The night stretched across the expanse of nine days. My foot was swollen to the size of a large catfish. It stunk like fish also. I knew I was in trouble but I hid that fact from my compatriots whom life had equally besieged with enough trauma to last several lifetimes. My foot was nothing compared to my soul’s loss of my Analia. I watched as she slipped away here in this very cramped and smelly craft. Had God forgotten about my country? Had He forgotten about the people whom I loved? Had He forgotten about me?
To my right as I hung over the side I heard my brother’s quiet weeping. Sleep was not our friend and staying awake was a torture that robbed us of any peace. So many had lost their children, mothers, and fathers and we had all lost our homeland. Peering through the darkness, praying to see land yet not knowing whether we would be welcome was our only pastime and it was excruciating as day followed day. No land in sight.
In the wee hours of the dawning of our 10th day, I heard a muffled shout from one of the other boats. After a few tries, I understood the word земљиште, land! Disbelief flooded me and those in that vessel as joy tried to gain ascendancy and be the emotion of the moment. I rose up from my crouched position and saw the blackness that had been my blanket swirl around and envelope me until I could feel no more. I collapsed into the cold sea. The last thing I heard was my brother screaming my name but Analia called me to her more loudly and more compellingly. My darling!!
© Carol Campbell