Today I’m excited to bring you a guest post and extract from Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra but first a little about the book:
Title: Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra
Date Published: 8th February 2019
Genre: Literary Fiction
Friends Alba and Sara could not be more different. While Alba is forcing her way into the upper echelons of Albanian’s richest and most powerful, Sara is working more than one job as a struggling journalist. Both desperate to escape their corrupt country, they’re quickly dragged into a sordid world of politics and lies.
When tragedy strikes their friend Ina, the two women must come together to save her little boy. Can they put away their troubles and secure a better future for the child? Or will their past catch up with them?
NOWHERE GIRLS is a thrilling tale of love, lies and the lengths a woman will go to for freedom.
This is one of my favourite parts of the book. Ina sends her best friend Sara a letter from beyond the grave. Like many women in Albania, Ina is suffering at the hands of an abusive husband with no way to defend herself, no money and no support network. It’s easy for those living in other countries to expect a woman in her position to have somewhere to go – but in Albania, most women don’t have a voice. This letter was hard to write because I’ve known many women in her position. I needed to readers to understand her plight.
It’s also the turning point in the book. It’s this letter that forces Sara to work with Alba and rescue her godson from a country they all fear.
If you are reading this letter, then I’m already gone. I knew my luck would run out eventually with that man. Please don’t judge Ardit too harshly. He wasn’t always this bad, but life, the people he hung around with and the suffering we have endured have made him like that. He started drinking more in Thessaloniki. Things went from bad to worse when we arrived back in Albania. We lost everything in Greece because of the crisis – our jobs, money, our home. When we got back to Albania, he started gambling, telling me he would make everything right again. He lost us the last of our savings I’d somehow managed to gather in Greece. Any guilt or remorse he felt he just drank away, blotted it out. It made him forget how bad things really were.
I rang him one night. Johan was very ill with fever and I was afraid. His friends mocked him: you better run home to your wife. Your boss. He became more violent that night, and ever since then, the violence never stopped. He hit me hard. I ended up with a black eye and a cracked rib. I felt sorry for Johan. He cried and screamed, ‘Daddy, please don’t.’ That boy has seen things no child should see. I didn’t know how to walk away without making things worse for the children.
You were right, Sara, I rushed into marrying him and didn’t listen to anyone’s advice. I cheated. Yes, I cheated on him. Only once, I swear. He never found out. You’re the only one I’m telling my secret to. Please keep this to yourself. Don’t misuse my trust. I don’t want my children to ever find out. I often ask myself why I did it? At the time I saw it as an escape, I convinced myself that this handsome Russian man would rescue me and the children and whisk us away from our horrible lives. But in reality he only wanted one thing – and if I’m honest with myself, it was just nice to feel free and wanted for a short while. Afterwards I treasured that liaison, it was my secret revenge on Ardit. My own silent rebellion.
There’s something else I haven’t told him about. Alba has been putting money into my two grown children’s accounts. She is helping me a lot and, I must say, I never expected that from her. Perhaps I judged her poorly and she’s a lot kinder than I gave her credit for. This is why I kept it from you, Alba said you would be suspicious and I didn’t want to worry you.
Sara, here is the important part, if you’re reading this and something has happened to me – please look after Johan. He is your Godson and it pains me that the two of you never got to meet. I know we never managed to hold a proper baptism for him, but I’m sure God will forgive us under the circumstances.
I’m counting down the days until Ardit kills me. Isn’t that a terrible thing to say? I did what I could, I even told the police. I don’t know why I bothered. They laughed at me every time I went to the station, with black eyes and torn lips. There’s that whore again; they would say to one another. I wonder what she did this time to piss her poor husband off. I gave up expecting any help from them eventually.
My dear friend, I hope you are not crying. This letter wasn’t written to make you sad, but to ask for your help – you’re the only person who never pushed me away. I’m including 200 euros in this envelope – I know it’s not much but perhaps you can buy Johan a prom suit for his graduation. He’s seven now, but who knows how old he will be when you read this. I like the idea of Johan wearing something from me on his special day that I don’t expect to ever see, even if it’s only a pair of socks.
Please tell him that he had a mother who loved him very much. Take care of him, now that I am gone. And I love you too, so much. Never forget that. You were like my mother, my sister, my everything.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Now a fiction writer, Teuta Metra’s experience as an Albanian journalist has made her an expert on the struggles of women from her country. Author, journalist and teacher, Teuta now lives in The Netherlands with her husband and two sons.
Website : http://www.teutametra.com/