‘Next, please’- the woman in a very tight and properly ironed suit called for a family in front of us. Without smile and without bringing her eyes up to them, apart when checking if their faces matched to their passports, she was mumbling the questions to them whilst looking at something on her computer, squeezed in a little booth. It was the family of four, two children accompanied by parents. All looked not dressed up well for the season and with rather worrying faces.
‘You will need to wait over there’ – woman said again, pointing to the corner which looked like a waiting area. Does it mean there may be something wrong, some issues or reasons why they cannot simply pass through the gate? – I thought.
I looked at my daughter who noticed the situation and changed her facial expression, she grabbed my sleeve and got closer – ‘are we going to be alright, mummy?’
‘Of course, we will be’.
The daughter in the family in front of us did not look much different in terms of age from my Lily so I knew Lily may have already associated all that was happening with herself…
The room where we were standing patiently waiting to be called was spacious but once filled with people, it was barely possible to breath. People were surrounded by their bags, food snacks, some were changing cloths or changing dresses of their children. It was hard to describe the smell, perhaps smell of people in its strongest form.
Some people were loud, some sat very quietly waiting, looking around themselves constantly. Me and Lily blended well with the public but as it was just two of us. We may have looked more pulled together compared to others.
Every time a new person would be called to the booth, it would take about fifteen to twenty minutes till the officer would decide whether you can get through or not. Most will get through but some will be resorted to waiting area where after another hour of wait or two, few more people in tight and ironed suits would come down and start asking more questions in more serious and authoritative tone. I knew Lily was scared to end up in the waiting area, in fact I was scared too but she should not have known.
So, finally, it was us. ‘Next, please!’ – woman shouted again.
‘Good afternoon’- I said
I piled up everything we had in front of her while I felt Lily was pulling my jumper down.
The woman looked at everything without ever looking at us, as she has done with other people.
I knew we should get through, I knew I would get job instantly, I was ready to do anything just for me and Lily have a fresh start. I was holding my breath whilst the officer was going through the papers.
‘Hope she wont notice, hope she wont notice’…I whispered to myself.
‘I need more details about your daughter, please.’
Which details I thought, what more can I give, I do not have any more papers. Lily is my daughter, she has my eyes, my nose, my hair, all. The only missing part was her dad who left us nothing but Lily’s name which I could not own, name we could not change when we run away, no one would have time for us, conflict took away all, buildings, people, documents….
Lily was mine, but something was not right on the paper for the person who was to decide on our future life…
‘You will need to wait over there’ – she pointed to the corner I was most afraid of belonging to. Lily was grabbing my hand even stronger.
There was no space to sit down, there were no chairs, some people looked as if they have been there for days, some were sleeping on the top of their clothes, bags, or each others shoulders.
We found a tiny corner and waited, and waited. We barely exchanged words, we did not eat for a few days before arriving here but we sat and wait.
Amari!? – someone was coming our way; it was for us.
‘I am afraid you are denied the access to the country, but your daughter will be coming through with us, she has relatives on her father line, she will be taken care of.’
I tried to stay calm – She is my daughter, we came together, I am her carer, she is under age, she cannot be without her mother.
‘She will have someone to look after her, don’t worry. Your legal status is invalid for the entry, you do not have a sufficient income to survive you two, she will be safer with us, she will get a job and a guardians and she will be protected by the government. ‘
I did not know what to do, I was no human to them, the only solution was to give up, to take Lily and go somewhere else but where… I started screaming inside myself, Lily stand still, she was stronger than me. The man pulled himself closer to my daughter. I bent on my knee, holding her cloths, her hands, kissing her legs, I knew I should let her go, I was a burden to her future, even this ‘country’ acknowledged that, she will find her way there, she will be taken care off…
Man holding Lily, picked up his radio phone – ‘I may need a few more people’ – he said. I knew that it meant they will get more men to calm down a small, small and weak woman, I was barely holding myself together. Everyone turned their eyes on us, I took all my body weight and pulled myself towards the man holding Lily. I went straight for his arm and with my tooth till the blood came through…
You are a monster! Ah, it hurts! All of you here, all you need to be gone from this world!
He slapped me on a face, so hard, I only remembered my eyes closing…dreaming of Lily..