Sea and Future
That day was really hot, I woke up sticky, soaked through with a weird sweat mixed with mugginess and fear, adrenaline and the will to live. I’ve never been away from Waddan apart from those few times (when we were still able to travel by car) in which mum and dad brought my siblings and I to the seaside, a magical place on the coast. It seemed like those moments could last for ever, but little by little everything started to crumble, people started to leave, misery started to grow. My life until that moment went by, neither well nor badly; I wasn’t yet aware that I would probably have looked back on those times with regret.
With my parents we agreed that, as soon as I could, I would let them know about the places I visited and the ones I was planning to visit just as my brothers one in Spain and another in Turkey were already doing; they left home when I was fifteen and I stayed for ten more years to take care of our parents.
The train heading to the capital would leave at ten in the morning, twelve hours of travelling in which I reflected a lot, slept a little and looked behind me once again.
During the years I’d always looked through the window at people leaving, leaving their things, their home to grow their roots somewhere else and I always asked myself if all the people who emigrate feel the same seesawing feeling of emptiness and of curiosity, of sadness and euphoria for everything that may happen. I never found the answer to this question. I often had fantasies about what was there beyond that restricted view from which, anyway, you couldn’t see anything good. When I was around 25 years old I felt the will and the necessity to go away from that place, to cross that glimpse; if I could, I would have brought my entire family with me and the few things we had to finally end a life of uncertainty.
The main problem was obviously that money started to run low and transports weren’t safe enough to realize that dream. I then left behind the places of a lifetime and the few people I knew in this world to go towards a huge and unknown black hole.
On the train I saw a few friendly faces and some hostile ones, almost all of them scratched by the pain. Somebody tried to smile to somebody else and the scars took on a different shape. My reflections were constantly interrupted by an intrusive, pounding thought; if I had been with someone I cared for, this journey would have been different. Lately women hadn’t been my strength and friends slowly disappeared…
While the wonky carriages, smelling of labour and home, were filling with fearfull, tired people and some bold ones, there was a discrete murmuring about who was going where and what they were going to find. At the same time I was meditating about God and about Faith; these people had Faith in something, I was sure about it. I was wondering which religion, among all the ones existing on this planet, would be the one dealing with these kinds of situations. Many hours later the answer would fluctuate in my head; either none at all or all of them together.
When we reached the first destination I meandered for a while in the alleys of the harbour, they gave me precise instructions about where the meeting would have been, but the scents of that weird summer night in that new city confused me and I walked around bewildered, looking for my future.
At two in the morning I reached the dock, we went on to the boat that had to take us towards our new life. On board there were women, guys of my age, a few elderly people and some children. Their faces expressed the same feelings I had felt on the train. Discouragement, hope, terror.
The trip had been going on for five hours when I heard the waves, increasingly energetically, breaking on the prow; the boat started to flood and, while it was sinking, the panic capsized it. Most of us ended up in the water. In that exact instant I started to feel the rush of emotions and grief that had brought me here, where I still am now. I would float and drown, then back on the surface to drown again.
My name is Uadi, it means creek, they named me like this as a sign of good omen against the aridity that grips my country and sometimes even my people.
Now I know what was waiting for me beyond that window; the sea bed.