I had boarded my local circular bus that travels within the radius of Stockport and Offerton and I was going to the town centre. Two stops after I boarded the bus, it came to a halt letting some passengers in and some out. “Are you ok?” I heard a hoarse female voice, and at first I thought it was other passengers talking to each other, little did I know that question was directed to me as a first greeting statement from a close neighbour whom I haven’t seen over a year though we live five minutes apart in a clustered community. I looked up as I felt that someone was looking at me closely, our eyes met and I knew instantly it was my long time neighbour, Sheena, who had just greeted me. She sat in front of me, as she huddled her three-year-old boy on her lap and dragged her luggage next to her feet.
“I am fine and well,” I answered her not revealing the annoyance in my tone that had been affected from the form of her first greeting. “ You …busy, busy every time,” she said with a tone of accusation. “Not as busy as you think,” I said calmly letting the words soak in her. After a while there was a form of silence between us and then I saw her twisting her head and turned her face to me. We gazed squarely at each other as I studied her countenance. I felt she wanted to say more to me and I smiled in a way that said I was ready to listen if you have something at heart. I think she finally understood my body language and sprang into life like an engine that has put into ignition.
“Do you know someone who wants a husband?” she asked as her brown eyes gazed at me. I tried to ponder on the question as it struck me unexpectedly. What does she mean? Is this an indirect question? I mulled over it. Yes, I had the right to think this was an indirect question since I am single lady. I never heard people saying I am looking for a husband but they would say I am looking or searching for a boyfriend or a man who wants to enter in a long term relationship. It was a tricky question hence I did not have a substantial answer for it. “No. Not that I know,” I said and “Why?” I solicited.
“Well, there is a Polish guy who is looking for someone to marry and I am sourcing around and asking all my friends,” she said as the bus took the second exist that led onto A626. “Is the Polish guy interested in black girls only?” I asked with a curious tone and shoved myself a bit closer to her. “No,” she said but the girl has to pay me some money,” Sheena blurted out. “Why money?” I became very inquisitive. “I think the man should pay you”, I added not knowing where this conversation would lead me. “The girl would leave a good life afterwards,” Sheena said “and I would ask her to give me £500.00.” “Why £500,00 Sheena? I asked her. “I am in a business, Euna, and I am the agent. The girl must not have papers to enter this relationship. She would benefit once she is married to this Polish guy. Her status in UK would have improved,” Sheena, concluded her conversation with a cough note.
All of a sudden my eyes were literally opened. I understood the depth of the story. I have heard these kinds of stories in all sources of media and some of the stories were hard to believe and at some stages I thought the media was stereotyping, yet in reality things were surfacing. These kinds of marriages are known as sham in UK. People take risks in doing these marriages. They are clandestinely done because UK government classify them as illegal contracts and once caught one can be sued or send into a prison. Thousands of pounds are paid out between the groups to make one’s wish successful. I was shocked that I was hearing from the horse’s mouth and yet she was publicly discussing it. “All the best,” Sheena, I said as I peeped outside and saw the birds of the earth flying freely and singing songs of freedom.