Trip That Changed My Life 4

2019 started very well for me. I left Spain feeling rejuvenated. My mother turned out to be my best friend in the whole world. That woman in England who hated me so much can’t stop apologizing to me. She even got me promoted yesterday on Sunday, who gets promoted on a Sunday morning; only me, thanks to Cynthia Simpson. Our website is now hosted by a professional host in my city. Joseph never stopped treating me with great love and respect. He remains my best shrink and I respect and love him to pieces. Healthily I’m like 120% totally recovered. I think somebody should wake me up. I must be fast asleep dreaming because this is just too good to be true for me! But let’s first go back to my trip that changed my life, I look forward to finishing telling it today.

By Christina Lopez

Shortly after crossing the police roadblock between Hosea Kutako International and Windhoek city, I got Joseph talking. In fact he noticed that seriousness in my sudden approach to questions I wanted answered, so he started talking. 

Amongst other things he talked about, he mentioned how he stayed afloat since quitting the police. How he couldn’t get a job because every employer in the country seemed to think he was under cover for the police. They said he looked and spoke like a police officer, so they couldn’t offer him a job. 

He also talked about he tried writing and failed publishing his book. How his immediate family fell apart to writing. How his biological family and friends deserted him when he became broke. How he was on the verge of losing his tours & shuttle company. How everything made sense no more…“My mother paid you to say these things to me?” I said, angrily. 

I was fuming with anger again. Everything that came out of his mouth proved that he and Mom were talking. She coached him on what to say because there was just no way he’d have spoken my language if Mom hadn’t prepared him! 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he growled. “Besides, apart from having gone to prison, were you also in the police? Your mother didn’t tell me that part,” he said. 

That remark nearly made me jump out of the car. Just as I suspected, by that remark he admitted that he and my mother talked about me. I didn’t like that one bit! Therefore, to embarrass Mom in front of this strange man and my kids, I decided to talk like hell. Telling Joseph my whole story, in case she had left an inch to it! But along the way, opening to him started feeling good. It was like talking to my shrink, only this time on wheels in Africa.

And since my children knew everything, and Mom as stubborn as she was; I wanted her to sit there silently and hear how I really felt about what I had gone through, in case she didn’t know! So I poured out my heart to this cop who pretended to be a cab driver while looking like a school teacher all at once. 

Telling him how I had gone to the moon and back. Oh I was like a house on fire. I could even see Mom and the kids start thinking that perhaps I was losing it again. And yet I was happy. I had become happy in an instant. It was like being born again, not in a Christian way, but the real way.
So I talked happily as if I had known Joseph all my life. “No, you’re not serious, are you?” he kept intervening in agreement to show his full comprehension of what was talked about! The man was a good listener too. Far better than our undercover cops in America, I thought. And I liked that a lot. I didn’t have people attentively listening to me like that in America. That was first! 

As I talked, Joseph turned and looked back at Mom, saying: “But Helen, you never mentioned any of these things to me. What a friend you are!” He sniffed, ironically. Of which Mom only told him to leave her alone.
Oh boy; now I was truly convinced that these two were sleeping together in Namibia, because there was no day since I was born that I had heard any man calling Mom by her first name ‘Helen’ just like that! Even government senior officials in America called Mom by her matrimonial name, Mrs. Lopez. 

But while my mind wandered, I heard Joseph calling, “Did I say something wrong, why are you so quiet all of a sudden? I was just talking to your mother,” he said, while looking at me. Even though I was angry, I decided to talk after realizing that my talking was working very well.

I figured that talking was the only way I’d find out what they were hiding. Everybody with eyes could see that they were deep to their necks in conspiracy of some kind. They knew each other better than they shammed. Therefore, talking like hell I did. But even he couldn’t believe my story because it was almost like his! Only that he hadn’t gone to prison and mental hospitals like I did, otherwise our stories were identical. 

Yet deep down I couldn’t believe that I just fell for a policeman who seemed to have been in love with my mother! That had never happened to me before. So I couldn’t understand what came over me! After all, I hated people who played at my heart like that! Of all people, just how I hated policemen! I was no more loving type since I came back from jail. In fact I hated everybody. 

And so I felt like I had an obligation to find out if Mom was really in love with Joseph. So I started minding my words carefully. Mom was better judge of character than anybody I knew in the whole world. She would know your game if you minded not your language. So I knew how to play cop than the police. There was just no way Joseph could have spoken our language if my mother hadn’t coached him, I thought. 

But what I couldn’t get was why my mother would have done that in the first place! My mother never confided in nobody. Let alone preparing a man for me if Joseph was the man she wanted for me! So I concluded that this was probably her deal, she had used my stories only to seduce Joseph.
But suddenly, as I was lost in my own head, I heard Joseph barking, “Hi, Mrs. Lopez, you’re gone again, aren’t you? What a silence; I can even hear my heartbeats. Are you all right?” he said, mockingly, while looking me straight in the face. “Did you just call me Mrs. Lopez?” I snapped. “Joseph you didn’t call me Mrs. Lopez, did you? Never do that!” I puffed, angrily. 

Oh I was angry! My mind raced like how dare he call me Mrs. Lopez when he knew that my mother was the Mrs. Lopez and he had a knack for her? Here I was calling him Joseph thinking all was well with him and me yet all he thought was my mother! I was angry. But as if he had heard what raced through my mind, he said: “Wow, you can talk, can’t you? Christina, you know I was just prodding you back to life, that’s all. You’re really angry that I called you Mrs. Lopez, uh?” he said, drily. 

I just remained seated quietly as he drove. By then my head was totally messed up! I had never met a man I liked so much but ended up fighting so many times with on our first date; that really was weird! And it was such a stretch from Hosea Kutako International to Windhoek, like 60miles apart if I’m not mistaken, I never checked. 

But as we were entering Windhoek, I felt a need to talk to him again. There was a lot to see and he had answers. So I poked him to tell me about city life in Windhoek. He did. And later, without consulting Mom, I hired him to drive us for two weeks around as planned to places of interest in Namibia and beyond. Mom had shown me our itinerary, so I knew what our tour program looked like. 

But entering Windhoek also left a mark on my mind. It felt like I was entering a city far away in Europe. Everything I saw resembled Europe. That was no Africa, I said while looking at Joseph. But he only laughed and continued driving through this modern wide tarred highway into the city. Everything at times except taxis’ looked like some outskirts of Denver, Colorado. It was really hard to believe that I was entering an African town.
Worse, when Joseph noted that we were quiet, he played radio. Upon pressing that button, softly, John Denver suddenly popped up singing ‘Rocky Mountain High’ what a blow in the face! 

That song made me cry in front of Joseph and my kids. Mom was used to seeing me cry all the time and she cared less. And radio presenters who spoke later, introducing themselves as of radio wave or something, spoke just like our people in America, only better. But coming to think of it, they were Americans those guys pretending to be Africans, I thought. And they spoke English and cracked good jokes twice better than Trevor Noah. They blew my mind away!

“Anyway, at the sands hotel downtown Windhoek, Joseph sat with us talking. But I was really confused seeing such a well-built clean city with skyscrapers in the middle of nowhere in Africa! Windhoek is strikingly built. So clean too, fresh air in abundance. I even forgot I still had a score to settle with Joseph and Mom.
But before that, Mom and I visited Europe from time to time. This was my first time setting foot on the African soil. Mom was like staying in Namibia and now I knew the reason why! She was in love with Joseph. Pretending to be putting together some business in Namibia!
Nevertheless, I knew what the world looked like. At one point we stayed a month in Germany. And now as we sat there while I bombarded Joseph with questions, what I was seeing in Windhoek was basically Germany. Maybe I was losing it again, I thought.
Because even the sun appeared to be from west to east and I remembered correctly that from Hosea Kutako International, upon reaching the main highway, we turned left and drove eastward towards Windhoek. So as I sat there on the balcony of this magnificent hotel in the heart of Windhoek, everything I saw proved that I was totally lost, which meant that I wasn’t a good traveler. Good tourists never got lost.
Everything looked confusing. All along as we came from airport I thought Joseph was the strangest in Africa, only to find he was the least strange. The entire country Namibia was and is still very strange, I tell you. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!”

The hotel we lodged in was twice taller, cleaner, and sweater than many hotels I knew in New York. The food in the evening was remarkable. The staff and guests looked like they were in New York, no difference, honestly.
After dinner, Joseph said he was running late. Apparently he had to go. But I kept him there until 10 at night. I nearly asked Mom to arrange another room for him and me! I felt like getting laid. But Mom was like God, you couldn’t speak to them about such matters when you ain’t married to the guy. 

By then I was like completely thrown off my feet. Joseph took my breath away each time I looked at him. So I decided that Mom or no Mom, he was all mine. Only that I couldn’t tell him that! I went to the bathroom to cry a little when he broke off and went. He just went, after saying goodbye to us. He didn’t kiss Mom on the mouth even. They didn’t even shake hands. He just went, like a little boy who knew no better. Neither did he look back at me on his way out the door, what a lover; I thought! 

But I noticed that Joseph was like my mother in many ways. My mother hated shaking hands with people. Even us we couldn’t shake hands with her. She’d say it was unhealthy. Apparently, people who did that, like shaking hands wherever they went suffered from strange illnesses. So I noticed Joseph! 

He didn’t shake hands much either, maybe she coached him on that too! But me I didn’t care about such things. I shook hands with everybody. After all, there was no place for keeping one’s hands to themselves in jail where I had been. Not in that way, but just in general. There everybody shook hands every morning for greeting purpose. So they’d look funny at you if you kept your hands to yourself just to live a healthy life, when you’re in jail; who cared about such things! (To be continued)

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Trip That Changed My Life 4
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