The Yellow Taxi Cab arrived at the Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan almost 3.30 a.m in the morning. By this time the terminal had already closed. He desperately walked the deserted and lonely streets in the vicinity of the terminal looking for a place that was opened for 24 hours.
The wind howled like a raging storm and the biting cold sent shivers down every sinew and bones in his body. The dripping tears from his watery eyes wiped with the cold breeze that caressed his puffy face. His aching heart cried in silent torment. He puzzled as to why all these things were happening to him. It seemed as if everyone had abandoned him. He was left to the mercy of the cruel inclement weather.
He deeply agonized and contorted his face with all the pain and hurt as he cuddled his five year old daughter firmly against his chest. His winter coat warmly wrapped around her tender and slim body. She frighteningly looked at his moist face and sad eyes and softly moaned to herself. He whispered almost inaudibly in her ears: "Please forgive me. I am so sorry."
Njogu found a lone restaurant that was opened at 42nd Street between Lexington and Park Avenues. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the "OPEN" neon sign glittering in the dark at a distance. He could hear his heavy breathing as the weight of the child cuddled in his chest slowed down his pace on the cold concrete pavement. He stopped momentarily to adjust the child and wrapped her more warmly around the winter coat. He hurriedly walked into the restaurant with his nose dripping with solid drops of water.
The restaurant was empty except for the two employees who were animatedly chatting behind a counter by the entrance. They looked at him strangely seeing that he only had a winter coat wrapped around the child. It was bitterly cold outside. He appeared to be shivering and they directed him to a table that was close to the heating system below a windowsill.
He asked the child to stand as he put her down by the table and straightened her dress. By this time her eyes were wide awake. Throughout her ordeal she did not utter a word except for her silent groans.
Njogu sat down on the empty chair and placed her on his lap. He asked her what she wanted to eat. She pointed to the salad sandwich enclosed in a long glass container directly adjacent to the entrance door. There was a coffee stand at the end of the long glass container.
Njogu asked her to sit on the chair next to him while he got up. He went to get the sandwich and also made coffee for both of them. A little later he returned to the table and coaxed her to eat all the sandwich.
The only thing she seemed to be saying was to ask for the other little girl that she always played with back in Banjul.
"Where is Njanja girl?" she asked in her strong Senegalese Wollof accent.
Baby K was born in the US but her mother took her to the Gambia when she was only two years old. She was a smart little girl who knew all the songs of Barney and Friends, an American Children's television series aimed at kids between one year to eight yeas old. The main character of the show was Barney, a purple tyrannosaurus rex who was portrayed in the show as having the imagination of a child.
At age two Baby K was speaking fluent American English which far surpasses the strong accented and sometimes broken English spoken by her parents. But all these was lost within few months of being in Banjul playing with the other kids. Her strong Senegalese wollof accent the result of her mother's stay in Dakar for an extended period of time a week after she was brought to Banjul.
"Njanja girl is coming to join you soon", Njogu replied.
"When is she coming?" Baby K asked.
"She will be coming soon. I promise," Njoju desperately tried to console her.
He raised his hand and wiped the tears at the corner of his left eye. He intended to sit at the restaurant until around 5.30 that morning when the trains would start to run again. He would then board the Metro North train to the Constitution State which was just an hour away.
Baby K soundly fell asleep in her chair. Njogu covered her warmly with the winter coat. He got another cup of freshly brewed coffee whilst he sadly pondered the events of the previous day.
He was alarmed earlier during the day when he got a disturbing message that Ngolu was detained at the airport in Portugal. She was on transit to the US. He was at work when the message was relayed to him. He desperately tried afterwards to reach Ngolu in Portugal to tell her to return back to Banjul. She should not proceed with her journey to the US.
Ngolu was travelling with Baby K who had an American passport. She had a Gambian passport. And she drew the attention of the Portuguese Security at the airport when she told them that Baby K was her daughter. This was when the whole nightmare started.
Thanks Momodou. This is a subject that I just started to develop. Will see how far I can go with it. There is a short story a while back that I was working on that is almost complete. Just a question of getting myself together. Very difficult right now to concentrate on writing. Regards.