August 7, 2017
There are not words good enough, full enough, or quiet enough to explain how it feels to sit with three parentless boys on a train. Two of the boys can’t understand a thing you say and you can’t understand them (they arrived days before), the other a chatty, maybe-18 year-old who just fell silent after I had asked him a simple question.
“Was it hard, living there? I mean, were you scared?”
K, my chatty, maybe-18 year-old friend gave me a look like I’ve never seen. It is the one where you raise your eyebrows, a sad smile hints at your lips, and the eyes turn to melancholy orbs that have seen far too much.
“Yes, yes. It was very hard. You have no idea. It was not safe. I was scared, but I was more scared when my mother wanted to send me away.”
“Why did she want to send you away?”
“I was two years old when my uncle began asking my father if we (my brothers and I) would come to live and work with him. He was a member of the Taliban. He wanted to train us from a very small age, that is how they do it over there. My father refused him for years and my uncle continued to insist just as hard as my father refused. But, my uncle had bad friends and wouldn’t stop trying to get us so my father had us move from Afghanistan to Pakistan. He started to work as a mechanic for cars and everything was good. One day he fixed a car and he did a very good job. The man who owned the car came to him and asked him if he would consider working for him, and he worked for the Taliban. My father told him to come back and ask the next day because he was going to go home and talk to his wife. So, that night my father came home and spoke to my mother, and voiced the concerns he had for his family’s safety. My mother told him, “No, by no means are you to take that job. You say no. No matter what, you do not say yes.”
“My father agreed, and the next day the man came back with some of his friends and my father refused the job. The next day, these men came to my home, took my dad, and for two years we didn’t know where he was or if he was alive. I was eight or nine. After two years, they came back, my father was dead and my mother sent me to Greece to escape. I didn’t want to leave her, but she said I still had more life to live, and she had already lived much of hers. I cannot contact them and I do not know where they are since two years. This is why I do not have a phone or computer. I cannot contact them, and that makes me sad.”
See? No words.