Emma Griffiths 2018

The Arrival 

The suitcase was buried deep, at the back of the closet. It was covered in dust, from long years away from light. I walk out of our dusty attic and down the stairs to the kitchen below, grasping the suitcase. My family; my wife and daughter, are standing below. We pack the suitcase together in silence. It is a sunny day, but the world had never seemed so dark and miserable before. I wouldn’t be seeing my family for a long time.

The screams, the blood, the explosions and the gunshots fill my head as I contemplate whether leaving is necessary, even though I know it is. A war torn country isn’t the place to raise a family, and more importantly call home. We finish packing the suitcase.

“I have to go now”, I say, choking on my tears as I start to cry.

“Will we see daddy again?” My six year old daughter questions my wife.

I can tell by my wife’s expression how much she would like to say “Yes of course we will!”, but she can’t even say yes.

“Hopefully one day”, she says instead.

“I am going to miss you so much!” I sob, as we give each other one last hug.

I reach for the train ticket hidden in my coat pocket, as I approach the station. I glance around, taking in everything. Shouts. Shuffling feet. Talking. Hugs goodbye. The steam of the train.

“Platform one will be departing at approximately one fifty eight”, a young man wearing a neat suit yells, who I assume is the station master. He looks as though he comes from England. The whiteness of his business shirt contrasts against our dirty, ragged clothes. We all push and shove, all in a desperate attempt to board the train first. I check my watch. One fifty seven.

 

One fifty eight. I am seated on the train, and it is starting to move, gradually picking up speed, heading further and further from the platform. I wave goodbye to the people on it. But they just stare.

I notice my surroundings. I am seated next to an older looking man, holding a walking stick.

“Hello.” I say, trying to make conversation, to distract myself from thinking about my family. He too stares for a while, but then asks

“Where are you heading?”

“The other side of the world.” I reply. He laughs, but his laugh is filled with pain and desperation, the emotions that most of the country are feeling.

“I am taking this train, and then a boat to a place called Australia.” I continue.

“Never heard of it.” He says.

“Apparently there are no wars there and people ride on huge rabbits to go to school” I add.

“Woah. I am going to England. My son and his wife have started a new life there and they said I could move in with them” he says.

I feel sad, wishing there was someone to greet me when I stepped off the boat.  I was going to go to a new country, with a new language, new people, customs, food, animals… the list could go on.

I am starting a new chapter of my life, I think to myself. And right now I am on page “The Departure”.