Drama Fiction Sad

My Papah says America will be good. He says it will take care of us. He says the city has better opportunities and we will have more food. He wanted me to go to a school and have a chance at a better life.

Many people from our settlement had travelled to America and made a life there. Papah was confident we would thrive there as well. Just the night before I had heard him tell Mummah,

"You worry too much. Look at Nico. He is settled in America, he has a place of his own. He works at the docks but thats a steady income. I can't let Lily grow up here. What future does she have. She will either labour or be sold."

Mummah had sighed and finally agreed to his plan.

I, however, wanted to stay here. Though under provided, we still had a home. I knew every corner of our suburb and America just sounded too scary.

But Papah had made up his mind, so me, Mummah and Papah packed our lives and decided to board a boat.

I took my stuffed girraffe to Papah.

"Papah you think Lilo will get into America?"

Papah laughed and caressed my hair like he always does.

"Well we will have to sneak him in then."

It brightened up my ten year old soul. Atleast I was carrying my favorite toy with me.

"Papah how big is America."

"Its huge enough to fit a hundred thousand people," Papah said.

"Papah will there be children to play with."


"Will we have a house like this."

"A better one."

"Will..." but before I could finish my next question, Papah interrupted.

"Now now Lily will you ask all in one go. Maybe once you are in America you can see for yourself."

With that he urged me to pack my things.

We packed as many things we could. Mummah packed her clothes, two scarves and a little rice.

Papah packed his weaving spindle.

I took my favorite frock and Lilo.

To think of it, we did not have much to pack. Yet it felt like we were leaving so much behind.

Our hut was one of many. The weaving factory had shut down and my father had failed to find a new place to work. But then there wasn't much work either. You either worked at the cloth mill or you the cannabis farms.

So like any poverty stricken family in a third world country, my father too had an american dream. A dream to make ends meet. A dream to have a plate full of food.

Taking our meagre belongings, we lined up at the dock to board the boat of destiny. There were many people, young and old, clutching their lives wrapped in a bundle, hoping there will be a better place for them. Each face brimming with anxiety of a future untold. Among this crowd was my friend Norm, waiting for the boat,with his parents.

"Lily!" his voice first vague, grew loud over the din of the dock, as he ran towards me.

He smacked my back.

"Hey, you too going to America."

I looked back at the road that lead to our hutments.


"Well it will be good to know someone in America. Will you come visit? I wonder how it is in America. My papah says they have big houses and fast cars. We will have food to eat...."

I do not recollect the point at which I tuned out. He was excited, I wasn't. I couldn't imagine a world away from my home. My swing, my school, my friends, I was leaving it all behind.

"so what do you think?" Norm questioned.

"About what?"

"About my new shirt."

"Am sure it must be good."

Just then my father called out and I sprinted to take my place in the queue.

The boat docked in and people started clambering to claim their place.

I didn't feel so confident. I hesitated and my father looked down.

"Lily come on."

"Papah that boat looks very small, how will we all fit? I think we should wait for the next boat."

Papah knelt beside me and sighed.

"There is no second boat. We either board this or we are left behind."

With wide eyes I clutched his hands. He carresed my hair and said,

"I will hold you, come lets go."

My Mummah had already boarded the boat and me and Pappah squeezed ourselves in. At the very moment we heard the sailor call,

"No more, the boat is full. Lift the anchor."

We sailed through the night quietly. The sailors warned us of soldiers who would shoot us if we so much as squeaked.

I clung to my Papah's chest. It felt safer than the rocking boat. No one dared to sleep.

As the sky got lighter and the sunrays touched the horizon, we saw the shoreline.

America Alas! I thought.

The people on board began to hustle. The sailor begged them to wait till he anchored the boat but no one listened. Panic gave rise to chaos and our boat rocked hard before it capsized. People were flung over the edge into the dark deep water. Screams filled the twilight as people splashed to save their lives.

Papah and I went face down in water. We glugged and kicked and tried to stay afloat, but the wines in the water, tangled our legs, pulling us down into its depths.

"Papah, Papah."

I tried to call but my words came out all garbled.

In moments the fight went out of our body and Papah went under water, me clinging to his shirt. As I sank, I saw the sun shining, sparkling the water over our heads. The painful burn in my lungs increased as I gasped for breath. No one heard us, no one saved us.

As the water grew deeper,I realised, there was no America for us. There was no Mexico. There was no place that meant life. There was no home to go to.

June 11, 2021 17:59

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Saad Aman Sayyed
01:26 Jun 24, 2021

I did like the storyline. Does it involve India? As an Indian, I'd be very happy if it does. This is very much a description of what immigrants have to bear. I liked the conversational dialogue. Although, I'd liked a headstart with knowing just more than what their relations was.


Poonam Desai
17:34 Jun 24, 2021

Hey thanks for the comment, it’s inspired from a photo of a father daughter, drowned when crossing the border. It’s a general ode to all immigrants. America is more symbolic to a dream of a better life


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