Petrina woke up for the third time that dawn. And for the third time, she wondered where she was.
Ah ha! I am away from home. I run away. As I vowed to.
She began to wonder if the vow was necessary at all. She stopped those thoughts from filling her head. She was not about to go back on a promise she had made to herself for as long as she could remember. She fumbled through her pocket for her phone so she could check the time. Then she remembered that she had turned off her phone just before she finally fell asleep because her mum and Gerald kept calling.
This is crazy. No time. No direction. No one to talk to. Maybe I should just go back home.
Once again, she shook off the thought. She had always believed that a vow once made must never be broken. She got up from the ground, cleaned the mud off her shoes and began to walk. Enough of the running she had done yesterday. She would just walk today.
Okay, so now where am I headed for?
Tamale. Tamale first, then some obscure village. That had always been the plan. Feeling pleased with herself that she finally had a sense of direction, she began walking even faster.
Whoa! She had not expected that at all! She wondered who that could be? She turned around to see Benjamin, her sister’s fiancé.
“Hey, hi Benjamin!” She forced herself to wear the largest smile she had ever managed.
“Where are you off to so early in the morning? It’s not even seven yet!” He paused when her muddy outfit seemed to catch his attention. “And why is your dress so muddy?”
Uh-oh. Now what? What am I going to tell him?
“Petrina, are you okay? You seem to be off this planet”
“Haha!” she managed to laugh. “Silly me, eh? I have to pick something from a friend’s house. She would be travelling today so I had to leave the house so early in order to catch her. And don’t worry about the mud. I tripped on my way. I’m sure I’d be fine.”
“And why are you walking? You could have picked a car.”
“Yes, yes.” She giggled. “I just wanted to walk.”
“Well. Okay. I’d come by your place later in the morning. I’m off to play tennis now. Hope to see you then.”
She suddenly noticed he had his tennis racket. “Yes, yes. I won’t be long. See ya!” She giggled again.
“Alright.” He began to walk away. But he stopped suddenly. “Petrina, are you sure you are fine? You seem to be acting strangely.”
Petrina smiled. “I’m fine, Benjamin. Bye!” This time, she decided she would walk away before he continued questioning her. She was amazed at the ease at which she had lied to him. This was not the Petrina she knew at all.
Well, this is runaway Petrina.
She continued walking till she hit a major road. She decided to board a ‘trotro’ to the bus station. She felt very tired. Her night under the neem tree had been virtually sleepless. She soon arrived at the station. She hurriedly alighted from the car. She thought about Benjamin’s question about her clothes and decided to get some new ones in order not to turn any more heads. She quickly did so and hurried to a public washroom to change. She was in such a hurry to get onto a Tamale-bound bus before any other familiar face caught sight of her. She was glad when she spotted the Tamale bus terminal. She purchased a ticket and got onto the bus immediately. She was glad she had learnt to adopt Gerald’s lifestyle of always carrying enough money on him.
Oh, Gerald! Am I really leaving him with so many unanswered questions?
But she believed she could not turn back. She was already on the bus. Everything about the plan was going on smoothly. And besides, she had to go by her vow. She just had to.
With that last thought of determination, she fell asleep even before the bus got full.
So many unanswered questions? Would they ever get answered?
The story keeps unfolding. Catch you in the next post!