‘I never looked back again’
Suddenly, my dreams are interrupted by someone shaking me. Half asleep, my 8-year-old self can barely make out the words Mama is saying in my direction and I groggily sit up whilst trying to make head or tail of the situation. She tells me to wear some warm clothes and soon after I do so, she hands me my most precious teddy bear, picks me up and we leave the house. The streets are dead at this time of the night and the only sounds I pick up are papa’s heavy breathing and the whispers my parent’s exchange to one another. My eyelids can barely remain open and I soon doze off in mama’s arms. When I wake up I find myself sitting on Papa. We are clustered against a lot of other people in a moving box. I cannot breathe properly due to the lack of air present and the heavy smell of sweat makes my situation even worse. Papa tells me that we are in a very big truck and we are all going on a long holiday to Italy. After a long time, the truck stops and we are let out of it. Papa takes hold of my hand and leads me to a boat. I don’t want to go on because the sea is rough and the boat is ugly. I start to cry and restrain from moving forward. Papa hits me and hauls me up abruptly. Papa’s never hit me before. I want mama but she is nowhere in sight. My desperate eyes search for her but to no avail. I am now squashed between Papa and other strangers. The boat starts to move to the horizon and slowly Bengazi becomes smaller and smaller until I cannot see it any more. Papa makes me stand on the floor. It is wet and soon after my feet touch the ground I fall on my behind because the boat makes a sudden rocking movement. Afterwards, the rocking becomes more frequent. I am seasick and throw up the food I ate earlier on the boat. The strangers look at me momentarily with disgust, and then their eyes turn soft with pity. The taste of vomit lingers in my mouth for a very long time and I don’t have any water or food to remove the sour taste. Days pass and...
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