Petrina was shivering as she sat in the bus. She had been shivering for almost thirty minutes. She kept asking herself why she had decided to call home. About an hour ago, the bus had gotten to a rest stop. Once Jacob had gotten out of sight, she had finally put on her phone. She had quite a number of messages from Laudina and Gerald which she had chosen not to read. Instead, she had called her mum. Why she made that choice, she did not understand. Her mind went back to the call for the thousandth time. She could hear the desperation in her mother’s voice as though her mother was just close by. What had even made the call more disturbing for her was the fact that Laudina, Gerald and Benjamin had all been around her mother and they all sounded equally distressed. It had alarmed her so much that after her initial “Hello”, she could not speak again. She was very surprised and confused by the sound of their voices. There was no doubt that her disappearance would have caused a lot of anxiety at home but somehow she had not expected it to be of such a high degree. Or probably, she had not expected it to be that sudden. So many thoughts were running through her head.
What are they all thinking? How are they feeling? Did I really need to run away? Should I go back home?
She shook her head at that last thought. Going back home was the last thing she was willing to consider, especially considering how far she had come. She believed in standing by her word and living up to a vow. She had made this vow to herself a very long time ago and nothing should change her mind. Her head was really aching from all the thinking she was engaging in. She lay back in her chair and peered outside the window.
“Susan! Susan! Susan, we are here!”
Petrina took a while to realise that she was the one Jacob was calling. She stretched in her seat as she stared into the darkness of the night. It looked like she had fallen asleep and the bus was now at a station. She wondered if she was in Tamale already.
Jacob smiled at her when she finally turned to look at him. “Susan! We are in Tamale! Snap out of the sleep and let’s go!”
Let’s go? Where?
Petrina had not really planned to take her next steps with Jacob. She however realised that it was simply inevitable after she had told him that she was going to be at Soma as well.
She smiled weakly as he virtually pulled her out of the bus. “Maybe you can go on ahead if you are in a hurry. I’d come over later. Just show me where I can get a car to Soma.”
Jacob laughed. He laughed so hard that it baffled Petrina. “You can’t do that Susan. The bus to Soma moves once a week. It would leave Tamale in about an hour! We have to hurry!”
Uh-oh. Now what? How else could she escape from him?
“Erm…okay. But, remember I lost my bag. I would have to buy some stuff before we head to Soma. You can go and sit in the bus and I’d be quick about it.” She hoped this would work. All she would need to do was to find somewhere to head for and never return to the station. At least, not that evening.
“You are so funny, Susan!” Jacob said in between laughter. “How can I leave you in all alone in a town you have never visited? I plan shop with you after which we would join the bus to Soma together. I would lead you to the best shops for you to buy all you need.”
Petrina bit her lip. It looked like she had to give up at this point. She was officially stuck with Jacob Gaisie as Susan Van-Lare.
“Erm…okay. Let’s move on then.”
“Great!” he smiled. “The first thing I recommend is an extra battery for your phone. There’s very limited power supply in Soma so you would hardly get the chance to charge your phone often.”
“I wouldn’t need to anyway. I would hardly make calls.” Petrina realised just after the words left her lips that she had said the wrong thing to the wrong person. Just as she expected, a question came from Jacob.
“You wouldn’t make calls? Why?”
“Nothing,” Petrina replied and looked away.
“Hey, hey, tell me something. What’s up? Everyone likes to call their family at the very least. Why wouldn’t you?”
“I said nothing!” she snapped.
He was about to react to her statement again. But she noticed he decided against it.
Petrina began to shiver like she had after that call to her mum. If she was going to live with Jacob, then she would have to have a story about Susan Van-Lare.
What do I do now? Do I have to run away from him too? Or do I have to think up a story about the life of Susan Van-Lare?
Petrina realised that she had put herself into an unanticipated mess. She had never really known who she was. Now she had to think up a story of who she had suddenly become. A life on the run was more complicated than she ever thought.
Can Petrina survive this life?