything Rose. He is my boyfriend, don’t forget that. For the fact that I needed a break and came here doesn’t mean I should start sending trouble to him. You don’t know him like I do. On the other hand, if he ever finds out what you just said, you will wonder what happened to you,” I interrupted.
I was getting upset due to the way Rose talked about Zuby. The truth was that I started missing him the moment I left Amsterdam. I cried in the train because I wondered when and how I was going to get another boyfriend who will love me like Zuby.
And yes, he loved me like nothing else; the problem was what he was doing which could harm me directly or indirectly. It was difficult listening to Rose as he said bad things about someone he never met.
“You can say whatever you like Maria. This guy you are protecting was the same guy who came to Castel Volturno and took your girl away. He returned and took your second girl and eventually he took you too. How can you not see that he was using Juju on you? I mean this is not normal. I have told my boyfriend about everything you said, he is also a Benin boy and he said he will do something about it,” Rose continued.
“Listen Rose, if you don’t wish harm to your boyfriend, don’t allow him to go and look for Zuby. That’s the only thing I can tell you. He is not happy that you asked me to leave him. It will be a mistake to go near Amsterdam looking for him. As we speak, two Madams from France are in Amsterdam searching for him and trust me, they can only see him where and when he wants them to see him, that’s the kind of person he is. That’s the kind of person you want to send your boyfriend to go and meet in Amsterdam,” I said.
“Philip is not a coward, he can defeat your boyfriend anytime and anywhere, wait until he returns,” Rose shouted.
I was tired and didn’t want to talk much; as a result, I decided that it was time to allow her to talk alone.
It was over an hour later when I asked where the Philip of a boyfriend was.
“He went to Italy and will return tomorrow. You will stay in the other room, the one on the right hand side belongs to Philip and I,” Rose said.
It meant that the Philip lived in the same two bedroom apartment where I was going to live. I was going to live with a man in the same apartment. Not that it was such a bad idea but knowing how our Benin boys behaved, he was likely going to make a move on me someday. Then Rose would suspect something someday and trouble kicks off from there. It was better that I rented my own apartment. I had money with me and I knew that money would come from Amsterdam if I asked. However, I needed to remain with Rose and find out what one could be doing in San Marino.
From the look of things, I didn’t think there was any work for black immigrants. San Marino as a country was not more than 25000 people, mostly native Italians. I felt like an odd person in the city but I had papers.
The following day, Philip returned.