My Africa Story – 5

“Fred!” I squeaked, moving toward him.

A very large black man on Fred’s right held up his right had just like a traffic cop. He pointed to my seat. I sat down, thinking, “What could be going on? Why would someone want to keep me from my husband?”

It was the longest flight I had ever taken.

We got into Rome early in the afternoon on August 11th 1980. I was at that time the U.S. air traffic controllers had staged a strike.  Exactly on August 12th the Italian air traffic controllers decided to go on a sympathy strike.

We took a taxi to a quaint pension along the piazza. Our room was on the third flight and the entire ride from the airport, Fred refused to answer any questions. He told me to stop asking because he wouldn’t be able to answer.

We only walked a few blocks before Fred found a restaurant where we could eat outside along the piazza and watch as people passed by. It was a lovely dinner, but it was difficult to relax and truly enjoy it with the untold story hanging invisibly between us.

The next morning we took a taxi to the Ghanaian Embassy so I could get an entry visa. It never occurred to me it was the slightest unusual to walk out with the visa an hour later.