The Journey

I remember watching raindrops running across the car windows and thinking they looked like comets streaming across the night sky, and while the bus rolled along I’d hide the little crystalline droplets under my podgy child fingers and try to guess the direction they would take. The other children didn’t follow my way of thinking; they swatted my hand away from the glass and sat in formation with stony faces.

My fingers twitched at fond recollections of the cold windows as I saw the raindrops sliding along the plastic windows of this cold bus, but my hands were uncomfortably bound together with cable tie. I looked around me expecting to see my companions faces, cold and unforgiving, but instead I was faced with something much worse. Despair. Some women gently traced their fingers across the blistering red welts that developed on their wrists, others sobbed into their laps, across the chairs or against the shatter-proof windows. The hollow, empty eyes of my companions at school resonated with me more now, I finally understood why they sat with such blank faces, the faces that I myself now emulated as I sunk back in my chair.

We drove for what seemed to me to be hours, made worse by the quiet sobs and whispered prayers. The driver sat apart from us, separated by a thick black screen, and I imagined him to be round and jovial, with a penchant for jazz music and a love of gold brooches, but when we stopped, and the screen lowered for the first time as the driver got up to leave, I was sorely disappointed. He was a scrawny man with no hair and huge bags decorating his sad eyes, and for the first time since I had boarded the bus I knew the meaning of desperation.

We were rounded up and lead off the bus in a straight line.